Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Update 30th September

Boyle GAA’s ‘Get Active Initiative’, Launch

While I know that this has been pretty well flagged I go on the experience that no matter how much you advertise something you may meet someone after the event who will say; ‘Had I known about that I would have gone to it’. So here goes.
Boyle GAA’s ‘Get Active Initiative’ will be launched in King House on this Friday October the 2nd in King House at 7.30 with the ‘Keynote Address’ by nationally known Professor Niall Moyna who articulates “..the greatest health benefits occur when the least active in the population become moderately active”.
It is an open forum with all welcome and admission is free. Those wishing to register on the night can do so. There is an interesting and varied programme in place and it can be sourced by clicking on here

Mick Wallace and NAMA

NAMA as most people would be aware is a juggernaut with extensive powers and a secrecy surrounding it that is hardly tenable in a democratic state. Mick Wallace sounding very well informed indeed, obviously sourcing his information from very Deep Throat subjects, has been highlighting particular aspects of NAMA’S activity in the Dail in recent days. If they are true they are deeply disturbing and will be hugely costly to the state. The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, has been most circumspect with his answers to Deputy Wallace. Perhaps there is a fear that the whole NAMA house of cards will come tumbling down if forensically examined. Perhaps it is not only the NAMA edifice that might come down but that there could be collateral political damage there also. As, to paraphrase the line the Bard gave to his character Marcellus-not Hamlet- Something seems rotten in the state of NAMA.

Boyle Actor Jarlath Tivnan at The Hawk’s Well

Boyle actor Jarlath Tivnan is a busy thespian. Currently he is on a nationwide tour with a leading part in the play ‘Vernon God Little’. This is based on the 2003 Booker Prize winning novel by DBC Pierre. The Australian author is now an honorary Leitrim man having been domiciled in Ballinamore for nearly fifteen years.
The play produced by Decadent Theatre Galway will be in the Hawk’s Well, Sligo on Wednesday October the 8th at 8 pm.
 The Young Vic theatre audience in London voted the original show as one of the top 3 shows of the last twenty five years.
Vernon Little lives in a flea-bitten Texan town, “the barbeque sauce capital of the state”, where his best friend has just massacred sixteen of his classmates. The town wants vengeance and turns its sights on the innocent Vernon who is arrested from the start of the story. As the saying goes - “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” – Vernon hits the road and flees to Mexico pursued by a media circus of outlandish proportions.

The Examiner- Review Comment
“A heart-breaking figure, Vernon is a squirming, bottled up ball of rage and confusion, and he is played with tremendous delicacy by Tivnan, who finds both the spirit and the sadness that engulfs the character.”


**Despite the time of year there is wide canvass of sport to engage the sport’s anorak of which disposition I am a member

County Semi-finals

I quote my friend and fellow Fuerty man Canon Liam Devine who introduced his popular column in the Roscommon Herald this week thus; “There is nothing like a shock result to add spice to the championship. Except, of course, two shock results. That is what happened in the two senior championship semi-finals in Kiltoom last Sunday”.
The victors over Boyle in the quarter finals, Padraig Pearse’s, cruised by Roscommon Gaels who as the current phrase says ‘failed to turn up’. This reinforces Boyle’s sense of loss.
Clan na Gael could have had no sweeter victory than their defeat of five times in a row champions and keen rivals St. Brigid’s. St. Brigid’s have been great champions and have achieved the ultimate club accolade with their winning of the All-Ireland Club title in 2013. They have played an awful lot of football in the last decade. So it will not be surprising if a number of the team which were instrumental in all that call it a day. Their challenge now is to re-build and see if they can challenge next year.
It was a bitter-sweet victory for former St. Brigid’s goalkeeper Shane Curran. Still it is a considerable achievement for a character who is often dismissed as a kind of a clownish figure in Roscommon sport. Not by me I might add. So the county senior final will have two Curran managers on opposite sides as the Dublin man Paul Curran manages St. Brigid’s.

Roscommon Team Management

An impressive group are being put in place to take on the management of the Roscommon senior footballers ongoing. These include Kevin McStay, Fergal O’Donnell, Liam McHale, David Casey, Stephen Bohan. There is a considerable Boyle input there. They all have varied managerial experience with Fergal being here before and also managing the county minors to All-Ireland success in 2006 assisted by Stephen Bohan. Kevin McStay of course managed St. Brigid’s to their All-Ireland club success. He is an honorary Roscommon man at this stage and it good to see that we have so much Roscommon input into the management. I was never a real fan of the long distance manager. As a lot of people will be aware there is a wealth of very good young players in the county at present and it is vital that their potential is harnessed to the best possible extent. I am confident that this group will do that and I wish them well. This will raise considerably the interest and enthusiasm of Roscommon’s dedicated support and we look forward with a degree of optimism to the coming three/four/five years.

