Friday, March 11, 2016

Update 11th March

****N.B. If you are travelling to the game in Letterkenny on Sunday allow plenty of time as there are major, time-delaying, road works between Donegal town and Ballybofey.

Roscommon three in a row
Roscommon 1.12 v Down 0.6 at Longford.
Three wins in a row now for Roscommon and against names with real pedigree, Kerry, Cork and Down. Down really played to form in that they are but a shadow of the Down teams one expects. On a good day I would make a shot at naming the full Down team from 1960 and the changes for ’61. I would name perhaps two players from their current squad. Like a good few Roscommon supporters I was a bit embarrassed in having to go outside the county to play a county senior game. I do not know what the issue is that has made Hyde Park unplayable but if the Mayo and Dublin games have to move it will be very serious indeed. I see a number of references to this in the Roscommon People and for the first time the business interests in Roscommon town rightly expressing their frustration.
The Longford pitch was no Wimbledon either but then beggars and all that. It is lucky also that it was not really raining since the stand was closed. A lot of negativity there.       
Anyway on Sunday Roscommon had to put in a workmanlike performance which saw them pull away to a comprehensive win in the end. There was a slow start and the champagne football of the Cork game was missing but then we had enough for two games there. Roscommon led by 7 points to 4 at half time with Ciaran Murtagh responsible for 4, two of them frees. Down managed just 2 points in the second half while Roscommon kept the scoreboard ticking over slowly and it was the goal, from a penalty, at the end which locked the door. Again it was the two Creggs, Fintan and Cathal along with Ciaran Murtagh who stood out up front. Ian Kilbride put in a lot of work at midfield while the Roscommon full back line with McDermott and Collins driving forward.  Sean Purcell marshalled the half back line excellently and Davy Murray is really getting about the field with great energy. Obviously the fitness levels in the Roscommon team are at a high.
Next Sunday is a really stern test and if Donegal continue the physicality they adopted v Kerry it will be a real challenge to a Roscommon side which is lighter and more reliant on mobility as a weapon than physical challenges.
As the jockey answered when asked which fence he feared most in the Aintree Grand National course, “Always the next one”.   

Healy Renua
It was tweeted that the only Renua TDs elected were the Healy Reanuas. They certainly confuse me and what I might feel as being appropriate for our national parliament. However the Kerry electorate ‘have spoken’ and are comfortable with the growth of a very different brand of political dynasty in Michael and Danny Healy Rea being backed up with two siblings ‘seconded’ to Kerry County Council as their substitutes. That Danny Healy Rea should decide to give a recital of traditional music on the steps of Leinster House was like a scene from the film ‘Far and Away 2’.   

Searching for a Government
52 new TDs began their career today and the suggestion that ‘a new way for doing politics’ got a quick shift when the parties began nominating ‘their’ people for the position of Ceann Comhairle. The Fianna Fail spokesman seems to be Dara Colleary. Now I am always hoping for a Mayo All-Ireland win when they are thereabouts and number many Mayo people as friends but I hope somebody tells Dara that he is in danger of becoming an Enda heavy with the potential opprobrium that can follow.
The present political circus has political observer/commentator Noel Whelan - just as I write- giving me the line; “We are seeing the most cynical and disingenuous political manoeuvring seen for a long time”      

Kieran Emmett Concert.
On Friday night the 4th there was a very enjoyable concert remembering Kieran Emmett who died ten years ago. There was a full house in the Saloon of King House and a very good atmosphere as a variety of performers did their piece with many of them recollecting Kieran with anecdotes reminiscing on a larger than life character. Bernie Flaherty and Joe Kennedy introduced the evening followed by a set from a very relaxed Charlie McGettigan now living in Drumshambo where Kieran held court on many occasions. Long-time friends, members of the Finn family from Ballymote, Tommy on banjo and Mary on accordion accompanied by Fiona Doherty on fiddle and bodhran and bones maestro Junior Davey performed a very well received set. Frankie Simon accompanied by Sarah Egan closed the first half with Frankie exhibiting his huge and innovative talent on the guitar.
The second half commenced with an excerpt from Boyle Community Radio in 1983 where Kieran gives an entertaining take on his world. Hearing his voice was a nostalgic and emotional reprise and one felt his spirit through the evening. Fermanagh singer Rosie Stewart who would have met Kieran many times at Drumshambo’s Mooney Summer School        
Followed with a three songs including one sparkling with humours. From Oldcastle in Meath came the Farrelly brothers Brendan and Ollie accompanied by Willie Cryan from Carrick-on-Shannon and Boyle’s fine singer Francis Gaffney with his telling rendition of the fate of the North-West explorer, Franklin. Members of the Emmett family Paul and Brendan closed the concert accompanied by friends Noel Carberry from Longford and Ml. Banahan from Kilteevan. The concert was brought to a close with the group performing a tune composed by Kieran himself called ‘Down in the Hollow’.
The concert was very well received and many of the participants retired to Dodd’s Bar for more music and reminiscing. There was an epilogue on Saturday with sessions in a number of bars particularly in Lavin’s, The Moylurg and Dodd’s.

