Thursday, March 23, 2017

Update 23rd March

With regard for Mothers and Fathers.

A few years ago I wrote a piece ‘In Memory of My Father’ which I was comfortable with and it was well received. It prompted one lady to pen a poem, a tribute to her dad, as a birthday gift. A consequential tribute in itself.
I have thought from time to time to do likewise with a tribute to my mother and though my memories of her are vivid, my weak attempts always crumble. So since next Sunday is Mother’s Day I’ll copy to the View my two favourite tribute poems to the mother persona.

In Memory Of My Mother - Poem by Patrick Kavanagh

I do not think of you lying in the wet clay
Of a Monaghan graveyard; I see
You walking down a lane among the poplars
On your way to the station, or happily

Going to second Mass on a summer Sunday -
You meet me and you say:
'Don't forget to see about the cattle - '
Among your earthiest words the angels stray.

And I think of you walking along a headland
Of green oats in June,
So full of repose, so rich with life -
And I see us meeting at the end of a town

On a fair day by accident, after
The bargains are all made and we can walk
Together through the shops and stalls and markets
Free in the oriental streets of thought.

O you are not lying in the wet clay,
For it is a harvest evening now and we
Are piling up the ricks against the moonlight
And you smile up at us - eternally.
Patrick Kavanagh

‘When all the others were away at Mass’
[from Clearances in memoriam M.K.H., 1911-1984]
by Seamus Heaney

When all the others were away at Mass
I was all hers as we peeled potatoes.
They broke the silence, let fall one by one
Like solder weeping off the soldering iron:
Cold comforts set between us, things to share
Gleaming in a bucket of clean water.
And again let fall. Little pleasant splashes
From each other’s work would bring us to our senses.

So while the parish priest at her bedside
Went hammer and tongs at the prayers for the dying
And some were responding and some crying
I remembered her head bent towards my head,
Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives–
Never closer the whole rest of our lives.

Westminster Bridge, March 22nd 2017
Since I am referencing the power of poetry to express our deepest emotions, the events on Westminster Bridge reminded me of a tribute to the City of London by the great English poet William Wordsworth. That Bridge is a very visible icon on many media platforms. In my time in London, in the mid-sixties, I was often in that area and it was a good time. There are so many Irish people who have walked across that bridge as they have walked the many streets of that great city. Indeed I am hearing over the radio as I write that there is one Irish person injured from yesterday’s atrocity.
It was of London that Samuel Johnson said  ‘When a man gets tired of London he is tired of life’ . The attack yesterday (Wednesday 22nd March) will not alter that measurably.  

Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802 
Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!

The Journey and Death of Derry’s Martin McGuinness
There is plenty of coverage regarding the life and death of Martin McGuinness of Derry.  If one was really interested in getting a view of the terrible conditions in which his nationalist community was expected to live in and tolerate, in the Northern Ireland state of the half century from its establishment I would suggest that they read a biography by Seamus Deane titled ‘Reading in the Dark’. It was a prescribed text in secondary schools over a decade ago.

A review of it goes thus:
“  Hugely acclaimed in Great Britain, where it was awarded the Guardian Fiction Prize and short-listed for the Booker, Seamus Deane's first novel is a mesmerizing story of childhood set against the violence of Northern Ireland in the 1940s and 1950s.  ‘Reading in the Dark’ is a novel written by Seamus Deane in 1996. The novel is set in Derry, Northern Ireland and extends from February 1945 through July 1971”.

After The Treaty of 1921/22 and the division of the country into a Southern 26 County state and a Northern Ireland semi-state ruled from Stormont with representation at Westminster. The majority Unionist population ruled by ensuring that they dominated representation with a practise called ‘gerrymandering’ i.e. the division of electoral areas to ensure that a Unionist would be elected. This electoral area manipulation was bulwarked by a voting requirement based on property ownership. When the Civil Rights Movement began to agitate for basic civil rights after the mid-sixties the Northern Ireland Government and establishment came down with severity on those who sought these basic rights. This was seen at its zenith in the killing of 13 people on what is referred to as ‘Bloody Sunday’ on the 30th of January 1972. The IRA had been almost a dead organisation by the time The Civil Rights Movement began but the violent establishment-reaction gave the IRA the oxygen which revived it enormously especially the Bloody Sunday violence. While Martin McGuinness is regarded as having been a member of the IRA prior to Bloody Sunday he emerged from that cataclysmic day and was active for many years. I write this as  a backdrop as to why some young men of that time and place would have joined the IRA. Generations in Northern Ireland felt betrayed and left isolated by ‘the treaty’ division.  The 70s’ and 80s’ were terribly violent and bleak times.  But out of the darkness came a time for Peace and Martin McGuinness with Ian Paisley and many others facilitated the Good Friday Agreement. Like Ian Paisley they took the path of peace.  It was a seismic change with hugely positive results for Northern Ireland and is seen as an exemplar for the solution of such problems throughout the world.

• So, what I emphasise is the capacity of a man to change and if one cannot change oneself then there is little chance to change others. Martin McGuinness changed course –if not apologising for his past-and that has made all the difference.      

The Death of Ryan McBride
The funeral of Martin McGuinness is not the only sad funeral in Derry today as they also lay to rest the remains of Ryan McBride the Captain of the Derry City soccer team who died suddenly on Sunday shortly after leading Derry City to a convincing victory over Drogheda. He was just 27 years old.  It was a nice thing that the President Ml. D. Higgins could legitimately attend since his connection with soccer is well known.

• While it seems that it is almost trivial to note other small things following the above, life always goes on. As Abraham Lincoln once remarked; ‘The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time’. I presume he meant that we would have the time to resolve issues rather than be overwhelmed by them.

Boyle Celtic‘s Journey
Boyle Celtic are now involved in four competitions and the games are stacking up like aircraft in a fog.
1. They are still in the hunt in the domestic Sligo/Leitrim League. 2.They are in the Connacht Cup, a competition they would dearly like to have a real shot at. Their game against Ballymoe had to be postponed last Sunday due to an unplayable pitch. 3. Because they were in the last 4 of the FAI Junior Cup they qualified for the Senior Cup preliminary round and have been drawn to play against another Junior Cup Semi-Finalist i.e. Killarney, in Killarney on Sunday April 30th. 4. The immediate and biggest challenge is the Semi-Final of the FAI junior Cup v Evergreen Utd. of Kilkenny in the Sligo Showgrounds on Sunday April 8th.   This week-end Kevin Hickey will be recording a Boyle Celtic anthem penned by Donie O’Connor  which will be placed on cloud whatever for downloading. Kevin at full tilt is like Rob Strong in the Commitments. A busy time indeed for the Celts.
I did not refer to Boyle Celtic’s epic win in Carrick-on-Suir as the local papers gave it a fine coverage and my compliments to Martin Wynne for the Roscommon Herald and Seamus Duke for the Roscommon People who did it justice. They are to be commended for making the long journey to cover the game and in fairness they got some drama to report back on. A good day for all.    

Roscommon in Croke Park v Dublin.
Roscommon put in a disappointing performance against Monaghan on Sunday last at Inniskeen. Now they face Dublin in Croke Park on Saturday evening under lights. Dublin are going for a record number of games unbeaten.  I think it is 34 so they will have a bit extra to play for. Still it is a game to become a hero in.
Disappointingly Roscommon U 21s’ lost to Sligo in Kiltoom last night, Wednesday, and so ends a hugely impressive run by the U 21s’ having reached the last 7 Connacht finals in the grade. What a difference a year brings.

Boyle GAA
Boyle Senior team play St. Dominck’s in Knockcroghery at 2.30  on Sunday in the Intermediate O’Gara Cup League.  