***Mayo’s Management Crisis

News is just emerging of a crisis in the Mayo team management with a vote of no confidence by the players in the current management who have been there for just one year. In this year they reached an All-Ireland Semi-Final, losing out to the eventual winners and but for various tricks of fate they could be have the ultimate winners. This is very serious issue for a proud football county and will leave a legacy whichever way it is ultimately patched up. I imagine that the players vote was hardly unanimous. The brother of one of the managers is also the County Chairman which adds to the difficulty.  A potential management team will be very wary of taking on the challenge in this divisive atmosphere.

Fuerty in County Intermediate Final

I have the possibility of  being a supporter of a county title-winner still as Fuerty take on Michael Glavey’s in the Intermediate Final on Sunday in Strokestown at 3.30. My family in Castlecoote have traditionally been associated with Fuerty football and Athleague hurling for generations. The area has two hurling  teams Athleague and Tremane while the Fuerty side of the parish was more taken with  football. Trying to juggle the competing interests of dual clubs has been an ongoing challenge. Fuerty got to the All-Ireland Junior final in 2013 at Croke Park which was a huge day for the club. They lost that to Kildare champions Two Mile House. Fuerty were once a force in Roscommon senior football winning senior championships in ’29 and ’34. My father was a member of those teams. The club got a huge lift from the Mulhern family in 2001 when they were looking for a field to buy as their grounds. Brian Mulhern, who was home from New York, was asked if he would sell the club a field which he owned. He said that he would not sell it to them but that he would ‘give it’ to them in memory of his recently deceased wife Margaret . Brian himself was to die, a young  man, before the official opening of ‘Mulhern Park’ in 2006. Fuerty club has progressed a long way in the short number of years since then and Brian Mulhern’s generosity is key in that.
It is over eighty years ago since Fuerty played in senior football but maybe by Sunday evening the dream of a return to it will be realised.

P.S. A Boyle connection with the Fuerty team is player Séan Melia N.T. of St. Joseph’s National School, Boyle.


Some Games

Boyle Seniors in O’Rourke Cup League Semi-Final
Boyle Seniors will take on Roscommon Gaels in the O’Rourke Cup Semi-Final at Boyle on Saturday evening at 5. Sorry I don’t know if Boyle has ever won the O’Rourke Cup (‘Could do better’). So it would be a considerable achievement to do so.  The winners play St. Brigid’s. Because of that I imagine the final will be not be delayed.
Boyle Juniors had a very nice and comprehensive win, with stretched resources, on a lovely Sunday morning, in the Abbey Park. It is to the credit to the management of Aidan  Lavin and David O’Connor that they have achieved what they set out to do and fulfilled all their fixtures to date despite the limited numbers available.
It was something to see referee Turlough Bruen with a full set of officials also present including St. Ronan’s stalwart Patrick McTiernan. Patrick is now making waves as a referee himself, taking on board all the advice he had liberally given to referees himself during  a distinguished playing career.
I believe that some members of the Ladies Club had an enjoyable trip to a Seven’s Tournament in Dublin recently.

World Cup Rugby

There has been a couple of roller coaster games in the Rugby World Cup to date. The stand out one was Japan’s victory over South Africa which I referred to last week. Last Saturday evening provided a second with the victory of Wales over England. England dominated the game for the most part but two crucial errors of game management cost England a draw at the least. One was in terms of substitutions and the second was the decision was not to go for a penalty kick which would have given them a draw at least. It shows that even at the highest and most professional level huge errors are made. This now means England have to defeat Australia on Saturday evening at 8. The spectre of England, the host nation, having their participation in competition terminated with the group stages will be pretty devastating for the hosts. So Saturday evening is a real test for them as the group of death (sport’s wise) lives up to its label.
On Sunday Ireland play Italy at 4.45. Ireland has had an easy run so far. This will be a tougher assignment but they should be able to cope. Their last game is against France probably to avoid New Zealand in the quarter finals.
We are approaching the business end of the competition.

Champions League

If the England rugby team are in a serious position regarding qualifying for the play-offs then this is replicated by the major English soccer teams. A couple of years ago I felt that the Champions League was the T.V. series of the winter. But now it is turning into a damp squib. The Supermarket ‘buy a team’ philosophy has hit the wall and I imagine that support for teams will wane. Once a casual viewer like myself would see a number of Irish players participating or know a good number of the English/Scottish/Welsh team-members of the top clubs. There was a number of years ago a short lived effort to restrict the number of ‘foreign’ players on a team. Teams sometimes field now with no English player. This, on imagines would reduce the interest. Anyway, like the English rugby team, it could be a short European season for a number of these clubs.
P.S. I am told that Sean Purcell is on the Connacht soccer team playing this week-end. I remember Sean captaining an Irish U 16 soccer team which defeated (I think) England at Flancare Park, Longford circa 2001.                                  









