Friday, June 23, 2017

Update 23rd June

Fixture: Boyle Junior footballers play Tulsk at Boyle on Sunday at 12 in the Junior ‘B’ C’ship. So we wish team manager Bernard Shannon and his selectors Aidan Lavin and Paul Beirne and the team success in that game.
Second Anniversary Mass takes place on this Friday evening the 23rd at 7.30 for John Joe Nerney who passed away in June 2015.   

Boyle GAA’s Big Night Sponsored by Cooney Nissan Motor Group.
As the publicity brochures boldly state Boyle GAA Proudly Presents ‘The Road to Croker’ an evening with GAA decision makers, change makers and trouble makers! This event will take place on Friday night June 30th in St. Joseph’s Hall starting at 8.30 with admission €10. The seminar speakers are Joe Brolly, Shane Curran, Collie Moran of Dublin, Senator John O’Mahoney and Brian Talty former Galway player now involved in Dublin GAA and John Prenty Secretary of the Connacht Council. The night will be ‘moderated’ (chaired) by Martin Carney well known GAA analyst. There will also be a raffle for a Football final Weekend in Dublin with 2 All-Ireland tickets.
I have been at variations of these sports seminars and they have been enlightening, interesting, provocative and entertaining in varied measures. I have heard Joe Brolly before and he has epitomised all these elements and it will be interesting to hear him in Boyle a town he would not be familiar with. Looking at the varied panel there is bound to be a divergence of opinions on where the GAA is at and where it is going. I know I have paraphrased this proverb before thus ‘where everyone thinks alike no one thinks very much’ but certainly the scene is set with the cast nominated for a broad and diverse spectrum of opinion which can be fuelled by appropriate questions from the audience. In this day and age of ‘Summer Schools’ perhaps a broad organisation like the GAA could merit its own ‘summer school’ analysis. Friday the 30th will give us evidence for this possibility.  

It’s the little (or lesser) things that..
‘It’s the little things that trip you up’ I believe Albert Reynolds said something like that. The new Taoiseach has had a rocky initiation into the job he probably felt he was destined for.
A couple of people I met were of the opinion that Enda Kenny was responsible for the grenade of the appointment of Attorney General Máire Whelan to being a judge in The Court of Appeal. That could hardly be true could it? Anyway this has been a headache for Mister Varadkar. Ms. Whelan has brazened it out and it is a done deal now. The President did not look too excited when finalising the process. If one can go back to the appointment of Harry Whelehan in ‘94 in somewhat similar circumstances the then President Mary Robinson –I feel-showed with her demeanour that she was not too comfortable with the process then either.
Whatever the merits of Ms. Whelan she did not deserve the commentary of Micheal Martin in comparing her unfavourably to previous stars of the Star Chamber such as Vivian Hardiman and others. Fianna Fail, through Micheal’s remarks, has lost some of the high moral ground on an issue they had no hand in causing. It has now become such an issue that it likely to leave a residue of resentment that could inflate some tangled web further down the line.
Taoiseach Varadkar has also run into trouble with his gender quotas or lack of same. For a brief time there it looked as if there might have to be a national church gate collection to make up the pay difference for what  Mary Mitchell O'Connor had lost from her demotion.  She has been appointed Minister of State at the Department of Education with special responsibility for Higher Education from being a Minister for Jobs & Enterprise etc. 
Two changes that I was disappointed with were the change of Charlie Flanagan from Foreign Affairs where he seemed to have been doing well and also Simon Coveney’s change from being responsible for the housing debacle where he had made so many promises and could only have been getting to grips with a nightmare scenario for a lot of people. I imagine he is glad of the change or organising doing a runner from a position where he had not achieved much but had given him such profile publicity.  
So the boys club continues to dominate while the ladies feel the pain.
While I am at it what was Shane Ross doing with the big banner to highlight the fact that he had been responsible for the re-instatement of the Garda Station in Stepaside? I thought Shane would have above that! (The name Stepaside has great potential for a play on words). That kind of parish pump politics is obviously still very alive despite the rhetoric announcing the ‘new politics’. The odd saying ‘the more things change the more they stay the same’. 
Speaking of Garda stations what a mess there seems to be in Templemore. As The Bard wrote ‘Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive’.