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Update 19th March

Roscommon County Fleadh Castlecoote/Fuerty at Easter
This year’s Roscommon County Fleadh will take place over the Easter Sunday/Monday week-end the 16th/17th of April. It takes place for the first time in Castlecoote, Fuerty, five miles from Roscommon town. I have been ‘encouraged’ to publicise it as much as I can and since I come from Castlecoote that is not a burden. A lot of work has gone on there in recent years in terms of Tidy Towns and the elongated village of Castlecoote is now traditionally vying with Keadue for the top place in County Roscommon. I presume that the competitions will be divided between the Community Centre and the National School. The Community Centre was formerly the parish church and is adjacent to the ‘new’ church which was dedicated circa 1958. I served mass there for T. S. O Laimhin who has connections here in Boyle and was the brother of noted Sligo footballer and athlete John Joe Lavin who is buried in Killaraght. 
Anyway apart from the competitions there is a small necklace of 3 bars in the area being overall about a kilometre between first and third. The first one is in Fuerty proper, the second is in the heart of Castlecoote village and is run now by P.J. Naughton who has featured on a number of bands down the years and hosts music sessions in his premises regularly. The third one is called ‘The Dail Bar’ with a political theme and is owned by Senator Terry Leyden and family. It is on what locals call the ‘new road’ to Donamon Castle.  
So hopefully Boyle will be represented at the County Fleadh in Castlecoote and that I will not be the only Boyle person there!   

Gentleman Jim
I was saddened on hearing of the death of Jim Clarke of Lowparks recently. I am not pretending that I knew Jim very well but I did meet him a good few times and chatted and a more sociable, friendly person one could not wish to meet. I remember him particularly when Anthony Morris was the proprietor of Wynne’s Bar for a few years around fifteen years ago. A number of couples came regularly to the bar at weekends and I remember them as a pub landlord’s favourite people. They chatted and socialised and enjoyed the sing-song or music or whatever entertainment was in progress. Jim and Nancy, Gerry and Mary, Brendan and Josie and John and Lily are the four couples I remember collectively. We had good times there and Jim and Nancy were people who enjoyed and participated in that fun. Jim always had a smile or it wasn’t hard to bring that smile or laugh to the fore. He loved life and could talk about a wide range of things and was never extreme in his views. I used to meet him when he worked at the gardens of people in Abbeytown or Forest View and we’d have the few words. I heard at his mass that he was fond of dancing and when in London he went to the Galtymore where I went myself occasionally. It was poignant that as he was brought from the church that the anthem of his native town ‘The Fields of Athenry’ echoed clearly, sung by Paddy Nangle. Those nights in Wynne’s I remember fondly as I will remember Jim likewise.  

Boyle/ Roscommon GAA Associations
Last week I listed a pretty comprehensive group of Boyle people who had participated at county level in various areas. I asked for contributions to fill in likely gaps. True to form my New York friend and proud Boyle man John Austin Beisty obliged with the following;             

“Hello Tony,

                    A few add-ons, who were from Boyle or played for Boyle.

     Late 40's  Michael Sharkey- Carlow, Roscommon (Snr.)
     Early 50's Patsy Horkan-      Mayo (S)
                      Frank Kelly-          Roscommon (S)
                      T.P. Mullaney       Roscommon   (S)
                       Vincent Powers   Waterford       (S)
                      Paddy McCarron   Roscommon  (M)

      Late 50's  Larry Giblin           Sligo               (S)
                       Jim Killoran          Sligo                (M. later senior for Sligo for a decade)
                       Vincent Cryan      Sligo               (M)

      Early 60's  John McDermott, Roscommon    (M)

There may be more- Hal Cawley would be the man to ask regarding this.

                                                                               Austin B. “

Thanks for that Austin. The one person there that I haven’t heard of is Vincent Cryan, Sligo.
Another man who played for Boyle and played for Galway in the 60s’ was Joe Tormey.  
om Cox from Boyle was on the minor team of 1939 who won Roscommon’s first All-Ireland in any grade. Tom was a noted athlete but died a young man. He would be an uncle to members of the Cox family of Abbeytown and the Nerney family of Carrick Road.         

New York City Council Honour Boyle man Hillary Beirne.
Some time ago I wrote a couple of paragraphs about a former St. Mary’s College student and Boyle GAA player Hillary Beirne. I wrote about his major role with the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City. As can be seen in the correspondence below he is being honoured by New York City Council next week for his work with the largest St. Patrick’s Parade in the world. Hillary is the twin brother of Kenneth and their father was Johnny Beirne a well - known vet with the Dept. of Agriculture in Roscommon town.
So congratulations from Boyle, Hillary.                            

From: Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito <>
Sent: Wednesday, March 15, 2017 12:20 PM
Subject: A Very Special Invitation & Request 

Dear Mr. Beirne: 
On behalf of the New York City Council, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your many years of service as a member of the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee. 
Your dedication and pride in your Irish ancestry , as well as your innovative work as the Parade’s Executive Secretary, have served as an inspiration to many both within and well beyond the Irish community. 
On Thursday, March 23, 2017, beginning at 5:30 pm in the Council Chambers of City Hall, the New York City Council and I will be hosting our Irish Heritage & Culture Celebration. 
Given your many significant accomplishments on behalf of New York’s Irish American community , we would be thrilled to have you join us that evening so that we can present you with our 2017 Thomas Manton Irish Person of the Year Award. 
My office will be in touch with you shortly to provide additional details and to answer any questions you may have about the event. 
Thank you in advance for considering our request.  We look forward to celebrating Irish heritage and culture with you and our other distinguished guests! 
Melissa Mark-Viverito  

Boyle’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade 
I cannot do justice to Boyle’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in words here but I imagine that will come with pictures from the parade which will be ‘up’ on various mediums as I speak. I must commend however the organisers of the parade, all those who participated and all those who attended. It was a foul day with wind and rain and there were many parades cancelled/postponed in various parts of the country because of this. There were a number of excellent floats and the atmosphere belied the weather and a great crowd attended. Some I imagine feeling that they should make their small effort of attending to endorse the efforts made by the organisers and participants.   
Certainly ‘The Voice’ of Marc Egan was a challenge to the weather deities. Well done to all including the moderator of realboyle, parade committee member Sean O’Dowd.  

‘Settle Out of Court’
‘Settle Out of Court’ is the unusual title of the latest CD by John Carty and his daughter Maggie which was launched in ‘Whistlers Bar & Restaurant’ Boyle on St. Patrick’s Eve, March 16th. While the title is good advice for litigants generally in its CD manifestation it is also a collector’s item for followers of traditional music and song. In fairness I haven’t sat down and listened to the collection of tunes and songs fully yet but I have heard a flavour of them and I like what I hear. The launch night ran to time as scheduled but I did not, which meant that I missed a portion of the presentation and the ‘appropriate words’ of Boyle wordsmith Donie O’Connor who ‘launched’ ‘Settle Out of Court’. John Carty is an iconic musician and is highly regarded at the forefront of traditional music nationally and internationally. The tradition was passed onto him by his dad and uncle and he does likewise with Maggie and James. His brother James is also an accomplished musician so as the saying goes ‘the apple does not fall far from the tree’. 
While I mentioned good night in Wynne's above Thursday night in Whistlers brought back memories of many occasions in the same location when it was Grehan’s made famous by the Grehan Sisters. It was then a mecca for singing and music and was a regular house for the likes of Christy Moore and a multitude of other singers and musicians. On the wall outside is a plaque to the singer/song writer Johnny Reilly some of whose songs became part of Christy Moore’s repertoire such as ‘Well Below the Valley’ and ‘Raggle Taggle Gypsy’. 
After the Grehan’s it was taken over by Anthony Gallagher and Barry Lowe and named ‘The Moving Stairs’. How it got that title is an oral story so I will not attempt explanation here.  Barry booked many very prestigious singers and musicians in his tenure there, including the Australian guitar maestro Tommy Emmanuel. Tommy visited Barry not too long ago while on tour in Ireland so his trip to the then ‘Moving Stairs’ made a lasting impression on him. A favourite group of mine that visited there each year was from the Cork area and called ‘Loudest Whisper’. A flavour of those times returned with the post launch session that ensued the launch of ‘Settle Out of Court’.   

