I've mentioned a couple of times that I was in Bristol at the weekend. I was there was for the second instalment of the Ciarán Buckley Challenge Cup. The first was held last year in Dalymount Park, Phibsboro and this years gracious hosts were Keynsham Town FC which is located just outside Bristol.
Ciarán Buckley (aka Ronty aka Big Daddy Fox) was a friend who passed away in 2006. His departure left a big hole in many peoples hearts and it was felt that there should be some form of regular testament to a bloke who brought much joy to the world. What more fitting tribute than for his friends in the UK and Ireland to hold an annual football match in his memory?
Our trip to Bristol this year saw us in AC Milan mode. We were not seeking revenge for last years crushing defeat on home soil. Nothing could have been further from the truth. In true diplomatic fashion we were merely there to demonstrate that we had overcome our failings from the previous meeting. We now wished to demonstrate this by knocking in a hatful against them. Happily it actually turned out something like this but not before they had made a good account of themselves in the first half. The final score was Bristol 3 Ireland 6. It looks like this might suggest that they were playing the Irish national side but this was not the case. They were playing a bunch of 30-something blokes some of whom are long past their sell-by date (I include myself in this grouping). I had forgotten that there was so much joy in winning something. My last sporting success of note was as 2nd Year Discus champion back in 1987. I failed to keep the title in the following year. I put this down to peaking too early.
The searing heat and my shoddy ball control meant that i was about as useful as a one-legged man in an arse-kicking competition. Thankfully my team-mates were somewhat more useful than me on the pitch. Kudos also goes to the opposition who will no doubt be chomping at the bit in next years game. They'll most likely be looking to take the cup back to dear old blighty. Only a bunch of aging footballers stand between them and fulfillment of their quest. Tune in next year for the result.