Roscommon Smother Leitrim
I do not think that I have ever seen such a weak Leitrim team and performance and I first saw Leitrim in St. Coman’s Park, Roscommon town in the Connacht Final of 1958. They were defeated by Galway that day but Packie McGarty, Leitrim’s greatest ever player, was sublime then.   
The game on Sunday was over after ten to fifteen minutes. There was very little of a celebratory mood about the Roscommon support. We have been in Leitrim’s position ourselves from time to time.
The Roscommon forwards were the highlight of the 70 to 80 minutes. It is great to see Diarmuid Murtagh getting close to the player he was a few years ago. The scoring of the Roscommon forwards was nice to see. While they scored two goals there were probably three more goal chances. My heart sank –like quite a number of people I imagine-when Donie Smith got the black card. It was a game and day that Donie could have made hay. That black card is still a bone in the throat. I thought it was introduced- prompted by a Cavanagh Tyrone pull down- for the prevention of a clear scoring opportunity. To give a black card near the other end line seems absurd.
Well done to Enda on his ‘Man of the Match’ award. It is great to see Enda when he goes up the gears on those driving runs. While Roscommon seem to have a mobile scoring forward line it is the backline that is the cause for concern. I imagine that the team management will study closely the ease with how Leitrim opened a channel through that defence which resulted in that early goal. 
So it on to Salthill and the gridlock of getting to Pearse Stadium. For the thousands of Roscommon supporters who travelled there in 2016 the gridlock nightmare will be a consideration as to whether to make the journey or not. Another thing there was a lot of comment on the €25 charge for the stand. For a humble first round between Roscommon and Leitrim it was certainly extravagant.
On a positive note the playing surface and enclosure looked fantastic and the novel act of Brady and his wheel was engaging. Little things like this stand out and maybe, like McGarty’s performance in 1958 with me, they will be still remembered by some kids of Sunday nearly sixty years later. One should harvest good memories as they provide solace in later life.   

Television Programmes 

GAA Nua RTE One Mondays 7.30.
I am a pretty regular television viewer. However I keep in mind- a little - what George Bernard Shaw once said after a play which went something like “If I do not learn something then it is a waste of my time”.  Of course we waste a lot of our time in many ways and watching television may be to the fore in that.
On Monday evening I watched a sports programme presented by Dara O’Cinneide called simply ‘GAA Nua’. It dealt with the use of modern technology in assessing sports performances and the passing on the information summaries in real time to on-field managers. I am aware of the fact that sports teams have had ‘stats people’ doing their thing for a number of years now. That was of the paper and pencil variety but in Monday’s programme it was the Waterford statistician with the latest in technological breakdown and it was really something. Balls won/lost, tackles missed/made, fouls committed/ passes complete or not and so on a myriad of such playing detail. We have seen some of that in the game analysis on match broadcast programmes for some time whatever the code. But this was something else. And then each player got a summary posted to his phone and was able to access the ‘package’ on his own performance for him to mull over as homework.
One example dealt with was the ‘kick out’ and how Stephen Cluxton has changed that concept from 50:50 down the middle to ‘keep ball’ with short and precise kick-outs. It’s an evolving game and technology is a very much part of it. Next week’s programme deals with injury treatment and the progress being made in keeping players available for the intense programme which elite players involved with.  I imagine it will deal with the classic injury which an old timer I knew used to refer to as ‘the crucial ligament injury’.  

‘In the name of the Republic’ TV3 Tuesday night 12.05 am. 
I tripped across this programme which covered the search for men who ‘disappeared’ and were most likely killed during the War of Independence and Civil War but where their remains were buried has never been revealed. We are aware of the search for ‘the disappeared’ from the Northern Ireland conflict of modern times and the recovery of the remains of most of those sought. Historians and people generally insist on making very clear distinctions between the ‘Old IRA’ of the War of Independence period and the IRA of modern times on the basis that the Old IRA was a different more legitimate, more noble even, organisation. I have done this myself. Yet as this TV series shows the capacity of the people then for very questionable acts of violence towards their own was on a par with their modern contemporaries.  The programme covered the search for a number of men ‘missing’ believed to have been abducted and killed by the IRA. Their supposed crime was that of being suspected of being ‘spies’ for the RIC or British Forces of the time. The programme was presented by Professor Eunan O'Halpin of Trinity College, and next week it deals with an area –Cork-which was rife with a large number of these ‘incidents’. Apparently Roscommon was not immune to this either as there was reference to a Martin Heavey being taken prisoner with his family by the IRA and he ending up being drowned in the Shannon. The subject was the basis of a famous story by Frank O’Connor and is also part of a very good 2006 Ken Loach film on the period titled ‘The Wind That Shakes the Barley’.
Even at the remove of one hundred years the rawness and sensitivity of such acts have left their legacy on the conscience and consciousness of today.   

The Death of Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl

The death of Helmut Kohl prompted me to think of the high quality and consistency of German leadership since World war Two.

1.    It started with Konrad Adenauer the father of modern Germany in 1949 and he headed governments for 14 years until October 1963. A key promoter of the E.U.

2. Ludwig Erhard over 3 years. Oversaw the German economic miracle.

3.       Kurt Georg Kiesinger nearly 3 years.

4       Willy Brandt the former charismatic Mayor of West Berlin over 4 years.

5       Helmut Schmidt over 8 years. Social Democratic Party of Germany.

6      Helmut Kohl over 16 years.
          (Kohl held office for the longest period since Bismarck; he oversaw German reunification in 1990).

7.      Gerhard Schröder over 7 years.

8.      Angela Merkle from November ’05 to present.  
        (The first from the former East Germany)

Sin e.

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