Thursday, September 24, 2015

Update 25th September

Flags and Proclamations
“Maybe we should let the past be a foreign country” was the sweeping headline of a Brendan O’Connor critique on current and pending commemorations and celebrations of the 1916 -1922 period in Irish History. I imagine that it was a kind of Devil’s Advocate approach. But there is a proverb from somewhere that says; ‘Where everyone thinks alike nobody thinks very much’. Brendan enunciated concerns which I would have myself about next year’s Easter 1916 commemorations especially, going, in ordinary parlance, ‘over the top’. There is no commentary that I see suggesting that this o.t.t. approach might be quite dangerous. The 50th Anniversary commemorations/celebrations (which of those is the appropriate word?) in 1966 was a very broad and unquestioned commemoration. Though from memory that is not fully true. A Jesuit priest named Father Shaw wrote a strident contra to the P.H. ‘blood sacrifice’ philosophy for the Jesuit magazine ‘Studies’. The Editor did not publish it then but held it back for a number of years before it was eventually published. 1966 was immediately before the troubles exploded in Northern Ireland and possibly contributed to them which led to thirty plus dark years there. The situation in Northern Ireland is still fragile as we can see and the Centenary celebrations next year will be looked at in a very different light by around 50% of their people. A certain percentage of people in the Irish State  will also be uncomfortable with it all for a variety of reasons.

Schools in 1966 also got a copy of the 1916 Proclamation and some students may remember having to learn the text of it off by heart, in some cases in Irish also. This is happening again next week with army officers calling to all schools presenting them with a copy of the Proclamation and an Irish flag.
I have mentioned before the texts of National Anthems and how little heed we pass on their words as we rattle them off in Croke Park or wherever. The proclamation begins; “In the name of God and the dead generations from which she receives her old traditions of nationhood, Ireland through us summon her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom.”  This is stirring rhetoric continuing Pearse’s oration tone at the grave of O’Donovan Rossa.  Then there is the demand that; “The Irish Republic is entitled to and herby claims the allegiance of every Irishman and Irishwoman” a pretty big claim. In paragraph four it articulates the worthy sentiment of “cherishing all the children of the nation equally”. After one hundred years how do you feel that aspiration has progressed?
 The document is of its time and history. My question though, echoing Brendan 0’Connor; Is it appropriate that Irish Army officers visit all the national schools in the country and bring this document to those schools, for public display I imagine, possibly for the indoctrination of very young and impressionable children? 

The flag is a different symbol and we use symbols all the time. It is a country’s most important symbol. I have written a note before on the lack of respect that is often shown to the national flag.  Its appropriate display is a good thing. (Other countries have the flag very visible in their society as in the USA for instance). There are protocols with its display regarding time of day, its position relative to other flags, not touching the ground, and so on.

Once I visited Bushmills, a small tourist destination not far from The Giants Causeway in Antrim. It must have been around the Marching Season and the town was festooned with Union Jacks. I found the degree of this unsettling in a town with many visitors from a different background.
Illustrating Brendan O’Connor’s piece was an official Government picture taken at the removal ceremony for Thomas Kent at Cork Prison before his state funeral at St, Nicholas Church in Cork for reburial in the family cemetery. Thomas Kent had been executed in Cork shortly after the Easter Rising after an engagement with the R.I.C. and he is thereby linked with those executed as a result of the Rising. The ceremony and funeral was broadcast live on RTE 1.
I am struggling really to enunciate clearly my feelings on these events and those to come. What I would hope for would be moderation, dignity and an understanding that not everybody wants to flaunt the green flag in commemorating/celebrating this complex period of Irish history. 
(Brendan O’Connor Sunday Independent September 20th page 28 Comment & Analysis)

The Fennelly Commission. Interim Report (n) and (o) Summary and Conclusions.
It is a bit odd that, on one of the Vincent Browne programmes, two politicians, one of them Eamon ó Cuiv, admitted that they had not read The Fennelly Report into issues including the ‘retiring’ of the former Garda Commissioner,  Martin Callinan. They would probably have got away with reading the summary that I have nominated as a heading above.  Anyone interested who is reading this can access the Report online.  I went to the trouble of reading the summary. One of the issues much debated is whether the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, orchestrated the removal of the Garda Commissioner. You can make up your own mind from Mister Fennelly’s carefully couched language.
Terms of Reference      1 (O)
1.       The event which precipitated the (Garda) Commissioner to retire on the 25th of March 2014 was the visit of the Secretary General of the Department of Justice to his home late on the night of Monday the 24th March to inform him that the Taoiseach …….
20……would not be in a position where he might not be able to express confidence in the Commissioner…
21. The Commissioner interpreted this  as..(time to go). His request for a stay of a couple of months was denied.

The Taoiseach has emphasised that he did not seek to remove the Commissioner.
From the summary contents of the Fennelly Report this stretches credibility. It may not be up there with Gerry Adams saying he was never in the I.R.A.  but from a Taoiseach it is discomfiting.   
        
