Chicago Tribune Front Page Headline
The Chicago Cubs finally broke the 108 year old hoodoo by taking the 2016 World (Baseball) Series in the final moments -almost- of the 7 game series in the opposition city of Cleveland on Thursday morning Irish time. It was one of the most dramatic finales ever to a World Series tiebreaker. It is as if the whole series has been following a script from early games when Chicago struggled and were led after four games by Cleveland 3 Chicago 1. So Chicago were left with a mountain to climb and had to win the last three games to take the title with the finishing games away. (It is well to note that it has been a real long time since Cleveland also won a World Series or since that city won any other sporting national title so it is hard for them.) Still it was mostly about Chicago and ‘the curse of the Billy goat’ which I will give a few lines to as an epilogue.
I have been tuned into this epic since the start through various sources and it really took off for Chicago in game six where they got one of those magic scores the ‘home run’ in the first inning and led 7 to 0 in the 6th and ran out comfortable winners with an impressive score of 9 to 3. Records fell there in home runs and R.B.I.s i.e. Runs Batted In where the scoring runs are on bases ahead of the batter. People who have played the GAA game of rounders’ will understand all that. So it was all down to the wire and the final game seven. With Chicago again getting off with a homer to lead 1to 0 and after that it 1-0/1-1/2-1/ 4-1 in the 5th/ a Cleveland fight back brought it to 5-3/ but a home run in the 6th 6-3 then 6-4 to the Cubs/ then in dramatic fashion a two run homer tied the game at 6-6 at the bottom of the 9th. And so it was into extra inning but…..just then the rain came and the covers went on. Can you imagine how the fanatic fans of both sides felt. Into the tie-breaking 10th and Chicago scored 7-6 then 8-6 and then it was Cleveland’s turn at bat at the bottom of the 10th and a need to save the game. They brought in a run to make it 8-7 but despite a dramatic effort failed to tie it and Chicago were the champions and the minority Chicago support the stadium erupted as did the crowd back in Chicago watching around Wrigley field and throughout Chicago City itself. The scenes were reminiscent of the Boston Red Sox win in 2004 which ended ‘the curse of the Bambino’ or the best All-Ireland winning supporter celebratory outburst that I have witnessed, that of Clare in ’95. So the Cubs ended the longest drought for a major sporting club in the U.S. After a slow start the series took off ended in the most dramatic and emotional way and the city of Chicago will benefit enormously from it at least in the short term.
This has been the year of the underdog with Leicester incredibly winning the Premiership in England, the Sons of Iceland creating chaos in France, Brexit, Trump, the U.S. winning the Ryder Cup, Oran defeating Four Roads in a replay and so on. Sadly Mayo did not get on the train and are left at the station for another year.
The ‘curse of the Billy goat’ stems from the late forties when the proprietor of a Tavern close to Wrigley Field whose mascot was a goat which he brought to a Cubs game but was ejected and issued a curse (much later withdrawn to little effect) that the Cubs would never win a Series. Many efforts have been made to exorcise the curse but last night put a stake in it. In 2004 the Boston Red Sox did a similar thing with a longer curse which was ‘the curse of the Bambino’ . That followed from the sale by the Sox of the greatest baseball slugger in the game’s history, Babe Ruth. Not only did they sell the Bambino but they sold him to their greatest rivals the New York Yankees who dominated the game with Babe Ruth on their team.
The Mayo GAA curse stems from the notion that the celebrating Mayo winning team of ’51 disrespected a funeral and that the officiating priest said that Mayo would never win a senior All-Ireland until all members of the team were deceased. Like nearly everybody I put no credence in this yarn. There are just two members of that winning team alive.
Another curse was Biddy Earley - a witch in Clare-on the Clare hurling team not winning All-Irelands. It was nonsense since Biddy had been around decades before the GAA was founded.
Mention of a Billy Goat I remember Dr. Hugh Gibbons telling me that the U.C.G. Sigerson team brought a Billy Goat as a mascot to the Sigerson finals in Belfast in the 30s’.
The Irish Rugby team are in Chicago as they are playing New Zealand in Soldier Field (another iconic ground and home to the Chicago Bears football team…remember the ‘refrigerator’) on Saturday at 9 pm Irish time.
(Have we any Chicago-Irish- readers?)
Hold the Back Page Sunday Independent
I often mention Gurteen man Eamonn Sweeney’s Sunday Independent ‘Back Page’. Last Sunday’s included an excellent piece on the issues of club players and the way they are treated in terms of lack of games for long periods and then a surge of games in a short space of time and so on. This was exemplified by the experience of Kilmore in the Connacht Intermediate C’Ship first round. I hope the Club Players Assoc. gets traction though it will be difficult to establish momentum and maintain it.
Eamonn’s piece should be helpful to it.
Eamon had a lovely sardonic piece on the FAI president resigning from the IOC committee ending with that great Wilde quote ‘you’d need the heart of a stone no to laugh’.
It was also something reading Dermot Crowe’s column and the sentiments he quoted from Aogan O Fearghail as he wails basically, ‘ I feel your pain!’. Being the top man you could say to him ‘can you do more about it then and do a bit pain management for yourself’.
The Cathal McCarron piece by Paul Kimmage painted some dark pictures. I had heard a little about it but not nearly as much as that contained in the piece which used some material from McCarron’s book with Clare’s Christy O’Connor titled ‘Out of Control’ . Mc Carron certainly went to some dark places. I hope he comes through. It is something that he has stuck with the football in a kind of redemptive way.
