Thursday, May 12, 2016

Update 13th May

The play ‘Pleasure Ground’.
I admit to a connection to the principals involved in the play ‘Pleasure Ground’ in recommending you might consider attending it on Saturday night, May 14th, in St. Joseph’s Hall at 8.30.   

Roscommon Political Representation
Congratulations to Deputy Denis Naughten on his appointment as Minister for Communications/Climate Change/Natural Resources. Denis of course is recognised as a very able politician and in a GAA sense he has arrived at this high position ‘through the back door’. It is probably a repatriation to his original roots of Fine Gael and that will make many of his supporters happy that they can return ‘home’ from the twilight zone of being supporters of an ‘independent’ T.D. Of course Denis will courteously deny this for a requisite period. It is interesting that is a big ministry representation from the group who once attempted a ‘heave’ against Enda Kenny. Such are the ways of politics.
Michael Fitzmaurice was obviously close to some post, perhaps a ‘super junior’ ministry, but just missed out because of some intractable issues relating to the turf campaign. It must have engendered some agonising to be so close to such a historic prize which would cap his meteoric rise in politics.   
Old hand now, Terry Leyden retained his Senate seat for another term. Terry loves ‘politics light’ as practised in the Senate and has made a nice career of it. 
Maura Hopkins did very well to top the poll in her panel constituency and so keep her in ‘the game’. It will be interesting to see who Fine Gael will nominate to replace Maura in the Council.
I must admit that I know little of Fianna Fail Senator Dr Keith Swanick. Keith is originally from Castlerea now lives in County Mayo. So Roscommon/East Galway now has three T.Ds. and three Senators.
Dr. Martin Daly did not-obviously- get elected on the NUI panel where three high profile names came to the fore in Michael McDowell, Ronan Mullens and Alice-Mary Higgins daughter of the President Michael D. Oddly I got only one card canvassing my vote and that came from Barry Johnstone who lives in London.

The Good News Story of Lynne Ruane
In the Trinity constituency which elects three senators, there was one of the really good stories with the achievement of Lynne Ruane who came from humble disadvantaged origins in Dublin city, had a difficult childhood but fought back. She was admitted to Trinity as part of an ‘access programme’ and became President of the students’ union there. She has been visible on TV discussion programmes in the last year or so and fought off high profile opposition displacing Sean Barrett as the third Trinity Senator with David Norris and Ivana Bacik.

That time of Year
Most people have a particular time of year that they favour. Perhaps May is one of those. As is evidenced from Sean’s pics on the ‘home page of realboyle' May presents stunning pictures as nature begins to flourish and the colours bloom. Amongst those pictures presented are the annual Derreen Wood bluebells which never looked better, the greening of the trees in an adolescent kind of way as represented by the Forest Park entry picture and the lovely cherry blossoms which always present such photographic opportunities. Then there are as Patrick Kavanagh wrote  “Dandelions growing on headlands, showing/Their unloved hearts to everyone”  

‘I Saw the Light’ - Film.
I visited Carrick Cineplex on Tuesday night to see the film ‘I saw the Light’ because I suppose my music listening journey began to become more circumspect in the mid-sixties when I became the owner of small record player. While The Beatles dominated as they still do I bought an LP titled ‘Hank Williams’ Greatest Hits’. While many people will not be familiar with Hank Williams they will certainly know many of the songs he wrote. Amongst them are ‘Take These Chains from my Heart’, ‘Your Cheatin’ Heart’, ‘I Saw the Light’. He wrote of love, happiness, lonesomeness and misery in a unique Southern US style. I remember being in the Cellar Bar in Galway and a few of us got talking to some people from one of those southern states and someone saying they loved their accents to which one of them replied “And we like the way y’all talk too’. 
Hank Williams when asked regarding his favourite song replied in his quiet drawl “I don’t have any favourite. I reckon a man feels something special for EVERY song he writes”. In a short number of years from the late forties to his death in 1953 he wrote and sang some of the great country music songs.  He had a pretty tragic life with drink, drugs and marital distress but left a legacy that is one of the foundations of a particular genre of music. He has been referred to as ‘the Hillbilly Shakespeare who wrote simple beautiful melodies and straightforward plaintive stories of life as he knew it’.
In the movie, while what music we hear is fine and the performance of English actor (!) Tom Hiddlestone (The Night Manager) is equally so it is an  indifferent film and considering the material it should have been a cracker but its focus is not on the music but on the flawed – drink, drugs, women-genius of Hank Williams. (There was an earlier 1964 film on Hank Williams and his music called ‘Your Cheatin’ Heart with George Hamilton in the lead role).  

RTE One- ‘The Geansie ‘ All-Ireland Winning Speeches.
I was not taken to the title but I happened to watch this programme on Monday evening last. It deals with ‘oblique’ elements of the GAA. On this occasion it dealt with memorable post All-Ireland game speeches and there were a number. It is the dream of many young GAA players to play in an All-Ireland final. It is an even greater dream to captain their county team to victory thus ensuring that they will be the ones to raise the Sam McGuire or Liam McCarthy Cup and giving the acceptance speech. I’ll refer to just a few here. One curious one is that of Kilkenny hurling captain Lester Ryan of Clara in 2014. A Kilkenny youngster has a real chance of lifting the McCarthy Cup of course. The curiosity with the fine speech of Lester Ryan was that there was a video insert of Lester giving a parallel speech, in practise for a Feile event as a ten year old boy!

