Friday, April 21, 2017

Update 21st April

Some Sports Fixtures for this coming weekend and beyond.

Boyle GAA Senior team will hope to continue their good run of wins in the O’Gara Cup on Saturday with a game v Creggs in the Abbey Park at 6.30.(Not Sunday as advertised).

Soccer. Sunday April 23rd Southern Hotel Super League 11am Ballisodare United v Boyle Celtic Ballisodare.

Celtic, after another extra time win on Sunday over Carbury in a very competitive game, have a number of big games coming up. Apart from trying to get up-to-date on the regular Sligo/Leitrim league fixtures they play  v Killarney in the F.A.I. Cup proper, preliminary round, on Sunday Apr. 30th in Killarney. Their biggest game is the Connacht Cup Semi-Final v West Utd. of Galway in Galway on Sunday May 7th. This is a competition they would really love to win.      

Roscommon GAA hero Gerry O’Malley being Remembered
While many of the younger generation will not remember Gerry O’Malley or may not even have heard of him, to me and my generation he was our hero.  Today there are the options of playing a diversity of sports but for us growing up in the late fifties and sixties Gaelic games were predominant. For me coming from Fuerty/Athleague it was hurling and Gaelic football. Roscommon had been a power in the forties and early fifties until it was eclipsed by Mayo or more so Galway as the fifties progressed. O’Malley from Brideswell, Curraghaboy in the St. Brigid’s area emerged as the dominant player in Roscommon from 1950 until he retired in the mid- sixties. He was a Cuchalainn like figure who was known and admired the length and breadth of the GAA country. This was reinforced by his participation of the inter-provincial competition The Railway Cup which had huge support in the fifties and early sixties in both hurling and football. This was the regular showground for great players from lesser counties to show their skills to the wider audience. O’Malley was lucky also in the sense that it was a time when Connacht teams had arguably their greatest ever players. In Galway there was Sean Purcell and Frank Stockwell (referred to as ‘the terrible twins’ for the destruction they could dispense as supreme forwards). Leitrim had Packie Mc Garty and Cathal Flynn. Mc Garty had the heart of a lion and the skill of a Messi and is rightly revered in Leitrim. He played on a very good Leitrim team which lost 5 Connacht finals to Galway. Sligo’s regular representative initially was the great Nace O’Dowd at full back and in the early sixties the coming Mickie Kearins. Mayo had marvellous players like Tom Langan, Willie Casey, Paddy Prendergast and Paraic Carney and Ned Moriarty from Boyle. With Roscommon it was always O’Malley in the forefront.

The Broken–Crossbar Connacht Final of ’62 A Highpoint in the Folklore of the Game.
Amongst the performances that will live in the folklore of the game is the 1962 Connacht Final against Galway at Castlebar.
One report of the game began as follows;
“Roscommon have down the years, won and lost many memorable games but this victory over Galway in the Connacht Senior Football Final will never be forgotten by the thousands of joyous supporters of the blue and gold, if only for the concluding fantastic eight minute of an epic and pulsating finish”.

The inspiration for those fantastic eight minutes was Gerry O’Malley. The sports reporters did their best but realised that even their superlatives fell short.      

Donal O’Carroll (Irish Independent)  “The unsurpassable Gerry O’Malley has done it again. His was a masterly exhibition ….” “The lion-hearted O’Malley” Jack Mahon.
Michael O’Callaghan in The Roscommon Herald, “Then incomparable Gerry O’Malley”.

It was his finest hour.

The pivotal incident in the game and one that is part of the folklore of O’Malley happened with Galway comfortably coasting towards victory leading by 2.6 to 1.4 when Aidan Brady, the Roscommon goalkeeper, swung off and broke the crossbar. After it was repaired and O’Malley now at midfield was involved in a quick Roscommon goal. Eventually with time almost up the scores were level Galway 2.9 Roscommon 3.6. Then O’Malley gets the ball and powers his way up-field past bewildered rivals and team-mates alike, the crowd now in a frenzy. An amazed Roscommon support willing him on, an amazed Galway support fearing the worst. A painters picture. Finally the release from O’Malley as he passes to Don Feely who calmly makes an angle and  drops the ball neatly between the uprights. The kick out and the game is over. Roscommon have won, a pandemonium of celebration by Roscommon supporters, stunned disbelief by Galway. No mad rush to the exits as people try to absorb it all. I was lucky. I was there.  

