Holohan and his friends all agree that now is the time to put up or shut up.
An unfortunate series of Festive Season mishaps has already left huge doubt hanging over the likelihood that a crew of recreational city centre drinkers will be able to field a decent turnout at their New Year’s Eve location of choice in a few weeks’ time.
“There’s nothing I’d like better than to be able to say with certainty that twenty of us will be giving it socks at the Fade Street entrance to Hogan’s around five to twelve a fortnight from now”, explained Paypal accounts executive James Holohan.
“Jägerbombing, pulling wing mirrors off cars, shouting at strangers, that sort of stuff. But at the moment we’d be lucky to have eight first choice drinkers fit by then.”
Remarking upon their collective desire to match the “clearly raised intensity levels all over town” throughout the pre-Christmas period, he said his friends had lost sight of the need to nonetheless keep their instincts on a tighter rein.
“In separate incidents on the same Tuesday night, Flood lands badly jumping off a table in Whelan’s only an hour after Shane has gone down like a sack of spuds trying to get out of the basement in Bruxelles. What are the chances of that?”
“So that’s Flood out with suspected damage to his Anterior Cruciate, and Shane gimping around with meniscus trouble. Of course we’re hoping it’s not a complete tear, we’ll just have to see what the doctors say about it.
“I mean, you can’t sue a basement for having a staircase, right?”
Had A Few
The group’s cohesion had been suffering on recent midweek sessions, Holohan said, due to the enforced absence of some of their bigger names.
“Last Thursday, a couple of us really kind of went to sleep near the end. Well, literally went to sleep. Schoolboy errors aren’t acceptable when you’re looking to push forward as a unit, even if the Grand Social does have comfy chairs.
“And it never would’ve happened if Col Murphy hadn’t been home nursing the fractured cheekbone and jaw hematoma he sustained somewhere on Camden Street the previous Friday.”
“There was a lady actually hoovering around me, and the bar staff were already changed and walking out the door.”
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Holohan pointed out that a few lessons had been learned, and big improvements made in other areas.
“We’re all much more aware nowadays of concussion, so say somebody hears a nasty smack when Deego falls down the steps on the way into Coppers, you can be sure we’re all keeping an eye on him for the first few in there.
Or even myself. I live within five minutes’ walking distance of College Green, but at this time of the year we’re generally talking about three hours if I’m left to my own devices. Sometimes the smart call is to allow yourself be carried to a taxi.
“Concussion is just bad news for everybody”, Holohan said, cradling a grotesquely swollen left thumb.
One Less Car Window
“Put my fist through the passenger window of a 07KY Micra on Wednesday. But those sort of knocks go with the territory.”
It’s attention to the seemingly minor details, however, that can make all the difference between a trouble-free, 14-hour bender and being barred from a favoured premises just two drinks in, maintained Holohan.
“On a surface like Neary’s carpet, for example, it’s easy to become complacent. I mean, it’s not like you’re ever going to find yourself skidding around there, Hartigan’s-style. Well, not upstairs anyway.
“But carpet brings its own challenges. I don’t know how many times in the last month I’ve turned away from the counter up there with my hands full and stubbed a toe on the Burgundy shag pile.
“And yeah, maybe you can say ‘Hey, I just lost my footing. It’s one of those things’, but at our level that won’t wash.
“It’s inexcusable at this time of the year to be coughing up a round of pints. But the Chatham vibe can make you overthink it. Mindfulness and concentration really are key. Just staying in the moment, you know?”
“What we need to do between now and Stephen’s Day is cut out the silly mistakes. Batten down the hatches for a bit. Maybe get into a snug somewhere next weekend, or even take over the Dawson Lounge for a night.”
Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation.
Summing up the situation, Holohan claimed that the capital’s drinking landscape is a very different one to that remembered by his father, or even his older brothers in their various drinking primes.
“The hangovers are getting bigger, any fool can see that. And recovery time’s a scarce commodity in December anyway. So we’re really getting hit from both sides.
“And the last thing in the world I want to do is make excuses, but on our current form myself, Diggesy, Craig, Dermo, Paddy and all the rest of the boys have to ask ourselves some hard questions. Is the fire really burning? Do we still want it badly enough? Are we going to stand up and be counted? Get out there and put the fear of God into someone?
“I’m not completely sure anymore whether it is. Or whether we do. Or whether we are. Or whether we will”, he said.
“But I hope I’m wrong.”