Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Update 11th July

Plastic, Plastic and more Plastic.

I ‘put out the GAA bins’ at the Abbey Park. I could try and make a few smart remarks regarding that post but I am not in the humour to do that right now. A temporary condition I imagine. The week after the magnificent Féile week-end I went to do this as usual. I knew that there would be a complement of full bins. That was a simple assessment. In bringing those full bins out to the road they were very heavy. I did my usual investigation and saw them packed with plastic bottles generally. One of the bins had almost all recyclable EMPTY bottles. But it was not a Wers bin, Wers being our current garbage contractor. When I transferred the recyclable material to an appropriate bin the bottom third was just garbage which was a recyclable spoiler. No big deal there just a little disappointing after the initial optimism.
Then to some other bins which weighed as if they had a generous number of concrete blocks included. When you pay by weight this is a costly process for disposing concrete blocks. On investigation there were no blocks on board of course but what gave that impression was a multitude of plastic bottles containing water to a variety of levels. I am conscious of this for a number of years now. The new kids on the block are the Polystyrene cups which are commonly called Styrofoam cups. When capped they are stubborn space occupiers and when left with liquid they are not… to use that word again…recyclable.  
 I do not know what other GAA Clubs do in the disposal of waste but there must be some innovation somewhere. At a match you can ask a person from a neighbouring club how his teams are going but it is not a great conversation plank to ask “By the way how does your club deal with plastic bottles?”  The BIG QUESTION is how can we reduce the amount of plastic bottles that find their way in GAA grounds into their bins? Before I retire from being the bouncer for bins I hope to achieve something in that area.
I see in The Roscommon Herald of July 9th bottom of page 14 a headline; “Twelve (Roscommon Town) businesses sign up to refill project”. This is where businesses agree to refill reusable water bottles of the public for free. Apparently 2.5 million plastic water bottles are disposed of every day in this country of which 40% are recycled. Apparently there are ‘special’ water reusable bottles as the usual plastic bottles, if you continue to use them, flake plastic or something like that. I am certainly in the market for ideas/suggestions regarding this subject.


A short time ago I mentioned a proposition of a friend of mine regarding the renaming of Boyle as Abbeboyle which it had been centuries ago. I thought it would illicit some comment but alas … Amongst my favourite poems today is one called ‘The Listeners’.

The Listeners By Walter De La Mare

"Is there anybody there?" said the Traveller,           
Knocking on the moonlit door; 
And his horse in the silence champed the grass       
Of the forest's ferny floor;         
And a bird flew up out of the turret,   
Above the Traveller's head:       
And he smote upon the door again a second time; 
"Is there anybody there?" he said.      
But no one descended to the Traveller;          
No head from the leaf-fringed sill        
Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,  
Where he stood perplexed and still.    
But only a host of phantom listeners   
That dwelt in the lone house then        
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
To that voice from the world of men: 
Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair, 
That goes down to the empty hall,      
Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken         
By the lonely Traveller's call.      
And he felt in his heart their strangeness,      
Their stillness answering his cry,           
While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,      
'Neath the starred and leafy sky;          
For he suddenly smote on the door, even     
Louder, and lifted his head:--    
"Tell them I came, and no one answered,     
That I kept my word," he said.  
Never the least stir made the listeners,           
Though every word he spake    
Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house    
From the one man left awake:  
Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,       
And the sound of iron on stone,           
And how the silence surged softly backward,          
When the plunging hoofs were gone.     

                                                                                                                                                               The Games ……Super 8s’.

So Roscommon v Tyrone

The big game between Roscommon and Tyrone takes place this coming Saturday in Hyde Park at 5. Roscommon has had a month now since the Connacht Final win over Galway while Tyrone has been through a couple of games since their loss in the Ulster championship. Which side benefits most from their programme or non- programme is to be seen. Tyrone gave Roscommon a real red alert with their demolition of Cavan last Sunday. While we in Roscommon have had our disappointments Cavan supporters have had disappointment in spades since they were royalty in the Gaelic football over 50 years ago. This game like many can go so many ways and it is impossible to call. I cannot say Tyrone will win as I just cannot do that publically even if I felt that way. So I say I just haven’t a clue as to how it will go. Tyrone are firm favourites with the way they dealt with Roscommon last year in Croke Park is the championship evidence. Roscommon teams of late seem to get lost in Croke Park. So Hyde Park is an advantage with a partisan crowd. If the suspension of Peter Hart sticks that too is an advantage. Roscommon are a better team this year. There are a number of extras this season. Connor Cox is a big one, the collective of the three Dalys is a second, the pace and obvious ‘conditioning’ of the team looks good and so on. Cox will probably face/hear the full range of Tyrone players palette of which ‘sledging’ is a serious issue. The opening 17 and a half minutes are key but then so are the other quarters especially the final quarter which will tell us a lot. With Dublin in the group the other teams have to win two games so this game is just a necessary component of continuing interest in the group in terms of results. The reality of dead rubber games is something that has to be addressed in the Super 8s’ structure.

Mayo take out Galway
Last Sunday after a pathetic first half by Galway followed by a feisty second half when Galway nearly stole the game Mayo survived and got to the Super 8s’. This is one of the top games of the coming week-end.
The RTE schedule for Sat. RTE 2 has Dublin v Cork. This should tell us something about what sporting life in the GAA Coliseum will be like this year.  I do not know for sure but maybe Roscommon v Tyrone is on Sky.
Sunday, RTE 2 Kilkenny v Cork (hurling) and Tipp. v- team of the moment- Laois. On RTE 1 on Sunday at 3.45 Kerry v Mayo. 
Apart from our own game on Sat. the two stand-out games are Kilkenny v Cork in hurling and Kerry v Mayo on Sunday. Joe Brolly writing on Mayo last Sunday issued a health warning on watching them as follows

“Watching Mayo playing football is like watching Amir Khan boxing. The knockout could come at any moment.
This fallibility is what has made them the most entertaining team in Irish sport for almost a decade, and what makes their games unmissable. Before the throw-in, after the ritual strangulation of the anthem, the announcer should say "Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a safety notice. Would all patrons with weak hearts please leave the ground."

The other game to try and watch is Kilkenny v Cork. This is traditional rivalry at its best. 

Wimbledon a Television Institution
Declan Lynch reviewing television over the week-end gave a great tribute to the survival of Wimbledon on terrestrial television BBC. He began his piece thus; “Sir David Attenborough arrived on the mainstage at Glastonbury, hailed as a god, which of course he is”. He wrote about Attenborough’s role in establishing these great set piece coverage of historic and sporting events sixty and fifty years ago. One special one disappeared and went to the Sky pay per view television it being the British Open Golf Tournament (The Open) which will be in Portrush shortly. Lynch referred to this as; “A symbolic act of vandalism against the most venerable tradition of our TV civilization”. The BBC coverage over the decades -post war- was responsible for expanding enormously the game of golf with its great iconic commentators Henry Longhurst and Peter Allis. It is a game in decline since it left its nurturing medium.
At the top of a Google list of the top ten of commentators of BBC is the Australian cricket commentator Richie Benaud; ‘A man who mastered the art of silence!’ Tennis whose great commentator was Dan Maskell who prompted an American guest commentator to suggest that he ‘was lucky he was not being paid by the word’. Wimbledon is possibly the last sporting extravaganza where the ART of broadcast commentary and the traditional cinemascope production survive.

