Not Eddie Heeds Advice To “Go Wesht, Young Man”

young eddieThe last time I travelled to Galway – or the irresistible Cathair na Gaillimhe to we fountain pen-poets – amateur rugby was still in its pomp and colour photography was still but a glint in Mr Kodak’s eye.

A tour with Pontypool had us stop in the capital of the West, taking in matches against Galwegians, Corinthians, and finally, the perennial underdogs of Irish rugby, Connacht.

Lingering memories abide of a congenial Fáilte, three tough matches and a knees-up that would have Sodom and Gomorrah blushing. I can still see Ciaran Fitzgerald holding Paul Crabtree by the legs as he attempted to imbibe a local cocktail of Guinness and Oysters via a wellington held by the always-willing Graham Price.


“Feck sake, Lot, that Eddie and his rugger bugger chums make Sodom and Gomorrah look like Chipping Norton.”

Three decades later, my liver feeling four decades older, I found myself on my way back to Cathair na Gaillimhe’s Sportsground. The pre-match entertainment was as I remembered it.

eddieonhis waytotheSportsgroundThe Sportsground itself remains idiosyncratically charming. The greyhound track still rings the pitch, the terraces are still in place, the wind still blows a gale and the welcome is still as warm as ever. And, bless my Newport soul, they now have electric lighting.

galwayI remember fondly carrying the pig’s bladder with the smell of the kerosene lamps in my nostrils, but this is the second decade of professionalism and, with professionalism, comes a change in standards. guscott

Not always for the better, particularly in the case of rugby commentary, where jumped-up scarf salesmen and their ilk continue to redefine amateurism. But I digress. How unlike me.

Chasing pole position in the Rabo Prodirect League, Cúige Chonnacht’s interprovincial neighbours and Heineken Cup finalists, Ulster, rolled into picturesque Cathair na Gaillimhe. Sporting a near full-strength line-up including eight Ireland internationals, Ulster were heavy favourites for this match despite having not won here in three years. Cúige Chonnacht may have been underdogs but they can put the bite on you harder than Jiffy scrounging a fiver.

And so it proved, as, in the unusual and most welcome sight of warm spring sunshine, Cúige Chonnacht bounced to an early lead with No.8 and local favourite George Naoupu over in my corner. My liver might be blancmange, my try-scoring memory not yet so. Within ten minutes, Ulster had piled back with two tries before local tyros Eoin Griffin and Gavin Duffy put flying Tongan Fetu’u Vainikolo across the whitewash to bring Cúige Chonnacht level.

However, Ulster are chasing a second Celtic League title for a reason. Rory Best, hoping for a starting berth in the Lions XV,  peeled off an advancing rolling maul to go over in the left corner, sending Ulster into oranges 22-15 to the good.


“Some bastard called Eddie autographed the wall in a saffron hue!”

Giving this correspondent an opportunity to imbibe local grape and grain and paint a portaloo a heady hue of saffron.

The advent of professionalism in rugby has meant that this, more than ever before, is a squad game, and so it proved in the second half.

The hosts took off their master craftsman Dan Parks and brought on the willing but limited Miah Nikora. Ulster brought off Lutton and Nick Williams for John Afoa and Ian Henderson. Witness the inevitable. Nikora shanked a kick upfield, the ball worked its way to Ian Henderson and the baby-faced Goliath skittled through three tackles and offloaded to Tommy Bowe to take the game away from brave Cúige Chonnacht. A minute later Payne ran in from almost half-way to cross in the corner.

Mark Anscombe’s men went home with a five-try bonus point win and a step closer to a guaranteed home semi-final and possible date with destiny.

elwoodFor Eric Elwood, whose career straddled both the amateur and professional eras, this was a bitter pill to swallow. He leaves Cúige Chonnacht in a matter of weeks after 23 years at the club. But he leaves it in improving health, handing the reins to another stalwart of both eras, Pat Lam.

For Ulster, a case of onward and upward, for Cúige Chonnacht, a case of thank yous and Fáiltes.

For my liver, Deus adiuvet me.

