Friday, April 14, 2017

Update 15th April

Some Week-End Fixtures:
The Boyle Celtic v Evergreen Utd. game from last Sunday will be shown fully- I am told - on Eir channel on Sunday next.
Boyle Celtic v Carbury in the prestigious Connacht Cup takes place in Boyle on Sunday next at 2pm.
Boyle GAA Senior team play Oran in the O’Gara Cup at Oran at 11am.
Roscommon Fleadh at Castlecoote this Easter Week-End.
Choices to be made!  

Boyle Celtic’s Special Day in The Showgrounds

While the result and the way of it was hugely disappointing on Sunday last, it was still a very special day for Boyle Celtic in a number of ways. I will not go into the detail of the game since all the local media have given it fantastic coverage again this week and have shown great empathy with the side’s understandable disappointment. So take a bow Martin Wynne, Ian Cooney and the Roscommon Herald and Seamus Duke and the Roscommon People and also John Lynch and Willie Hegarty of Shannonside.  
It was not just a game but a great occasion for Celtic, for the Boyle community and indeed for a regional community. The reports in all the media refer to the great support the team had and the atmosphere that obtained in The Showgrounds on the day. The support, aided by Donie’s and Kevin’s rousing song, tried as best they could to get the team over the line and when that did not happen the crowd expressed their acknowledgement of the teams total commitment and disappointment at its conclusion. The team and management recognised all that and for most of them it was their biggest stage before a most generous audience. While it tried to soothe their disappointment to a point, it also demonstrated what ‘might have been’ had they got to the final. A nice touch at the end was that of the Evergreen captain Holden coming to the Boyle support side at the end, when they were showing their support of the Boyle team, and he acknowledged  the crowd also. I imagine he recognised that the Boyle support had enhanced the atmosphere and made a real occasion of it for the participants of both sides.

This was the biggest support I have witnessed for a Boyle sports team in my time in Boyle and I imagine far beyond that. It was a total community involvement backed by regional goodwill. Many Boyle people now living elsewhere made the journey to Sligo and I met a few of them. Clive Slattery now living in London who with family members were in Belfast for the World(?) Irish Dancing Championships diverted to Sligo for the game. I did not see Darren Suffin but he said in Carrick-on-Suir that he would be back from Bolton for the Semi-Final. I talked to former Celtic players from the late sixties John and Tony Martin as they reflected on the Celtic team of then. Also there was Frankie Daly a former Boyle footballer now resident in the north of the country. Hillary Beirne key organiser of the St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York was there with my ‘comrade’ John McPhearson.  I imagine there were many more also. I am also aware of people listening to radio coverage from Shannonside, Ocean FM and KCR (i.e. Kilkenny/Carlow Radio) while Adam Daly’s streaming was received by many in Boyle and various areas. One person contacted me and in discussion of the game talked of marrying Adam’s stream with a radio commentary. So the game reached a wide constituency.      
For many it was a first time at Sligo Rovers ground ‘The Showgrounds’ and now that they have ‘found it’ perhaps a number will return. For Boyle Celtic too it has raised its profile and is a big boost to its standing in the local community and with the youth who were generously represented at the game. Celtic now have a  great opportunity, if they can get enough capable volunteers, to expand the reach of the club in terms of participation numbers and support. It may not happen overnight but it has certainly awakened an awareness and recognition.
Thanks also to the team and management. How much it meant to them was reflected in their disappointment at the end. I just mention one player who represented that commitment in spades being Dessie Carlos who drove from Dublin so many times while under pressure from his GAA club there, Castleknock, who were in the Dublin county Final last year.      

The Club are still involved in a number of other competitions and on Sunday next they play Carbury FC in the Connacht Cup Quarter Finals at Celtic Park at 2. Boyle have really felt that this is a prestigious competition that they could really win with some breaks. Sunday’s opposition Carbury are leading the Sligo/Leitrim League and they too will be eyeing success in the Connacht Cup so Sunday could be a cracking game between two top teams. 
Post Script
1.     I had thought of putting up the train schedule from Boyle to Sligo which would facilitate match goers as of yore but I heard ‘anecdotally’ afterwards that a number of the cars of match goers were actually clamped when they returned so I was pleased I do not do so.  The car park at Boyle Railway Station is not a P.R. plus for rail travel.
2.     Boyle Celtic through their sponsorship support are now much better equipped with sporting
gear than the Irish International women’s team.

Errata Current Issues

The Bus Strike
It seems as if the bus strike is nearly over as I write. On the basis that all wars and strikes end it is such a pity that the terms which saw the termination of the strike did not emerge before it was begun. But I guess that is human nature. I now hear of rumblings of Dublin City Bus going on strike. I imagine that such a strike in the capital will focus minds a bit quicker than the 3 week haze that lasted during the expressway one.

Car Insurance Hike
It is said that there are just two certainties in life those being taxes and death. I think that those numbers should be expanded to include now, car and health insurance upward spiral. And these are ‘no ordinary’ raises these are exorbitant increases. I saw a television discussion where an icy insurance industry representative debated the causation for these increases with representatives of the legal profession. It ended nil all.  

