Friday, April 21, 2017

Update 21st April

Some Sports Fixtures for this coming weekend and beyond.

Boyle GAA Senior team will hope to continue their good run of wins in the O’Gara Cup on Saturday with a game v Creggs in the Abbey Park at 6.30.(Not Sunday as advertised).

Soccer. Sunday April 23rd Southern Hotel Super League 11am Ballisodare United v Boyle Celtic Ballisodare.

Celtic, after another extra time win on Sunday over Carbury in a very competitive game, have a number of big games coming up. Apart from trying to get up-to-date on the regular Sligo/Leitrim league fixtures they play  v Killarney in the F.A.I. Cup proper, preliminary round, on Sunday Apr. 30th in Killarney. Their biggest game is the Connacht Cup Semi-Final v West Utd. of Galway in Galway on Sunday May 7th. This is a competition they would really love to win.      

Roscommon GAA hero Gerry O’Malley being Remembered
While many of the younger generation will not remember Gerry O’Malley or may not even have heard of him, to me and my generation he was our hero.  Today there are the options of playing a diversity of sports but for us growing up in the late fifties and sixties Gaelic games were predominant. For me coming from Fuerty/Athleague it was hurling and Gaelic football. Roscommon had been a power in the forties and early fifties until it was eclipsed by Mayo or more so Galway as the fifties progressed. O’Malley from Brideswell, Curraghaboy in the St. Brigid’s area emerged as the dominant player in Roscommon from 1950 until he retired in the mid- sixties. He was a Cuchalainn like figure who was known and admired the length and breadth of the GAA country. This was reinforced by his participation of the inter-provincial competition The Railway Cup which had huge support in the fifties and early sixties in both hurling and football. This was the regular showground for great players from lesser counties to show their skills to the wider audience. O’Malley was lucky also in the sense that it was a time when Connacht teams had arguably their greatest ever players. In Galway there was Sean Purcell and Frank Stockwell (referred to as ‘the terrible twins’ for the destruction they could dispense as supreme forwards). Leitrim had Packie Mc Garty and Cathal Flynn. Mc Garty had the heart of a lion and the skill of a Messi and is rightly revered in Leitrim. He played on a very good Leitrim team which lost 5 Connacht finals to Galway. Sligo’s regular representative initially was the great Nace O’Dowd at full back and in the early sixties the coming Mickie Kearins. Mayo had marvellous players like Tom Langan, Willie Casey, Paddy Prendergast and Paraic Carney and Ned Moriarty from Boyle. With Roscommon it was always O’Malley in the forefront.

The Broken–Crossbar Connacht Final of ’62 A Highpoint in the Folklore of the Game.
Amongst the performances that will live in the folklore of the game is the 1962 Connacht Final against Galway at Castlebar.
One report of the game began as follows;
“Roscommon have down the years, won and lost many memorable games but this victory over Galway in the Connacht Senior Football Final will never be forgotten by the thousands of joyous supporters of the blue and gold, if only for the concluding fantastic eight minute of an epic and pulsating finish”.

The inspiration for those fantastic eight minutes was Gerry O’Malley. The sports reporters did their best but realised that even their superlatives fell short.      

Donal O’Carroll (Irish Independent)  “The unsurpassable Gerry O’Malley has done it again. His was a masterly exhibition ….” “The lion-hearted O’Malley” Jack Mahon.
Michael O’Callaghan in The Roscommon Herald, “Then incomparable Gerry O’Malley”.

It was his finest hour.

The pivotal incident in the game and one that is part of the folklore of O’Malley happened with Galway comfortably coasting towards victory leading by 2.6 to 1.4 when Aidan Brady, the Roscommon goalkeeper, swung off and broke the crossbar. After it was repaired and O’Malley now at midfield was involved in a quick Roscommon goal. Eventually with time almost up the scores were level Galway 2.9 Roscommon 3.6. Then O’Malley gets the ball and powers his way up-field past bewildered rivals and team-mates alike, the crowd now in a frenzy. An amazed Roscommon support willing him on, an amazed Galway support fearing the worst. A painters picture. Finally the release from O’Malley as he passes to Don Feely who calmly makes an angle and  drops the ball neatly between the uprights. The kick out and the game is over. Roscommon have won, a pandemonium of celebration by Roscommon supporters, stunned disbelief by Galway. No mad rush to the exits as people try to absorb it all. I was lucky. I was there.  