‘The Age of Chivalry is Dead’
Thus wrote the great and influential writer Edmund Burke in the late 1700s’. I was reminded by that recently when I heard a simple story from a senior lady with a walking stick. The lady waited for a train to Sligo at Connolly Station. There were just three carriages on platform 4 the designated platform as listed on the electronics in the main foyer. Destination signage changed on these carriages until it eventually ended up as ‘out of order’. After some time a fuller set of carriages arrived upward of the original 3 and the now gathered crowd surged forward but my friend with the walking stick was not an Olympian so was pretty late for seat acquisition. Traversing in hope through the narrow crowded aisles of the carriages she and a now companion dropped anchor in one of the carriages. There were two other ‘senior’ ladies nearby and two young ladies and two men (I don’t use gentlemen for a reason which will become clearer) seated. After a wee while the two young ladies offered their seats to the first two senior ladies saying they were getting off at Maynooth anyway 
and could stand until then. The two men ignored all. Things rested so. The two ladies moved to exit at Maynooth and at the last moment were followed by…… the two seated men. My senior lady friend with the stick sat down and thanking the men……after a fashion.  


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Update 9th March 2017

Roscommon GAA Sporting Landmarks with Boyle personnel.

In trying to re-organise material I have collected over the years I came across a list headlined as above. While I have some extra work on it I am sure that there will still be gaps. Where they are please let me know. Someone from the Ladies Club might send me equivalent records for their short time also the Soccer club and so on. 

1914 Paddy Doogue x Carlow working on the railway in Boyle; Roscommon beaten All-Ireland semi-finals v Kerry.
1932 Paddy Maughan a member of the Roscommon Junior football team which was runner-up in the All-Ireland final v Louth.
1939 Micheal O’Callaghan, Connacht Colleges Senior Winner with Roscommon CBS v St. Jarlath’s.
1941 Timmy Lynch winning minor team v Louth.
1944 John Joe Nerine on the Roscommon Senior All-Ireland winning team v Kerry. Also in All-Ireland final and replay in ’46 v Kerry and semi-finals of ’47 v Cavan, ’52 v Meath and ’53 v Armagh.
1946 Timmy Lynch Snr. All-Ireland final v Kerry.
1953 Bill McQuillan All-Ireland semi-final v Armagh.
1955 Ned Moriarty represented Mayo in the All-Ireland Snr. Semi-Final
1964 Pat Nicholson Jnr. defeated All-Ireland semi-final v Cork.
1965 Martin Laffey forester based in Boyle Roscommon All-Ireland junior hurling final winners v Warwickshire at St. Coman’s Park.
1966 Pat Clarke, John Kelly, John and Pat Nicholson All-Ireland winning U 21 team; v Kildare.
1969 John Kelly, Rory Ahern and Mel. Flanagan of Rockingham All-Ireland U 21 beaten finalists v Antrim.
1972 John Kelly and Mel Flanagan All-Ireland Senior beaten Semi-Finalists v Kerry.
1974 John Kelly and Paraic O’ Callaghan, Maple Drive (x Castlerea and army) Christy Dolan beaten senior League Finals (draw and replay) v Kerry. 
1975 Martin Candon, Roscommon All-Ir. juvenile U 16 ‘B’ Champions v ?
1976 T.P. Toolan Roscommon All-Ireland Minor hurling ‘B’ v ?   
1977 Gerry O’Dowd, John Kelly beaten All-Ireland Semi-Finalists v Armagh.
1978 Gerry Emmett All-Ireland U-21 winner v Kerry.
1978 Gerry Emmett Snr. All-Ireland beaten semi-finalist v Kerry.
1979 Gerry Emmett Snr. National league winner v Cork.
1979 Gerry Emmett All-Ireland beaten semi-finalist v Dublin.
1980 Gerry Emmett All-Ireland beaten finalist v Kerry.
1981 Gerry Emmett beaten league finalist v Galway.
1982 Gary Wynne (Capt.) Roscommon beaten All-Ireland U 21 finalists at Carrrick-on-Shannon v Donegal.
1990 Gary Wynne defeated All-Ireland Semi-Finalists to Cork also in ’91 to Meath.
2000. Rory O’ Donohoe All-Ireland Junior winners defeating Kerry.
2001 Cillian Conboy Connacht U 16 team tour to Australia.
2006 Sean Purcell defeated All-Ireland junior v Kerry.
2006 Cian Smith, Ciaran Cox All-Ireland minor winners draw and replay v Kerry.
2008 Mark O’ Donohoe defeated All-Ireland junior v Dublin.
2009 Cian Smith, Damien Keenehan defeated All-Ireland junior v Cork.
2010 Sean Purcell and David Casey defeated by Cork in snr. quarter finals.
2012 Tadgh Lowe and Donie Smith U-21 defeated finalists v Dublin.
2014 Donal & Enda Smith defeated U -21 finalist v Dublin.
*Sigerson Cup winners Paddy Nangle & Tom Ryan UCG, (Dr. Bill McQuillan who played with Boyle in the early fifties has two medals with U.C.G.) John Kelly UCD, Donie & Enda Smith and Tadgh Lowe DCU. 
**Railway Cup players from or associated with Boyle. Timmy Lynch, Bill McQuillan, John Joe Nerney, Tom Ryan, Gary Wynne, David Casey, Sean Purcell.
Amongst those who have played or otherwise contributed to Roscommon teams as players and managers at various levels are Paddy McDermott, Dermot Moriarty, Tom Wynne, Paddy Conlon, G. Mullaney, Jamesie Clarke, Tom Mulhern, Sean Daly, James Dodd, Gerry Carty, Freddie Daly, Kit O’Connor, Bernie Shannon, Aidan Lavin, Jnr. Smith, Dessie Mcloughlin, Richie Fitzpatrick, Liam Young, Gerry & Raymond Nerney, Mark McGovern, John Kelly Jnr., Kieran McKeon, Ml. Tormey, Conor Nangle, Chris O’Dowd, Paul Simon, Lochlainn Conboy, Roch Hanmore, Eoin Lavin, Evan McGrath, Cian McKeon, Seamie Gallagher, Jonathan Conroy, Niall O’ Donohoe, Gerry Cregg with Jim Clarke, John B. Tivnan, Paddy Perry and Edwin Dooley much earlier. Of course there is also A.N. Other. Please let me know who the A. N. Others are. Also Limerick and Munster hurler P.J. Keane contributed while in Boyle with a mini-revival of hurling later emulated by Mister O’Dowd. 
Then there are County Board Officers going back to the beginning such with Jasper Tully and his brother George/Henry J. Feely/ Michael O’Callaghan, Bob Carr, John McGowan, Tom Mullaney, Pat Goldrick.
There have county team managers also such as Sean Young, Kevin Young, Gary Wynne, Fergal O’Donnell, David Casey, Stephen Bohan.  
I assume that is enough to be starting with!

Looking at Heaven through a paper telescope by John Mulligan.
I really enjoyed John Mulligan’s winning short story ‘Looking at Heaven through a paper telescope’. Recently it won the new Roscommon Writing award for 2016 sponsored by Roscommon County Council and was published in the Roscommon Herald of February 28th.

“I remember a blue-sky day that summer and a cow swaying her way along the road, then lifting her tail to waggle a zig-zag stream of green scutter on the melty tar”.

I have not heard the word ‘scutter’ for quite a while but I was well aware of it going to fairs with my father or herding in the cows at milking time !
Then he refers to the boy in a car of the time and the ‘yellow stick’ indicators which a young person could hardly visualise today.

There were echoes of Paul Durcan’s fine poem ‘Going Home to Mayo’ with a phrase ……  ‘And a yellow moon peered in through the windscreen. 'Daddy, Daddy,' I cried, 'Pass out the moon,' But no matter how hard he drove he could …’

It has also echoes Heaney’s ‘Mid-Term Break’ in “I remember all the men coming to the house and Mammy going away’.