The 116 Helicopter Tragedy
The initial findings and suggestions surrounding the tragic rescue helicopter accident off the Mayo coast are disturbing. The suggested omission of the lighthouse island from the navigational technology and the failure of the personal bleepers for finding the crew members are just two of those. On today’s (Friday) Irish Times site there is a transcription of the crew’s final interaction conversation which is part of a preliminary report.  The final report could make for sad reading.     

The Water Debate Stumbles On
The Water Debate rolls on after what seemed a sort of agreement some time ago. The Water Non Payment Campaign was seen as a benchmark victory for those who saw it as simply a further taxation. It is incredible that so much money was expended before this bridge was arrived at and if this logic holds, water metres that were installed in such haste are now redundant. There is a Government policy campaign in progress to say that those who over- use water or abuse its availability should be charged but even this is being resisted.
Payment for water provision is a regular practise in advanced countries. And, as could be evidenced by the percentage of people who paid their water bills initially it had the support of a large percentage of the population. The opposition to Water Charges was well organised, had a concerted message and came at the end of a depressing period of the crash. It succeeded in derailing a legitimate process the tail of which the current Government seems to hold onto.
We often referred to the black hole of the spending on voting machines some time ago but the ‘water debacle’ is a multiple of that and with all its tendrils is an absolute disgrace of policy mis-management and waste.  

Housing Crisis in the Capital
It has been said during the week that Dublin is booming in terms of pubs, restaurants and consumer spending. One suggestion which I thought was sad was that young people in good jobs in the capital were spending their earnings because there was no way that they could EVER afford buying a house/home.  The contributors to this included huge rents and the racing inflation of house prices. There are several television programmes now dealing with aspects of this huge dilemma such as ‘The Irish Property Crisis’ on Monday and ‘Find me a Home’ on Wednesday. Thousands of houses are required in the proper locations and despite the parading of Simon Coveney and his repetition of the prospect of said provision there is no confidence that this will happen in Dublin. Building huge estates was possible by the state when the country was impoverished but the building of housing by the local authorities was abandoned and handed to the ‘private developers’ where profit was king. And so we are in a property crisis and will be there for quite a while to come.  

Sports national and International

Dublin’s Run Ends
Kerry finally ended Dublin’s unbeaten run at Croke Park on Sunday to win the Allianz National League. It was a very competitive game with a strain of ill-will permeating it as it did in their normal league encounter some time ago. The game was refereed by Roscommon’s Paddy Neilan and GAA players and followers would have recognised the umpires being regular on the Roscommon games officiating circuit. A clash in late summer or September between Dublin and Kerry in the championship will likely be a sweet and sour event.

Sunday Indo Columnists
Brolly and The Gooch

The retirement of Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper elicited glowing tributes from nearly all and sundry as was his due. The one voice that had reservations was, not unusually, Joe Brolly. He contested that while The Gooch was a sublime artist of a footballer he was not the braveheart that led his team when the chips were stacked against him. The alternate view is always worthy of reading. It is a Chinese or a Confucius spake that goes somewhat like this ‘where everybody thinks alike nobody thinks very much’. Not only does Brolly state his case but like the god lawyer he is he lays down his evidence. He gets plenty of criticism but that does not faze him and he is certainly a worthy voice.   

Hold the Back Page-Eamon Sweeney
Eamon Sweeney laid out clearly the elements of the disgraceful treatment of the Irish women’s soccer team in his ‘Hold the Back Page’ column.
The most telling sentences he reserves for the last paragraph;  “The Irish women fought their battle alone. Not one member of the men’s team saw fit to send so much as a tweet in support. Not one of them was man enough to do it. Not good enough lads.” I wonder why?     Eamon also referenced the Boyle Celtic game and his modest role with the club ‘back in the day’, as they say.

The Riveting Television Masters

If there was questionable sportsmanship at Croke Park, the final evening, on Sunday, of The Masters was exemplary in that respect. The final match of the contending pairing of Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose swayed from one to the other over the final round. There were shadows of threats from a small number of other players but both Garcia and Rose ended on 9 under par with the third place being 3 shots further back. Garcia won clearly on the first play-off hole. It is strange that a ESPN commentator actually attacked the degree of camaraderie between the two competing leaders. Garcia has been seen as the greatest golfer ‘never’ to have won a major having competed in 73 majors without a win, regularly coming in the top zone of competitors. There were a number of times when it seemed as if this was to continue as the game favoured Rose but in the end Garcia prevailed becoming the third Spanish winner of The Masters after Ballesteros and Olazabal  on Seve’s birthday. Rose was unable to add the title to his Olympic gold but will obviously be a contender in the years ahead. Rory McIlroy finished tied 7th . His challenge to win the fourth major continues.   

The Grand National
While I am not a betting person. I have, like millions of my attitude, regularly tuned into the Grand National and made my annual contribution to the bookies fund. Last Saturday’s race was not as dramatic as many of the previous ones which have been serious contenders for animal cruelty.
The race was won by ‘One For Arthur’, only the second horse trained in Scotland to win the Grand National (the other being Rubstic in 1979). It had a near-local connection in that  One For Arthur was ridden by Sligo jockey Derek Fox.




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