I’ll tell ya something now that’ll shake you up, Pat. If you took up rugby instead of playin the oul soccer and the GAA, you’d be up there on 557 points with myself and Johnny.
Ah, but Ronan…
No but Ronan about it, Pat! You’d be our equal, and you’d play agin England tomorrow to go top.
I loved playing in goal. Jackson was my hero. There’s no goalies in the rugby.
When did you ever hear of a goalie scoring 557 points, Pat? Tell me that, and if you did and if you do, I’ll eat my hat. Pure rubbish playing in goals, an anyway there’s no goals in rugby. It’s tries, conversions and penalties.
I saved two penalties once. Not at the same time. Two in the same game. We were up against…
I’m not hearing ya, Pat. Listen to me now, and listen good. Nothing ever came of been a goalie. Sweet fuck all. Wouldn’t ya like to be in the same bracket as the two of us?
Well, no actually. I wouldn’t. Soccer was my game and…
You’re a woeful gombeen, y’are. You’ll go down in history tomorrow if you score a few points. No matter if we win or lose. No matter if you’re shite for 75 minutes and you pop one over. History, I’m telling ya.
You were fair good yourself. Did you dream?
I was, but nah. I’m not in same class as you. You could’ve been the man. You were taken over by that Jackson lad. Shur, all he ever done was stop the team from been relegated every year, and three times he couldn’t even do that.
He played for England once.
Did he now? England! Shur, that’s not so much of a big deal, now is it? See what France done to them last week? The fans were wanting to leave early, but the stewards made them watch to the end.
Jacko was class, he was. He died last year.
Class, was he? Well, he’s not class right now. England are here tomorrow and they’ll be in that dressing room and they’re piss poor, they are. If you were to be running out in the green, you’d have them shaking with the trembles.
557 you say? That’s fair scoring. How many games would ye have played to notch up 557?
Don’t matter one bit, Pat. ‘Tis the headline in tomorrow’s paper I’d be keen to see. “de Búrca secures Grand Slam. All records broke.” The Cork Examiner will do a full page just on you and the record. They’ll give man of the match to one of the other lads, and they’ll praise the team to high heaven, but you get a page to yourself. Did Jackson ever get that? Goalies don’t matter. D’ya want another half pint of Cassilero?
Ah, go on so. I’ll play.
Wouldn’t doubt ya, Pat. You’ll play better with a double.
Ronan, ya eejit. Cassilero comes in a glass and there’s no such thing as a double.
There is today, Pat. I’m putting my shirt on you. Now, this has to be said so, I’ll say it twice. Don’t let me down. Just don’t let me down.
Will ya have something yerself?
No, I’ll be wanting a clear head. I want to see the look on Johnny’s face when you pass him out. The fecker’s been grinning at me all week. You just go out there and show me what ya can do. I’ll be commentating for some second-rate French radio crowd. Gotta keep a clear head.
Was the Grand Slam ever won in Dublin before, Ronan?
Nearly, a few times. Nearly. Tomorrow’s the day.