It was always the hope that Gerry would win an All-Ireland senior football medal but the closest he came to that was when he captained Roscommon in the 1962 All-Ireland final against Kerry which Kerry won comfortably with O’Malley having to retire injured. He did win an All-Ireland junior hurling medal with Roscommon in 1965 at St. Coman’s Park with a victory over Warwickshire.

I got to know Gerry well in recent decades and Boyle GAA people will remember him coming to GAA occasions in Boyle in 1995 where he attended a dinner after a hugely successful year for the club in ’94. He also participated in the opening of the new dressing rooms with John Joe Nerney in 2010 as remembered by the plaque there. He was a regular Roscommon supporter and a great St. Brigid’s one. This was the club he helped establish and was very proud the day they won the All-Ireland club title in 2013. He loved hurling which he played with great success with Four Roads Club, Roscommon and Connacht.
  He was a dedicated agricultural advisor and lived his last decades in Swords in North Dublin. He passed away in early January 2016 and is buried in Drum cemetery close to his Roscommon family home and the fields where he played as a boy.

*For Anyone Wishing to be Associated with the Gerry O’Malley Memorial
The community of Brideswell have initiated the process of remembering Gerry O’Malley appropriately in his native village and this is supported by extended community encompassed by the  St. Brigid’s club. They have extended their support appeal for their funding draw to the general Roscommon GAA community via the clubs. Boyle GAA Club Secretary Mary Clifford has received a number of books of those tickets costing €10 for a book of three. So anyone wishing to support the Gerry O’Malley Commemoration project can do so by contacting Mary or myself for that matter at 086 816 3399.  

Social Inequality
In a recent Vincent Browne T.V. programme there was a discussion on ‘social inequality’. There were varied responses on the subject.
Some time ago I was in University College Hospital Galway and witnessed the pretty chaotic and over-crowded casualty reception area there. It was disconcerting to say the least. I am in no way reflecting on the staff in this but on the environment in which they try and get best outcomes.
More recently I was in the Galway Clinic with its spacious reception arena. There was a grand piano centred in this with a lady playing her music from her music sheets.
Now if you wanted a pretty stark vista of social inequality the contrast between these two medical facilities would do the trick!
(Perhaps I am being a spoil-sport here but the pending wedding in Ashford Castle in Cong is gearing up for the Rory Mc Ilroy wedding to Erica Stoll tomorrow as I write. I remember weddings in The Royal Hotel in Boyle……social inequality is a fact of history but there are scales of it).  

Scannal T.V. programme on The Irish Hospitals Sweepstake
I was initially half-looking at this programme but got drawn into it. I got into it by seeing the scale of the irregularity of it and the degree of compliance and ‘nod and wink’  participation of the highest levels of Government and many sections of Irish society and its institutions. It was fronted by a particular family steeped in politics and was promoted and pushed in a number of countries though illegal in them. The presentation of the draws used/abused highly respected institutional groups such as the police and nurses. One very distasteful  draw involved two blind boys with their names labelled and pinned to their clothing. This was trying to reinforce the integrity to the draw while the reality was that it was rotten to the core. The reporter, Joe Mac Anthony, who broke the story initially had to leave the country to get gainful employment subsequently.  The hospitals which were to get the huge funding raised got minimal return. The Draw(!) ran from 1930 until 1987 when it went into liquation where the hundreds of employees –mostly women- got a raw deal in terms of redundancy. If it –the programme- is repeated I’ll study it better.
   Following in Joe Mac Anthony’s footsteps, Damian Corless has published a book called ‘The Greatest Bleeding Heart Racket in the World’.
Of course this could hardly happen her now!! Though the evidence of the recent ‘Console’ debacle or issues with Rehab might not be reassuring.
What about the current Irish National Lottery or the ridiculous T.V. questions at €2 a pop eg. Which of these is the capital of the U.K.? Tokyo, Ottawa or London?

