Walking over the Bloody Sunday Bridge on All-Ireland hurling final day last Sunday, an irrational thought was rubbed out. The crowds and excitement were completely absent.
A lone jogger in a Limerick jersey stopped his trot to take a selfie at the entrance of Croke Park, chuckling at the irony of it all as he set off on his journey again.
All-Ireland final day between the mad tribes of Limerick and Waterford and there was barely a sinner about.
No matter how many times somebody mutters that this is 'the new normal' or that we indeed happen to be living in 'strange times', there are always moments like these that feel like stepping into another dimension.
Normally, you would need to be arriving into Dublin around four hours before the game for the crawling procession through Drumcondra, eyes distracted by the glorious madness unfolding as the nervous anticipation rumbles up from the tar.
It may even take the guts of an hour to park in the sprawling grounds of Clonliffe College and get to the exit on foot.
With fewer than 100 people permitted in the stadium during current restrictions - apart from the playing panels - the media can enjoy the modest luxury of pulling on the handbrake in the Davin Stand car park.
We are now in the sweet spot between the two senior All-Ireland finals. Such a quick turnaround hardly allows us to digest one before the build-up to the other.
But there is a strong and clear sense that when all you have is the game itself without the trimmings, it's a fairly hollow experience. It's not doing it for me, and a million social media clips of compulsory fun will not change my mind on that.
Not for the teams themselves, nor for the supporters either. One only has to look at the unforced joy of Antrim and Limerick's squads and followers to understand that they have a deep contentment right now.
It's just everybody else is not bothered in the slightest.
The games taken out of their natural context have revealed our worst fears; it's fairly drab.
Aside from Cavan and Tipperary's unlikely provincial triumphs this year, there is a curt quality to the highlight reel. Sure, you can seek out fascinations to get your teeth into; how the two water breaks have made a pinball out of momentum, how the Dublin attack now is at the height of its basketball sophistication in terms of its shape.
That has a limited shelf life without the annual harvest of anecdotes around 'The Big Day Out'.
The things that stick with you are not automatically the feats of skill, the scores and tackles and what happens on the pitch. The peripheral events have stayed with me from childhood. The little interactions that instantly drop pennies and join up your thinking, where you get to see true human nature.
Such as the wild row on the grass bank in Irvinestown in the early '90s after Colm McCreesh crashed in a goal for Fermanagh against Armagh. The rain and wet did nothing to dampen the tempers of several young men as they struggled for their footing to throw swipes at each other.
Or standing by a fruit machine in the Brewster Park clubhouse, overhearing two old-timers compliment the performance of an uncle of mine, Vincie Corrigan.
Or being stuck in a roasting Toyota Pajero after a game in that glorious, sunburnt era for Ulster football. Uncles and in-laws surrounded me as we waited our turn to inch further another few yards.
Out of nowhere appeared Brian McEniff, freshly released from punditry duties on the day, to the astonishment of those inside.
The occupants of the car immediately set to speculating just what cut of steak he would be heading in the direction of, and what trimmings may accompany it. This conversation continued on for a good hour and I struggle to recall a time when I was less bored - and ravenous - in my lifetime.
Still, I recall that rather than who played that day.
It's in all of us. The late Cavan playwright Tom McIntyre attended the 1995 Ulster final between Cavan and Tyrone. Invited to pen a piece for the local paper afterwards, he opened with these lines: "Clones, two hours before the match, the streets packed and rich with colour, sun shining, hamburgers and hotdogs hopping up and down like eggs in a ponger; it's a Fair, I thought. The Ulster final has become a Fair, a Festival, a Fleadh. Are we starting to learn to enjoy ourselves, I wondered?"
This Saturday's All-Ireland football final has to be taken in its context. The Dublin-Mayo rivalry has easily carried the Gaelic football boxset for the last decade.
Yes, the outcomes have gone only one way, but an argument could be made that of the two, there has been more to admire about Mayo than Dublin.
There is one more chance to rescue this season from a grinding predictability and a formulaic conclusion.
Anything other than a splash of madness will frank the ultimate conclusion that, yes indeed, 2020 was a pure dog of a year.
The master fixtures list is currently sitting on a desk being tinkered with; some dates Tipp-exed out and hard decisions being made around dropping competitions that have become hardy staples in the calendar.
As of last weekend, the Central Council meeting that took place virtually has been pushing things in a very clear sense.
Apparently there was but one dissenter to the notion that county action should commence prior to club action.
A couple of things to note at this point - with county action presumably starting on February 20-21, with the Covid vaccine only really starting to make inroads in the population, there is little chance of crowds at games. This will leave an already embattled Association experiencing financial difficulties further stretched.
The bush telegram speaks of measures to counter this.
Player expenses will be closely looked at and reduced at the very least. It would seem highly likely that the National Leagues will be split into regional leagues to cut down on this.
That would give us an all-Ulster Division One section of Armagh, Donegal, Monaghan and Tyrone all going at each other, Kerry, Dublin, Galway and Roscommon in their own section in Division One.
While the round robin games only amount to three, there will then be league semi-finals and finals, along with relegation play-offs. And from there it appears there is a straight run into the Championship.
April had been set aside for the beginning of the club leagues.
Most counties will still do that, with the club games being played without their quota of county players.
In the pursuit of a split season, this is one of the matters that seems to have eluded the thinking of many - the law of unintended consequences. Some club teams will now play entire league campaigns without their county stars.
There's bigger things happening and all that, but try telling that to clubs in April.