Opinion: There are only two certainties in life - death, taxes and the Leinster Senior Cup

Wed, Aug 21 2019

Killester Donnycarney beat Shamrock Rovers earlier this month in the fourth round. Credit: Martin Doherty (ETPhotos)

A wise man once said ‘there are only two certainties in life: death and taxes.’ The wise man was only half right – neither death nor taxes ever reckoned with the Leinster Senior Cup.

Were either to do so, they’d be caught out for their codology: as a largely amateur endeavour, the Leinster Senior Cup reckons not with taxes; and, as we’ll learn, it never dies.

The Leinster Senior Cup is unique in world football in that it never stops – there is never a time, imagined or real, when the Leinster Senior Cup is not happening.

It’s the only football competition that starts before it starts and ends after it ends – it exists on a continuum of time blissfully unaware of, and uncaring of, men nor women.

The Champions League may come close – just 24 days passed between the final between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur on June 1st and the first preliminary rounds.

England’s FA Cup is even stricter still – a full three months passed between Manchester City’s trouncing of Watford in the final and the beginning of the next season’s competition.

Both UEFA and the English FA are prisoners to rules – those jobsworths have no appreciation of the anarchism and lack of structure that makes a true cup competition.

Six months have passed since holders Dundalk were eliminated by Athlone Town in the first game of the fourth round.

Dundalk aren’t actually the holders – they haven’t won it since they beat Shamrock Rovers in 2015 after the 2016 competition had already begun – but you didn’t know that, and that’s the point.

Next year’s competition is due to start in the coming weeks and yet the fourth round of last year’s competition is still ongoing.

No date has been set for the tie between North End United and Longford Town, and the fourth round of this year’s cup may yet outlast the early rounds of next year’s.

League of Ireland clubs have long been excused the first three rounds of the cup and, added to a calendar-year season in the league, scheduling has long ceased to make any sense.

The Leinster Senior Cup occupies a plane of existence no other cup competition in world football can reach – or even contemplate – so bound are they by arbitrary concepts like time.

I’ve been roundly ridiculed for my everlasting love of the Leinster Senior Cup – or maybe not, I haven’t done any research – but there’s a reason it’s the oldest senior cup competition in Ireland.

Killester Donnycarney knocked Shamrock Rovers out of the fourth round of the 2018-19 Leinster Senior Cup.

The club came only into existence last July following a merger between Killester United and Donnycarney, two months before the 2017-18 final between Shelbourne and St Patrick’s Athletic.

When this season’s cup kicked off, they didn’t exist for the purposes of the competition they were playing in. Confused? You should be. Nobody cares. It’s the Leinster Senior Cup.

Sheriff YC play Drogheda United in the fourth round of the Leinster Senior Cup on Wednesday. When they started, they were an AUL club; they play this round as a Leinster Senior League member.

In the third round, they knocked out Sacred Heart Firhouse Clover – who began the competition as Firhouse Clover before the two Tallaght clubs merged. None of this matters.

This season’s final could well be contested by a club that existed when the cup started and finished but not when it finished and a club that got there by beating a club that existed when it ended but not when it started.

So if any wise man tells you there are only two certainties in life, feel free to correct him. There are but two certainties in life: death, taxes and the Leinster Senior Cup.