Garda Numbers on the Beat
On Friday 4th the Gardaí go on strike. They do not call it that of course. I happened to overhear a contributor to the Joe Duffy show during the week on issues related to the dispute. His name was Michael Noonan, no not THE Michael Noonan. He was talking of Garda boots/shoes on the ground and referenced being present in a Dublin court and seeing the number of Gardaí there giving evidence, partaking and basically being tied down for days on end in that process. Then he went along the route of the numbers off as per rotas/rosters, the numbers out through illness, leave, holidays, the numbers tied up with administrative work in police stations and so on. So in fact while we may have a Garda force of approximately 12,000 the numbers actually ‘out there’ as it were at any one time is but a fraction of the actual total number. I have never heard any reference to such a breakdown. I imagine it would be interesting and telling.
Japanese Knotweed Information Evenings
On page 10 of the Roscommon Herald there is information on a subject I mentioned here some time ago to with information seminars on Japanese Knotweed. Roscommon County Council is running two free workshops on the issue one on Tuesday Nov. 8th and the second the following day Wed. 9th at the Council Offices in Roscommon town from 7 pm to 9.30 pm.
Church of Ireland Supper Social
The annual social takes place on Friday the 4th in the Saddlers Inn with music by Sean Brennan.
The U.S. Election
It has been one of the most bruising, damaging, wearing and at this point wearying elections in U.S. electoral history. I do not want to say too much about it at this stage. Most everything has been said. Millions of people throughout the world, not just the U.S., are watching and waiting for the result and are very nervous about it.
The Dublin Marathon
One can only commend all those thousands who participated in last Sunday’s Dublin City Marathon which was a magnificent spectacle. It is a real test of character as well as being a huge physical test. I liked the quote of Dorothy Shannon (King House Tearooms) who completed the Marathon. It was posted here on realboyle a few days ago. It went “There will be days when I don’t know if I can run a Marathon … There will be a lifetime knowing that I have !”
I know a few Boyle people who completed the run on Sunday and I say ‘fair play to you all’. It was a real achievement. I was excited and delighted to be there to witness it on a beautiful day with a marvellous atmosphere. And there is incredible video material to remember it with along with the medal of course. In watching marathons I remember John Joe Nerney who participated in six -I think- when he was a senior runner. I may get back to the run next week.
P.S. This Thursday night there was a great line up of sports people and ‘dignitaries’ out to honour Rob Heffernan getting his London Olympic Bronze medal for the 50 K. walk in Cork City Hall. His upgrade from 4th resulted after the Russian gold medal athlete was disqualified for doping offences. It is a unique event that an Olympic medal is being presented in Ireland. It a fine and just reward for a great Cork athlete, for his supportive wife, family and friends.
Christmas is coming and……This is not the first of that season's greeting but in conversation with a friend I decided to mention a few people who are in distant places this week. First of all Niamh Brennan has been mentioned by an Innisbofin colleague who told me Niamh was ‘coming home for Christmas’ accompanied by her Kiwi partner Phil so Niamh I might do a Bord Failte thing by including a few New Zealand questions in the Christmas Quiz. Now if the All Blacks hammer us in the two upcoming tests I’ll have to review the situation!
In Dubai there are Megan Morris, Aoife Brady and long-term resident Niall Nangle.
New Zealand; Niamh,
Australia; Ciaran Conlon/ Paraic Sweeney/ Conor Nangle/ Enda and Emer O’Callaghan/ Seamie Gallagher/ Damien Keenehan/ Ciaran Keenehan/ Joan O’Gara her mam and all the O’Gara family and honorary Boyle man Sean Casey. Miss Egan from Green St.
The U.S.; Damien Dooley/ Frankie Flaherty/ Marcus Kennedy/ Joseph Mahon/ Brendan O’Callaghan/ Chris O’Dowd/ Austin and Paraic Beisty/ The Spellman family x Forest View/ Pat and Margaret Lavin also x Forest View now.
Canada; Tadgh Egan/ Sean Mullaney/ Brian and Jake McCrann/ Miss Compton/ Dearbhaile Mac Namara.
England; Caoimhin Young/ Killian Egan/ John Harrington, quiz winner 201x/ Paddy Conlon/ Gary Tiernan
Germany and Belgrade; The Gannon family.
Scotland; Liam Young/ Rory Nangle.
Spain; Conor Tivnan/ Sean Young and family. John & Joan Gallagher and family
South Africa; Carmel Finneran.
The above is only my stab at it. I am certain that there are many not listed, perhaps in other exotic places. Maybe we can get a kind of inventory as to ‘where in the world’ there are Boyle people residing at this time.
Cian Smith and his wife Michelle on their wedding last weekend. It was a great occasion and reports from Kilronan Castle suggest that it was an event thoroughly enjoyed by all present. So very best wishes to you both.
Diarmuid Sutton son of Boyle GAA activist Leonard and wife Dara-on Diarmuid’s swimming wins in recent weeks. It is very rare for Boyle to feature in swimming acknowledgements.
Cian McKeon, Boyle, accepts his award for Gaelic Sport 2015-16 from the authorities of Cavan Institute recently
To Sean Purcell and especially Cian McKeon on being selected on a Roscommon People ‘GAA Team of the Year’. While Seanie has been a consistent fine performer for Boyle for a number of years the emergence and progress of Cian this year has been very, very, impressive. He was also awarded the Cavan College Sports Achiever of the year for 2015-16.
To Dessie Carlos on reaching the Dublin Senior Football C’Ship Final with Castleknock taking on St. Vincent’s which will be played on Saturday the 5th in Parnell Park at 3 o clock. So if you are a Roscommon person living in Dublin there are at least four strong links to the Castleknock team.
The best of luck to Boyle Musical Society who present the musical ‘Hairspray’ starting Wednesday 16th until Sunday the 20th in Boyle. It is always a show worth seeing/hearing and I am sure we are in for another treat this year.