Sean Og O Hailpin’s stirring speech with references to his journey from Fiji to Cork and from Cork to Croke Park and his salute of ‘Up the Rebels’ as a finale was music to the ears of the Cork supporters in 2005.

In 1995 Clare finally made the breakthrough by winning the Liam McCarthy Cup for the first time in 81 years since 1914. The Clare Captain, Anthony Daly gave a stirring speech to a Clare support whose joy was unconfined. He dedicated his speech to all the great teams of the past who had not been as lucky as they were that day, finishing with recognition of ‘the great Ger Loughnane’. This is probably the game I would most like to have been at, as in emotional terms and what it meant to a county, it could hardly be surpassed and it was capped by Daly’s rousing speech.

Both the speeches of Paidi O’Shea and Dara O’Cinneide as  fior gaelige were able to use the gaelic term Riocht (try pronouncing that) –the kingdom- to effect and as Paidi deliberately and clearly spoke of the pride in bringing the cup back to ‘an Gaeltacht’ and honed in on his very local supporters from the Ventry area of West Kerry.

For us in the west it is the speech of  Joe Connolly of Galway after them winning the 1980 final against Limerick is most significant. It was Galway’s first All-Ireland Hurling title in 57 years (since 1923). The speech is often cited as one of the most memorable of those post-match speeches. Galway had missed out on a win the previous two years so this was their breakthrough year. Connolly, a native speaker, addressed not only those in Croke Park and watching on TV in Ireland but Galway people ‘ar fud and domhain’ and tapped into the joy and pride of those Galway people seeing them succeed in far flung places and being there in spirit. Joe was not the only Galway star on the podium as team-mate Joe McDonagh (later President of the GAA) led the delirious Galway support with ‘The West’s Awake’. 
Two weeks later, in 1980, Roscommon were there for the football final but it was the Kerry captain, Ger Power, who had the honour over Danny Murray. It was mooted then if Roscommon also won that both cups would come to Ballygar for a special western celebration. Alas and alack.

Congratulations to 'Ardcarne Remembers'
To the Ardcarne organising committee of two weeks ago, ‘Ardcarne Remembers (1913-1923)’ commemorative week-end. While I could not attend all of the events I was there on Saturday and really enjoyed the lectures of Luke Gibbons, Turtle Bunburry, Patricia Molloy, Dr. John Morrissey and especially May Moran. Regrettably I missed Kieran O’Connor, Oliver Fallon and Michael McDowell. It presented a broad ecumenical and forensic treatment of the period and it was obviously an emotive occasion for the family connections of those who were central to the remembrance.  

GAA Notes

Boyle Win championship Opener
Boyle 1.12 Castlerea 1.7.
After the deluge of Saturday it was a perfectly lovely day for good football on Sunday in the perfect setting of the Abbey Park. There was not an abundance of ‘good’ football however. While things did not look good after the first twenty minutes when Boyle failed to score they came with a surge to lead at half-time by 1.6 to Castlerea 0.2. Both teams were short quite a number of regular players. Boyle coped better with this deficit. The telling score of the half was a goal palmed to the net by Conor Flanagan. ‘Man of the Match’ Tadgh McKenna had done much of the work for the goal with a strong run along the end line and Flanagan showed good awareness with the finish. Halt time Boyle 1.6 Castlerea 0.2.

Castlerea did come out to more effect in the early stages of the second half and reduced the lead to three points with a goal after 18 minutes and things looked shaky for the home side for a short while. They came good in the final period with fine scores from Michael Hanmore, Jim Suffin and Donie Smith to ease out comfortable winners in the end.

Best for Boyle were Tadgh McKenna who is back to his best with his driving runs forward, Aaron Sharkey, Cillian Cox, Tadgh Lowe, Colin Goldrick and Donie Smith. One caveat regarding Donie. I would prefer to have him closer to goal rather than being in his own half. As the wife of Tom Brady of the New England Patriots exclaimed to critics of Tom, ”He cannot throw the ball and also catch it when he does so”.
Boyle; T. Lowe/A. Sharkey/ K. Cox/ C. Beirne/ M. Hanmore/ C. McGowan/ T. McKenna/ K. Cox/ J. Suffin/ C. Flanagan/ D. O’Callaghan/ G. Gilmartin/C. Goldrick/D. Smith/D. O’Connor with M. O’Connor/C. Beirne/ R. Hanmore   

Hurling League Final
Clare 1.23 Waterford 2.19.  
This was a cracking game of hurling. It looked as if it was Waterford’s win but Clare came with the vital winning scores at the death. The teams meet again in the Munster Championship so another hugely competitive game is in prospect.  

Community Games
Might I commend also Noel Scally and the Community Games Committee for their gallant efforts in running –off the Boyle games in terrible weather conditions on Saturday. Obviously Community Games has contracted a good deal since I was involved over twenty years ago. For me it was a return to ‘the top field’ where I spent many, many, hours during my time at St. Mary’s College. It is a fine sports field now and great recreational resource.   

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