Written by Richard Cowman (image by David Lawrence)
For the third time in a row my first love has chosen to summer on my doorstep.
The first time I saw her after all those years she had changed from the one I loved all those years ago living back home. The love though was instantly rekindled and I travelled over to see her in her glory a number of times that year, and then The Run started – besotted. Wembley, twice – the story has been told.
Then it happened again. There was little new about her this next season. I sat back and watched the pre season games in Athlone and Bohs. It was lovely, like old times, a cozy duvet on a hangover Sunday. Her curves and gait remained as I remembered. It was warm and cuddly.
As I watched my only two other games live that season, and the rest from afar, I never got sucked in and panicked. I knew the curvy model was resilient and could survive the rocky road in front – she had a lifetime of experience. So it proved. Mid table a safe haven for the newly promoted team of dreams.
Then this season I stepped out to watch her at UCD. Her waistline and curves receded, looking younger and trimmer but oddly out of sorts in her own skin. The bossman stands on the sidelines, arms folded, away from the dugout – has his vision been reshaped by external factors, is this still what he wants or is it a new way to view the game?
On the pitch there is a petulance of a teenager as things slide a little, the new clothes produce the right look at times but the curvy model is still in there and it’s going to be a while before the new denim fits snuggly.
Roll on Shelbourne and a lovely sunny day – time to flash the short skirt and the long legs. Unfortunately the opposition resemble a team of eager boy scouts chasing a flashy set of girl guides – but without a tad of know how.
The short skirt and long legs sit well on my first love but is it mutton dressed as lamb? This is no day to judge.
I worry about my first love. Will the pieces fall into place? Will the petulant streak remain or will she start to fit into her new clothes as Yeates, Dolan et al take control of each game and move the opposition around at will? Or will the new make-up streak and leave her looking like a drunk adolescent with no one to hold her hair as she struggles with the reality of her new direction in life?
To me watching her try the new clothes my biggest worry is her other lovers. Will there be the patience to allow her to try the new look.
Will she fade into the darkness ashamed of her new look, or will she stand proud and say this is the new me, love me, help me, support me.
A beautifully ageing Kate Moss or a fallen Madonna?