Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Update 17th December

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Picture Names
The 1975 Boyle U16 County finalists with Seamus Sweeney current Chairman of Roscommon County Board GAA.

Back Row: A. Morris/T. Regan/ SEAMUS SWEENEY/ P. Connaughton/ C. McMurrough/ D. Harrington/ J. Cox/R. McLoughlin/ J. Gallagher/ P. Butler/ M. Candon/ A. O’Dowd/ K. Lavin/ F. Harrington/ M. Quinn/ T. Conboy Coach with James Dodd, missing from pic.
Front: G. Murray/ G. Hannon/ J. McDermott/ D. O’Connor/ D. Dodd/ P. Daly/ S. Brennan/ B. Shannon/ B. Gaffney/ M.Martin/ G.Wynne/ S. Daly/ Players missing from this pic. Joe Warde/ Ml. Jordan/ R. Mullarkey.     

Pleasure Ground The Play
A fine crowd attended the Fregoli production of Jarlath Tivnan’s play ‘Pleasure Grounds’ directed by Jarlath’s cousin Maria Tivnan on Saturday night last in St. Joseph’s Hall. The play dealt with the hugely serious issue of suicide. The reaction has been very positive. Understandably Jarlath and Maria were a little wary of how the play would be received in their home town. But the people came and saw an excellent production and performances and left with a good deal to reflect on. It is a huge achievement for Jarlath to write such an accomplished work at first asking. The nuanced script, swaying as it does from light humour to deep despair has been much commented on and the play’s quality is attracting broad attention in a variety of areas.
‘Pleasure Ground’ will tour again in May next year to Letterkenny, Tralee, Longford and return for further performances in Galway Town Hall where it was first staged some months ago. From the reaction it has been getting in Dublin and elsewhere the possibilities for the play should not end there. This cast has been together for a number of years now graduating from NUIG Drama Soc. so there is a great bond between them and this is evident in their empathy on stage. So many congratulations to Jarlath, Maria and to the other cast members and we will watch with interest to see the future course of this fine work.

Brooklyn the Movie
A number of people will have seen the film Brooklyn by now and have been mesmerised by the performance of Saoirse Ronan in the lead role. However there is a strong Boyle/Ballinameen  (being fair!) connection to the film which some Boyle viewers might miss. That connection is musician John Carty who provides much of the traditional musical background to the film. John has a huge national and international reputation as one the top Irish traditional musicians of today. He was delighted to get the call to be part of the film of Colm Tóibín’s novel. Saoirse Ronan has been nominated in the best actress category at the London Film Awards and the possibility is that she will be nominated for an Oscar as ‘Leading Actress’. That would elevate the film and all associated with it, including John, to another level.

So Boyle can add another person to the growing list of people who have been involved in movies from Maureen O’Sullivan, Chris O’Dowd, Paul Young. There are others too such as Paraic Callaghan who, if I remember correctly, featured in a film called Vikings starring Kirk Douglas in the late sixties. ‘Vikings’ was shot in South Galway and along the Shannon river. Many UCG students of the time took part and were bused out from the city to the filming locations. It was a pretty hectic and memorable summer in the City of the Tribes. I may be clutching at straws here but there was at least one local person who participated in the excellent film ‘Saving Private Ryan’ with Tom Hanks in the lead. I seem to remember Ian Cooney arriving in the Abbey Park a little late for a St. Michael’s game. He was part of the FCA units who took part in the film. If I am missing out on anyone please let me know. Of course a lot of Boyle people can put their participation in the Moone Boy series on their cvs’ now.       

Mentioning films one has to feel to feel for the owners and all associated with the Cineplex in Carrick –on-Shannon which has had to close for nearly two weeks now at the height of their busy season due to the floodwaters. It is said that the resultant costs will be in the region of €50,000 to the company. The cinema in Carrick is a state of the art one and within twenty minutes of us in Boyle. It provides a fine choice of the best of the current movies on show as well as beaming high class musical events from live shows in New York to the cinema screen. An example of this was when Chris O‘Dowd and James Franco stared in the play adaption of John Steinbeck’s  ‘Of Mice and Men’ on New York’s Broadway and it was beamed to Carrick Cinema which a lot of Boyle people attended.
The most recent film I saw there was ‘Black Mass’ about the notorious Boston Irish-American criminal Whitey Bolger. And this week they were to screen a real blockbuster in ‘Star Wars’. I really hope that the Cineplex gets back to business again and that it gets the support it deserves.

