Thursday, June 29, 2017

Update 30th June

St. Joseph’s Hall this Friday at 8.30

This is a big night for Boyle GAA with its Road to Croker promotion. I am just referring to it here by way of reminder. In fairness it has hovered up a lot of publicity and a big crowd is expected. It should be an interesting night and I look forward to it.

The Poet Francis Ledwidge Centenary of His Death
Francis Edward Ledwidge was an Irish poet from Slane, County Meath. Sometimes known as the "poet of the blackbirds", he was killed in action at the Battle of Passchendaele during World War I in July 1917. He is part of a group of distinguished poets who are collectively called ‘The War Poets’. Perhaps his best known poem or the one which was referenced most often in school decades ago was his lament for Thomas MacDonagh one of the leaders of the Easter Rising.  

Lament for Thomas MacDonagh
By Francis Ledwidge

HE SHALL not hear the bittern cry
In the wild sky, where he is lain,
Nor voices of the sweeter birds,   
Above the wailing of the rain.      
Nor shall he know when loud March blows           
Thro’ slanting snows her fanfare shrill,  
Blowing to flame the golden cup 
Of many an upset daffodil.  
But when the Dark Cow leaves the moor,      
And pastures poor with greedy weeds,         
Perhaps he’ll hear her low at morn,      
Lifting her horn in pleasant meads.

Television Programmes of Note

The National Art Gallery Reconstruction
On Tuesday night RTE showed a documentary on the reconstruction and conservation of parts of the National Art Gallery on Merrion Square in Dublin. It was a very expensive venture costing €30 million. (Boyle Church might have cost €1 so in terms of scale of expenditure you can see from that comparative). I will not go into the for and against arguments of that as I haven’t the competence to do so.
Ireland has a fine National Art Gallery and is regarded highly internationally. Admission to it is free for the most part and I recommend that if you have not visited the gallery you should consider doing so. With Boyle having its own Arts Festival with its annual Arts exhibition, local and national, the people have been ‘exposed’ to art of a varied and high standard. The National Art Gallery is in a higher league of  course and has art treasures that would be welcome in the great art galleries of the world. There is a famous Vermeer of a ‘Lady Writing a Letter’ which I have on my fridge courtesy of a magnet. Then there is the famous Caravaggio painting, ‘The Taking of Christ’  ‘found’ not many years ago in a Jesuit House in Dublin. Then there is a huge painting depicting the marriage of Aoifa and Strongbow.
The reconstruction documentary highlighted the challenges in working on the gallery while keeping it open but now it a fitting environment for the display of collections of which the country can be proud.     

GAA Nua Mondays RTE 7.30 Injuries
I mentioned this last programme last week when the programme dealt with the role of technology in the preparation of teams for the Gaelic games of hurling and football. Indeed these advances play a part in all sports.  Last Monday evening it dealt with injuries and the role of team physiotherapist and of the medical treatment of injuries. The number of serious injuries to players playing Gaelic games is staggering. Vert few and very lucky players go through a career of top flight games without having to endure  serious injury. The usual ones are injuries to hamstrings, groin, ankles, shoulder and cartilage. The daddy of them all seems to be the legendary cruciate ligament tear or rupture. I have seen this at first hand and when it occurs it is traumatic. Oddly a good number of  years ago when I asked John Joe Nerney about injuries he did not dwell on them at all. “All we ever got was ‘sore knee’ ” he would venture.
There is an ongoing debate of course with regard to why there are so many injuries in today’s games. The basic suggestion is that top level players play too many games. Whatever research is being done in that regard is not coming up with clear-cut answers.
In the third episode, next Monday night All-Ireland winning captain Dara Ó Cinnéide, brings it all back home and takes a close look at the club scene, where he examines what practical impact science and technology, if any, is having on the most basic unit of GAA. He extends this into the primary university competition The Sigerson Cup.