We’ll leave it at that for this week.        
P.S. Best wishes to Boyle GAA girl club members playing on Roscommon teams next weekend. U-14: Aisling Feely. U-16: Kate Harrington, Megan McKeon and Saoirse Wynne. Minor: Sinead Glennon, Aine Mullins and Roisin Wynne.



Friday, April 14, 2017

Update 15th April

Some Week-End Fixtures:
The Boyle Celtic v Evergreen Utd. game from last Sunday will be shown fully- I am told - on Eir channel on Sunday next.
Boyle Celtic v Carbury in the prestigious Connacht Cup takes place in Boyle on Sunday next at 2pm.
Boyle GAA Senior team play Oran in the O’Gara Cup at Oran at 11am.
Roscommon Fleadh at Castlecoote this Easter Week-End.
Choices to be made!  

Boyle Celtic’s Special Day in The Showgrounds

While the result and the way of it was hugely disappointing on Sunday last, it was still a very special day for Boyle Celtic in a number of ways. I will not go into the detail of the game since all the local media have given it fantastic coverage again this week and have shown great empathy with the side’s understandable disappointment. So take a bow Martin Wynne, Ian Cooney and the Roscommon Herald and Seamus Duke and the Roscommon People and also John Lynch and Willie Hegarty of Shannonside.  
It was not just a game but a great occasion for Celtic, for the Boyle community and indeed for a regional community. The reports in all the media refer to the great support the team had and the atmosphere that obtained in The Showgrounds on the day. The support, aided by Donie’s and Kevin’s rousing song, tried as best they could to get the team over the line and when that did not happen the crowd expressed their acknowledgement of the teams total commitment and disappointment at its conclusion. The team and management recognised all that and for most of them it was their biggest stage before a most generous audience. While it tried to soothe their disappointment to a point, it also demonstrated what ‘might have been’ had they got to the final. A nice touch at the end was that of the Evergreen captain Holden coming to the Boyle support side at the end, when they were showing their support of the Boyle team, and he acknowledged  the crowd also. I imagine he recognised that the Boyle support had enhanced the atmosphere and made a real occasion of it for the participants of both sides.

This was the biggest support I have witnessed for a Boyle sports team in my time in Boyle and I imagine far beyond that. It was a total community involvement backed by regional goodwill. Many Boyle people now living elsewhere made the journey to Sligo and I met a few of them. Clive Slattery now living in London who with family members were in Belfast for the World(?) Irish Dancing Championships diverted to Sligo for the game. I did not see Darren Suffin but he said in Carrick-on-Suir that he would be back from Bolton for the Semi-Final. I talked to former Celtic players from the late sixties John and Tony Martin as they reflected on the Celtic team of then. Also there was Frankie Daly a former Boyle footballer now resident in the north of the country. Hillary Beirne key organiser of the St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York was there with my ‘comrade’ John McPhearson.  I imagine there were many more also. I am also aware of people listening to radio coverage from Shannonside, Ocean FM and KCR (i.e. Kilkenny/Carlow Radio) while Adam Daly’s streaming was received by many in Boyle and various areas. One person contacted me and in discussion of the game talked of marrying Adam’s stream with a radio commentary. So the game reached a wide constituency.      
For many it was a first time at Sligo Rovers ground ‘The Showgrounds’ and now that they have ‘found it’ perhaps a number will return. For Boyle Celtic too it has raised its profile and is a big boost to its standing in the local community and with the youth who were generously represented at the game. Celtic now have a  great opportunity, if they can get enough capable volunteers, to expand the reach of the club in terms of participation numbers and support. It may not happen overnight but it has certainly awakened an awareness and recognition.
Thanks also to the team and management. How much it meant to them was reflected in their disappointment at the end. I just mention one player who represented that commitment in spades being Dessie Carlos who drove from Dublin so many times while under pressure from his GAA club there, Castleknock, who were in the Dublin county Final last year.      