Meeting Long Ago Neighbours
On Wednesday of last week I met up with people who had been neighbours when I was a boy. It was 1959 when the McGuires upped sticks and went to Australia. Australia then was at the edge of the world as we knew it. They had an ‘American style Wake’ only this time it was farther, Australia. The message behind ‘Wake’ was that we would not meet again. The world has changed since then of course but we were not to know that then. I was at that ‘Wake’ and to me as a boy it was just a rare party. It was a decade when people came and went and the railway stations, many small ones now long closed, were then busy locations. I still have a tough brown suitcase salvaged from that time.
On Wednesday night I heard some of the background to their emigration decision. Some members of the family were already dispersed to New York, London and Australia. The parents had actually been in the States in the twenties but were encouraged to come home to take over the farm. However while the father was comfortable with that Mrs. McGuire had seen New York and was not for staying down on the farm. So after the Christmas of ’59 they started on their odyssey taking the boat from Dun Laoighre to Holyhead and the train to Euston. On that same boat, I was told by Jackie, was my sister Carmel returning to Ealing, London where she worked as nurse. The McGuires stayed with a family member already in London and had another leaving party in Hanwell. Then it was that long seven week journey to Melbourne where another family member lived.

The youngest member of the family, Charlie, was my buddy and apparently he got on well. I was on a visit to Australia in 2001 and three members of the family; Ita, Mamie and Charlie made sure to meet me on my first night there. For a number of hours we ‘walked’ in our minds and memories the roads of Castlecoote and adjoining townlands as I relayed the current status of those places. It was obvious but not unusual that the area was frozen in their minds since ’59.
A few mornings later another brother, George I think, who could not come the first night called to the hotel to meet me also. He did not talk much but listened and maybe saw in me a link with his original home. I left an Irish newspaper I still had and I promised to send him a couple of the Roscommon papers after I returned to my own home.
 I encouraged Charlie to write an account of the McGuire lives as I am not aware of much on the Irish –Australian experience before the modern exodus.
Last week’s return to Castlecoote had the air of a swan-song gathering about it as, with other former neighbours of the McGuires, we all swopped stories and memories again and bid our goodbyes.

The All-Ireland Final
Wasn’t it such a pity that the weather was so unkind to Kerry and Dublin and the spectators for the All-Ireland football final? The pitch too became a skating rink, potentially dangerous, due to the rain. Croke Park management will have to see if anything can be done about that regarding the surface. The better team won and could have won by a much wider margin. Their challenge now is to do a double. A disappointed Kerry are likely to intensify their challenge for next year and with the emergence of talent as evidenced by their second successive minor win the material is coming on stream.
The reputation of the Kerry manager, Eamon Fitzmaurice, was seriously dented though with his approach to the game in terms of his team selection and substitutions. The positioning of Gooch Cooper way out the field was puzzling and it was sad to see this great player struggling to achieve shards of his former greatness. Even on the side-line at least one Kerry selector seemed to be at odds with the manager. Still I feel that he will return more determined to succeed. 
It was a poor football and hurling championship. There are a number of rule modifications which are necessary and which should emerge in the pre-convention season.
Another thing, I had a ticket for the Upper Deck of the Davin Stand which cost €80. A lot of people will say weren’t you lucky to have a ticket? However, I could be wrong regarding pricing structure but I believe there is just one price for stand tickets i.e. €80. If that is correct (and let me know if it is not) how could it suggested that a ticket in the upper deck of the Davin Stand could be the same price as one in the lower deck of the Hogan Stand?
     
County Semi-Finals
St. Brigid’s should overcome Clann na Gael and Roscommon Gaels should do likewise to Padraig Pearse’s in the county semi-finals on Sunday next in Kiltoom.

Boyle Week-End Fixtures

The National Automation Limited minors will play St Faithleach's in the Division 2 Championship play-off in Kilglass on Saturday next at 4pm. Your support in this vital game is requested. The Cooney Motors/ Cooney’s Centra Juniors will play Oran in the Junior B Championship at 12 noon on Sunday next in the Abbey Park.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Update 18th September



