22 Apr 19
The Irish Sun
IN football and hurling the Holy Grail is the five in a row.
Many have tried, most famously Kerry in 1982 and Kilkenny in 2010, but all have failed.
Fine Gael’s Eoghan Murphy and Leo Varadkar
Kerry’s John Egan against Offaly’s Stephen Darby
Though he is not a natural GAA fan as Dublin essay their attempt at immortality, Leo would be well wise to examine how they fare as he prepares for his own shot at a different variant of glory.
The Taoiseach might also be wise to consider the fate of Kerry in 1982 when plotting his next move.
Of course, he is not going for the five in a row for, surprisingly, politicians are somewhat more modest in their definition of immortality.
The three in a row is their test of greatness and understandably so, for since the fabled age of de Valera and Lemass only Bertie Ahern has achieved it.
And Fine Gael, for so long the serial great under-achievers of Irish politics, have never done so.
Their fate has eternally been to be cast out of office at the first chance the voters get once the Fine Gael nannies have cleaned up after the Fianna Fail party.
Now though, under Leo, Fine Gael are aiming at their own three in a row where outside of being the manager, rather like Bertie in his prime, Leo is the full back, centre back, midfielder, centre forward and full forward.
And suddenly the game is in the balance.
LEO, HOWEVER, DITHERED, FALTERED, TWISTED
This has all come as a bit of a shock, for up to November the Fine Gael team looked as though they would glide back into power.
Such was the bumptious level of certainty the Fine Gael ‘Posh Boys’ were only short of walking around the Dail in Fine Gael three in a row T-shirts.
Had Fine Gael gone for the kill then, they would be in the box seats now.
Leo, however, dithered, faltered, twisted, shaped to shoot and didn’t shoot and now he is not in control of the political ball any more.
In a sense Fine Gael’s position resembles Jim Gavin’s Dublin team.
The Dubs are still favourites, but they have started to lose games.
Of course, it’s only the league but Dublin never used to lose games.
The opposition are not any better but suddenly it is being noted that Dublin are no longer a young team. They are in that dangerous zone where they are getting old together.
And the Posh Boys too are starting to look a little leggy.
The next election may be Leo’s first run at the political merry-go-round, but Fine Gael have been in power for eight years.
We have noted before that Bertie experienced his own eight-year itch where everything he did went wrong.
Suddenly Leo is facing his own eight-year scratching process minus the ongoing artillery fire of tax-cuts and welfare increases that Bertie poured into the fray.
Of course, Fianna Fail and Micheal Martin do not look too threatening.
But Bertie was coursed to the edge of defeat by an equally unthreatening Enda Kenny.
THEY HAVE LOST THE CAPACITY TO DUMMY THE ELECTORATE
And the problem for Leo is that Fine Gael have, like Jim Gavin’s Dublin, lost the element of surprise.
Like any team that has been on top for too long they have lost the capacity to dummy the electorate.
In Fine Gael’s case, for a brief period, they might have fooled the voters into believing Fine Gael were finally for the working men and women.
But the reign of the Posh Boys has revealed Fine Gael are, as always, for the Lord Snooty wing of society.
They are the party of barristers rather than baristas.
For now, Fine Gael remain in front of Fianna Fail. The latter’s performance up to recently has been redolent of the drama which befell Jim Gavin’s Kerry predecessors in 1982.
Back then the great GAA commentator Micheal O’Hehir scolded Offaly for “dillying and dallying” moments before the fatal final high ball was launched into the Kerry square.
In our less glamorous modern battle Fine Gael, like Kerry in 1982, are still ahead.
The problem for Fine Gael though is that, like Kerry in 1982, they have been giving away soft frees over fouls like broadband and the Children’s Hospital.
The nightmare for Fine Gael is that having led for so long they are now vulnerable. The sense is that they are tired. They are ageing by years by the minute.
The non-government that is confidence and supply has gone on a little too long. The old cohesion is going.
Passes are being missed, the ball is going more and more often to their opponents.
[article-rail-section title=”Most Read in News” posts_category=”2″ posts_number=”6″ query_type=”popular” /]
Of course, a late goal in the 1982 final meant it was too late for Fine Gael, apologies, Kerry to win.
Leo had better hope he won’t have his three in a row stolen in an equally dramatic fashion.
Given that the referees which will decide his fate are Labour and the Green Party, the three in a row may be far more uncertain than anyone thinks.
[boxout headline=”Car-azy times” featured-image=”4010981″]
We would never dare to say that our TDs are divorced from reality.
But even for our man behind the bar the comment by one TD about the jumble of cars enjoying the free parking came close.
As our man snapped, “we need a car valet to sort this place out’’ — we hoped briefly they might be joking.
Of course, they weren’t.
Mind you, they didn’t come close to the former Fianna Fail minister Joe Walsh, left, who, on a return to civilian life, was confronted by the great task of purchasing a car park ticket.
Suffice it to say the whole process did not go well.
And then you wonder why the country is not going well.[/boxout]
REVOLUTION took place in the Seanad last week where the Government’s attempt to force through the Judicial Council Bill was left in a heap.
Another revolt occurred in the previous week when Fine Gael Seanad Leader Jerry Buttimer attempted to adjourn the house at a time where hot food would not be available for Senators.
Fine Gael TD Jerry Buttimer
Michael McDowell and David Norris led the charge to the canteen as the Government was defeated on the chairman’s casting vote.
Apparently, like the army, gentlemen Senators only march on a full stomach.
The bad news for our government is that the success of our Senators has enhanced the appetite for revolt.
Where will it all end and will anyone notice where that will be?
[boxout headline=”Tedium for Flan” featured-image=”4010997″]THE chief victim of the Seanad war over the Shane Ross Judicial Council Bill of course is Charlie Flanagan, left, the Justice Minister who has now spent 88 hours of his life dealing with this.
Sadly, closeness hasn’t enhanced affection.
Instead Charlie recently stated the reason he was not bringing in Amendments was “due to the tedium of the current debate”.
The mood darkened further when, after Charlie bewailed the fact that he had “been in the Seanad for almost 100 hours on this stage”, Michael McDowell sharply observed tedium “is a novel reason for abandoning a policy”.
All our man behind the bar could say is “boys boys, stop before someone gets hurt”.
Actually, on second thought, keep going.