It is a truth universally acknowledged…

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single county GAA player, with road frontage, must be in want of a girlfriend. However little known the feelings or views of such a county player may be on his first entering a parish, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the locals, that he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.

“Paddy,” said his wife to him one day, “have you heard that one of the Dublin Senior players is renting a cottage down here for the weekend?”

Paddy replied that he had not.

“But he is,” returned she; “Mrs Cassidy has just been here, God rest her, and she told me all about it.”

Paddy Donaghoe made no answer.

“Do you not want to know who has taken it?” cried his wife impatiently.

You want to tell me, and since there’ll be no peace till you have out with it I don’t mind listening.”

This was invitation enough.

“Why wouldn’t you find it hard to believe it, but Mrs Cassidy swears blind that the little cottage down the road is being rented by none other than the captain of the Dublin team! They say he read that little travel piece in the Irish Times, and he’s coming down here in his Ferrari with the paparazzi in tow before the end of next week.”

“What on earth is he coming down for?”

“A holiday of course!”

“Is Bernard Brogan married or single?”

“Oh single, my dear to be sure! A single senior county GAA player from Dublin down for the weekend! Wouldn’t it just be a grand thing for our Aisling!”

“How so? How can it affect her?”

“My dear Paddy,” replied his wife, “how can you be messing? You must know that I am thinking of his going out with her.”

“Oh is that what he’s coming down from Dublin for?”

“Coming down for Aisling? Will you not be so silly! But it is very likely that they may meet up while he is down here, so I want you to run down with a bit of my soda bread when he arrives.”

“I don’t know why I have to do it. You and Aisling can go down, or send her alone, which might be better for you’re as pretty as her yourself, he might prefer you yet.”

“Oh you needn’t be flattering me. I might have been something when I was younger but I’m an auld one now. When a woman has a grown up daughter of twenty-eight with no man in her life, she shouldn’t be thinking of her own looks.”

“In such cases, your one was hardly anything to look at in the first place.”

“But you’ll have to go down and visit him when he arrives.”

“I don’t plan on doing any such thing.”

“How can you abuse your own child in such a way? You have no pity for my poor nerves.”

“You’re wrong there. I have a great respect for your nerves. They’re one of my oldest companions. I’ve heard you going on about them for more than twenty years at this stage.”

“You don’t know what I do be suffering!”

“But I hope you get over it and go on to see an entire county team move into the parish.”

“Much good may it do me! The team and bench could move in and you wouldn’t shift yourself to meet up with any of them.”

“Depend upon it, when the entire back room settle themselves in the parish, I will visit them all.”