As a prominent figure in South Dublin many people have compared my leadership ability with Brian O'Driscoll aka 'B to the O to the D' and my humanitarian side with Sir Bob Geldof aka 'Sir Bobby G'. Bloody high praise indeed but what people don't understand is that such comparisons don't come without a side portion of significant pressure. For example, I was over in Paris last weekend about to get on it 'Triple G' style (goose, gals and gangrene) with Rocko, Damo, Robbo and the old geezer Bobby when I get a call from Dricster asking me to help settle a few of the lads nerves and as a result of my speech pre game Ireland did let out a bloody fine roar similar to that of a full on celtic cub. However the lads sorely missed me on the tins. After the game I headed into the changing room and all the boys stopped mid celebration and gave me the full on gaurd of honour and a hand to forehead salute and honestly I've never felt so humbled. In that exact moment, it was probably the most proud I've ever been of being half Irish. Now don't get me wrong here, I don't want to take any credit for Ireland winning the Six Nations but Smitty (Joe Schmidt) did say to me over a party sized can of Heineken that they couldn't have done it without my 'franfuckingtastic words' before the game.
As I was leaving the changing rooms, not wanting to overshadow the team, Davey (Kearney) turns to me and goes "franno, off already? you better be on the goose in the suite tomorrow night" and with a tear in my eye I nodded my head and saluted him.
I returned back to the lads and hit up Paris like a Chris Brown right hook. The next morning I'm absolutely hanging like a wet fish right and I'm in the airport flicking through the 'fuckbook' and a load of motts I've conquered are uploading no make up selfies and I muse to myself sure that's the whole reason I don't stay the night after bagging an average model in Krystle. Turn the phone off to avoid any texts or calls from the 'Miss Spin', nod to the lads in the direction of the pub which is met by unanimous approval.
We're on our fifth round of Woods (Tigers) and coupled with the alcohol left in the system from the night previous and the whole emotion of the weekend the conversation is getting quite deep. "You know boys, this weekend has been a real eye opener, people think you guys have always had it easy, as wounded celtic cubs who haven't just lived to tell their story but to thrive as you guys have, you're a bloody inspiration to this nation as a whole" and we all nod in the Paps direction and I swear before my school ring that Robbo has full on tears in his eyes and who would blame him ifyaknowwhatimean.
We cling our glasses together in a joint appraisal of the brilliant words of wisdom my father has bestowed upon us. Sinking in the sentiment an eerily silence creeps over us that just feels right. Rocko who has is eyes fixed on his phone looks up at the table and says "on an unrelated note, these 'non-make up selfies' is like watching a nature documentary seeing women out in the wild for the first time."
We all burst into tears laughing. Rocko is a full on gas merchant in these moments. The last call for the flight is met by a chorus of boos from the boys. But we have to move on in order to get back for Bob Andrew Noel Thomas Eugene Royce's (AKA the lil bro AKA B.A.N.T.E.R's) 2nd senior cup final. The old man jumps up out of his seat, skulls back the rest of his drink and goes "c'mon now Celtic Cubs, sink that liquid likes it the Titanic and lets get back to 'The Pale'!"
So we're holding each others hips as we board the plane singing the macarena bearing the green of Ireland still. I can tell all the passengers have instantly realised the party brigade has arrived and we are met with raptures of applause. Dad calls to the air hostess 'drinks for the boys and keep em coming' accompanied by a wink and a completely inappropriate slap on the ass especially seen as the air hostess is a roughly 60 year old man who bears a resemblance to Mikey D Higgs.
An hour into the flight and half the plane is now on it,absolute Dave Kearnage and the air hostesses are not gay AKA happy, I don't mean not homosexual, especially as the lads are getting fairly gropey with some of the females who in all fairness are loving it. It feels like we're in the midst of a music video that comprises both Nelly's 'Hot in herre' and Busted's 'Air Hostess' and the lads are embracing it. The booze is flowing like the Niagra falls and the overall ROAR is enough to make a bear shell up in the toilets. Robbo has the BOSE speakers out and he is blaring his home recorded school chants; barmy banter brigade.
Two hours into the flight and the party atmo had slightly toned down. The old bugger has plonked himself down beside some girl who'd be considered too young for me for fucks sake. I can overhear him telling her how he is fighting the law and has been compared to a modern day Robin Hood. He's speaking absolute spout but anyway it's working as the two of them get up out of their seat and head in the direction of the bathroom.
5 minutes later and I'm giving it fist pumps on the airplane dance floor we've created and I get a tap on the shoulder, "son, you don't have a key or two of the Sheen stuff and a tablet or two of the blue stuff", I look at him in bewilderment, he could join a fucking circus at this rate.
I let out a mighty bellow as I pop open another bottle of the champers "the party must go on" which is met with absolute universal approval from the passengers on board. It's all champagne showers and barmy celebrations. Til next time fuckers, Francis Thomas Royce aka the Wounded Celtic Cub... Out.