Maynoooth resident Mark Donovan decided to get through a gruelling weekend break from the Premier League to focus on the ultimately meaningless and Blindingly dull FA Cup fixtures by telling himself again and again the competition matters and is filled with ‘thrills and spills’.
Witnessing the Sheffield Wednesday v Swansea tie through dead eyes, in a fog of beer fumes and post modern ennui, Mark was drawn to ponder the futility of existence, the impossibility of genuine connection with his fellow human beings and the inevitable embrace of the cold grave.
Rousing himself from his existentialist stupour, Mark was able occasionally to puncture the mood by repeating to himself “Young Bayliss from Coventry looks to be a star for the future and Brighton’s Locadia has a goal every second game record in the Eredivise so he’s got that going for him. “
But soon the stark realities of the third string Match of the Day panel and bizarre, awkward pauses as they wildly try to invent opinions on the joyless debacle they just witnessed.
The nightmarish spectre of Antonio Conte’s hauntingly terrifying face leering into the camera for an interview where He visibly battles with his urge to discuss the upcoming Champions League match with Barcelona rather than the humiliation of a Hull side without endangering any of his important players, was enough to prompt Mark to gaze heavenward, longing for the rumoured ‘Planet X’ to finally roam into our orbit and take out earth in an apocalyptic planetary collision which the FA Cup would likely somehow survive.
Dreading the water cooler banter on Monday with his work mates, Mark grudgingly prepared some opinions on how the Manchester United front three look finally to be gelling in the face of opposition like Huddersfield town and how young Master Schmeichel made a save his dad would’ve been proud of against whatever Sunday league side Leicester cantered to a victory over.
A Man Utd fan since boyhood, the grim realisation that this competition is the only trophy his beloved team will possibly be able to bring home this year was enough to set in action the first tentative biological motions toward the stomach ulcer that would eventually keep Mark off the very Saturday beer that sustains him through these dark winter FA Cup weekends.