Anyway it was a lovely short sensitive piece sometimes referred to as ‘a delight’ and if you have not come across it, chase it down. The effort will be repaid.  

Boyle Celtic’s ‘Big’ Match and Hal Cawley.
This week-end has been closed off for a few weeks now as I, with many more Boyle people, make the long journey to Carrick-on-Suir for Boyle Celtic’s quarter final of the FAI Junior (soccer) Cup there. While I hope they win of course one always hopes that they give account of themselves and will be able to say whether od which that they did their best. I have been saying for a while that they are a good side and play elegant football which is easy on the eye. I won’t say much here as in fairness The Roscommon Herald gave Celtic a fine spread in this week’s edition. A real nice piece there was the tribute to Hal Cawley by Martin Wynne. Hal is Boyle Celtic’s longest and most faithful supporter. In the piece he recalled times and players of the past with a sense of nostalgia. Fair play to Gerry Emmett who has inveigled Hal to make the long trip to the South East and when boyle win there will be no one prouder that Hal.  

Barcelona Magic
If you missed last night’s finale to the Champions League last sixteen match, second round, between Barcelona and PSG Paris then you missed one of the greatest eight minutes or so  of sporting drama ever. PSG led Barcelona 4 to nil going into this second round in Barcelona. It was felt that if they scored early there was a chance. So they scored after three minutes and it was game on. PSG lead 4:1 on aggregate. Barca. constantly on the attack. 41 minutes a jumble in the PSG box Suarez header, Barca. 2 to 0 on the night 2 : 4 on aggr. Half time.
Second Half.
Soon into the second half Neymar plunders a dodgy penalty. The referee says ‘no’ the goaline assistant says ‘yes penalty’. Messi takes it, Barca. 3 to 0. Only a goal between them 3:4 agg. Barca. need 1 to draw 2 to win. 17 minutes in PSG’s Cavani scores a belter of a goal, an away goal, 3: 1 on the night 3:5 on agg. But Barca. now need 3 goals to win because of the PSG away goal. 43 minutes Neymar great free kick, goalie might have done better, Barca. 4:1 or 4:5 on agg. They still need 2. Suarez fouled, another dodgy enough penalty, Neymar goal Barca. 5:1, 5:5 on agg. PSG still leaders with the away goal.  Five minutes of extra time after a first suggestion of 3. PSG frazzled in shock. One minute left Neymar dinks in a ball over the defensive line and Roberto gets his boot to it and carries it over the head of the advancing PSG goalie. Barca. 6 PSG 5. Goooooooooooooaaaaal. A mayhem of celebration. Despite my reservations about Neymar he was ‘Man of the Match’. What a game it must have been for the Barca. supporters. Certainly one to tell the succeeding generations about. It tops the Patriots and the Cubs but still three jewels of sporting drama in close succession.   

Roscommon Do Pretty Well
Roscommon did pretty well against Kerry on Sunday last. They never really looked as if they would win it but they did open a window close to the end when they came within a point of the Kingdom. Kerry quickly closed that window in the final minutes. Still Roscommon have three games to go v Dublin, Monaghan and Cavan. While it would be a big ask to stay up in Division One now, the team could emerge better from the rugged experiences of the games so far. Dublin in Croke Park is a big ask next time out so it is something of an anxiety test but a performance like last Sunday would be good. Also playing in Croke Park under lights makes an extra occasion out of it. The return of Diarmuid Murtagh is encouraging. I was pleased to hear that Donie Smith’s injury was not as bad as first feared. He is a necessary component of a maturing forward division.

Two vignettes from Sunday at Hyde Park. Early or maybe even before the game started the announcer came on to say ‘would the owner of car number x y z please return to it as he has left the engine running!’.
In front of the main gate on the way out after the game stood a lonesome man holding his sign regarding Roscommon Hospital A&E high, much as one would see at Hyde Park Corner in London proclaiming ‘The End is Nigh’.    

Ireland on its Knees
There seems to be little ‘good’ news these days. The country seems to be riddled with one scandal or another. And a new word has risen to the top of the charts i.e. ‘scoping’ exercise. The Tuam story is a horror story. It is unimaginable and so difficult to comprehend how people could have acquiesced and descended to this level of inhumanity.
I suppose it is very odd to mention here the film ‘The Quiet Man’ of the early fifties shot in Mayo and Connemara. In it we were portrayed as quaint, friendly, kind of backward if amusing people. And we were happy with that portrayal and laughed with it. Yet underneath that surface image there was a dark underbelly of a culture the wider knowledge of which has been emerging over the past say 20 years. The zenith of this is exemplified by Tuam. Again it was the poor, the impoverished, the voiceless who were the victims. The middle and upper classes played footsie with the establishment and the dominant church ethos.
Many senior people will remember a Bishop of some place throwing in the football at the beginning of an All-Ireland after the team captains has kissed his ring going down on bended knee in obsequious humility. His traditional place then, with the backdrop of a regiment of clergy in the best stand seats.  
I remember in the early seventies walking towards Salthill from Nile Lodge and almost tip-toeing past the Industrial School there in Lower Salthill. We were so indoctrinated as a country into the sins of the incarcerated. We did not know what kind of a country we were part of.
But many people did know and were complicit in various dark elements of it. As the fine Mayo writer John Healy wrote –in a different context- ‘No One Shouted Stop’. Today we are ‘scoping’ into so much social injustice but there is a bleak prospect of anyone being held accountable after the ‘scoping exercise’ has moved on to the next horror.      



Thursday, March 2, 2017

Update 3rd March

Car Purchasing Finance

An advertisement in the Roscommon People of February 17th reminded me of a similar presentation of just over a year ago which I may have touched on here.It was an advertisement for a ‘New Ford Fiesta from only €35 A WEEK. Same Day Finance Available’.

The total cash price of the car was listed as €16,000. 30% Customer Deposit/ Part Exchange €4,800. Amount financed €11,200 (which I don’t follow). 36 monthly instalments of €151. APR 3.9%. Optional final payment of €6,700. Terms and conditions apply.

This offer needs some careful scrutiny. The 36 instalments = €5,436 + Deposit of €4,800 plus Optional final payment €6,750 giving a final total at €16,986. On the face of it no real issues there but my concern relates to the final payment of €6,750. To actually own the car one has to come up with this significant lump sum after the three years. The other option is to ‘trade in the car’ against another new one and keep the process as a rolling one. In this way you don’t actually own the car as such. It sounds like a long lease arrangement. Tease it out before you decide to go down this route.

Contaminated Recycling Waste

This has become a significant issue in an otherwise pretty cooperative national effort at recycling. Much of Irish recycled material is exported to China. However it must be via Holland as a significant amount of it is intercepted there as contaminated and returned to Ireland.  A recent t.v. programme gave as over 30% the amount of waste that is ‘contaminated’ by material which should be disposed of in pure waste bins. The incentive to do this in a significant way is big where recycling is collected free. I have a little experience of this in putting out the bins at Boyle GAA Abbey Park. People may take care in how they fill their home bins but bins in public places do not get due concern. It is a pity that when one cultivates and is interested in approaching the practise correctly that good practise can be ambushed by careless practitioners. The blue bins are for recycling and black bins are for pure waste. Write out ten times.  

The Plight of the Curlew

A year or so ago I wrote of the decline of the corncrake and the piece resonated with quite a few people including Sean Mullaney in distant Vancouver. Recently I referenced ‘my guest robins’ perhaps I should have put a capital ‘R’ there for them. The ‘Eco Eye’ programme of mid-January focussed on the Plight of the Curlew. The sound of the Curlew is one of the sounds of our youth and they were so plentiful then that it could hardly be thought that they would become an endangered species. Apparently over 20% of species measured are in danger of extinction. The Curlew is said to be a beacon for all we stand to lose. Since the 1980s’ the population has reduced by 80% and if that continues they will become rare if not extinct. That is hard to countenance. The reasons given for their decline are the basic ones of reduction of ‘habitat’ due to farming practises, drainage, forestry and turf excavation on an industrial scale etc. . They now need help to survive. The programme focussed on the involvement of Moore Gun club in South Roscommon and their efforts in this regard. It involved ‘habitat and predator management’ and the cultivation of appropriate habitat environments. I know that there are farm schemes who promote environmental protection but it is something that we should all be generally aware of.        

