The Tokyo Olympics begin in eight days’ time and a number of Irish competitors, such as the O’Donovan brothers, Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy, will already be well known.
There’s one Irish representative, a man at his third games, that you probably never heard of and hope you never have to hear of because if his name assumes centre stage somebody is in bother and very big bother at that.
He could come in handy for the boxing squad as well if he gets a spare minute as he is the head coach of the Erne boxing club in the Breffni county.
There will also be a number of Irish drug testers working at the games to whom we send best wishes and a brief reminder, ‘The horse – don’t forget to test the horse’.
More seriously though Nelson hopes all the testers have quiet games, the world, not just Ireland could do with one.
From Ben Johnson in Seoul in 1988 onwards we’ve all had our eyes opened but, so far anyway, Ireland has been the only country caught out by doping rules when applied to a non human.
Where Nelson wonders is Cian O’Connors horse Waterford Crystal now?
And if Rory happens to win the golf, which he very well could, the argument of where he is from is put to bed forever.
It should be an interesting couple of weeks and it will fill the void for sports fans until the serious stuff, of the latter stages of the All Ireland and the Premier League returns in mid August.
In 1986 a much younger Nelson walked off a GAA pitch in Coventry in the UK and leaned despondently against a car listening to the last few minutes of Meath’s epic Leinster final win against the Dubs.
It was one of the few times in a two year sojourn he wished he was back home, or to be specific, in Croke Park.
The reason we bring it up is because back then a provincial success meant something, and while accepting that a provincial success this year would mean a lot to Meath fans as well, Nelson alligns himself with those who suggest the provincial championship is no longer fit for purpose.
For as long as can be remembered Mayo would have been fancied to beat Leitrim in the Connnacht campaign but the problem is that last weekend they didn’t just beat them they annihilated them.
Likewise Galway against Sligo turned into a rout as did Kerry against what is actually a decent Clare side, the Kingdom against Kerry and Cork against Limerick.
Meath, one of the stronger division two sides, have lost their last four clashes with Dublin in the championship by an average of sixteen points.
That leaves Ulster as the outlier, but is it really, does the fact Derry ran Donegal to a point mean we should ignore the fact that Donegal blitzed Down by thirteen and Monaghan ended up ten points clear of Fermanagh.
There has been a variety of suggestions put forward as to how to rectify matters and arguably the best one is to run the All Ireland (s) along the way club championships are structured, senior intermediate, and junior.
Initially there might be some debate of who is placed where, if for example there are three divisions of 10, 12 and 12, London and New York are included here, are there really ten teams worthy of senior standard, but eventually things would work themselves out and teams would end up where they deserve to be.
Players could train away during the dark nights knowing that come summer they will at the very least be competitive at the standard they find themselves in.
A late and much missed uncle of Nelson’s had a saying, which went, ‘If things don’t change they will remain the way they are’, and the way things are in the provincial championship now serves no useful purpose.
A final word on the words on the final!
There has been much written about the selection of England’s penalty takers for their shoot out against Italy most of the narrative suggesting somebody more experienced than Bukayo Saka the Arsenal youngster should have stepped up to the plate for one of the kicks.
Nelson, a veteran of penalty shoot outs from the saving end, disagrees.
Assuming he knows what he is doing, and having reached the final that is a fairly safe assumption,Garath Southgate would have known his five best penalty takers well in advance.
It has emerged that coach Steve Clarke even kept a league table of how the squad performed on spot kicks in training, so the best five would have been worked out long before they were needed
Therefore Nelson was reminded of the Morecambe and Wise sketch in which top pianist Andre Previn rebuked Morecambe for playing the wrong notes when attempting to perform Grieg’s Piano Concerto.
Eric responds by saying, ‘I am playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order.’
In a nutshell that was Southgate’s error, he had all the right kickers but played them in the wrong order.