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Thu 31-Mar-2011 15:32
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The Squinting Eye
It's not all about watching yer man!
He was sure he saw a burglary
In the last quarter of this important championship game, this fellow - who we'll just call M, playing at centre field - sent a smart ball to the corner forward who took into his hand near the sideline and sent it high towards the posts. M was following the flight of the ball when his eye caught sight of a fellow climbing onto a balcony on the fifth floor of an apartment block across the road behind the endline.
(Some readers will recognise the venue we're talking about).
M became very concerned. His sister and her husband were renting an apartment there. It had been burgled and so had several others within the past month.
He looked about urgently for sight of a Gárda on duty in the venue but the ball came into the centre-field from the puck out and there were tremendous tussles before the ball went down the other end of the field. When M got the chance to look towards the apartments he could see the fellow standing in the balcony, peering in the door, as if he was about to gain entrance.
About five minutes later, as the game was nearing the end, he saw the bright yellow visibility jackets of two Gardaí moving towards the entrance for match officials and players. He took a chance on it and raced over to the sideline, beckoned to one of them and hurriedly told him about the guy on the balcony.
The Manager came rushing along the sideline, shouting frantically,"Get out there and watch your man for Jasus sake." He had good reason to be angry. The teams were level with injury time being played. The whole stadium vibrated with yelling and cheering.
By a stroke of luck two players pulled on the ball together. It skittered away at speed towards the sideline. M, all on his own, took it into his hand. His team-mates were wondering what he was doing out there, well away from the play. But he ran unimpeded for twelve metres and then hit the sliotar hard.
He was not known for accuracy and the sliotar seemed to be heading wide to the right of the posts. Then it began to curl inward as it dropped. It just about made it inside the post and over the bar, despite the goalkeeper stretching his hurley upwards in desperation. It turned out to be the winning score because seconds afterwards the final whistle blew.
In the middle of all the shouting and jubilation, the backslapping and hugging, some fellow said to M, "Weren't you the clever hoor to go out to the sideline with nobody around and score that point."
M had decided to say nothing about it to anyone. However, when the team, heaving with delight and relief, were congratulating one another in the dressing room, the Manager put it to him, “Look I know you got the winning score, but would you tell me what brought you out to the sideline? “
The dressing room fell silent. They all looked at M. He was embarrassed. He mumbled his story. The players were looked at one another in disbelief. Then they broke out laughing.
A few minutes later a knock came to the door. It was a Gárda Superintendent wanting to speak to M. Everyone could hear what he said.
“Thanks for your vigilance but it was actually a false alarm. We arrested two fellows but they turned out to be from a security firm. They were examining the building to try to make it less vulnerable to burglars.”
M was dumbfounded. “Yes but what about the fellow climbing up on the balcony?”
“He was wearing a safety harness. You probably couldn't see it from that far away. Thanks anyway. No harm done.” With that the Superintendent went away.
For about five seconds there was a silence. Then came a spontaneous roar of laughter that went on and on.
M tried to smile and shook his head but he was a bit shamefaced. He knew the story would get around fairly fast.
However, the incident brought him one piece of good fortune. That evening he visited his sister. She was telling of the commotion when the Gardai arrested the security team, when a fine-looking woman called to the door. She lived in the fifth floor apartment.
“Never mind the mistake - it's nice to know that someone is looking out for us,” she said and pressed his hand warmly. She meant this because although she worked for an IT company nearby she had been sent on sub-contract to a company in Den Haag in the Netherlands and had only come back every three week-ends or so.
She and M had an instant mutual attraction. As she took her leave at the door she whispered to him. “I'm off to the airport just now but we'll keep in touch by text.” She then gave him a peck on the cheek and said with a knowing wink,” When I get back again I'll show you my apartment from the inside.”
Sure enough, three weeks later, as he was togging out to play a challenge match at the same ground he got a text .”I'm back. Looking forward to seeing you. I'll put out a signal.”
He wasn't sure what she meant by 'a signal' but when the team ran out onto the pitch he looked towards the apartments. He could just make out a flimsy pair of pink panties on a clothes line on the fifth-floor balcony.
M played in a distracted sort of way. The manager noticed and shouted at his, “Get stuck in, will you. What are you keeping your energies for?”
As soon as the whistle went M raced to the dressing room. He emerged while two players were on their way back in. They watched him rushing away.
“Jasus, isn't he in a fierce hurry, altogether.”
“He must be after seeing another burglary somewhere.”
And they shook their heads and laughed.
He could just make out a flimsy pair of pink panties on a clothes line...
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