The Gym in Abbey Park

On doing my bin duty in the Abbey Park on Wednesday night last I saw that there was activity in the ‘old dressing rooms’ latterly the ‘gym’. Naturally I wandered in and there was a Boyle club player plastering the walls. This is the spirit that has made the GAA the organisation it has become. The old dressing rooms have been gutted and this has created a near dancehall space. A lot of work has been done, led by the player group themselves which is great to see. When the building is finally refitted it will be a valuable asset to the club and its members. So well done to all the lads involved in this work and I look forward to seeing it on completion. 

Boyle Celtic v Carrick-on-Suir

Sunday March 12th  is Boyle Celtic’s date with destiny with the long trip to Sean Kelly country and Carrick-on-Suir. The pre-game atmosphere will heighten, I expect, next week so we will monitor things better then. In the meantime I am aware that there are supporters buses going and those seeking to book a seat should call into Trojan to do so. They leave from The Crescent on Sunday the 12th at 8.30 fare = €10.

A good story from this already is the initiative of Colm Duignan of StrongLife Gym who set out, via his Facebook page, to raise some finance to help cover the team’s trip and overnight stay prior to the game. The result was a hugely generous response from the Boyle community and various places. The effort has resulted in over €2, 500 being donated. This has to be a great relief to Boyle Celtic finance committee who will also recognise the goodwill involved. So well done to all contributors and especially to Colm Duignan whose bright idea really took off.       

Roscommon GAA in the Spotlight again

Former Roscommon goalkeeper and senior team manager Gay Sheerin has, last Saturday evening, been very critical of the Roscommon team management and the imbalance of Mayo personnel within it. This has led to Roscommon GAA being in the spotlight once more. After the whirlwind of last spring’s campaign, the collapse during the summer championship and the divisive split of the then management, things were not going to be smooth. It seems as if Roscommon GAA affairs in general in recent times have been problematic and have attracted national interest for the wrong reasons. In fairness when things were going well in the spring of ’16 we were flavour of the season.

Gay, analyst on Shannonside Radio at the Roscommon v Mayo game, cites the intense rivalry between Roscommon and Mayo in stark terms. Too stark in my view. I think Gay has over-personalised the issue.    

Gaelic football is significant in our lives but it is not a matter of life and death.

I noted here a couple of weeks ago my view on Roscommon players doing their best, that in fact we have a dearth of good to very good players. We lack a spine in the team and are in difficulty in midfield and I would agree with Gay we do not have leaders on the field. They are a young team so maybe I am ahead of myself and wrong in that assessment. We are certainly missing Collins and Cregg. Senan Kilbride’s retirement evokes a line in the Joni Mitchell song ‘You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone’. The Daly story is a conundrum and ordinary supporters don’t know what is going on there.

The management works with what it has. This management team, by and large, led St. Brigid’s to an All-Ireland Club title a few years ago.. The movement of managers across county boundaries is a fact of the times though Kevin Mc Stay has his ‘Roscommon Green Card’ at this stage.  Roscommon GAA endorsed this management. I know that Gay is hugely passionate about Roscommon football but such a broad ranging criticism of the management so early in their term is unhelpful.

It is often said that Roscommon supporters have unrealistic expectations and there is truth in that. Just a few years ago I thought, with all the under-age success, that Roscommon would challenge for significant honours but the struggle goes on.              

Roscommon V Kerry on Sunday in Hyde Park

Kerry are not regular visitors to Roscommon in recent times because of the teams being in different divisions. Last year in the enjoyable run in the League one of the stand-out wins was against Kerry in Killarney, Roscommon had been doing much pre-league training and so had built up an advantage in that way which proved decisive. Both Roscommon and Kerry really need the points on Sunday. Roscommon because they are three games without a win while Kerry also need a win or else they will also be in relegation difficulty. A win they might have expected against Monaghan did not materialise so they will certainly be marking down Roscommon as a victim of their requirements.

It will be interesting but Roscommon were really overwhelmed by Mayo last Saturday evening. One could clutch at straws with the missed goal efforts but towards the end, with Mayo injecting new players it was a bad evening for Roscommon. Kerry are not going very well at the moment but in a critical area like midfield with Moran and Maher and livewire forwards it would take a huge effort from Roscommon to achieve a win on Sunday.      

The Oscars Fake News

A question that I have noted already for the quiz next Christmas is; ‘Name the two films which won the Oscar for ‘Best Film’ at the Oscars on February 26th.  Naturally there is an Irish connection in that the person who was in charge of the envelopes was Brian Cullinan of Pricewaterhouse Coopers who is now said to be sanctioned by his company. There is a reverse publicity here which is more that the straight line version. This incident has created more publicity for both films La La Land and Moonlight than they might ever get normally. So what’s the big deal. Was it just fake news or a conspiracy in the great tradition ?  


Each of the seasons has its poetry. This Spring poem is by the Jesuit priest poet Gerald Manley Hopkins who was English but spent many years in Dublin and is buried in Glasnevin cemetery. 

Spring By Gerard Manley Hopkins

Nothing is so beautiful as Spring –          
   When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;          
   Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush          
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring          
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing; 
   The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush          
   The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush          
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.          

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Update 16th February

The Deserted Home
As you travel through the countryside you often come across the remains of houses, former homes, and places which were once so alive. I am reminded of those and of personal experience in that respect every time I listen to Donie O’Connor sing his lovely song ‘The House in the Hollow’ dedicated to his sister Barbara. I heard Donie sing it again recently in a concert in the Dock in Carrick.  It is like a number of his songs one of love and tenderness involving in this case the legacy of a long deserted ruin of an old house. Through the fallen stones of that house has grown roses now wild but which at one time were lovingly cultivated, most likely by the mother of the house. The scene represented the strength of Love as it was in this instance ‘stronger’ or perhaps more resilient even than ‘stone’. 

The scene of the deserted house now falling down is a very familiar one. And if, when someone sees that ruined house, and thought for a while, perhaps they would bring to mind the fact that the same house was once a place where people lived, laughed and cried. Perhaps some of them they might reflect on personal experience.    

During the Christmas of 2015 an American visitor related to us-a recent discovery- came to see where her grandmother had originated. It was down in Ballyrush. The remains of the actual house which her grandmother had left on her long journey over one hundred years ago was still outlined but was smothered with forest. Its outline could be seen from the poor road that exists there now. The lady stood, peered into the shadows and in doing so perhaps placed her grandmother as a young girl in that setting one hundred years ago. It was an affecting moment. We had rescued some stones from it as a gift some days earlier and presented those links to our cousin as she gazed on the ancestral home. So I trust that they now rest on some appropriate New Jersey ground.

Like many senior people I know of the famous poem by Oliver Goldsmith titled ‘The Deserted Village’ and am slightly aware of an actual deserted village on Achill Island. Through various decades there were many remains of former family homes in the Irish landscape. Some of them are overshadowed by modern houses, some have been relegated to use as a farm outhouse and many have been ‘cleared’ . Still there are many relics of former houses/homes from the past though the countryside.

I am struggling somewhat to get to the true and deep nostalgia that can be evoked by these former places which fostered, love, labour, loss and finality for the lives of many.    

The House in the Hollow
(for Barbara) 

There’s a house in the hollow
And it’s all tumbled down
And the chimney has fallen
And the timbers are gone
And the gable has crumbled
Where the ivy has grown
And the roses grow up through the stone 

And the roses tell stories
If you stand for awhile
Of a time that knew tenderness
And of lives that knew toil
And a house that knew kindness
And fields that knew joy
And they planted some roses 
To tell passers by

That love is stronger than stone
Love lives longer than flesh and bone
Its song is gentle 
But once that seed is sewn
Love grows stronger than stone

(Donie performs in Ceolaras Coleman in Gurteen on Saturday February 25th next. There may be some tickets left. I just don’t know.) 