Brexit on T.V.
My  programme of the television week has been ‘Brexit: Behind Closed Doors’. (RTE 1 Monday and Tuesday) Its prior promotion was advertised as;      
‘The gripping untold story of the Brexit negotiations - from the inside. For two years, Belgian film maker, Lode Desmet, has had exclusive access to the Brexit coordinator of the European parliament, Guy Verhofstadt, and his close knit team. This revelatory fly on the wall film captures the off the record conversations and arguments of the European negotiators as they devise their strategy for dealing with the British’.

This included an Irish lady, -Edel ? I think- in a prominent role. Also in a prominent role was some wine and bad language! If Theresa May and company did twitter it would have a meltdown.
For me it joins a number of Brexit  dramatic documentaries as my television programmes of the past year. Looking at the warnings regarding the damage that Brexit will do to employment in the Republic of Ireland and today’s report of job losses of 30/40 thousand in Northern Ireland and then see what the U.K’s political response with its probable new Prime Minister being Boris Johnson. Unbelievable…. but ….it’s not!


Thursday, July 4, 2019

Update 5th July

Old Glory and I remember a Summer in The Bronx.

I begin to write this on Thursday the 4th of July and I cannot let the date pass without  paying attention to its significance in the U.S. Sean has referenced it on the Home Page with its great flag. The flag is held in much regard by nearly all the people of the United States. Though I think that it is somewhat over the top (OTT).  In Ireland we have a more subdued regard for the flag and haven’t (yet!) begun to hold our hands across our hearts when the anthem is sung at matches or events. Our neighbour has the U.S. flag flying today.

I spent three great summers in the States in ’68, ’69 and ’70. Two were spent in New York and one in Philadelphia. In New York in ’68 I spent most of that summer working in the Catholic Church block which encompassed St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the residence of the Archbishop of New York. I worked for a construction company called Mitchells who did most of the Diocesan work. I acquired the job through the good offices of my Fuerty neighbour Brian Mulhern after whom –with his wife-Mulhern Park is named in Fuerty parish. Brian’s uncle Mister Mullen was the Clerk of Works for Mitchells and our project then was a building reconstruction facilitating the installation of a lift into the Archbishop’s residence. The incumbent then was Archbishop or Cardinal Cooke. He had Galway connections and had succeeded a more famous name, it being Cardinal Spellman. As far as I remember Brian Mulhern had done a tour of duty in Vietnam and on retuning in training army recruits.

I thought St. Patrick’s was/is a beautiful Cathedral and I spent some time in the crypt under the high altar when it was being enhanced. All the bishops of New York were buried there from the 1840s’. During that summer a caller to the residence we were working on was Richard Nixon so it must have been an election cycle. I could exaggerate and say that he sought my hand and made a fuss of me but I was just in the background. Security was tame then. On another occasion I was very politely ushered from the main office of the house on an occasion when Cardinal Cooke was on the phone. I seem to remember it being to his boss in Rome such was the fuss made by his Monsignors. Monsignors were/are the political gurus of the church.

Nearby were many of the iconic buildings of New York such as Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden or ‘The Garden’ as it is known by locals also The Empire State Building of which experience I still retain a picture. A venue I regret not entering was a ‘Tavern’ bar-restaurant with a green neon sign with the name of boxer Jack Dempsey’s appended. Whether he was the owner or just a ‘greeter’ I wouldn’t know.  My father was a follower of boxing and had I the spark of inspiration to go in there and shake ‘The Manassa Mauler’s’ hand it would have been something to tell my dad. Gaelic Park  was part and parcel of most Sunday’s interrupted only by trips to Rockaway Beach on Long Island. A dance hall called  ‘The Red Mill’ run by the Moynihans of Kerry was another regular venue. It was in the lower Bronx not far from Yankee Stadium. I was in Yankee stadium once but it was for a soccer game Santos of Brazil with Pele played a great Portuguese team Benefice with Eusebio.
On one week-end Brian Mulhern took me in a red Mustang to Boston to meet a fellow Fuerty man who we both knew well, Marty Featherstone. It was my only time in Boston and maybe I might get back there for a reason. On the way back to New York we went off track to attend Sunday Mass. Coming out of the church an old-timer overheard me talking and asked me; “Where are you from young fellow?” I responded by saying “New York” and he responded “Naah where in the old country are you from?” My New York accent hadn’t rooted well. I remember one town on that route-way down from Boston was called Woonsocket and it took us quite a while to get away from it as it acted like a magnet for an hour or so.
My job was a good paying one so that was a fruitful and memorable summer in a number of ways and I remember much of it clearly.

( P.S.-A. Returning to the flag issue I have just returned from the Abbeytown shop with some items. While there I noticed a paper of North of Ireland origin and on the front page a local Deputy Mayor from near Portadown stands with her husband in the forefront of one of those July Orange bonfires. On the very top of the bonfire is the Irish flag. When asked about the appropriateness of being pictured in front of the bonfire with the Irish flag burning she saw no issue with it. She, a town mayor, probably thought it was a cultural thing.

B. As I write a second 4th of July parade is taking place in Washington at the behest of President Trump. I saw on the 6 o’clock News tanks being brought into the city. President Tump will give a speech from the Lincoln Memorial. I wonder what Abe would think of it all. Still Abe had reviewed the aftermath of Gettysburg! Tanks on parade is not a Western Democracy thing is it ? More Red Square, Tiananmen Square etc. Tump might, like many historic leaders, like the trappings of militarism though he never served in the U.S. military proper himself that I know of.)       

GAA World
It seems like quite a while ago when we celebrating Roscommon’s victory over Galway in the rain in Salthill. We still have to wait and watch as Mayo travelled first to Down on a Saturday evening and then just got past Armagh at McHale Park an extra match for Mayo with another one to come v Galway.  The back door entry is fraught with traps and team damage in terms of injuries to players as seen with Lee Keegan. Roscommon has got a reasonable draw where the first game is vital. It will be against the winners of the Cavan v Tyrone match of this week-end. While Roscommon had a bad day in Croke Park against Tyrone on July 14th of last year they were unlucky not to get a draw in the league in Roscommon in February. Tyrone are not the force they were and Mickey Harte’s tenure must be near its end.  Cavan would be welcome visitors to Roscommon as it would revive echoes of a once traditional rivalry.
This week-end Mayo meet Galway in LIMERICK. Whether Galway and Mayo failed to agree to toss for venue is in debate. That the fixtures committee saw fit to play the game in Limerick is to my mind absurd. Maybe the great Mayo support continues or there is a weariness with them being asked to travel here and there with little consideration is to be seen. In Galway, support for football was rarely at such a low ebb. Roscommon was the appropriate venue but deemed unfit for a number of reasons; no turnstiles, poor dressing rooms and toilet facilities and an umbrella of ‘health and safety’ and capacity issues. That Roscommon ‘lost’ this fixture is a blow to local business and they are rightly annoyed about that.  That two Connacht teams are pushed out of the province for a fixture in LIMERICK is not right. Provincial solidarity must be in short supply. This with say admission over-pricing of Connacht Championship fixtures might just corrode the ‘goodwill’ of the supporting class. Of course twitter or maybe it is YouTube has its own slant on that Limerick game!  