The Club are still involved in a number of other competitions and on Sunday next they play Carbury FC in the Connacht Cup Quarter Finals at Celtic Park at 2. Boyle have really felt that this is a prestigious competition that they could really win with some breaks. Sunday’s opposition Carbury are leading the Sligo/Leitrim League and they too will be eyeing success in the Connacht Cup so Sunday could be a cracking game between two top teams. 
Post Script
1.     I had thought of putting up the train schedule from Boyle to Sligo which would facilitate match goers as of yore but I heard ‘anecdotally’ afterwards that a number of the cars of match goers were actually clamped when they returned so I was pleased I do not do so.  The car park at Boyle Railway Station is not a P.R. plus for rail travel.
2.     Boyle Celtic through their sponsorship support are now much better equipped with sporting
gear than the Irish International women’s team.

Errata Current Issues

The Bus Strike
It seems as if the bus strike is nearly over as I write. On the basis that all wars and strikes end it is such a pity that the terms which saw the termination of the strike did not emerge before it was begun. But I guess that is human nature. I now hear of rumblings of Dublin City Bus going on strike. I imagine that such a strike in the capital will focus minds a bit quicker than the 3 week haze that lasted during the expressway one.

Car Insurance Hike
It is said that there are just two certainties in life those being taxes and death. I think that those numbers should be expanded to include now, car and health insurance upward spiral. And these are ‘no ordinary’ raises these are exorbitant increases. I saw a television discussion where an icy insurance industry representative debated the causation for these increases with representatives of the legal profession. It ended nil all.  

The 116 Helicopter Tragedy
The initial findings and suggestions surrounding the tragic rescue helicopter accident off the Mayo coast are disturbing. The suggested omission of the lighthouse island from the navigational technology and the failure of the personal bleepers for finding the crew members are just two of those. On today’s (Friday) Irish Times site there is a transcription of the crew’s final interaction conversation which is part of a preliminary report.  The final report could make for sad reading.     

The Water Debate Stumbles On
The Water Debate rolls on after what seemed a sort of agreement some time ago. The Water Non Payment Campaign was seen as a benchmark victory for those who saw it as simply a further taxation. It is incredible that so much money was expended before this bridge was arrived at and if this logic holds, water metres that were installed in such haste are now redundant. There is a Government policy campaign in progress to say that those who over- use water or abuse its availability should be charged but even this is being resisted.
Payment for water provision is a regular practise in advanced countries. And, as could be evidenced by the percentage of people who paid their water bills initially it had the support of a large percentage of the population. The opposition to Water Charges was well organised, had a concerted message and came at the end of a depressing period of the crash. It succeeded in derailing a legitimate process the tail of which the current Government seems to hold onto.
We often referred to the black hole of the spending on voting machines some time ago but the ‘water debacle’ is a multiple of that and with all its tendrils is an absolute disgrace of policy mis-management and waste.  

Housing Crisis in the Capital
It has been said during the week that Dublin is booming in terms of pubs, restaurants and consumer spending. One suggestion which I thought was sad was that young people in good jobs in the capital were spending their earnings because there was no way that they could EVER afford buying a house/home.  The contributors to this included huge rents and the racing inflation of house prices. There are several television programmes now dealing with aspects of this huge dilemma such as ‘The Irish Property Crisis’ on Monday and ‘Find me a Home’ on Wednesday. Thousands of houses are required in the proper locations and despite the parading of Simon Coveney and his repetition of the prospect of said provision there is no confidence that this will happen in Dublin. Building huge estates was possible by the state when the country was impoverished but the building of housing by the local authorities was abandoned and handed to the ‘private developers’ where profit was king. And so we are in a property crisis and will be there for quite a while to come.  

Sports national and International

Dublin’s Run Ends
Kerry finally ended Dublin’s unbeaten run at Croke Park on Sunday to win the Allianz National League. It was a very competitive game with a strain of ill-will permeating it as it did in their normal league encounter some time ago. The game was refereed by Roscommon’s Paddy Neilan and GAA players and followers would have recognised the umpires being regular on the Roscommon games officiating circuit. A clash in late summer or September between Dublin and Kerry in the championship will likely be a sweet and sour event.