What do people think that the Ireland of 2040 should look like?

‘Ireland 2040-National Planning Framework’.

When I read the current papers certain slightly different pieces catch my attention. The above timeline will hardly involve me but the theory of laying out a basic framework plan for the future is very valid.  
On February 2nd the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Housing Minister Simon Coveney launched the National Planning Framework at Maynooth.
What will Ireland look like in 2040? The government wants your thoughts

What’s this approach?
Basically, it is the government’s long-term plan for what Ireland should be like in about twenty years’ time and how we can provide for that in the interm.
It will ask questions like: Where will we live? Where will we work? And how will we get around?
Between now and 2040, the government wants to pull together all their action plans to ensure that it has national and regional strategies in place as Ireland’s population grows and as challenges such as Brexit land on our doorstep

Indeed it would be very interesting to see what a cross-section of opinion on that subject would be. With all that is going on news wise at the moment I doubt if this worthy exercise will get the attention it deserves. It’s a pity, because as I’ve said above if the idea was promoted in schools, colleges and universities of all hues, plus with the general public, it could unearth a kaleidoscope of interesting and useful ideas.  A schools/colleges national essay competition would be a start. Or maybe a minute start might be some submissions to us here at realboyle! What do you think?   

So, if interested, check out ‘Ireland 2040-National Planning Framework’ on line for information.   


Roscommon V Donegal 
Roscommon slipped up in this ‘four pointer’ against Donegal at Roscommon on Sunday. Obviously young Stack hadn’t the advantage of seeing my Boyle old dressing room sign espousing the fact that ‘fisted points count’ as spoken by Mickey Linden Down star of the time and a practitioner of the fisted point. One place that ‘fisted ball’ should be restricted is in outfield play. Could it not be tuned down to 2 or 3 fist/hand passes as a limit?  It is just tedious to watch.
One can applaud the efforts of both teams but Roscommon at the moment is not much more than a patchwork quilt of a team. Of course a manager has to work with the players he has and cannot improve them by much. Players too are as good as they are and can only improve by so much. It isn’t their fault also that they are not as good as Tony McManus or Harry Keegan. This is the hand we have at the moment and it has been so for much of the 50 years and more that I have followed Roscommon teams. Perhaps the many painful moments have heightened the much lesser number of happy ones!  As supporters our expectations have to be realistic. Often they are not. 

Boyle v Eire Og
Boyle begin their O’Gara Cup league campaign on Sunday next in Boyle at 2 o’clock. Boyle are basically playing Intermediate league and Senior Championship this year. They will of course target promotion to Senior League so we will see what how the story begins on Sunday so we wish all involved a good season and I hope the players can get a good degree of enjoyment from it. Today there is so much emphasis on training and winning that playing Gaelic football has become a drudgery for many. 
It is good to see that Aidan Lavin, Bernard Shannon and Paul Beirne have returned to managing the Junior team. They will make a huge effort in having teams turn out for their schedule of games. The second team is a very important component of club adult teams collective and resources. In saying that well done to Shane Spellman who stepped into the breach last year. 
I hope that one of fine emerging players of recent times Evan McGrath can return to the ranks soon and that his injury is at an advanced stage of recovery.  

No mention of President Trump this week……and we cannot have that, so there it is.


Friday, February 10, 2017

Update 11th February

Prime Time and those Lists;
Apparently the HSE was way ahead of the U.S. in terms of ‘Alternative Facts’ with its three lists, a kind of Premier League, Championship and whatever is after that arrangement. Apparently 1 in 8 of the population is ‘waiting’ for procedures of one kind or another and wait they will. As nobody could have any optimism that there will be significant progress in those figures in say the next 5 to 10 years. After a fairly aggressive start poor Simon Harris is beginning to wilt. I actually accompanied a ‘senior’ relation to University College Hospital Galway last week. If you go in through the main entrance of UCGH you quickly become enveloped in a vortex of humanity. It is like one of those shopping ‘mauls’ (sic) or a London railway station at rush hour. Surprisingly  my friend got seen as per appointment quickly. His doctor said he would try and get a procedure he was scheduled for last August ‘bumped up’ in terms of time. In a small annex office a nurse wrestled with a pile of files and if they fell there would be a humpty dumpty scenario.

The Sgt. McCabe Debacle
Last night on Prime Time there was a report by the impressive Katie Hannon on the Garda McCabe debacle. It was harrowing stuff and the role of Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, was just incredible in it all. The endorsement of the Taoiseach Enda Kenny of some of the main personalities in all this, may very well come back to haunt him soon enough.
So this 2017 is just over six weeks old and we have had crises in homelessness, the hospitals, and now with the Department of Justice. It must be somewhat demoralising for the vast majority of the Garda who just want to do their best to provide the service that they is expected of them with all this swirling around at top levels.
Once I suggested that we were only a small country and should be able to sort out issues. But perhaps it is because we are a small country with cabals who support each other without regard for the common good that give rise to a continuous stream of controversies.   

The Plunkett Centenary Commemoration

I attended most of the events surrounding the Count Plunkett Election Commemoration last week end. Considerable effort was put into it by the Sinn Fein Organising Committee with Jane Suffin and Cllr. Michael Mulligan to the fore.
Conor Mc Namara gave an interesting talk on Friday night and amplified it on Saturday on the election of the Snows and the context of it in the subsequent struggle for independence. It was interesting to see close family of Plunkett present. Also it was good to see members of the Devine family present. Their grand-uncle T. J. Devine was one of the three people who contested that election. Honor O’ Brolcháin, Great-Granddaughter of Count Plunkett gave a very interesting talk on her illustrious ancestor and concentrated on him where others like Mary Lou McDonald in her ‘keynote’ address, after a few remarks about the Count, drifted into a party political speech, rallying the Sinn Fein support present.
It was great to see progress with the courthouse renovation and it being able to facilitate the events and Frank Geelan spoke of the Courthouse committee’s efforts and requirement for financial assistance. He also referenced the state of the building on its handover to the committee from the County Council something I witnessed at first hand. So it was a worthy commemoration and re-enactment of a historic event in North Roscommon and in the country in 1917.
*On a critical note it was very disappointing that the Centenary was disregarded nationally by state agencies. Perhaps I missed them but also disappointing was the lack of reference to the Centenary in the national media apart from The Irish Times early in the week in An Irishman’s Diary.      
Boyle Celtic’s Fine Win
Boyle Celtic continued their run in the FAI Junior Cup with a convincing win over Terenure VEC at Boyle on Sunday. While the final score was 2 to 0, with the second goal coming in extra time, Boyle should have secured the result long before that. They had an early goal in the 7th minute from Neil Brennan and controlled the game for long spells but a one goal lead is a fragile one and the supporters were pretty anxious until that second goal was finally scored in the dying seconds. VEC created just the one dangerous move in the 40th minute and they were not as strong a side as one would have expected from the Dublin Leagues. They did however threaten more in the second half and had a couple of chances on 5 and 25 minutes with Boyle goalie Kyle Suffin touching over a threatening effort late in the half. Boyle also had chances with a screamer from John Connolly and two chances scorned by Brennan. So when ‘Man of the Match’ Shane Battles was fouled for a penalty and Luka Roddy converted convincingly the players and their supporters celebrated another step in a big journey.
Present was one of the biggest crowds seen at Celtic Park for a long time on a day ideal for football. Both teams behaved impeccably and the Letterkenny referee had an incident-free run.
Another facet of the occasion was the significant preparations which the small hard-working committee had put in place to ensure an ideal environment for the event which it was. For this they deserve great credit. In this group there were Richard Kennedy, Eddie Conroy, Paddy McLoughlin, Aaron O’Connor, Sean Kerins, Paul Connolly, Owen O’Donohoe and the O’Donohoe clan, Geoff Henry, Kieran Spellman and Ml. Gilmartin. Most of those have been with the club for a very long time now. Former Celtic stalwarts were present in numbers such as Hal Cawley, James Candon, Sean Foxe, Johnny Greenan, Chris Hill, Liam Kerins, Christy Grehan, Ml. O’Dowd and Gerry Emmett.
There was, as always, great praise for the sumptuous food on offer courtesy of Sandra McCrann, Paula Kerins, Theresa O’Dalaigh and team. The generosity of the community effort was evident in their provision of the very functional Fishing Club tents which they erected.
Boyle Celtic have a fine facility there and while I don’t know who all the principals were in its provision it included many of those already listed with Sean Daly, Frank Feighan, Tommy Vesey as I remember and I am sure that I am forgetting many. Then there were the ball boys who will remember the game before the big crowd. A great supporter of all things Boyle and former Boyle GAA stalwart was also present in the person of Paddy Daly.
A nice touch was the applauding of the Terenure VEC team as they left the field at the end. I hope their trip, while a losing one, was one they will remember. 
On Sunday next February 12th at 2pm  Boyle Celtic v Manulla in the TP Brennan Connacht Cup First Round which is another big fixture for the team.