Féile Organising Triumph

I have often referred to the fine facility that is The Abbey Park. In the last few weeks it has been at its best. On a Tuesday the local national school had their total cohort there for a very well organised and varied school pre-summer sports day.  
(Congratulations are in order to Scoil na nAingeal Naomha  for a recent GAA win in the girls Cumann na mBunscoil county tournament which final took place at St. Faithleach’s ground in Lanesboro).
That there was huge detailed preparation for the Féile tournament in Boyle was in evidence last week-end. It was one of the most atmospheric couple of days that I have witnessed in the Abbey Park. The grounds were looking their very best. A great committee looked for and received assistance from many different strands of helps. They were to prepare the grounds and building a week beforehand and in the more immediate days. When the guest team Gaultier from Waterford arrived on Friday afternoon they immediately became aware of the welcome and how the town of Boyle had prepared for their visit. The games between Boyle, Gaultier, Whitehall Colmcilles and neighbours Western Gaels produced much fine football with Whitehall looking particularly impressive. Just as impressive was the off-field food provision. I’ll be economical in naming people but the food provided by the McLoughlin family was sublime.  A young Gaultier player when asked referenced it as ‘gorgeous’. It was a nice touch that the Boyle Roscommon players were present and talked to the home and guest teams after their game.
A number of the Waterford people had not been in the North-West before but this experience will certainly encourage them to return. The weather too played its part. So well done to all (and there were many) involved. It was a special week-end for visitor, the Boyle community and especially the GAA community. This was replicated throughout Connacht which hosted Féile 2019.   

Patsy McGarry and Michael Harding in conversation with Christina McHugh Editor of The Roscommon Herald.
I attended the above in St. Nathy’s College on Wednesday evening. Michael Harding has had an interesting career and tells of his trials and tribulations with humour and good grace. He was tied down by Christina to say that he actually lived in a Roscommon if bordered on three sides Leitrim. She also asked Michael if he read The Roscommon Herald which unsettled him a little. Patsy McGarry was of course in his home town. He talked of his influences and the considerable role of his father the former Roscommon County Councillor known as ‘the Haw' McGarry. The most memorable vocal contribution of Cllr. McGarry came when he was advocating for a swimming pool and its benefits. He said a reason Ballaghaderreen needed a pool was "because there are people in the town who haven't had a bath since the midwife rubbed them down with the sponge”. This did not go down too well in Ballagh. Perhaps Patsy’s most memorable essay of local content was for The Irish Times in 2007 describing electioneering with his father. Anyway Patsy is a very popular columnist with The Irish Times which now owns The Roscommon Herald. After that I visited an old teaching colleague friend of mine, Tom Colleran, now an adopted Ballaghaderreen man. He was, as always, full of fun, projects and ideas for projects.  

Ladies World Cup Final
The Women’s World Cup Final takes place on Sunday in Lyon, France and will be available to watch on T.V. The teams in the final are defending champions the United States and European champions Netherlands. The U.S. defeated a very good English team in an incident filled semi-final. The English had a goal disallowed for a razor blade width off-side and then a (poor) penalty saved. It was a great and fiercely competitive game. Netherlands defeated Sweden in the second semi-final which was a stale uneventful game which Netherlands won by the only goal of the game in extra time.
The U.S. are seen as huge favourites to retain the title and it would be deemed a miracle if Netherlands upset the odds. Overall the tournament has generated considerable interest and will advance the profile of women’s soccer internationally. I enjoyed a certain amount of it.   

A Busy July
By the time I return here in two weeks’ time a good deal will have happened. Boyle Arts Festival will be coming towards a close. I will be reprising a ‘Town Walk- Insights into the Streets of Boyle’ on Saturday July 27th at 2p.m.
Roscommon will have played 2 of their three games in the Super 8’ and so on. Boris may be Prime Minister of the U.K. or maybe not, as some cracks appear (in the flat’s walls) and Ireland will have played England in a historic first full test series at Lords!    

So until then … organise your selection of Arts Festival events to attend and enjoy Boyle in July.  Even The Royal Hotel is getting a facelick.                 


Sunday, June 23, 2019

Update 23rd June

Notice Board; 1. I wished all involved in the Eastern Harps Club a great day on Saturday as they officially open their fine new dressing rooms. It is a fine building and a credit to the community and those involved. It puts in place a great facility for future generations of Eastern Harps GAA and also the community in the region. I have great memories of many of those Eastern Harps lads especially the Ballinafad and suburbs contingent!

2. This week-end there is a big calendar of GAA fixtures with at least 7 Round 2 games including  Down v Mayo/ Leitrim v Clare and so on. Then there were the three provincial finals Cork v Kerry on Saturday evening and Dublin v Meath & the pick of the bunch Donegal v Cavan on Sunday. While I think Donegal will win this one as they are playing fine football I would like to see Cavan, that old lion, rise from its slumber. Roscommon will play the loser of the Ulster Final after they play one of the round two winners from this week-end. The top teams there include Mayo. Tyrone, Armagh, Monaghan. We know that we will be playing the winners of the Leinster final between Meath and Dublin. Roscommon play their first Super 8 game at home which is good on the 13/14 of July.

3. It may seem odd but if you are a sports nerd then the Ladies Soccer World Cup is well worthwhile tuning into. It is now down to the knock-out stages in France. I’ve watched snatches of games such as Brazil v Australia and Brazil v Italy and they are really great games. There are now about 12 teams or so in contention with the U.S. being the favourites but not by much. Germany, Australia, France, England, Japan, Sweden, Norway, Spain, Cameroon and Nigeria are amongst the other teams. There are certain to be dramatic games with VAR (Video Assistant Referee) being centre stage. It seems obvious that this World Cup which will be viewed by millions will contribute to the expansion of the game for ladies. (Not many years ago there was a pretty limited range of sports for ladies in this town but now there is Gaelic football, camogie, soccer, athletics, community games, golf, tennis and so on which is great to see. Praise too for all those who make this happen). 
4. Congratulations to all the recent writing award winners a number of whom are regulars in that art including John Mulligan. But I’d like to mention also Shane Tivnan also from Boyle but domiciled for quite a while now in Clann na nGael country and a great follower of Roscommon football.
5. it was floating around last week that Roscommon’s last time to beat Mayo and Galway in the Connacht Championship in the same year was 1972. That is not the case as they defeated Mayo and Galway in ‘77/’78/ ‘79/ ’80 and 2001.

