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Jackie Tyrell goes to war with figures of speech

Friday, 31 May, 2019

The Phoney War is the name given to the period in World War Two from September 1939 to April 1940 when, after Hitler’s Blitzkrieg attack on Poland, seemingly nothing happened. Jackie Tyrrell, the distinguished Kilkenny hurler, who now pundits about the game for the Irish Times, begins his think-piece on Sunday’s Waterford-Limerick match by declaring, “On this Sunday nine weeks ago, we had the ultimate Phoney War take place in Croke Park when Waterford and Limerick met in the league final.” The ultimate (“the most extreme example of its kind”) Phoney War?

And if that wasn’t enough, Jackie Tyrell, who appears to have read history, ploughs deeper into the furrow: “Go back and watch it and that’s what strikes you, how it rivals those early months of World War II for its lack of intensity, savagery and real purpose.” Hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed during the 1939 invasion of Poland and millions more were killed in the following years of German and Soviet occupation. During the Waterford-Limerick game Jackie Tyrell refers to, there were minor injuries but no fatalities on a mass scale.

As the hurling season warms up, we can expect mountains of metaphor, heaps of hyperbole, swathes of simile and clatters of cliché from Jackie Tyrell.

Eddie and Ali


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