Roscommon v Donegal in the ‘new’ Hyde Park pitch.
I was not at last Sunday’s game against Tyrone but by reports Roscommon showed some true grit in the second half. This sets up a really top game to look forward to on Sunday in Roscommon.
People will also be interested in seeing the revamped pitch which was so necessary. One of Roscommon’s fine wins of last spring was in Letterkenny v Donegal. Roscommon seem to have a distance to go before they have a regular team and the deficiencies will be hard to remedy. So Sunday will tell us a good deal more on where the team is at as it were.

Tom Brady’s Super Night
It was the game of a script writer as Tom Brady of The New England Patriots dragged his team back from a major deficit of 28 to 3 points to level in the 4th quarter and in extra time win with a touchdown in the first drive of extra time against Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons in the Superbowl football final in Houston. Brady stacked up the records with this one, winning his fifth Super Bowl in seven appearances along with a number of other records which now see him being regarded as the finest quarter back in the history of the game. This football win added to the Chicago Cubs thrilling baseball win last October saw both games in a bright light.

Ireland’s Rugby team disappoint against Scotland.
Perhaps it was over confidence but a series of fairly basic mistakes plus imaginative Scottish play led to Ireland’s defeat to Scotland at Murrayfield last Saturday.  One crazy error was not seeing a maverick Scottish player, on his own for a Scottish line-out, take the ball and sail over unopposed from 7/8 yards. It was clever but you could hardly have expected to ‘get away with it’. He did. I remember a parody on the Dublin Manager, Jim Gavin and not underestimating any opposition along the lines of saying; “I know Leitrim football pretty well and I respect it. I know that 3 players have retired, 3 are injured a little and a few have gone abroad but I know that they have 3 or 4 new players who were part of their U 16 Development Squad a couple of years ago so we will not be taking anything for granted”.
The Scottish loss has knocked the bottom out of Ireland’s season. This coming week-end they play Italy but all that remains are consolation prizes. This in a Lions year also and many of the payers might have been looking in that direction. Also the will he or will he not play regarding Sexton continues?   


A review I noticed somewhere of the current hit film ‘La La Land’; ‘"They are not making films like them any more" !

Paul Young and Cartoon Saloon
It was good to see Paul Young making the headlines with an extension of the work of Cartoon Saloon in Kilkenny. The company announced  140 new jobs in the city.
The jobs at Lighthouse Studios – a brand new full service 2D animation studio – are coming about as the result of a new partnership between Kilkenny’s Cartoon Saloon and Canada’s Mercury Filmworks.


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Update 3rd February

Boyle Celtic Showdown

Boyle Celtic will have, arguably, their biggest game ever on Sunday next in the FAI Junior Cup last 16 contest in Boyle at 2 pm. Celtic are the last Connacht team standing in the competition. Having a home venue puts them in with a chance of progressing to the last eight. In saying that we know little of the Dublin team, VEC from Terenure,  but being from Dublin, and the winners of a number of trophies lately, they are certain to be a quality team. Still it is a big occasion for the club and we wish them and the team the best. Hopefully there will be a big crowd in attendance for what should be a top game.   

International Holocaust Day Friday January 27th.

Each year we are reminded of the horror of the Nazi attempt to exterminate the Jewish people from throughout Europe during the Second World War. Over 6 million Jews were killed in the Concentration Camps that sprang up in German and some occupied countries, including Poland, during the Second World War. The names of these camps (or vast complexes of death) have become bywords for man’s inhumanity to his fellow man. Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen, Treblinka and many more.  One film which represented this cruelty counterpointed by humanity was Schindler’s List with Liam Neeson playing the part of Oskar Schindler and Ralph Fiennes with a scary performance as the cruel Nazi Camp Commandant. We in Ireland remember The Famine when over 1 million people died and over another million emigrated.  In scale it pales in significance to the German destruction of the Jews which was done deliberately and by a supposedly ‘advanced society’. It is incredible to think that a people can be so brain-washed that they would think that this was an acceptable policy. Or is it ? A forgotten and little known equivalent to that of the Nazis were the pogroms of Stalin in the 1930s’ Soviet Union when any number around 20 million, it is suggested, were killed.
Anyway each year I watch the film clips from the Concentration Camps and one in particular stays with me. It is of a child of around four as she tugs up the sleeve of her coat to disclose her brand number for a camera.
They say that people have to know their history in order not to repeat the mistakes of the past. As a reader of history the mistakes of the past are regularly repeated.           

Remembering the ‘Elections of the Snows’
Friday the 3rd of February is the Centenary Anniversary of the Election of the Snows in 1917 which saw the election of George Noble Count Plunkett in North Roscommon. After the election Plunkett declared that he was not going to represent his constituents in Westminster but would go no farther than Dublin laying the basic policy benchmark for the subsequent First Dáil which came together in January 1919. While there is some play on the fact that Count Plunkett was not a Sinn Fein candidate in the North Roscommon Election of February 1917 he did align with the party not long after that with the coalescing of nationalist groupings under the Sinn Fein banner. So I would not get cranky about it being enlisted as a Sinn Fein first  understanding well why Sinn Fein would wish it to be so even if retrospectively. One gets on the bus or opportunity that comes one’s way. 
An aspect of it that might be overlooked is that it was the electorate of North Roscommon who made it happen and we should be conscious of that. It wasn’t the last time that Roscommon voters did that.
(As I referred to last week there is an extended, illustrated essay on the election, in this week’s Roscommon Herald pages 40/41).   

Roscommon v Tyrone.
The real challenge begins next Sunday for Roscommon Senior team in Omagh against Tyrone. Roscommon lost to Galway in the Final of the FBD league on Sunday last in Kiltoom. Galway deserved their win. It was a reasonable game but there were a good few discernible gaps in the Roscommon line–up. Hopefully Featherstone can develop into a full back and that the same can happen for Corcoran and O’Rourke at midfield. It was great to see Donie Smith put in a Roscommon ‘Man of the Match’ performance and score 7 points in all. So on Sunday we will see a ‘full’ Roscommon team and also see how equipped they are to stand up to the challenge of the Division One League. (See team selected for game v Tyrone at bottom).

*I heard a story last Sunday regarding Tyrone v Derry football. At a game, back in the day as they say, the one ball ended up and flowed away in a nearby river. The ‘referee’ asked the acting captains; ‘What’ll youse do now?’ to which the ‘captains’ replied, ‘Ay sure we’ll play on without it!’.

*A different question; Why is that the Roscommon GAA clothing attire has adopted the Dublin colour sky blue?

I wish Cathal Cregg and Neil Collins the best of luck in their retirement, for now anyway, from the Roscommon team. I should also include those who stepped down a while ago such as Geoffrey Claffey and Senan Kilbride. Eaten bread Is soon forgotten.