6. Boyle GAA club are in the process of selling their Club Rossie €100 tickets. Club Rossie is a major fund-raiser for Roscommon GAA activity and each year clubs are asked to sell a specified number of €100 tickets which isn’t too easy. So if you are willing to assist get in touch.     
                                                                                                                       The Recent ‘Spell’ of Sport (It is all sport this week!)

Connacht Final Drama in the Rain

I am a ‘little’ reassured by the suggestion of the writer Camus that most of what he ever learned about life came from being involved in sport. While I am not, I should be a pretty learned man now if that mantra held for everyone. On Sunday last it rained, took time out and then rained again but though many people got saturated it did not take from the joie de vivre for Roscommon supporters. The game is framed by the previous game that being  another rainy night in Castlebar which set the standard for last Sunday. The build-up is part and parcel of these championship games. It even revives memories of games in Tuam and Castlebar and the old St. Coman’s Park in Roscommon town of my youth. Every time I pass St. Coman’s Park on my way ‘home’ to Castlecoote I look fondly and sadly now at the remains of St. Coman’s Park. That was my boyhood Croke Park. Then came actual visits to Croke Park from ’61 onwards to see our heroes Gerry O’Malley, John Oliver Moran, Eamon Curley, Michéal Shivnan, Aidan Brady, Des Dockery and so on. They lost to a great Offaly team in ’61 but returned to defeat old forties adversaries Cavan in the ’62 Semi-Final. We hoped for a return to the glory days of the forties but defeat was again our lot to the great Mick O’Connell and Kerry. A real bright day in the ‘60s was a great game and victory of the Roscommon U 21 team of 1966 against a fine Kildare team. There were many stars in that team including a young Dermot Earley and Boyle connections in Pat Clarke and Pat Nicholson, Ray Sheeran and John Kelly. The seventies produced the great years from ’77 to ’80 when going to Croke Park for big games was routine. That ended on another rainy day when we went down narrowly to another ‘great’ Kerry team by a narrow margin. Roscommon had one of its greatest teams those days and ‘what might have been’ is a regular ache when we revisit those times. Roscommon have regularly been down but like the ageing boxer they have gotten to their feet as regularly. And each May or so we dust down the disappointment of the previous year and head for Carrick –on –Shannon,  Castlebar
Salthill, Sligo or Hyde Park for renewal of our vows and see where it takes us this year. So we arrived at Salthill on Sunday last. It began with an early start from home knowing well the traffic issues in Galway city and Salthill itself. For us it was good as we had ‘friends’ living within minutes of Pearse Stadium. First there was a visit to the Roscommon supporters base on these occasions in the Galway Bay Hotel. All the familiar faces seemed to be present and correct and ‘will we?’, ‘what do you think?” and varied unanswerable questions peppered small talk. It was a moving screen of familiar faces and me struggling for names for those familiar faces. Eventually game time and the ten minute walk to  the park. It was sunny and warm then. Would it hold? Getting a seat in the stand seemed to offer cover. The first half began well but the last ten minutes turned as the rain came down and my rain gear proved lamentable. The stand roof did not extend to my row! Galway were cruising in those last minutes and kicking points with ease. Roscommon supporters were downcast and it was hard to hope.  I left immediately at half time and went to my house abode to dry out and get reorganised. Back to the battlefield and things on the pitch took a turn for the better. A goal by Diarmuid Murtagh proved a turning point and from that there was no looking back as Cormac Cox, Enda, Nialls Daly and Kilroy saw us home. The Roscommon support re-enacted their Braveheart pitch invasion of 2017 on ‘take two’ and all was well with the world. The wet clothes seemed to dry in jig time and the traffic had so many polite drivers waving you out that it was all courtesy and consideration. The Monday papers were hugely complimentary. Eamon Sweeney in fine form “Roscommon looked like they were having the time of their lives……You could have run the national grid off Roscommon’s energy and enthusiasm. Galway’s wouldn’t have lit a match” followed later by “ At the end the Rossies stormed the pitch with the unity of purpose in a county small enough for most of the inhabitants to know each other. And Anthony Cunningham has entered his house justified.” Dick han's Dick Clerkin in Monday’s Indo also; “Roscommon have been the story of the 2019 Championship so far and are fast becoming everyone’s favourite second team”.    Michael Clifford in the Irish Daily Mail referenced Conor Cox’s “logic- defying score in the first half”. Willie Hegarty in commentary casting his net wide as usual to Rockall “ The catch of the year has been Cormac Cox”. I could add on a free transfer as well. Others talked of the three Daly brothers who I see as fine individually but a real ‘force’ together. The ‘back row’ of Roscommon right now.
Looking at the panel of 26 listed in the programme it breaks down as follow: Michael Glavey’s 6/Pearse’s 5/ Boyle 3/ Strokestown and Fuerty 2 each/ Tulsk, Elphin, Kilbride, Western Gaels, Fáiles, St. Brigid’s, Clann na nGael  and Listowel 1 each. There is material there for discussion.  
It is fair to say that Roscommon GAA is in a pretty good place right now and a rising tide is said to raise all boats.               

                                                                                                                                           Feile Returns to Boyle
On the week-end of Friday June the 28th Gaultier nicknamed 'The Barony'  from near Dunmore East in County Waterford will be the guests of Boyle GAA Club for Feile 20019. Feile is a national under-age Gaelic football  festival for boys and girls. There is also a hurling Féile. The football carnival takes place in 200 venues in this North –West Connacht region with 350 teams from all over the country and from the U.K. and the U.S.  which will involve 850 games. With these statistics it must be one of the biggest such sporting events anywhere. The games begin in Boyle on Friday evening. Boyle have participated in recent years in Féile in Cork and Down and were very active hosts to the Derry champions in 2007. Boyle’s Pat Goldrick was one of the top regional organisers on that occasion. Hopefully the whole community will join with the GAA community in welcoming visiting teams especially our guests from Waterford. It is a great and memorable occasion for those who actually travel to what would be, for say the Waterford young people, a pretty distant location. So we certainly want them to be made very welcome. Indeed they come when Roscommon football is grabbing a lot of national attention just now for all the right reasons. As Monaghan’s Dick Clerkin said in Monday’s Independent “Roscommon are fast becoming nearly everyone’s favourite second county team”.  So our fine sports facility will be a hive of activity from Friday the 28th so drop into the park and get into the mood of the occasion. The four teams in the Abbey Park are Gaultier, Boyle, Western Gaels and Whitehall Colmcille’s. The games on Friday evening start at 4.45 with Boyle v Whitehall Colmcille’s followed by Western Gaels v Gaultier. Then Boyle v Western Gaels and Gaultier v Colmcilles. The final group games take place early on Saturday am.   I’m looking forward to it all. Oh yes there will be a number of park preparation Meithéals starting at 10 am on tomorrow Saturday.   

