I blame the split season for why I ended up having to give a statement to the Sergeant.

We were never that sporty a family. My eldest boy was too lackadaisical. Deirdre got into training the camogie only after she got entangled in the Cúl camps. She told me if you stand still long enough on the edge of a Cúl camp you’ll end up running the next one. Jennifer couldn’t understand getting involved in anything you wouldn’t be paid for. My youngest Rory, well by the looks of his TikToks, I think he’s a better dancer than a GAA man. ?Denis will offer his opinion on anything but he says, because he drives a lorry, he’s more of a logistics man. But since my niece Freya started doing a line with young Kyle Shaughnessy, it’s a different story.

Kyle’s been in Kilsudgeon GAA since he was knee high to a duck. They’re always short of players around here. He was marking a headmaster at Junior C before he did his Junior Cert. Freya is smitten and she’s started going to matches. Even though I distinctly remember her saying sport is just “an outgrowth of fragile masculinity”. But that was in February when it was cold.

And now that the club season is on in the summer, there’s a lot more going on above at the pitch. And that’s where the trouble started.

Grudge match

Kilsudgeon are playing the grudge match, the derby against Drumfeakle. There’d be a bit of bad blood over that every year. I give Freya a spin up. She’s bulling to get out of the car to get a good spot. There’s fierce crowds at the club matches these nights. I have to keep an eye on her to see does she join in with the crowd drinking cans behind the goal. I wish she had.

Ten minutes in, Kyle is on the near side of the pitch, he’s a right half back. As he clears a ball, he gets a shnakey belt in the ribs right in front of Freya, from a fella who has a look of a guard off him. I realise that now.

“GEDOUTOFIT YA SCUT!” Freya roars from beside me. I don’t know where she got that phrase from. Well I do actually, it’s from Denis roaring at the television.

“NOTHING BUT A DURTY TRAMP,” she continues. This is a girl who was lecturing me about intersectional feminism a few months ago. “Words matter Auntie Ann,” she says to me, some day when I used the wrong word.

“SHUTTTUP YOU YA LITTLE BITCH,” says yer man. Something came over me. Lioness-mode, Deirdre calls it.

“WHAT. DID. YOU. CALL HER?” I hear myself shout.

“AND YOU TOO, YOUL WAGON.” Well before I know it, I’m on the pitch shouting in his face. And of course, the lads doing the Facebook Live of the match move their phone right onto me.

“Auntie Ann, leave him be, he’s not worth a FF…” Freya starts to say. Honestly it’s like the first 16 years of her life never happened.

I turn to the lads doing the live-stream. “GIVE ME THAT PHONE. DELETE IT.” But they don’t.

I thought I was going to be going viral again. Luckily the match is abandoned 15 minutes later over a thunder and lightning storm. Someone gets a good photo of lightning near the score board and the world moves on from me.

“Thanks Auntie Ann,” says Freya on the way home.

The phone rings when I get home. It’s the Sergeant.

“Ann, what’s this I hear about you telling a member of the force that you were going to split him open.”

I think to myself. Well it is the season. CL

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