"What does that mean?" - Laughs and jokes but Michael Darragh hasn't lost the edge
"Are you allowed say arses on RTÉ?" asked Michael Darragh MacAuley.
"You just did anyway," said Damian Lawlor, quick as a flash.
MacAuley obviously took that as a yes because, as it turned out, he went onto says arse twice more in the next five minutes.
You might over-think it and say that having long-time team-mates Jonny Cooper and Diarmuid Connolly for company put him at ease, but the truth is it probably didn't make a difference.
Did it do any harm?
"I can't take these lads serious," he said instantly, eying up the two boys.
On one of his first appearances as a pundit on RTÉ, Connolly went up to MacAuley before the game and asked him for some background info.
A player to watch, that kind of thing. MacAuley told him lots, didn't hold anything back, the only problem being that the player he told him all about wasn't even starting the game.
"Just seeing how you'd react Diarmuid, just keeping you on your toes," he explained.
"Look at them, thinking they're pundits," he shot, "youse must be stuck," said MacAuley.
What could the boys do only laugh.
The old cliché goes that GAA interviews are boring and soulless. Ballyboden St Enda's have just beaten Castleknock in the Dublin SFC quarter final and this post-match interview is anything but. There isn't a cliché in sight.
— RTÉ GAA (@RTEgaa) September 24, 2023
"We weren't taking Castleknock lightly and all that sort of stuff," said MacAuley with a laugh, after his side's 1-19 to 0-11 win, which qualifies them for the Dublin SFC semi-final vs St Jude's.
"They gave us a good battle earlier on this year so I'm just happy I'm still in one piece and still a functioning human being.
"I'm about 407," he laughs.
"I'm playing with all my grandchildren."
The truth is that MacAuley is actually 37, is still lining out at midfield, and still competes for everything. He doesn't have grandchildren.
But through all the laughs and jokes, there is one thing that, make no bones about it, he takes very seriously about himself.
It's the thing that made him one of the country's best midfielders and it's why he bristles at Damian Lawlor's suggestion that he's a free spirit.
"What does that mean?"
"Of course I'm serious about the game, I'm serious whenever I do anything. The lads will tell you that...well..."
"But playing sport, if we're playing a game of Mario Kart here, I will play to the death. I want to win everything. That's how I operate. I'm still training twice a day. Ask the lads, I'm up early and training, that's never an issue."
"I was chatting to Paul Flynn there and he was like, how are you still operating here?
"But I'm not chasing three kids around as well, so that helps. You have time to do a bit of yoga, do a bit of recovery and all that sort of stuff."
"So are you back to doing the recovery tonight?" asked Jonny Coope sharply.
"I am in my arse Jonny, you know what I'm doing tonight."
God only knows.
"The focus is to go win an All-Ireland. That's the plan.
"But we got murdered the last three years out, by ten points and we haven't forgot it so. We're still a mile off it.
"We were beaten by double digits the last few years in semi-finals, so we definitely won't be going around with our heads up our arses."
Just let him off. Let him riff away as he pleases because all it will do is put a smile on your face.
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