                                                                                                                                             The Nestor Cup Visits the Abbey Park
I mentioned a hive of activity next week-end but that happens there regularly as it did yesterday evening Thursday when the Connacht Nestor Cup was taken to the grounds. This especially enabled people to bring their young family members to see what it was all about.  There was a great ‘buzz’ about for over the hour and I must commend the Boyle members of the county panel, Donie Smith, Evan McGrath, Cian McKeon and team captain Enda Smith for their participation. As Club Chairperson Kathleen Hanmore related ‘They are back where it all started and where their skills were nurtured and developed”. She continued to say how proud the club is of them and this sentiment was echoed by all present. Following a county team in victory is sweet but following a county team with members from your own club is all the sweeter. I feel that they know that and last evening was followed today Friday by visiting local schools. Club President Barry Feely also commended the team and the Boyle players contribution to a fine victory. The lads signed innumerable autographs on scraps of paper and jerseys. Indeed it was a lake of primrose and blue. While Enda and Donie are probably veterans at the autographing business I observed a shyness in the approach of Cian McKeon. While many veteran former players and GAA officials and supporters were also present it was an evening for the kids. As I was about to leave another veteran Boyle player from the 50s’ arrived on the scene and that was Bill Corcoran. Bill has come from Dublin for Boyle GAA events from time to time and keeps in touch with the happenings of his native Corrigeenroe and Boyle and has been a great supporter of Roscommon through county organisations in Dublin. He was the original Mayor of Boyle in the 50s’ and still carries that title despite Marian Gaffney succeeding him some time ago now. Anyway Bill and his family were delighted to be present and I’m sure it will be discussed when we are in contact again. He was delighted to meet Gerry Nerney, Fergal O’Donnell, Jnr. Smith, Brendan Nestor and Enda Smith of course and various others. Regrettably I forgot to ask him to sign a few autographs. In the unlikely event that you read this, Bill, after I got over the surprise of the kind of apparition of you emerging from the limousine I was delighted to see you there on a special evening. We couldn’t have organised it better. I disagree with the idiom that ‘One should never meet their heroes’. 

Slán for now.    

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Update 6th June 2019

I’ll run this by you for consideration. At the launch of the Roscommon Historical Journal on Tuesday evening a friend of mine from Elphin said he had an idea regarding Boyle. His idea is that maybe Boyle should adapt its name to Abbeyboyle. Since the Abbey is the great architectural building in the town and there are many towns with the prefix of Abbey such as Abbeydorney · Abbeyfeale · Abbeyknockmoy · Abbeylara · Abbeyleix · Abbeyshrule amongst them. This would not be totally new as it was called Abbeyboyle centuries back. While I imagine people are very comfortable with the name of Boyle on its own, appending the Abbey would be highlighting its magnificent Cistercian church remains. It is there in the Irish version being Mainistir na Buille. What ‘Boyle’ itself stands for is a bit of a tangle and not easy to explain. It may relate to the practise of moving animals from one place to another across a river ford i.e. to ‘booley’. Another suggestion is that it is the name of the river and means beautiful! A small part of Boyle, Abbeytown, already has incorporated the abbey in its title.  I’ll leave it with you.         

Jarlath Tivnan and Decadent Theatre with new play.

Jarlath Tivnan of Boyle is very familiar to Boyle playgoers. Jarlath is a primary figure in possibly his most impressive initiative to date which will come to fruition in Galway’s Town Hall Theatre next week. With the assistance of Decadent Theatre Director Andrew Flynn they have embarked on a totally new play and production which will have its premiere on Thursday of next week June 13th. They have acquired the rights to adapt the acclaimed Tipperary writer Donal Ryan’s novel ‘The Thing About December’. This novel has been twice-nominated for the Man Booker Prize. Donal Ryan was reluctant to allow an adaption of his first book but since the Director Andrew Flynn was a fellow Nenagh man that made the decision easier. (Mister Ryan is also the author of the widely recognised novel ‘The Spinning Heart’). The play will be staged for ten days from June 13th (excluding Connacht Final Sunday the 16th).  

"I’m glad it’s in the hands of Andrew and Jarlath and Decadent Theatre Company, theatre-makers with a stellar record of bringing stories to life onstage with empathy, passion and verve," said Mr Ryan.

Andrew Flynn, the Artistic Director of Decadent Theatre Company, hopes to bring his adaptation of ‘The Thing About December’ on tour around Ireland. 

"Theatre needs new life. It has to keep evolving. All great classics are brilliant to stage but they have been done. This production aims at bringing new Irish drama to the stage” said Mr. Flynn.

‘The Thing About December’ is set in rural Tipperary at the turn of the 21st century as the Celtic Tiger begins to roar. 

The story of the play revolves around the character of Johnsey Cunliffe, a simple, naïve only child in his 20s, grieves the death of his much-loved parents. 

Harassed by local bullies and excluded by his peers, Johnsey’s isolation worsens when his inherited farm is re-zoned and becomes valuable.

The clouds gather as a local conglomerate connive to tempt him into giving up his family’s land, while Johnsey, the unlikeliest of heroes, tries to hold on to those things dearest to him.

People may remember an earlier work by Jarlath called ‘The Pleasure Ground’. This is on much more ambitious scale with a stellar cast. It is a huge achievement for Jarlath mentored by Decadent Director Flynn who obviously holds Jarlath in very high regard with so much of Decadent’s resources invested in this production. Hopefully it will make its mark in the theatrical world which would elevate Decadent, Jarlath and Flynn to high levels in their genre.
So if you have connections in Galway you might spread the word with them about its run from the 13th of June to Saturday the 22nd in the Town Hall Theatre which is a long run for a new work.  

Roscommon GAA Inc. See the Light
When I opened today’s Roscommon People I was pleasantly surprised to see that Roscommon GAA Inc. had decided to revaluate the location for the county’s ‘Centre of Excellence’ proposed for Runabracken, Oran and seek a new location near Roscommon town. Like quite a number of people I have always felt that the Oran location was unsuitable and that what is now proposed, a centre near Roscommon Town if it can be sourced, is a much better option. I give credit to the powers that be that they have seen fit to accede to the principle that there is a better way and that they are willing, with all the stakeholders mentioned in The People, to vigorously pursue an alternative course. I wish them well and if the acumen demonstrated by the famous ‘House Draw’ comes to the fore again it could all be achieved.            

 Searching for a Maria McKay married to Michael O’Grady with a daughter named Eileen:
I posted this query a couple of weeks ago and have made some progress in the meantime. I have learned that Patrick McKay was a gardener (succeeded by Christy Regan) for the Stewart family with the McKays living in the gate Lodge near Shilling Hill. My real query related to a daughter of Patrick i.e. Maria McKay married to Michael O’Grady and they having a daughter Eileen. It is probably there that there could still be a Boyle connection. Frank Tarpey showed me a reference to a Michael Grady  and a Mrs. Ellen Grady in Patrick Street in the late 30s’. Now Grady is not O’Grady but… There was another reference to an O’Grady/Grady getting the title of ‘The Durrango Kid’ because of a movie hero of that appendage. ‘The Kid’ is assumed to have emigrated to England. I did get some sources which might have been helpful but they seem to have disappeared on me now ! Anyway if anyone has any ideas on my quest you might contact me at or at 086 8163399.
I’d appreciate same of course.