Sunday Indo Columnists
Brolly and The Gooch

The retirement of Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper elicited glowing tributes from nearly all and sundry as was his due. The one voice that had reservations was, not unusually, Joe Brolly. He contested that while The Gooch was a sublime artist of a footballer he was not the braveheart that led his team when the chips were stacked against him. The alternate view is always worthy of reading. It is a Chinese or a Confucius spake that goes somewhat like this ‘where everybody thinks alike nobody thinks very much’. Not only does Brolly state his case but like the god lawyer he is he lays down his evidence. He gets plenty of criticism but that does not faze him and he is certainly a worthy voice.   

Hold the Back Page-Eamon Sweeney
Eamon Sweeney laid out clearly the elements of the disgraceful treatment of the Irish women’s soccer team in his ‘Hold the Back Page’ column.
The most telling sentences he reserves for the last paragraph;  “The Irish women fought their battle alone. Not one member of the men’s team saw fit to send so much as a tweet in support. Not one of them was man enough to do it. Not good enough lads.” I wonder why?     Eamon also referenced the Boyle Celtic game and his modest role with the club ‘back in the day’, as they say.

The Riveting Television Masters

If there was questionable sportsmanship at Croke Park, the final evening, on Sunday, of The Masters was exemplary in that respect. The final match of the contending pairing of Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose swayed from one to the other over the final round. There were shadows of threats from a small number of other players but both Garcia and Rose ended on 9 under par with the third place being 3 shots further back. Garcia won clearly on the first play-off hole. It is strange that a ESPN commentator actually attacked the degree of camaraderie between the two competing leaders. Garcia has been seen as the greatest golfer ‘never’ to have won a major having competed in 73 majors without a win, regularly coming in the top zone of competitors. There were a number of times when it seemed as if this was to continue as the game favoured Rose but in the end Garcia prevailed becoming the third Spanish winner of The Masters after Ballesteros and Olazabal  on Seve’s birthday. Rose was unable to add the title to his Olympic gold but will obviously be a contender in the years ahead. Rory McIlroy finished tied 7th . His challenge to win the fourth major continues.   

The Grand National
While I am not a betting person. I have, like millions of my attitude, regularly tuned into the Grand National and made my annual contribution to the bookies fund. Last Saturday’s race was not as dramatic as many of the previous ones which have been serious contenders for animal cruelty.
The race was won by ‘One For Arthur’, only the second horse trained in Scotland to win the Grand National (the other being Rubstic in 1979). It had a near-local connection in that  One For Arthur was ridden by Sligo jockey Derek Fox.




Monday, April 10, 2017

Update 7th April

Boyle Celtic in The Showgrounds Sunday at 3. (Admission fee on Sunday is €10 for adults -set by the FAI- €5 for students and OAPs’ and please note U 16s are free)    

I contributed my paragraphs on Boyle Celtic’s journey here last week. The game has been highlighted generously in all the media in the intervening time with Ian Cooney, Sports Editor of The Roscommon Herald pushing the boat out with extensive coverage in the Herald’s sports section of last Tuesday. The other local papers such as the Roscommon People and Leitrim and Sligo papers have also done their bit as has Shannonside Radio. It may also feature on the Sunday independent’s ‘Hold the Back Page’ next Sunday i.e. match day. 
The launch of Donie O’Connor’s song is a further string to the bow of publicity and interest. This has been supplemented with the publication of colourful match programme which includes team member profiles, some short articles and sixteen pictures of Boyle Celtic youth teams both boys and girls. Also included are the words to the Boyle Celtic anthem which could get a Welsh style airing on Sunday evening in ‘The Showgrounds’ . 
Celtic have played three games in the last couple of weeks. They defeated Ballymoe in the Connacht Cup and followed this up with an impressive victory in the same competition in Bellmullet on Sunday last. Sandwiched in between was a hard-earned victory in the local league over Ballisodare.  