President Higgins and Social Housing
President Michael D. Higgins is pushing the boat out a little in his recent comments regarding the provision and sale of social housing by local authorities. The comments reflect the current housing provision crisis, especially in Dublin. As many people know a decade or more ago estate builders were obliged, for a short time, to include a number of houses for social provision. This was altered with the estate builders paying the various councils a ‘premium’ in lieu of this provision. Years ago County Councils built ‘council’ houses not only in the towns but in the countryside and I distinctly remember a number of those from my youth. Perhaps there is no crisis in the provision of houses in towns like Boyle, I don’t really know. However the fact is that there are growing numbers of people in very unacceptable emergency accommodation such as hotels in Dublin. There was a huge outcry when Jonathan Corry died in a doorway a short measure from Leinster House late last year. However after an initial effort the crisis continues to grow. I imagine it will be one of the issues in the upcoming election. President Higgins suggested that an apology from a representative organisation of county managers apologise for the lack of provision and their important role in it all. There does not seem to have been much, if any, light thrown on the role of the management in county councils in the imbalanced developments of the building boom which has left a legacy of ghost estates and all that. I doubt if the President will hear that apology from a group who have wielded a considerable and historic influence in services provision at a local level. In fairness while this was a questionable period for the group there have been many distinguished county managers and officials down the years.
The above issue will come more into focus when Ireland’s quota of migrants from the Middle- East begin to arrive in this country. That will pose a considerable challenge for the state agencies. I see that a multi-departmental task force’ is preparing for this event. (This is just one of those task forces that seem to pop up to address unforeseen happenings and emergencies. What they have being doing before that obviously goes on ice….maybe it wasn’t that important).
One of those ‘task forces’ is studying another crisis of accommodation for students in the various third level centres. I have heard tough tales from this arena from the parents of students who struggle to get accommodation in Dublin, Galway and so on. I feel the institutions themselves should be more proactive in this area recognising that they do have some ‘on campus’ provision.    
Small migrant groups have come here before such as the Vietnamese Boat People and after the Hungarian Uprising of 1956 a number of Hungarians sought refuge in this country. I have not heard anything of this event for decades. Indeed at the height of ‘The Troubles’ in Northern Ireland some people from there moved south for safety.

GAA Disciplinary Maze
The GAA Disciplinary Maze has been shown in a very poor light in recent weeks as highlighted by the high profile Diarmuid Connolly affair. This was dealt with in depth by John Greene in ‘Hold the Back Page’ of last Sunday’s Independent and was referred to by Eugene McGee in his column on Monday. Of course Dublin GAA has enormous resources and influence. There were three Croke Park committees involved in the Connolly saga. Pretty impressively, for Ireland, the chain of committees was all able to meet and clear the player to play within a week. This was all remarkably efficient. I seem to remember John Mullane, the Waterford hurler, being sent off against Cork in 2004 which meant he was unavailable to play against Kilkenny in the All-Ireland Semi-Final which Waterford lost. John had accepted his punishment with good grace and it is remembered that he did. Dublin manager Jim Gavin said; ‘We just engaged with the process….’ I suppose that is ok if there is a very obvious injustice done which was hardly the case with Connolly. I am not so sure if Jim Gavin engaged with processes after the Dublin v Armagh challenge game which saw a Dublin player hospitalised.   Leo Keegan apparently suggested later that he-Keegan- manipulated the incident so that Connolly might be sent off. Why he felt the need to be so forthright is questionable, perhaps to win brownie points with the Dubs perhaps.
The reality is that Gaelic football is almost impossible to referee and in close games the referee can often be pointed to as a significant reason why a team loses a game, especially a close game.  While that may be debated for a while, time, the records and history will rarely engage with the referee’s part in the result. Dominck Connolly had a different take on the men in the middle espousing once; “The trouble with some referees is that they don’t seem to care who wins”.
Still the Mullane example stands like a beacon. The realities are that without referees there cannot be games. It takes a lot of courage or a streak of masochism to be one. Many an evening, in a time when the appearance of a referee was irregular, I stood at the Abbey Park gates looking out for the referee and to be relieved at the sight of Michael Higgins approaching.         
Boyle Heartache
Like all the Boyle GAA community I really felt for the Boyle senior team after the team’s aching defeat on Sunday against Padraig Parse’s. I will not indulge in the ‘what ifs?’ with my post-match infallible notions regarding the game. The reality is that the team has been outstanding for a large part of this summer (and there is the league yet to be concluded). They have come on in leaps and bounds since the spring. Many players have progressed considerably and more, over the season and there is none of them who has not had a wow moment in some game or other. They have announced Boyle as a formidable team and a force to be respected in senior football this season. It is some time since that regard has been there for a Boyle senior team. The challenge now is going forward from this much higher platform than say last spring. So I congratulate them and I thank them and their management led by Michael Jordan. I feel confident that those sentiments are shared by the Boyle GAA community.

Sunday’s All-Ireland Kerry v Dublin
This is the pairing that most pundits predicted would be contesting the All-Ireland Final. The expectations are that it will be a close encounter. There have been few really good championship games in both codes this summer. There are many fine footballers on stage on Sunday so if the defensive systems are not over indulged in, then there could be feast of football. Just as well too as ticket prices, even for poor seats, are prohibitive.
I feel that the aristocrats of Gaelic football, Kerry, will prevail. But what do I know? Still in a two horse race I have a chance. I see a keen football brain in a local paper predicted a Tulsk v Oran Intermediate final but both lost their semi-finals. The final now is Michael Glavey’s v Fuerty. It would be something if Fuerty win and return to senior football after eighty years or so. I’d be pretty pleased with that.