The Shankhill War of Independence Memorial
A bit like the Chieftain on the Curlews the War of Independence Memorial at Shankhill on the road into Elphin is one of the most iconic roadside monuments in this region. I have passed the Shankhill monument many times, surveyed it a number of times and brought visitors to it on occasion. I had it on my list to write a paragraph on it for here but the work was done for me in an unattributed piece in the Roscommon Herald of March 1st page 59. It is getting a facelift for the 1916-2016 Anniversary. Apparently the idea for such a memorial was first mooted in the 30s’ with a committee established in the 40s’ to advance and finance the project. The site was acquired from Padraig Beirne, Shankhill. Fundraising began at home and abroad and the Dublin sculptor Garry Trimble was employed to design and execute the sculpture. It was unveiled in September 1963 by Tom Maguire former Commander of the 2nd Western Division Old IRA. The memorial comprises of a 5.5 m high plinth mounted on which are three 3.6 m. figures representing IRA volunteers. A roll of honour of fallen IRA members from the county is inscribed on a tablet in book form in Irish. The roll in English was added later as was a portrait representing Padraig Pearse.
I remember my Fuerty GAA friend Mickie Connolly fundraising for it in the early sixties. While it is a very visible and worthy record, personally I think it lacks subtlety and represents the memorials of that time in that.                  

Annoying TV Ad
Perhaps it is just me but my contender for the most annoying television ad of the moment is the one featuring ‘Steve and Rachael; Rachael and Steve’ who welcome a new neighbour with “We hope you like Death Metal” and so on. It is a Bank of Ireland ad. Is there some reverse psychology at play here? I think it was Oscar Wilde who said; “There is only one thing worse than being talked about and that is, not being talked about”. So perhaps it is working for Bank of Ireland as this example demonstrates.

Terry Prone
“It has been reported that political advisor and PR guru Terry Prone is taking legal action against BBC’s Graham Norton.
According to the Sunday Independent, legal correspondence has been sent by Prone, through the top legal firm Callan Tansey, over the remarks Norton made to an estimated four million listeners on his radio show on BBC2
TV chat show host Norton accidentally mistook the political advisor for Terry Keane – the girlfriend of former Taoiseach Charles Haughey”.
One thinks again of Oscar Wilde.
There is a phrase which says ‘even Homer nods’ or makes mistakes. He who never made a mistake never made anything, it is said. Apparently the BBC were slow to correct their mistake and apologise so it would seem that this could be the straw.
Brian Dobson apologised on this evening’s (Thursday) news on the double for mixing up the Skylon and Regency Hotels in relation to a prominent news story. Some staff executive had probably read the Sunday Indo.  

Northern Ireland Uisce
Apparently, talking of sensitivity, Northern Ireland ‘bates Banagher’. Some manholes, possibly sourced in Southern Ireland, were used in Ballymena with the dual mandate of Water and Uisce. This has upset a local councillor and he wants them removed. There was a film once, set in West Cork, called ‘Battle of the Buttons’. Talking of Ballymena, which is pretty rare, the council got McDonald’s to change a road sign to their franchise once. The road sign that was used initially was ‘Yield’ as used in the South and they had to change it to ‘Give Way’ which was more Northern Ireland. I would have thought myself that they neither word was in their lexicon.

Cromleach Lodge Shock Closure
I accidentally heard the Joe Duffy radio show being on in the background that the Cromleach Loge Hotel near Castlebaldwin had closed suddenly. A young lady had phoned the Joe Duffy show in distress regarding her wedding reception arrangements there in May. It was obvious from Joe’s reaction that he was pretty shocked himself as he apparently has been to the hotel a number of times and was very complimentary of it. While the wedding of lady who rang the show is in May I imagine that there are weddings booked for over the Easter period and this must pose almost insurmountable alternative arrangements and great distress for the couples involved. This is another classic example of the supposed rising tide not keeping this iconic business premises afloat.

Kilkenny Football
A story doing the smart aleck rounds involves a known Kilkenny hurler playing a competitive football match enquiring when the ball went out over the sideline ‘Do I kick it in or throw it in?’ 


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