The Cian Smith Testimonial Game
"A Testament to the Character of Local Community"
This central subject has been very well covered in local media since Saturday and there are excellent sets of photographs here on realboyle and elsewhere but I’d like to mention the spirit of the community as represented by it. It was a great celebratory yet poignant occasion. The best spirit of the community and the GAA community especially shone through on Saturday. Probably every club in the county was represented with the number of St. Brigid’s players present being especially remarkable. Boyle GAA came up trumps also as it always does for particular occasions. It represents a section of the great spirit of small communities and is part of the gel that binds those communities together. This is not just a Boyle thing but is evident all over the county as can be seen with our neighbours St. Michaels, Ballinameen, Shannon Gaels, Eastern Harps, St. Ronan’s and so on throughout the length and breadth of the country. These communities are under continuous pressure from emigration, lack of employment opportunities, the decline of the small and now medium farms, the closure of national schools, post offices, shops, bars, Garda stations and services generally. The spirit of those communities has often been tested but never broken. Chris O’Dowd in his acceptance address on receiving the Freedom of Roscommon recently spoke of the influence his home place had on him and his words are well worth remembering. Another huge example of this for me was on an R.T.E. television programme of the seventies called ‘My Own Place’ which featured Micheal O’Callaghan then Editor of The Roscommon Herald. Micheal suggested that he had opportunities to go to the city as a natural career progression but stayed in his ‘native place’ because of its hold on him, I suppose, but also to contribute what he could to it. I think of Micheal from time to time and I regard him as one of the great Roscommon men and his contribution to his ‘Own Place’ was immense. Anyway if you can take the time to source that programme on U tube or wherever it will reinforce what place and community can mean and it shone brightly on Saturday.
There are many examples of great community people and a good few were present on Saturday. Amongst them were John and Lily Murphy of Castlerea. John has been enormously generous to the GAA in Roscommon and is also a great advocate for the Mayo/Roscommon Hospice Foundation which was one of the two beneficiaries from Saturday. And what a contribution the visiting community to the game came up with, it being over €10,000 in just one fell swoop. The other beneficiary was the Kyle Casey Fund. I have known members of the Casey family for decades and Kyle’s dad Sean from St. Mary’s College days, a fine Ballinameen and Roscommon footballer and a gentleman to boot.
So well done to all involved and a special mention to Mark O’Donohoe and Liam Conroy who initiated the project. They could hardly have envisaged the success that it turned out to be. It was good to be a small part of it all and be present where such positive communal atmosphere and the will to make a social contribution prevailed. We wish Cian and Kyle and their families well with the hurdles that lie ahead. The last word to Cian Smith who spoke eloquently at the close of proceedings and whose encouragement to Kyle Casey was heartfelt.
On Saturday also last the County Board GAA Chairman Michael Fahey with the County History Committee Chairman, Tommy Kenoy, unveiled a plaque in the Boyle GAA Centre commemorating the founding of the GAA in Roscommon on January the 23 rd., 1889 at a meeting in Boyle.
Eighteen clubs were represented at that meeting mostly from the north of the county including Crossna, Cootehall, Killaraght/Kingsland, Knockarush. Boyle was well represented with Lowparks J. Carroll, M.Henegan; Owen Roe's (Boyle) A MacManus and M. Connor; Democrats (Boyle) J. Tully and J. Keville; Tawnytaskin, T. Carmody and P. Sheerin. This shows that games were being played widely prior to that.
Jasper Tully, proprietor of The Roscommon Herald, was elected to the Chair (President of the Association in the county); James Lindsay of Boyle Treasurer; G.W.Tully (brother of Jasper) Secretary. Elphin are credited with winning the first County Championship thus winning The President’s (Jasper Tully)medals. They beat Kingsland in a replay. Boyle ‘Young Irelands’ are credited with winning the 1890 final beating Castlerea ‘Leos’. I have recently seen a nice and interesting 1890 medal. The Parnellite Split caused a decline in the GAA in the 1890s and the real revival began in 1902.
Boyle U 21's Fine Win
Boyle’s under 21 team qualified for the U 21 County Championship Semi-Final by virtue of a fine win over a good Padraig Pearse’s team in the Abbey Park on Sunday. It was a great all-round team performance with a high standard of play throughout. It was good, as it always is, to see the return of some players who I had not seen for a while. This win, one of the best performances of any Boyle team this year, will give momentum and encouragement to all involved. They now play Roscommon Gaels on Sunday but they are already assured, I’m told, of a place in the Semi-Finals.
St. Brigid’s went down to Ballintubber of Mayo in the Connacht Senior Semi-Final. While they tried valiantly they were outgunned by the goal- scoring opponents who had top players in their full forward line in the O’Connors. While it will be a welcome break for many of their players it will be a test of their resolve for the next campaign.
We wish David Casey well with his very good St. Croan’s side who take on Killannin (from near Moycullen) of Galway on Sunday next in Tuam at 2 pm in the AIB Intermediate Final.
Congratulations to the St. Brendan’s Club in Dublin with which a number of Boyle people are involved such as John Healy,Tomas Conroy, Karl Feighan and their manager Justin McCormack. They continued their upward curve with their second promotion on the bounce last week end.
Well done to Boyle Celtic who had a very good 4:1 win over top Connacht team Castlebar in the All-Ireland Junior Soccer Cup at Castlebar on Sunday last.
Talking to a GAA Club stalwart regarding U 21 fixtures and the season going on so late he told me that their Junior team did not have a game for some seven weeks during the summer having had a number in close succession earlier. ‘Our mistake was that we played them as per the fixture list and not looking for an occasional postponement for this or that to spread them out’!
I was at the very well attended launch of Barry Feely’s book ‘A Life in Stone’ on Friday night last. It is a lovely production and mixes a biographical theme with that of the trials and tribulations of the stone business. The actual launch process with the interaction of the author Barry and North Roscommon writer Brian Leyden was very effective in which they complemented each other harmoniously. So well done to Barry for this further achievement.
The Regan family hope to present their tribute to Christy on November the 28th. This is a book of photographs from down the years taken by the most popular of photographers Christy Regan. There are certain to be some gems there.
The GAA County History Committee are scheduled to launch their updated History of the Association in the county on Saturday December the 13th.
So plenty there to occupy oneself with during the long nights.