Back to Boffin

I returned to the island of Innis boffin (Island of the White (?) Cow) off the Connemara coast for a couple of days last week. It is a favoured place of mine. However it too needs the sun. it was a 50:50 split of sunshine and the gloomy inclement weather we are experiencing presently. On the way over through Mayo I called into The National Museum of Ireland concentrating on County Life. There are about a dozen Exhibition themes covering Trades and Crafts, Life in the Community, The Natural Environment, The Times 1850 to 1950 and so on. This is part of the National Museum and is –in my opinion- really worth a visit. Admission is free. Turlough Park is approximately 5 miles on our side of Castlebar so if you are in those parts (an hour or so from Boyle) you could consider a visit. It is mentioned, from time to time, that the artefacts unearthed from the drainage of Lough Gara in the early 50s’ should be housed in a similar Museum in Boyle rather than being invisible in some Museum store in Dublin.  
After Turlough Park we went to Clifden which was busy with visitors. I stayed in the Station House Hotel. Clifden is not a big town but has numerous restaurants and music bars. The following  day I hit off for Cleggan which is the ferry port for Boffin. It was wet though, but the 45 minute journey across was not as intimidating as it can be. Island walks are one of the real pleasures of Boffin but walking in the rain was not an option. Later that night there was a fine traditional session in Andrew Murray’s Doonmore Hotel with Kerry singer Sean Garvey. Friday was good and the choice of walks was abundant.  I visited Inishbofin House Hotel which is also referred to as Day’s or by some locals as ‘The Posh’ hotel. There is a third hotel run by Pat Coyne called The Dolphin Hotel. Pat exclaimed when asked the time “There are two times THE time and Boffin time”. It does not take long before you get to know people and talking to strangers on the roads or bars is to be encouraged. Once I said to myself ‘He looks familiar” and when I suggested his name it was indeed Paul Muldoon. So we chatted as we walked up the hill. Mister Muldoon is from Armagh a notable poet, is a professor of English at Princetown University in New Jersey and winner of the Pulitzer prize for a suite of poetry. ‘Boffin’ is certainly a different place with the anthem of the corncrake as a background melody. 

Historic Anniversaries;
The 4th of June was the 30th Anniversary of the Tiananmen Square, Beijing student protest and its suppression by the Communist Government. I watched a two part documentary on it on RTE 1 on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. This showed how close that protest was to changing the path of China’s subsequent course to a more democratic model. About 20 years ago in a visit to a former history teacher at Roscommon CBS as I was about to leave he suggested; ‘And what about China? “ which meant another half hour parsing that conundrum. I have been meaning to write a piece on the China story and its ominous global spread for some time but that time is not now. One of the great iconic pictures/images of that Tiananmen student protest was that of a student (I presume) standing in front of a row of tanks which he stopped.

Thursday June 6th is the 75th Anniversary of the D Day landings in France in 1944. The American President Donald Trump will be in Normandy for those commemorations. D Day is often referred to as Deliverance Day for France but I believe that the D is actually a random code letter for the day. There have been a number of films depicting the landings such as ‘The Longest Day’ and the very graphic representation of the horror of the beaches in ‘Saving Private Ryan’. A good deal of that picture was filmed in County Wexford and Curracloe beach. A large number of  F.C.A./.L.D.F. personnel featured as extras in that film and I seem to remember one of them, the Roscommon Sports Editor, Ian Cooney, arriving in the Abbey Park from Wexford to play for St. Michael’s. The things you remember!

The Mayo Weather Forecaster’s key Role in D-Day.    
A Mayo post office worker Maureen Sweeney played a key role in the D Day landings. She was employed at Blacksod Post office in Mayo and the extra dimension to her work was taking readings from a weather ‘station’ in terms of air pressure, wind, rain etc. . These readings found their way to the heart of the D Day planning organisers in London. Those for the 5th of June anticipated a storm coming through for the Normandy area. Thus Eisenhower the Commander in Chief postponed the attack of the 5th and got some better weather for the 6th and so went on that day and the rest is history. This story is being told in a documentary on RTE on Thursday night at 10.15 titled ‘Storm Front in Mayo-The Story of the D Day Forecast’ in which the key role of Maureen Sweeney is highlighted. She featured in last Saturday’s independent as a vibrant 96 year old lady.

Irishtown and the Land League

Since I am mentioning a few pretty local places of interest that I have been to in recent times I’ll mention Irishtown. Usually Irishtown get its name from being the part of a larger urban area which is identified by its Irish population or ethnicity. People will have heard of Chinatown and so on. There is an Irishtown in Dublin not far from the Aviva Stadium. I digress. I was in Ballindine and decided to tick one of my long- term boxes by visiting Irishtown the home of the Land League. I drove slowly into the outskirts of the village looking for a museum commemorating the hugely important historic event which took place in Irishtown in 1879. On seeing some bunting and colour I felt that I was on course but it turned out to be National School. There wasn’t a soul to be seen on the humble street of houses and I had to knock on a door to seek information regarding my quest for a significant memorial to the achievements of Michael Davitt and the Land League. A lady told me I had passed the memorial and recited the Irish inscription on it which she had retained from her national school days. ‘First you have to turn around and you will see the memorial opposite the national school’. A couple of minutes later I was gazing at the humble marker and reading the inscription. The first Land League meeting promoting the realisation of the organisation’s slogan ”The land of Ireland for the People of Ireland” took place in Irishtown in April 1879 not long after Davitt had returned from England and promoted the idea though he was not at the inaugural rally. There is, in fairness, a Michael Davitt museum in his birthplace of Straide maybe 20 Kms. or so from Irishtown.
Michael Davitt is a somewhat forgotten man in Irish History yet the Land League led to one of the greatest legal transfers of land ownerships without huge strife anywhere in Europe. It formed the basis of land ownership of the small/smaller farming classes that exists today. Not being aware of the role and achievements of Michael Davitt is a real deficit in one’s knowledge of Irish history. 

Roscommon Historical and Archaeological Magazine Launch (RHAM)
I attended the launch of the RHAM magazine in Tuesday the 4th. This is the 14th of such publications. It includes a wide diversity of articles from all parts of Roscommon. The 14 magazines form an important collection of record on Roscommon history, archaeology and the general story of Roscommon down the centuries. The Society is very active and has a number of outstanding officers and members including Mary O’Connell, President; Albert Siggins, Secretary; Shane Lynskey Vice-President; Marian Harlow, Treasure; and Darragh Kelly P.R.O. The Editors of this year’s journal are James Ganley and James Hoban. The book costing €15 was launched by Roscommon County Council Arts Officer Nollaig Feeney. The launch took place in the very impressive County Council headquarters in Roscommon town.