It was always the hope that Gerry would win an All-Ireland senior football medal but the closest he came to that was when he captained Roscommon in the 1962 All-Ireland final against Kerry which Kerry won comfortably with O’Malley having to retire injured. He did win an All-Ireland junior hurling medal with Roscommon in 1965 at St. Coman’s Park with a victory over Warwickshire.

I got to know Gerry well in recent decades and Boyle GAA people will remember him coming to GAA occasions in Boyle in 1995 where he attended a dinner after a hugely successful year for the club in ’94. He also participated in the opening of the new dressing rooms with John Joe Nerney in 2010 as remembered by the plaque there. He was a regular Roscommon supporter and a great St. Brigid’s one. This was the club he helped establish and was very proud the day they won the All-Ireland club title in 2013. He loved hurling which he played with great success with Four Roads Club, Roscommon and Connacht.
  He was a dedicated agricultural advisor and lived his last decades in Swords in North Dublin. He passed away in early January 2016 and is buried in Drum cemetery close to his Roscommon family home and the fields where he played as a boy.

*For Anyone Wishing to be Associated with the Gerry O’Malley Memorial
The community of Brideswell have initiated the process of remembering Gerry O’Malley appropriately in his native village and this is supported by extended community encompassed by the  St. Brigid’s club. They have extended their support appeal for their funding draw to the general Roscommon GAA community via the clubs. Boyle GAA Club Secretary Mary Clifford has received a number of books of those tickets costing €10 for a book of three. So anyone wishing to support the Gerry O’Malley Commemoration project can do so by contacting Mary or myself for that matter at 086 816 3399.  

Social Inequality
In a recent Vincent Browne T.V. programme there was a discussion on ‘social inequality’. There were varied responses on the subject.
Some time ago I was in University College Hospital Galway and witnessed the pretty chaotic and over-crowded casualty reception area there. It was disconcerting to say the least. I am in no way reflecting on the staff in this but on the environment in which they try and get best outcomes.
More recently I was in the Galway Clinic with its spacious reception arena. There was a grand piano centred in this with a lady playing her music from her music sheets.
Now if you wanted a pretty stark vista of social inequality the contrast between these two medical facilities would do the trick!
(Perhaps I am being a spoil-sport here but the pending wedding in Ashford Castle in Cong is gearing up for the Rory Mc Ilroy wedding to Erica Stoll tomorrow as I write. I remember weddings in The Royal Hotel in Boyle……social inequality is a fact of history but there are scales of it).  

Scannal T.V. programme on The Irish Hospitals Sweepstake
I was initially half-looking at this programme but got drawn into it. I got into it by seeing the scale of the irregularity of it and the degree of compliance and ‘nod and wink’  participation of the highest levels of Government and many sections of Irish society and its institutions. It was fronted by a particular family steeped in politics and was promoted and pushed in a number of countries though illegal in them. The presentation of the draws used/abused highly respected institutional groups such as the police and nurses. One very distasteful  draw involved two blind boys with their names labelled and pinned to their clothing. This was trying to reinforce the integrity to the draw while the reality was that it was rotten to the core. The reporter, Joe Mac Anthony, who broke the story initially had to leave the country to get gainful employment subsequently.  The hospitals which were to get the huge funding raised got minimal return. The Draw(!) ran from 1930 until 1987 when it went into liquation where the hundreds of employees –mostly women- got a raw deal in terms of redundancy. If it –the programme- is repeated I’ll study it better.
   Following in Joe Mac Anthony’s footsteps, Damian Corless has published a book called ‘The Greatest Bleeding Heart Racket in the World’.
Of course this could hardly happen her now!! Though the evidence of the recent ‘Console’ debacle or issues with Rehab might not be reassuring.
What about the current Irish National Lottery or the ridiculous T.V. questions at €2 a pop eg. Which of these is the capital of the U.K.? Tokyo, Ottawa or London?

We’ll leave it at that for this week.        
P.S. Best wishes to Boyle GAA girl club members playing on Roscommon teams next weekend. U-14: Aisling Feely. U-16: Kate Harrington, Megan McKeon and Saoirse Wynne. Minor: Sinead Glennon, Aine Mullins and Roisin Wynne.



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