** Boyle Celtic Song CDs’ and match programmes now available in many shops and other outlets throughout the town and also on match day inside the grounds.  

Organ Donor Awareness Week 
Donor Awareness Week takes place between the 1st and 8th of April. Indeed awareness of organ Donation does not have time boundaries but the week is used to raise Awareness of the huge benefits and hopefully expand the number of donors.

My good friend John Mac Phearson, related to me, some time ago, his personal experience of receiving a life enhancing organ donation, the Gift of Life, in 2011 when he was diagnosed with liver cancer. He expressed his huge gratitude to those who participated in the scheme and urged people to become involved by having a donor card.  One of its great proponents is the former Derry footballer and TV analyst Joe Brolly.  Joe has himself donated a kidney to a friend.

It must be one of the most noble acts imaginable for someone to donate a life enriching bodily organ to another person. There are approximately 700 people in Ireland awaiting life-saving heart, lung, liver, kidney and pancreas transplants. Thanks to the gift of organ donation over 3000 people in Ireland are enjoying extended life. In 2015, 266 organs were transplanted, 233 were as a result of the generosity of the families of 81 deceased donors and the remaining 33 were from living kidney donors.

The focus of Organ Donor Awareness Week is also to raise awareness about the ongoing and ever increasing demand for organ transplantation which relies on the public for organ donation. Its key message is that families need to talk and keep accessible the reminders of their willingness to donate by carrying the organ donor card, downloading the Smartphone App and permitting Code 115 to be included on their driver’s license.

The Irish Kidney Association is the national organisation charged with the promotion and distribution of the organ donor card in Ireland, on behalf of Organ Donation Transplant Ireland.

Free information fact files, which accompany organ donor cards, are obtainable from the Irish Kidney Association and are available nationwide from pharmacies, GP surgeries and Citizen Information Offices etc.

Organ Donor Cards can also be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association  LoCall 1890 543639 or Freetext the word DONOR to 50050. Visit website It is now possible to store an organ donor card, the ‘ecard’ on Smart mobile phones.   Simply search for ‘Donor ECard’ at the IPhone Store or Android Market Place.

Boyle GAA O’Gara Cup Fixture;
The McGovern Directional Drilling sponsored seniors play Michael Glavey's in the O'Gara Cup on Saturday April 8th in Ballinlough at 5:30pm.

Roscommon County Fleadh Castlecoote/Fuerty on Easter Sunday/Monday. 
I mentioned this recently but I imagine a reminder is no harm. 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 village of Castlecoote is now traditionally vying with Keadue for the top place in County Roscommon. 
I presume that the Fleadh 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. 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. P.J. is Chairperson of the local Fleadh Committee. 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.  
The Roscommon Fleadh is the first county Fleadh nationally and attracts a dedicated following from many parts of the country. When in Boyle, back in the day, it used to have quite a number of visitors from Northern Ireland.  So hopefully Boyle will be represented at the County Fleadh in Castlecoote and that I will not be the only Boyle person there! I had thought of hiring a 20 seater bus for the Sunday but perhaps that idea is a bit too ambitious.    

Irish Women’s Soccer Team
When the Irish Women’s Soccer team listed their grievances and conditions under which they played international football and represented their country most people were aghast. The standards in terms of track suits, changing venues, hotel accommodation, monetary payment and compensation for loss of earnings and general respect were met with disbelief by the sporting public.

I don’t know if it was by accident or design that the ‘women’ took their stand around the time the Chief FAI CEO, John Delaney who is said to ‘earn’ a salary of €400, 000 was in Helsinki being voted onto the Uefa's Executive (Soccer) Committee which will bring him a further €100,000. 

The women showed a true competitive spirit despite a veiled threat about damaging their future in the game and there seems to now be a resolution with most of their demands being met. The mind boggles that such basic demands have not been par for the course for some considerable time anyway.

In a press release by those involved in putting the women’s case the following  sentence summarised the women’s position;       

"The events of the past two days amount to a short, sharp and successful campaign to advance the rights of women in sport. They are also a reminder that, in any area of modern Irish society, women should never accept being treated as second-class citizens."