Congratulations to Seamus Sweeney
I wish to heartily congratulate Seamus Sweeney from Brislagh now resident in Croghan on his elevation to the position of Chairman of Roscommon County Board of the GAA. Seamus was student in St. Mary’s College in the seventies and was on a fine Boyle U 16 team which lost in the County Final of 1976 to Western Gaels. The star player then for Western Gaels then was Michael Finneran from Balinagare. Michael was probably the most gifted natural footballer, as a teenager, that I have seen. He played minor and senior Connacht Championship games on the same day.
Anyway Seamus has done great work with the county development squads and the fruits of this work is evident in the number of fine young players in the county at this time. Seamus has been Vice-Chairman of the County Board for the last five years with Micheal Fahey as Chairman. Seamus showed that he reflected the majority view of the supporters when he, as incoming Chairman, suggested to the then county senior coach, John Evans, that it was time for a change.
The last Chairman from the Boyle Club was Micheal O’Callaghan. Previous Chairmen have been: Micheal Fahey/ Michael McGuire/ Tommy Kenoy/ Stephen Banahan/ Phonsie Tully/ Michael O’Callaghan/ Dr. Donal Keenan/ Dan O’Rourke/ Dr. Hugh Gibbons/ Dan O’Rourke. Taken all in all Seamus joins a pretty formidable and distinguished grouping which includes two GAA Presidents in O’Rourke and  Keenan and a possible third in Micheal O’Callaghan but for his early demise.
So congratulations to Seamus and we wish him the very best in his endeavours. I know he will give it his best shot.  

The Writer William Trevor
I mentioned recently the deaths of a number of Ireland’s great writers McGahern, Heaney and Friel suggesting that while their loss would be incalculable there were still many highly regarded living and active Irish writers. Amongst them is William Trevor and the reason I refer to him here is to mention his connections to this region. William Trevor’s father, grandfather and great-grandfathers were all natives of Croghan. William Trevor is the ‘nom de plume’ for William Trevor Cox, who was born in Mitchelstown, Co. Cork in 1928. His great grandfather was Mark Cox and he lived at Knockroe later moving to the adjacent townland of Killappoge and a house called ‘Millbrook’.  The landlord family in the area then were the Lloyds. The fortunes of this family in the C19 and C20th century are recalled in many of Trevor’s ‘big house’ stories such as ‘The News from Ireland’. In early days many of the Cox family went to school in Bishop Hodson Grammar School in Elphin. Bill, Trevor’s father went to a business school in Dublin and started work with The Bank of Ireland in 1913. The job meant numerous relocations and William Trevor Cox was born in Mitchelstown in 1928. He attended boarding school in Dublin and graduat4ed from Trinity College in 1950. He emigrated to England in 1954 and settled in Devon. He made a reputation as a novelist, playwright and particularly as a short story writer. One of the elder statesmen of the Irish literary world, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest contemporary writers of short stories in the English language.
He has won the Whitbread Prize three times and has been nominated five times for the Booker Prize, most recently for his novel ‘Love and Summer’ (2009), which was also shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2011. His name has also been mentioned in relation to the Nobel Prize in Literature.
One of his early stories was ‘The Ballroom of Romance’ which became a well- known Irish film starring Brenda Fricker, Mick Lally and John Kavanagh. I became aware of William Trevor Cox’s link to the area around six years ago and wrote to him and sent him a collections of items publicising the area and he kindly responded with thanks. He was a friend of Kenneth Stewart of Carrick Road, Boyle from his early days and maintained contact with Kenneth and his wife Ingrid down the years.


Wren Boys Day Came Early
I felt it was a bit a time warp when I heard some singing at the door a few nights ago. When I opened the door, there were three boys singing ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’. They were certainly getting off the mark early. Maybe they are set to extend the St. Stephen’s Day franchise or perhaps it was just a rehearsal!

‘Documentary on One’ at 2 on Saturdays
I meant to mention this last week. I tuned into the ‘Documentary on One’  on Saturday December 5th and listened to an intriguing story with the title ‘The Case That never Was’. It involved the story of a Polish labourer Bogdan who was supposedly the litigant in a European Court case against the Cypriot Government by an international recruitment company headed by an Irishman. It was dealing with levels of social insurance payment or some such. It was pretty complicated but intriguing stuff. Referred to the European Court of Justice, the outcome could change EU labour law for millions of people. The only problem? The worker 'taking' the case knew nothing about it.

Connacht Rugby Woes
The game of rugby continues in the spotlight regarding its physicality and rate of attrition. Last week-end 18 Connacht players were reported as being unavailable because of injury. Also I saw a reference to the number of Kerry GAA players who were injured requiring serious medical intervention. It is a long way from John Joe Nerney’s time. He said to me once ”All we ever got was a sore knee. We didn’t know anything about all those hamstrings and things.”

Sport’s Withdrawal Symptoms
It is rarely ever mentioned but it many sports people, especially those who have played at a high level, have issues when the time comes for them to quit. I have been told of a Leitrim legend, in his senior years, having tears in his eyes as he left the field of play after his last club game. As I said I do not hear much if any discussion about this. Recently I was in the company of the famous Galway hurling captain from their All-Ireland win in 1980 when the topic did actually come up. He said that they have formed an Association in Galway for former county players from all grades and codes to act as a resource of camaraderie for such players. I thought it an interesting topic and an interesting initiative.                   


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