Transcribed by DroptheClaw from an etching in a saffron hue on a portaloo wall

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1,079 Responses to Not Eddie Heeds Advice To “Go Wesht, Young Man”

  1. yosoy says:

    Priestland… seriously? I’d be willing to have an argument with you over Henson or Tipuric, but… Priestland…

    Priestland’s passing – be it long, short, left or right hand – is top drawer. He’s a much, much better kicker from hand than Hook ever will be. Hook can’t time a pass anywhere near as well, nor pass with the same range. Just because Hook has an okay step doesn’t mean he’s naturally better.

    Priestland’s flakiness is well documented, but his basic skills are better than Hook’s.

  2. firstdifference says:

    @ Clutz

    If you have time rent a car and drive to Taos. It’s very lovely. Santa Fe is alright too.

  3. famkeflaviasandwich says:

    will he nail this one???

  4. famkeflaviasandwich says:

    I’m gonna use my name in vain


  5. yesiamclutz says:

    @FFS Can’t see him doing it again


    Not the primary diver and the person who is wants to go to Walmart in our one free time period…

  6. yosoy says:

    Hook would’ve done better to ply his trade at 12.

    Rolling sub is his best position. We should lobby the IRB to make the changes necessary.

  7. yesiamclutz says:

    I take it back, thats unreal…

  8. firstdifference says:

    Priestland’s flakiness is well documented, but his basic skills are better than Hook’s.

    He is really good except when he is not. I don’t think you can discount a players ability to have truly awful games like that. If your skills have a tendency to go haywire regularly, then they are not top draw.

  9. firstdifference says:

    Not the primary diver and the person who is wants to go to Walmart in our one free time period…

    Not the choice I would make. Though Taos is a couple of hours from Albuquerque so you would need a reasonable amount of time.

  10. famkeflaviasandwich says:

    what was yer Perpignan fella doing with the tap and go chip kick with a kickable pen….

    somebody tell me coz I know nowt about Ruggerby

  11. killerline says:

    What a game.

    Stade in the final Claw*, just need Leinster to fill their boots the morrow.

    *you big traitor

  12. famkeflaviasandwich says:

    got a result….daughter #2 got me a beer and is now Daddies favourite until this is empty then the charade starts again

  13. yosoy says:

    If your skills have a tendency to go haywire regularly, then they are not top draw.

    I said his passing is top drawer, not his whole game. His fucking up has been trying to run it from the wrong areas/missing touch or goal/general wrong optionry stuff – I don’t remember him stuffing up passes. Even when he collapsed mentally last year his passing was still consistently good.

  14. firstdifference says:

    Why didn’t you just ask her to bring several?

  15. killerline says:


    Do you understand how refrigeration works?

  16. firstdifference says:

    Against Australia Priestland’s kicking out of hand was poor to say the least. I don’t remember him doing much at all even with his passing.

  17. sagmog says:

    Top drawer.
    Top drawer.
    Top drawer.

    *back to real life*

  18. killerline says:

    That’s not a trivial question by the way, common refrigerators are baffling bits of kit.

  19. killerline says:

    Sag’s on the vino…

  20. famkeflaviasandwich says:

    did i read something somewhere which implied if CA or Le Borg win Heiney and BO win Amlin that Wasps get a shot at the HEC next year??

  21. firstdifference says:

    @ Killer

    FFS said outside fridge, I then assumed the issue was that the fridge was outside, the fact that this needed specifying made me think that there may also be an inside fridge where the beer could be placed, keeping it cold and reducing the problem and difficulty. This is Ireland so maybe this is a complete misreading of the situation.

  22. famkeflaviasandwich says:

    Killer exactly….I didnt disclose all, its a Lidl beer called Perlenbacher….colder the better

  23. firstdifference says:

    @ Sag

    Clarify, please.

  24. famkeflaviasandwich says:


    very logical, but there is a very big logic void in Ireland

  25. firstdifference says:

    I see. Did it again. Sorry.

  26. killerline says:

    I have to vacate for an hour.

    Ticht, make sure everything’s scientifically accurate until I get back mate.

  27. yesiamclutz says:


    I used to like you, not anymore.

  28. firstdifference says:

    The part of my brain that processes homophones is obviously defective, along with a lot of the other parts.