Some of the details of the confidential agreement are said to include;
“The Ireland women's football team will each receive the full €300 match fee they sought, a win bonus of €150 for competitive games and €75 for a draw, as outlined in the players' document during their press conference in Liberty Hall earlier this week. Players who have to take unpaid time off while representing their country will also be remunerated”. 
The talks took 9 hours and ended at 4am on Thursday morning. It is hard to believe that, since so much was just basic stuff, that it could have taken so long. 
There are early reports that the Irish women’s agitation has echoed internationally and is being taken up by other women’s international teams.
So well done to the group 

Frank (Monty) MONTGOMERY R.I.P.
The deaths of Frank Montgomery known to so many as ‘Monty’ and his daughter Michelle Keenan (nee Montgomery) has cast a deep sadness over the community in Boyle and beyond. Monty was part of the lives of the Boyle community for over four decades as he played his music at weddings, dinner dances, celebrations and a myriad of events through those years. I am sure there are people who know his musical track record better than I but in the Moylurg Writers first volume of essays on Boyle there is an essay on ‘Bands of Boyle’ by Veronica O’Connor and Monty of course features there. He is pictured with his great friend and long-time accompanist Frances Grehan with Brendan O’Dowd in a trio called ‘Spalpín’. On the following page Monty is listed under the band title ‘Freeeway’ with Brendan O’Dowd, Michael (George) Mullaney, Paul Emmett and Michael Harrington. The last entry has a group titled ‘Who Says What’ with Jackie Harvey and Monty’s colleague Sean Kenny. ‘Monty’ seamlessly became a large part of the great Boyle musical tradition which he enhanced. 
Quite a few years ago Frank brought his music to the United States and there was a little ‘going-away’ party with him in the Moylurg. Someone suggested a few words and I was nominated to do that. I expressed the surprising sentiment that I hoped he would get homesick…… on the basis that he would return quickly and we could all enjoy his music regularly once again. He did of course return and we all enjoyed his music and song for a considerable time afterwards. Monty was a musical backdrop of the lives of many of us and we are indebted and will long remember him for that. 
Our deepest sympathy goes to Andrea and Kian and the extended family and to Michelle’s husband Gary and their children Ronan and Roisin and family.  

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Update 30th March

Boyle Celtic on Song
The progress of Boyle Celtic and the offshoots from it is the lighter story of these spring days. While the GAA has owned this idea of the local place/parish coming from nowhere and ending up in Croke Park on St. Patrick’s Day and the journey entailed in that, catching the attention of a much wider constituency, happening nearly every year, this is first time that this seems to have happened in amateur soccer in this region.
The FAI Jnr. (Soccer) Cup semi-final on Sunday the 9th Boyle Celtic v Evergreen Utd. of Kilkenny will be Boyle’s 9th game in that odyssey with 3 of the last four rounds being away to Carrick on Suir, Ballina and Erris of Mayo. The earlier games against Moore, Cloonfad, Shiven Rvrs., Ballaghaderreen, have receded into the twilight but the win over Ballina in the dramatic fashion of a penalty shoot-out was the beginning of the awareness of something special being in train. Their victory over VEC Terenure of Dublin in the first ‘big’ game at home drew a major crowd to Celtic Park. The comfortable victory in that game suggested real possibilities but drawing former winners Carrick Utd from South Tipperary looked intimidating. The first tangible vein of local support being awakened was the response to the financial appeal by Colm Duignan StrongLife Gym to support the club for the trip to Carrick. The drama of that game has been well documented. It was 2 to 1 in favour of Boyle in extra time for Carrick to level at the death. It was 3 to 1 in the penalty shoot-out after extra time but ended 3 all and into sudden death for Boyle to succeed as they did against Ballina by the aggregate of 6 penalties to 5 and thus qualify for the semi-final, one major step away from the Aviva final.
Boyle came up lucky in the draw with a deserved ‘home’ fixture against Evergreen Utd of Kilkenny. A debate developed regarding venue and eventually it settled on being set for the mother ship of Sligo Rovers ground ‘The Showgrounds’  on Sunday April 9th at 3. 
In the background of this particular campaign there are other competitions in train with the team involved. Because of the run of 8 games in the Jnr. Cup it meant that the backlog of games in the local domestic league, which Boyle have won twice in recent years, have stacked up and will now require mid-week fixtures to deal with. This will stretch the limited resources and heighten the danger of squad erosion through injury. The local Sligo/Leitrim league and the Jnr. Cup are not the only fronts on which the team are engaged as by virtue of their Jnr. success they have qualified for the preliminary round of the FAI Senior Cup and have been drawn to play Killarney away on the May Bank Holiday week-end. Also there is the matter of the Connacht Cup which Boyle have done well in a number of times and feel that they should do particularly well this year having disposed of Ballymoe just last Sunday to get to the last 16. So these are the four competitions and it is impossible to relegate any of them in terms of significance. There is a danger of course in fighting on four fronts that what at the moment might look like a very fruitful season, just now, could all unravel. 