Boyle Camera Club Pictures Very Impressive Display
As an aside I was pleasantly surprised to see the pictures from a single day in Boyle last summer by Boyle Camera Club on linear display in the large reception area of the building. They looked hugely impressive with Frankie Tarpey, Christy Wynne, Michael Conlon, Donal O’Connor and Mandy, Eileen Higgins, Jack Murphy, Imelda Maughan  and the full ensemble occupying a fine space. The highlight picture is an enlarged canvass of Roch Hanmore and his son. I would really encourage Boyle Camera Club to put them on display again in Boyle as they are a special collection and a credit to the camera club. If you are passing though Roscommon and have a half hour to spare call in to see the exhibition. As Council CEO Eugene Cummins said a number of times at the launch they are happy for people to do that as it is “your building”.

Some Sport….The Penalty Competition Follow Up
I missed the penalty competition last Saturday am in Boyle’s Abbey Park. I am told that it was a great success and great entertainment. The penalty competition is a really good idea. It could be extended to an all levels free-taking competition (maybe hand-passing over the bar as well!). Free-taking is one of the key elements of success. I do not know what time is put into free-taking in coaching and general match preparation or are 'the free-takers' expected to emerge of themselves. I have thought of such a competition within our club for a long time of a good few ideas that did not reach fruition....hurling another. Anyway seeing that the penalty competition has emerged maybe Boyle free-taking could follow. Only a few weeks ago against Fuerty their free-taker Gearoid Ennis must have scored all 8 frees he took and some from a real distance. I'll 'help' with the free -taking initiative if it is thought worthy. The great free-takers were key players in successful teams. Donal Keenan, Ros. in the 40s'/ Don Feely Ros. 60s'/ the sublime Mickie Kearins with Sligo in the '60s'-70s'/ Tony McTeague with Offaly '60s'-70s/ Jimmy y Keaveney for the Dubs '70s/ Mickie Sheehy, Kerry '70s -'8os/ Stafford for Meath/ the Kildare man from Cork, Tomkins/ Joyce for Galway/ Lohan Ros./ Michael Murphy for Donegal/ and Barney Rock for the Dubs today. They were all free-taking kings in football and hurling has them also.  

They saved the worst wine for last with the two European Football Finals last week or so . The Semi-Finals had it all but the finals were very disappointing. Fair play to Eamon Sweeney who gave Roscommon GAA a great blow in last Sunday’s Independent.  

I’ll leave you this week with one of my favourite Chris O’Dowd public ‘speeches’. It was given at the Irish Spirit Awards in New York on march 17 2013. So Google those and listen to his speech with a twist. You should enjoy it.

May your God’s go with you. T.C.  


Tuesday, May 28, 2019

The passing of Paschal Harrington, Boyle Sportsman

The passing of Paschal Harrington, Boyle Sportsman

Paschal Harrington formerly of Boyle passed away after a short illness, aged 69, on Thursday May 9th in Cavan Hospital. Paschal was a retired Garda and lived in Drumharlry, Moyne, Co. Longford. He was the brother of Padraig Harrington Sacristan of St. Joseph’s Church, Boyle.
In his early days at St. Mary’s College, under Father Mattimoe, and in Boyle GAA club he was a good and active footballer. He was  a member of the St. Mary’s College, Connacht winning teams of ’65 at Juvenile and ’66 at senior Division ‘C’ championships. The senior team captained by John Keenehan is pictured below. There is reference to his class being referred to as; ‘The twelve apostles’. Perhaps that was the number of pupils in that class. More notably he was a fine handballer. The family were in business in St. Patrick St. where his parents, Peter and Veronica, had a drapery and shoe business. Being adjacent to Boyle handball alley (Casey’s Alley of yore) Paschal was drawn to that sport like so many from that street like the Perrys, Gaughrans, Keaveneys, Clarkes and the Kennedys from south of the river and so on, in the 60s’.  He brought this sporting skill with him when he enlisted in the Garda Siochana and trained in Templemore. The Garda Siochána, as an  organisation, took great pride in its handball stalwarts down the decades and Boyle provided them with a number of greats including Paddy Perry, Paddy Reid, Jim and Pat Clarke. Paschal won a number of Garda Championships one of the trophies named after the great Mayo footballer, Garda Tom Langan. He also won Connacht Championships and represented Roscommon as an U 21 All-Ireland finalist. He travelled the country playing with his friend and neighbour Pat Clarke another great exponent of the game. 
Prior to joining the Garda he had stints at sub-teaching in Boyle N.S., and with John Leonard accountant Elphin Street. (John from Gurteen passed away also last week). 
On graduating from Templemore he was, like so many Garda, transferred to ‘Border Duty’ in Monaghan and Cavan and spent most of his career in Arva from which he retired from the force. During his work duty there he witnessed a bank robbery where shots were fired. So it was a dangerous time.  
Paschal’s passing is deeply regretted by his wife Marie, daughter Edel, son Dean, sister Mary, brother Padraig. Also by his former St. Mary’s classmates and Boyle friends.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Update 22nd May

Searching for a Maria McKay married to Michael O’Grady with a daughter named Eileen: 

I have recently had an enquiry trying to find the descendants of a Boyle connection. The background is that members of  a family called McKay apparently came to Boyle in the latter half of the 1800s’. There were two brothers Henry and Hugh and they were shoemakers. The line of interest is that of Henry. Henry died in 1910 and a son Corporal William McKay, Connacht Ranges, born in Grange, died of his wounds in Flanders, France on October 11th 1918. He nearly made it through that hell. His is buried in Aisne, France and his headstone is marked as aged 36, son of Henry and Mary McKay (nee Ryan) Drum, Boyle, Co. Roscommon.   
Another son of Henry and Mary i.e. Patrick McKay (died 1957) married a Kate Feeney a Catholic. They had 3 daughters, Maria, Elizabeth and Sarah.
Maria McKay married a Michael O’Grady and they had a daughter Eileen. It is probably there that there could still be a Boyle connection.   

There was another branch of the family called Roberts through marriage who lived in Dublin

The person researching this family was in Boyle and Grange some time ago and it was suggested that they contact me. It is not really my field but by putting it ‘out there’ we could come up with a connection.

The latter part of the query does not go too far back. Maybe someone will have heard of the Cpl. William McKay being killed so late in the War or some such information. (Thanks to Danny Tiernan for that nugget of information). 

Chernobyl Sky Atlantic Television Series

I mentioned this recently. I have watched the first two episodes of the drama. While what happened was a huge and long-living disaster the documentary/drama indicates that Europe escaped what might have become a an unimaginable disaster. The first instinct of the regime of the then USSR was to cover up but it was on such a scale that it could not be covered up. It was first detected outside the USSR in Sweden by scientists in a Swedish power plant monitoring the fall-out from Chernobyl over 1,000 KMs away. The U.S. then confirmed the location through spy satellites.
There are a small number of Irish actors they being Jessie Buckley as the wife of a fireman first on the scene, Barry Keoghan and Caoilfhionn Dunne. One of the main characters a nuclear scientist is played by Jared Harris son of Richard. While Emily Watson also plays a key role as another scientist who has an influence for good in the horror story. A Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgád plays a high ranking Soviet politician impressively.
The series illustrates the horror to great effect. Isn’t it is something that mankind can put together such a facility that they then cannot control when things go wrong. It is said that Einstein regretted his contribution to the  nuclear option which his famous equation E=mc to the power of 2 facilitated.     