  29. famkeflaviasandwich says:

    outside fridge is in the utility room, which used to be the garage…..inside fridge is in the kitchen which was always the kitchen

    inside fridge has mainly food in it, outside fridge mainly beer and juices and milk, etc…..the is about 15 feet and a door in the difference which is a factor on a Friday night

  30. tichtheid says:

    killer, I’ll do what I can, but I’m no miracle worker.

  31. firstdifference says:

    Of course it may only be a homophone in my ridiculous accent, which makes the hole situation even more embarrassing.

  32. yesiamclutz says:

    Where are you based again FD?

  33. firstdifference says:

    @ Clutz

    New York. Though I have spent most of my 8 years in the States in Chicago.

  34. yesiamclutz says:

    So what are we seeing accent wise here, Striney mixed with a Chicago accent? Could be interesting, doubt it’s as odd as the cockney/New York mix I once encountered.

    I consider myself fortunate that I don’t have an accent. 🙂

  35. famkeflaviasandwich says:


    I read you in a Kerry accent

  36. yesiamclutz says:

    Kerry eh, interesting, wonder why. Obviously I do have an accent, it’s just I’m from south central England, I’m middle class and I’m over educated, so I speak pretty close to RP in pronunciation terms, even if I’d much more informal most of the time.

    Good try.

  37. yesiamclutz says:

    Anyway I’m off now. See you later.

  38. Borderboy says:

    Just watched a programme on BBC4 on Easy Listening – not something I thought would be interesting, but it was. Especially as they had this as one of the songs:

    One of my favourite songs ever.

  39. famkeflaviasandwich says:

    Ghost of an American Airman were the first band I had heard singing that song, Larry might recall that band, story was they were about to break to main stream when the 1st gulf war broke out, and a name like that was dropped from all PR

  40. Borderboy says:

    If you haven’t heard it already, get a listen to Glen Campbell’s last album – Ghost on the Canvas. It will be his last, too as he has Alzheimer’s. The album is fantastic.

  41. Killerline says:

    @Clutz no bother mate. Everyone used to like me, I’ve fallen out of favour.

  42. MichaelVaughanMyLord says:

    Evening chaps. It’s my birthday today. Just enjoying a 16 year Lagavulin with a Cohiba. Life doesn’t get much better.

  43. Borderboy says:

    Happy birthday MVML! Enjoy the whisky.

  44. firstdifference says:

    Happy birthday. Lagavulin is a good way to celebrate.

  45. tichtheid says:

    BB – I adore that song, Glen Campbell was my first ever gig – my mum took me and my brother to see him in the Usher Hall in Edinburgh, probably around 1975.

    Happy Birthday, MVML – that’s a fine drop you have there.

  46. refitman says:

    Happy Birthday MVML, I shall toast you with some Glenrothes single malt

  47. tichtheid says:

    Speaking of Country Music, George Jones is deid today – another sound from my childhood/youth

  48. Droptheclaw says:

    I am absolutely gutted about GJ dying. Some man for one man. He clearly stopped loving her today. Ar dheis dhé go raibh a h-anam

  49. Droptheclaw says:

    Oh, while I’m at it, Fetu’u scored a peach for Connacht tonight – lovely run, bouncing tackles, but the pop pass is sublime:

  50. beadleclawuk says:

    Jebus Claw that’s a class try.

    And happy birthday to MVML now slumped in a single malt daze…

  51. Droptheclaw says:

    Oh, while I’m here, Sinoti Sinoti is apparently coming wesht. Could do with some tightheads (ticht?) but will take him, he has always been handy.

    You can tell from the video that he is the most stereotypical PI player ever. Not sure how to take it all. Loves a hand off.

  52. Droptheclaw says:

    Going to pop this one up so you can appreciate some GAA action – some skill is involved (I would point out that this was the final from last year’s hurling – first match ended in a draw, the latter, well….):

  53. Droptheclaw says:

    Safety Dance you say? Oh, go on then:

  54. Droptheclaw says:

    At least I found expro’s training regime. I love this so much.

  55. Droptheclaw says:

    Right, I’m away. This is one for those who like domesticated animals. Oh, and Clanricard and that:

    Night, Mr Meades!

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