The Catechism of Sporting Cliché

I lived in Dublin in the late 70s. My first residence was sharing a basement flat in Avoca Terrace, Blackrock (down the steps behind the hedge on the right above).

I discovered that the great Irish comic writer Brian O’Nolan aka Myles na Gcopaleen, aka Flann O’Brien, had lived in the same building, in a flat next door and above mine (up the steps on the left). It was whilst living in Avoca Terrace that Flann started writing his Cruiskeen Lawn (transliterated from the Irish crúiscín lán, “full/brimming small-jug”) column for the Irish times, a column which ran from 1940 until his death in 1966.

O’Nolan was, in my opinion, ahead of his time, in terms of the absurdity of his humour. Many of his ideas would not have been out of place in Monty Python, which came along after his death.

Amongst O’Nolan’s Cruiskeen Lawn column was his Catechism of Cliché, which mocked the banality of much public speech. For example:

Is a man ever hurt in a motor crash?
No. He sustains an injury.
Does such a man ever die of his injuries?
No. He succumbs to them.
From what sort of time does a custom date?
Time immemorial.
To what serious things does an epidemic sometimes attain?

The sporting arena (there’s another cliché), is redolent with such material, so here’s my contribution in the style of Myles:

The Catechism of Sporting Cliché

How will you approach the rest of the season?

We’ll take it one game at a time

Where will the team take it?

We’ll take it to the next level.

Which end of the season is this?

It’s the business end of the season

How good was that kick?

It was centimetre perfect

Is the game over yet?

It’s not over ‘til the fat lady sings

What’s the score?

Have a look at the scoreboard

How much effort will you put into the next game?


How much respect did you show the winning team?

We showed them too much respect

Who is in control of your destiny?

We’re in control of our own destiny.

How do you feel after that win?

It hasn’t sunk in yet

How many halves are there in a game?

It’s a game of two halves.

How big is your ask?

It’s a big ask.

How right is he?

He’s  exactly right.

Who has ownership of this game?

It’s anyone’s game.

How good was that match?

It was a great advertisement for the game

How good do you feel right now?

I feel over the moon.

How bad do you feel right now?

I’m as sick as a parrot

How hard is your next game against the team that hasn’t won in half a century?

There are no easy games

Is the game amusing?

It’s a funny old game

Brian O’Nolan

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