Dublin looked imperious against Westmeath
A little into watching Dublin playing Westmeath in the Leinster Championship Semi-Final I was going to move away but then continued watching just to see how good Dublin
As a team they were pitch perfect. I know Westmeath were no match for them whatsoever but Dublin played with such an energy, drive, self-confidence that it was just fascinating to watch. I suppose the only perfect sporting analogy I can come up with is how Tiger Woods was playing for a time as he racked up his major wins.
They seem to have all the armoury of a super team. They have fitness, mobility, football ability, physicality, belief, skill. All the components are present. I know I am repeating what is regularly being said but the strength in depth is another huge part of this juggernaut of a team. As I was thinking of my ‘man of the match’ and favouring Ciaran Kilkenny, Paul Mannion chipped away with point after point and eventually he had to be the man. Then came the bench replacements with O’Gara and McManamon scoring goals with venomous shots. In this game I tuned into the play of two relative newcomers Lowndes and O’Callaghan. No wonder Dublin fans follow their team in such numbers to see and be dazzled by their play.
The one sour note is the current dispute with regard to boycotting interviews with T.V. reporters as a consequence of their alleged comments regarding Diarmuid Connolly following interference with a linesman during the Dublin v Carlow game. Apparently they blame these comments for influencing the suspension of Connolly. Dublin football should be bigger than that pettiness which is also practised by Mickey Harte and Tyrone. The Dublin manager Jim Gavin may feel that he is standing by his man but all he is doing right now is bringing more attention to the incident. A team with the capacity of the current Dublin side should be well fit to take the Connolly suspension in its stride rather than muddy the waters with pettiness.      
Dublin play an improving Kildare in the Leinster Final.

Galway and Leinster Hurling
Next week-end sees some more attracting games as Galway take on Wexford and Kilkenny play Limerick. It is the first time that Galway have payed Wexford in the Leinster since going there. So it is a novel encounter and will attract a big crowd. Wexford really enjoyed their win against Kilkenny and having beaten them they will feel that they can take on any other team. Also there is the lift that Davy Fitzgerald seems to give to teams. He certainly creates a ‘buzz’ and expectation around a team. Galway are tipped by a number of analysts to be real contenders this year and with convincing victories over Tipperary and Dublin they will want to continue their winning habit which I think they will.
On Saturday evening Limerick visit Nolan Park for a back-door tilt at Kilkenny. The Cats are not near the force they were some years ago and have certainly come back to the pack as it were. However I feel that they will take Limerick on Saturday evening. As I have said some time ago this summer’s hurling has a lot of possibilities and should be pretty engrossing.
One of the real surprises of the football campaign so far was last week-ends victory of Down over favourites Monaghan. Down have a great tradition but have dipped very low in recent times so it was a real achievement to come from such a low base to defeat favourites Monaghan. So it is Down who play Tyrone in the Ulster final.

The Lions v New Zealand.
I have only seen snippets of last Saturdays game. I did listen to it on radio as it happened. The All-Blacks were pretty imperious and their speed of thought and skill set is mesmerising. So the commentators are  predicting an even heavier defeat this coming Saturday morning. It is something for Peter O’Mahoney to have to go from the high of being captain last week to him not being in the panel on Saturday.
It is still something to remember that Ireland defeated the All Blacks in Chicago not too long ago. It seems as if the television recorders of that game are keeping a firm grip on it as I have seen little of it.

                                                                                                                Stories of the moment

The Jobstown Verdict
The not guilty verdict for the 6 defendants in the Jobstown Trial which has lasted for nine weeks. From a distance the verdict looks like a surprise. However for people who attend courts from time to time there is rarely certainty in cases. The classic film with this theme was ’12 Angry Men’ starring Henry Fonda and a stellar cast. This Jobstown trial was mired in political angles. Still it was a surprise that the jury took just three hours to reach a unanimous not guilty verdict.   

The Housing Mess
I imagine Simon Coveney is glad to be out of the Ministry with responsibility for trying to make a dent in housing disaster in all its manifestations. In a sense it is easy, like Mister Coveney did, to offer sunshine when ones tenure is likely to be short lived. In a sense he did a runner.

Refuse Charges
Just about a year or so ago we were wrestling with what was the best option in terms of which refuse company’s charges were best value. So it is back to the start line again. The only certainty in these things is that our charges are not going to decrease under new arrangements. Refuse charges could be another mini-water charges contest.

Italy and Migration
The flood of migration from Africa via the now failed state of Libya is possibly one of the greatest challenges of the coming decade for Europe.      

Congratulations to
My Fuerty neighbour Orla Leyden on being appointed Chairperson of Roscommon County Council. Orla is a real community activist with much ability and I wish her well.                          

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