Rugby World Cup
It is good to see that TV 3 is really going for broke with its Rugby World Cup coverage as they are showing ALL the games. It will take a while for the competition to get to the real business end or knock out stages but for the rugby nerd it is a feast.

Walker Cup Victory
There was a fine victory for Britain and Ireland in the amateur golf tournament The Walker Cup versus the United States. Ireland contributed half the winning team which was an incredible achievement. This shows the strength of the game in the country. Oddly the tournament has not received the publicity one would have thought in the circumstances.

Boyle, Boyle, Boyle. 
I see from realboyle’s home page there is another Boyle. This is a village in northern Alberta, Canada within Athabasca County.
I remember meeting visitors to the town a few summers ago and they were actually came from another Boyle. Apparently there is a Boyle in the Hollywood Hills!

The Passing Friends
I was out of the country on a short trip returning late last week. As I flicked through the Roscommon Herald, on my return, I was quickly arrested on page three with the news of the passing of a friend of mine from Cloverhill between Roscommon town and Oran. Few if any readers here would have known Christy Hannon. He was highly respected in a number of roles; as a teacher in Roscommon CBS, a contributor to his GAA club Oran and his parish community. He was a dedicated follower of Roscommon GAA and had a wealth of knowledge about it. I was with him only a few weeks ago and though I knew he was dealing with illness issues the notice of his death came as a shock to me.
 
I mention also the death of Terry Greenan in New York. Here was another GAA man. I met him in the summer of 1995 when he organised a trip of his New York club Rockland boys team to Boyle and other locations in Ireland.  This he repeated in August 2000 with a U 16 team thus demonstrating his commitment to Rockland and the youth membership of the club. I found him to be an engaging and energetic individual. I extend my sympathy to his brother Johnny and also to the immediate and extended Greenan family here and abroad.

Sympathy is extended to former Minor Committee official Claire Conway and family, Lisserlough on the sad passing of the late Gerry Conway. Members of the family are players with a number of Boyle youth teams. I knew Gerry a little, years ago, when he visited the Ceili House Bar in the seventies/eighties with his regular friends. I remember him as a quiet unassuming gentleman.

May Christy, Terry and Gerry rest in peace.  

*My mention of Brian Keenan elicited the following interesting response from Christy Wynne which I thought I would share with you:

Christy Wynne / Brian Keenan
 "Reading your oblique view on Real Boyle I noticed your reference to Brian Keenan the writer. Not long ago I had the very pleasant experience of having a drink with the same gentleman. I happened to be on holidays in Dun Laoghaire and one evening I dropped in for a drink to The Graduate Bar on Rochestown Avenue. He was standing on his own in the lounge bar having a drink and as I ordered a Jameson for myself I bid him the time of night and made a casual remark that he reminded me of somebody. He hinted a smile and in his soft Belfast accent simply asked ‘Who’. Would you be Brian Keenan by any chance I said.
That ended the introductions and so began a two hour friendly conversation that became a mixed grill of topics on anything and everything. The story of his four and a half years captivity in The Lebanon was barely touched upon as I thought it too awful a topic for any man to reminisce and talk about. Having read his book ‘An Evil Cradling’ I thought almost unimaginable that any human being could survive such terrible isolation and the feeling of hopelessness that ran through it. The one solitary remark it drew from him was, “The Belfast man is a tough breed and has that iron will that goes with it”.
I mentioned I had had one other near close encounter with him, not in a lounge bar somewhere but in The Church of Ireland in Boyle some years previously at the Arts Festival when he spoke about his life as a teacher in The Lebanon and his captivity there; on that occasion he read extracts from his book, An Evil Cradling. Unbelievably he returned some years later to the same country that had inflicted so much physical and mental cruelty on him. He still loved the country and its people and wished to go back to show he didn’t hold a grudge against them. To meet up with Brian Keenan in such a relaxed atmosphere was a unique experience for me, one I’ll always treasure."

Vincent Browne’s TV Programmes
While I feel that calling the Wednesday night programme a Debate is a misnomer it was nonetheless a good platform for ventilating the issues that obtain in the Roscommon East Galway constituency. It also educated the viewing public in the region and it could contribute to making voters engage more confidently with prospective candidates when the election comes around. It must be said that the contributions by the majority of people were well articulated. I imagine that the programme, along with those from the other constituencies, will provide a dossier for those who need to be informed of those issues.
It is obvious that the anger regarding the A&E in Roscommon is still very real and that the battlefield now has moved just a few hundred yards to the Sacred Heart Hospital.
Boyle had little input with just Eddie Conroy of ‘People before Profit’ contributing.  The usual post -match analysis took place on Thursday with the feeling that the ‘winners’ were Dennis Naughton with a very strong performance and competence in a number of issues and Michael Fitzmaurice in a more general way. Fianna Fail seems to be in a confused state and not having a candidate selected and using this programme as a launch pad was a missed opportunity. 
On the Monday night show the presence of two Mayo politicians and a Galway Senator puzzled viewers. The stand-out speakers were the Editors of the local newspapers.
Tommy Greally and his hotel was an overall winner.



Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Update 3d September

Refugee Crisis

Apparently nobody ever anticipated that such an event would happen as is happening on the borders of Central Europe currently. One might think that with all the research and doctorate theses that this eventuality might have been spotted. Maybe it did of course.

In a Late Review programme last night on TV 3 the various sides of this issue, in as far as it effects Ireland, were put.  A regular reporter Colette Brown was an energetic advocate for the position that Ireland should do much more and allow a much greater number than the proposed 600 entry into Ireland. The second lady was for resisting pressure to allow any significant numbers of these migrants into Ireland at all. A security lady was for Ireland doing much more and that the West must do a lot more as it was the initial actions of the Western powers which accelerated the chaos which now exists in the Middle East and elsewhere i.e. Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and other African countries. The fourth member of the panel, a columnist had a confused analysis of the situation.

What is happening on the borders of the EU is perhaps the biggest challenge which that institution has faced. While the numbers now are large the possibility of a Tsunami of displaced migrants moving west is a very real possibility. The issue seems to be here for the long term. One can hardly blame people for moving to attempt to get a better and safer environment for them and their families. Then once a certain or large number of people are accepted into western European countries it will encourage more to follow suit.

Europe is moving towards a position like the US is with Mexico but on a much larger scale. Will the result be, as Churchill said in a very different context; ‘An Iron Curtain has come down again across central Europe’. Of course one of the real resolutions is in solving of the conflicts in Syria and elsewhere that force such huge numbers to flee. And ‘the West’, in being party to having Humpty Dumpty’ crumble will find it next to impossible to put it together again. This is the legacy of Blair and Bush. Now they might be thinking that Sadam Hussein and Col. Gadhafi were serving the west well and that their war adventures were pretty foolhardy after all, not having the post war famous ‘roadmap’ in place.
  
Of course Ireland has a moral dilemma in how they deal with this since during and after the Famine times huge numbers of Irish people left here and were accommodated in various countries like Britain, the US, Australia and Canada. At the moment Ireland is struggling to deal with this on a small scale with the number of homeless people who presently exist here in what they call ‘direct provision’ and also the position of refugees who have been here for years and have not been processed appropriately. It’s not going to be easy.

The Genius of George Boole

There was a Boyle connection in the RTE 1 programme on Tuesday night which was a biographical tribute to a person I had not heard of before, George Boole. This brilliant mathematician and philosopher born in England became the first Professor of mathematics in 1849 in Queens University Cork later U.C.C. and now NUIC. A retired maths professor at UCC, Des McHale, spoke eloquently of his antecedent in the post. When I heard the name Des McHale a bell rung for me and after a little research I confirmed that he was a Castlebar man and is a brother of Michael McHale who lives in Boyle.

Des McHale apart from being a professor of maths has written numerous books in the genre of ‘Joke Books’ and I remember Bridie giving me one, some time ago now. Anyway Des, as I have said, spoke engagingly about George Boole and his legacy which, apparently, is hugely significant in the computer and mathematics world of today. He then showed a beautiful stained glass window in the college in which George Boole was surrounded by the geniuses’ of his subject. I have the programme taped so I will give my fuller attention in due course.
An earlier programme ‘Recruits’ had Boyle’s Jim Suffin in the group who were training to become members of the Irish army. Fair play to Jim for surviving a really tough training regime. No wonder he is so fit playing for Boyle.

The Banking Enquiry

The Banking enquiry has recommenced today Wednesday with one of its star subjects Michael Fingleton. Michael’s Irish  Nationwide was proportionately perhaps the biggest and most costly failure of the Banking Collapse. Its business model was hugely questionable with Mr. Fingleton the main man at the tiller. He ‘retired’ with a pension pot of over €25 million and near the end got a ‘bonus’ of €1million which he promised to pay back. Today he was unapologetic and stood his ground. And so they come in,  strut their stuff, denying culpability and retire to their villas cosseted by entitlement.

What is it with Enda?

Enda, the Taoiseach, made a rare appearance with a TV inquisitor on Tuesday’s evening news. His own account of his attitude and handling of the termination of the tenure of the Garda Commissioner whenever that was, sounded very hollow and incredible to me.  The fog of spin which surrounds the essentials of truth is wearisome.    

Boyle River Valley

This title has a ring to it naturally pinging on the well know Boyne River Valley. The Boyle version arose in John Mulligan’s column in the Roscommon Herald this week where he suggested a tourism product based on the Boyle River catchment area from Ballaghaderreen to the Shannon at Carrick on Shannon.