The Boyle Celtic Song

The atmosphere surrounding the game is certain to crank up over the next week and Club supporters have come on board with their varied talents to mark the team’s journey. The most innovative way this is being done is with the production and ‘release’ of The Boyle Celtic Song written by Boyle singer/songwriter Donie O’Connor. The many people who are aware of Donie’s talent will anticipate a quality song and they should not be disappointed. Donie has engaged the large talents of his cousin Kevin Hickey to sing the song. Kevin as a singer is akin to Rob Strong in the film ‘The Commitments’ and delivers a textured anthem with clarity and feeling. And irrespective of the subject it is an impressive presentation. Perhaps luckily Donie did not ask the team to sing the song as often happens with these productions but he has assembled an impressive local backing group of male and female singers which produce a full sound, that, in its chorus, is a worthy call to the field of battle as it used to be called in old match reports. The song was produced in the Longford studio of Paul Gurney last week and will be in Boyle shops, pubs and other outlets from Friday priced at €5. Indeed it is to be heard on various media outlets now and can be ‘downloaded’ from the likes of iTunes, Spotify and Amazon, I am told, in case anyone thinks I have become a techno nerd. On Tuesday it nudged Ed Sheeran back down the download charts by becoming number one in that particular download listing. So Kevin has made it to number one by a circuitous route. As the saying goes what is meant for you doesn’t pass you by. 

The Match Programme 
The second string to the bow of background promotion and reflection is a match programme being published by Purcell Print where the proprietor is Martin Purcell father of Celtic powerhouse Sean. This will be another collector’s item recording the present campaign while reflecting on the Club’s past and those for whom Celtic has been a reservoir of emotion through the years. 
So it is not just the team and the small core of loyal club officers and supporters who are invited to be part of this special time for Boyle Celtic but the Community of Boyle. And since there are panel members from Ballinameen, Ballymote, Sligo, Highwood, Carrick-on-Shannon, Ballaghaderreen with team manager Darren Hurd formerly of London town now living in Charlestown and with the team representing their Sligo-Leitrim League the circle of interest extends to a very wide constituency indeed. I am sure that will be evidenced by the crowd which is expected in ‘The Showgrounds’ on Sunday the 9th. So we look forward to that and enjoy the buzz of anticipation created by a special team’s journey.                               

Picture in Poetry 

The Daffodils
William Wordsworth, 1770 – 1850

This poem of Wordsworth is probably the most popular poem in the English language and since it is the season of daffodils I thought I might remind my readers of it here.

I wandered lonely as a cloud
   That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
   A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
   And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
   Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
   Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A Poet could not but be gay,
   In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
   In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
   Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

*A Historic Day/Event 
I am very aware as I submit the above notes that a historic if hardly credible event is taking place with the U.K. initiating the Brexit motion. Its implications are manifold and all of them seem ominous. It is a disaster and as the nursery rhyme suggests ‘All the Kings/Queens horses and all the Queen’s men cannot put humpty dumpty together again’. 
Sad, hugely sad and worrying. Quo Vadis now? No one knows.   

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.