Visiting Robins
A number of countries have as national symbols birds such as the United States the bald eagle; New Zealand the Kiwi; Australia, the emu; Denmark the swan; Italy the sparrow and so on.
What would it be if one was adopted in this country? Near the top of the list would be the robin. In our house we have a glass door to the back looking out at the Curlew hills and a veranda we’ll call it. Looking into the kitchen for a few seasons now are some robins. I don’t know if they are the same ones which reminds me of a story I will tell at the end. Each morning I give our robins their breakfast. They now see it as their right. They are getting more and more comfortable with human encroachment and I look forward to them ‘eating out of my hand’ someday! This reminds me of Seamus Heaney’s poem St. Kevin and the Blackbird where the venerable saint had to hold his hand out for a long period to feed his blackbird. There is a kind of short therapy in watching them as they watch me and wind up from the railing before swooping down on their crumbs. It is a little task to discriminate against bigger stronger birds who should be able to look after themselves. When young we were told a story of the robin’s red breast, got while keeping the embers of a fire alive in some meaningful situation which I forget now.
A thing that really impresses me about my robins is that before their ‘breakfast’ they are nowhere to be seen but almost immediately on it being presented they are there as if I had rung a refectory bell. How is this?  This brings me to my story. Years ago, and happy years they were, as I walked over the Salmon Weir Bridge in Galway on a sunny day I stopped to watch a Galwegian who was trying to poach salmon from the river Corrib below with a line and a ‘gaff’ which was a number of strong hooks. An American visitor joined us. A short talk ensued focussing on salmon and their epic journeys. Eventually the visitor declared his question; ‘How is it that salmon can travel every year, all the way from New Found land, back to their breeding grounds here, with such accuracy?’ Maybe the Galwegian had heard the question before and had the answer on file which he gave as; ‘Until salmon can talk we won’t know that!’     
Brexit with James Candon Jnr.
There is so much about Brexit and its implications ongoing that it may be seen an overload to add to it here. I have encouraged people to submit pieces for consideration of publication  here and I received these lines from James Candon Jnr. at the end of November and I add them here. James had reason to travel in England and in doing so pick up some observations as to why they voted as they did. One of the themes James rightly emphasises is in what the EU has achieved. In a Referendum of fear in the U.K. of June 2016 these were never really clearly  laid out. So here is what James wrote in the last days of November, for which delay I apologise to him;  

“Hi Tony,
Well I made it to Swindon and back in the end despite the attentions of storm Angus. I have to go over to the UK about once a month and occasionally I meet up with some people from home. Most recently Tim McDonagh from Ballinafad and Martin Egan from Mockmoyne way.
The reason for the visit to Swindon was some business with a client in the financial and technology sector and thus we were both particularly interested in the issues surrounding Brexit. Before diving into the economic or business issues around Brexit I thought it would be interesting to get some views from the ordinary person in the area. The taxi man in Swindon said he voted for Brexit because of the immigrants and the NHS. When asked what he disliked about the immigrants he said he had nothing against the Polish because they are hard grafters but he does not like those from Eastern Europe who, as he sees it- are always begging and being involved in organised crime and the like! He did accept that he had been lied to about NHS issues.
At the reception desk to my client's building, the security officer turned out to be a Polish lady but she did not want to be drawn on Brexit. Maybe that was because there were locals close by.
With regard to the issue around immigration or rather around freedom of movement. This is one of the four pillars of the single market. This is something we learned in EU Law 101 way back in the day at UCD. The pillars are interdependent and inseparable. To think otherwise would be delusional. Note the word FREEDOM. The EU has managed to maintain the peace in Europe for almost 70 years. It has outlived communism and brought former authoritarian countries into the fold where they have slowly but surely been developing into modern democracies. This seems to be coming under threat due to the perceived advances of the forces of nationalism and populism embodied by the Brexit vote and some of the current elites in central European countries. It seems as if the infamous Boris Johnson has managed to unite the other 27 nations against the UK even before negotiations on Brexit have even started. His most recent tirade (back in November) was to describe the principle of freedom of movement as "Bollix". Well Bollix Johnson it shall be from now on.

Later in the day I was delivered to the Hilton Bankside and into the welcoming care of my cousin James Clarke who is the general manager there and never fails with the cead mile failte. This was not before I got talking with a man from Sheffield on the train back from Swindon. He works as a telecoms engineer and did not vote in the referendum himself but claims that he understands why people did vote to leave the EU: Basically it was two fingers to the establishment. However he did go on to say "without being racist or nationalist or populist, what is the point of having countries if you cannot control who comes in and what goes on in them, if you can't maintain your own values!?".

The view from Brussel in say the pub or at the side of the rugby training pitch varies from "one less problem for Europe if they go" to "I can't believe that the British people are that selfish and misguided"
The EU has given freedom and hope to millions and millions of people. It cannot be right to allow that hope and freedom to be dashed by certain leaders and wannabe leaders who play on the fear of people of migrant "others". It is high time that the EU be given the credit that it is due. It may not be a perfect union but where would we be without it? How could we hope to have any chance of coping with problems which cross national boundaries such as climate change and terrorism if like-minded peoples do not coalesce and face these problems united shoulder to shoulder?
One question that the man from Sheffield put to me though was "Do you see any other country leaving". I think we need to see that Ireland is in a very precarious position and if Britain does go we may have a referendum of our own which could be as divisive as the Treaty of 1921. I do hope I am wrong.
Is mise le meas
James Candon
High and Low
One cannot mention Brexit without some reference to the U. S. state of being. During the election one of the mantras of Hillary (Who?) was, ‘When they go low we go high’. This, I think was credited to Michelle Obama. Anyway Mexicans could adapt Hillary’s spake with; When they go high (wall) we’ll go low (underneath)’

I had a rare enough visit to a local tavern and in a satiric environment where a number of people contributed I was asked the question;

‘What is the first sign of madness?’ I could have offered a few ideas but they would have been well off the mark when I was eventually given the answer required as;

“Suds coming up the driveway” !!

Musical Back to the 80s’

I have my piece for posting above but as a finale on coming in from the Abbey Community College musical I have to commend all for the effort with it. It was colourful, crowded with players, enthusiastic and energetic. It is an experience that the participants will long remember and it is an education in itself. These sentiments were endorsed by the Principal David Harding who showed his own pleasure and enthusiasm for the production. Interestingly he touched on an old sentiment promoted by Father Dodd in his time at St. Mary’s College in having the College at the centre of the Boyle and catchment area community. In nominating my standout performances I was taken by Kevin Horan as the Nerd Feargal McFerrin 111 with his supporting ‘Outcasts’. There were two but three listed on the programme. So two from Megan McKenna, Georgina O’Connor and Rose Chilton. It continues on Friday and Saturday nights.   

Roscommon Team to play Tyrone.

1. Colm Lavin (Éire Óg)

2. David Murray (Padraig Pearse's)
3. Thomas Featherston (Oran)
4. Niall McInerney (St Brigid’s)

5. Ronan Stack (St Brigid’s)
6. Seán Mullooly (Strokestown)
7. Conor Devaney (Kilbride)

8. Kevin Higgins (Western Gaels)
9. Tadhg O’Rourke (Tulsk)

10. Niall Daly (Padraig Pearse’s)
11. Seán McDermott (Western Gaels)
12. Enda Smith (Boyle)

13. Donie Smith (Boyle)
14. Ultan Harney (Clann na nGael
15. Ciaráin Murtagh (C) (St Faithleachs)

16 Darren O’Malley (Michael Galley’s)
17 Paddy Brogan (Strokestown)
18 Ciaran Cafferkey (Western Gaels)
19 Cian Connolly (Roscommon Gaels)
20 Tom Corcoran (Strokestown)
21 Fintan Cregg (Elphin)
22 Shane Killoran (Elphin)
23 Niall Kilroy (Fuerty)
24 John McManus (Roscommon Gaels)
25 Brian Murtagh (St Faithleach's)
26 Gary Patterson (Michael Glavey’s)