When one considers the success of ‘The Wild Atlantic Way’ which was created, as far as I can see, with signage and promotion the idea has merit. It is compact enough and has a wide variety of tourism products of note to offer.

John also referred to ‘the Stables’ in Lough Key Forest Park and their possibilities. This has been referred to before in terms of a Hostel but this notable structure continues to decline and its potential is ignored. It is also sad to see the roofless church alongside the ‘Stable’. One would have thought that it too could have been restored to provide some service or opportunity.                  


This Week End A Hot Blanket of Sport


Dublin  v Mayo A Chance for Redemption

The coming week-end is a sport’s nerd’s Eden. Mayo and Dublin return to a packed Croke Park for the All-Ireland Football Semi-Final. It was pretty amazing that all the tickets were snapped up in a matter of hours like a top concert might be. The Dubs being in situ have an advantage there. I really hope that the nastiness, lack of sportsmanship, and much that was unacceptable will not be repeated on Saturday evening. I doubt one can be confident of that but it is an early opportunity to do the right thing.  

I fancied that Mayo had a few extra pieces in place this year but I am revising my opinion on that and feel that Dublin will prevail even without Connolly on Saturday. And that is not saying that Dublin are the real deal that we might have thought. They have a good squad of players but apart from Connolly and perhaps a couple more they are not star players. The person most satisfied leaving Croke Park on Sunday last had to be Eamon Fitzmaurice the Kerry manager. Kerry look much too good for whoever wins on Saturday evening.

The referee on Sunday last had an impossible task. He gets little assistance from his officials of which there are four umpires and two linesmen. Why the umpires cannot be more engaged is puzzling. Perhaps an idea, which a friend of mine mentioned to me this week, might be a help. He suggested that referees be used as umpires or at least one of the two umpires be a referee. Something has to be done as the structure of the play and the conduct of the games is bringing the game into disrepute and the loyalty of the regular supporter is being tested. I have read a very critical Facebook critique of Gaelic football (by the friend of a friend) as represented by a number of games this summer. I was going to add it here as an appendix but I decided to leave it and see if there is any redemption next Saturday.    

Sunday’s hurling All-Ireland Hurling Final looks like a much more appetising prospect. While Kilkenny are the name team Galway have a good few games and wins over top teams and they look like an emerging top side. The phrase is ‘which Galway will turn up ?’ but this year I think Galway are in with a real chance as Kilkenny are not the team of recent years. Once again it is just a person’s fancy rather that exact science that says who will win. I usually go for Kilkenny but that is going with the stats.


Rugby and Soccer

On Friday evening Ireland play Gibraltar in Faro in Portugal in the European Soccer C’Ships and on Monday they play Georgia in Dublin. The two remaining games are v Germany and Poland in October.
On Saturday Ireland play England in a rugby World Cup preparation match at Twickenham starting at 2.30. The first Irish game of the Rugby World Cup is v Canada on Saturday 19th in Cardiff @ 2.30 !


Boyle Qualify for Senior Football Quarter Finals

(This is in-essence-what I posted on Boyle GAA’s Facebook page on Sunday after Boyle’s qualification).

‘Huge congratulations to Boyle Senior team on their win over Strokestown this evening at Elphin. Boyle 1.11 Str. 1.7. At half time it was B. 0.6 Str.0.2. The early spring training obviously told as all the B. players ran their socks off and Str. could not stay with the pace. The sight of Purcell and McKenna powering forward down the middle leaving the opposition in their wake was a joy. The mobility, tenacity, tackling and skill and especially leadership of and within the team was just great and a credit to all the players and those involved in their preparation led by Manager Ml. Jordan. I was delighted to see Colin Goldrick slot over that late point. Cian McKeon had a fine intro. to senior football. Perhaps B. could have won easier had they gone for points instead of goals but that is for the days ahead. Enda, great goal and great influence in the latter stages, a real presence. Roch Hanmore showed grim determination in a drive along the ground near the stand side. Killian Cox immense. Conor McGowan a huge asset to the side. Ml. Hanmore got through a power of work and if a pedometer was attached it was a marathon or mini mar. Best wishes to those injured this evening. This talented Str. side just were not up to Boyle this evening but they are a side for the coming years. So now Pearse's or Clann. Just a great team/squad/management performance’

P.S. By securing second place in the group they will play in Group ‘A’ next year 2016, This ensures Boyle having senior football for the next two years as in a worst case scenario all that could happen next year is that they drop down to Group ‘B’ again.

      *Boyle have their last group League game on this Saturday evening in Boyle at 6.30 versus St. Faithleach’s. A win here would mean Boyle would play the second or third team to play St. Brigid’s in the O’Rourke Cup Final. So it is the business end of both top Roscommon competitions for the team this year.
     *On Friday evening Boyle U 16 team play Western Gaels in the Division 4 Semi-Final @ Boyle @ 6.30.

And if some of that is not for you, there is always Electric Picnic.