It reminds me of September and the reopening of school after the summer break. Well the holidays from BEXIT are nearly over with elections of this week (Thursday in the U.K.) being the extra can of (I do not like using the term) worms into the boiling pot. The opening scene of Macbeth with the witches seems to be a possible analogy here;

A cave, a caldron boiling. Thunder.

Enter the three witches.

“Double, double, toil and trouble;

Fire burn, and cauldron bubble”.       

The EU election in the U.K. is, predictably, a vote on Brexit v Remain though not couched as such. Nigel Farage is in great form and his party is predicted to win the majority of U.K. seats. The opposition is fragmented and the Brexit electorate is wound up like a shed of Millwall supporters and going for the straight message ‘Out’ . Hapless and helpless Theresa May can do little about it. Her days are numbered. The U.K  is like the fishing cork that gets sucked into one of those river whirlpool. Let the games begin again.

Two Weeks of ‘Unbelievable’ (Soccer) Football 
It almost seems as if it is a long time ago now when Liverpool welcomed Barcelona to Anfield and performed one of the greatest comebacks in high level football by  turning a 3 goal deficit into a 4 to 3 win. It was unbelievable.
Then on the following night Spurs went to Amsterdam a goal behind to Ajax. Ajax added two goals as they looked to be cruising and then Spurs made the great comeback with a hat-trick from Lucas Mouras enabling their 3 away goals to tip the balance in Spurs favour. So two English premier league clubs contest the Champions League final in  a couple of weeks.

While it might seem as if I am glued to soccer on T.V. that is not the case but I did indulge in the lesser menu of the Championship which can turn up drama of its own. Aston Villa (managed by John Terry) v West Brom. in the effort to get into a Championship play-off final with the prize being promotion to the premiership. The game goes to extra time and then penalties which Aston Villa win. The Villa star is Jack Grealish.  A real indulgence was to see who they would play and this meant watching Leeds v Derby County (managed by Frank Lampard). Leeds bring a 1 nil lead back to their home ground i.e. Elland Road- and are odds on to win but don’t and are beaten 4 to 3 in the dying minutes. Irish international Richard Keogh plays a big part in the win and Shay Given is to be seen as part of the management

So Aston Villa now play Derby County in Wembley England’s Bank Holiday Monday May 27th  (Ireland’s Bank Holiday is June 3rd)  at 3 to see who will be promoted with Sheffield Utd. and Norwich.

On the local soccer scene I attended Boyle Celtic v Moore at Lecarrow on a Saturday evening in the Roscommon County Cup semi-final. As Ronan Flanagan headlined it in his ‘Roscommon Herald’ report ‘Moore drama as United reach final’. In keeping with the above this game too went to penalties and extra penalties with Moore going through 7 to 6.

Changing back to my regular code I attended Roscommon v Leitrim in the Hyde in their first round of the Connacht C ’Ship. Roscommon 3.17 Leitrim 0.12. When I relayed the opinion to my son that; ‘This was the worst performance I have seen from Leitrim in the Connacht C ‘Ship’ he replied “You said the same thing last year”. I will not dwell on the Leinster v Saracens tank battle in the Heineken Cup final. It was cruel.

By the time I am back here again, the two intriguing European Soccer finals will be resolved, Liverpool v Spurs and Arsenal v Chelsea and Villa v West Brom.

The Caves of Keash
On May Bank holiday Monday I participated in a walk up to ‘The Caves of Keash’. It was something I have been meaning to do from time to time. A good group gathered at the Eastern Harps complex a kilometre or so from the Caves. On a fine sunny day we walked towards the base of the caves and proceeded up a nominated path. As a senior person now, I realised about half way up that my flat terrain walking was not appropriate training. However pride pushed me through the incline barrier. Maybe that wasn’t clever but I’m here relating it! There is not much to see within the caves but outward Sligo looked well. So down again and a chat with a lady gardening, from Boyle actually, formerly Egan. Back in the Eastern Harps a chat with Edward East and having a social cup of tea with cake and some music from members of the Dwyer clan. It was a really nice couple of hours and I am indebted to the organisers Carmel and Thomas Taheny, Padraig Henry and a great Eastern Harps man Sean Scott.  On the pitch training a young Harps group was Francis Candon who was unusually subdued. That is what time can do. Thanks also to the farmers who accommodate this access through their lands. Things have got so restrictive to a ridiculous degree that this is not always the case. I commend also Eastern Harps on their magnificent new Club facility which shows where the club has come to and is a hugely positive statement of intent into the future. It is up to the present and future generation to appreciate it and keep it well. 

*I have just got a text note re. the 2nd Eastern Harps Walk Series 2019. “This month’s walk is scheduled for this coming Sunday May 26th in Strandhill. Meet at 9.30am at Mama Johnson’s Ice Cream Parlour. Walk starts at 10. Free of charge. Route 7 km. approx.. various terrains. Unsuitable for buggies. Please spread the word. 

Eugene McGee R.I.P.
It is a rare ‘gift ‘I suppose to able to criticise an organisation and still be regarded very highly by it. Such was the personality of Eugene McGee. He rose to GAA coaching prominence with UCD in the early seventies and guided them to three Sigersons in a row and six of the eight he contested as manager. This will never be equalled. They won two Dublin county championships and an All-Ireland Club Championship.  Their great rivals were St. Vincent’s with Kevin Heffernan and they had to give up on a final when it was fixed for during exam time. County boards disliked College teams as I know with UCG also. I’ll refer to that again maybe.  
 John Kelly of Boyle and Tony McManus a bit later were members of those teams as was a player who seemed to be an eternal student of the time Benny Gaughran of Louth. I met Eugene or perhaps I should refer to him as Mister McGee a small number of times since I was for a period Secretary of UCG GAA in the early seventies. He was not a person to be trifled with. He was Editor perhaps owner of the Longford Leader and later a columnist for the Independent papers and regular commentator on GAA for R.T.E. radio. Beside me is the Sunday Indo of May 12th. Sport pages 8/9 and Colm O’Rourke gives him a great tribute amongst others.  I seem to remember him giving a talk once in Boyle maybe at the Arts or some such forum. My longest interaction with him was on a train journey to Dublin when he sat down in the seat opposite me at Longford. He was going through a file of old clippings and photographs for a U.C.D. former players re-union and we talked of the Sigersons that we had in common. For people who have never experienced that inter-varsity competition it is for GAA players (with its hurling equivalent The Fitzgibbon Cup) a livelong memory.
In GAA terms he will always be remembered as the manager of the Offaly team that defeated Kerry in ’82 when Seamus Darby scored the goal that ended Kerry’s drive for five in a row. The account of that year’s Offaly campaign and the huge part played in it by team- manager Eugene McGee is told in the award winning book ‘Kings of September’ by Michael Foley published in 2008. ( A similar title ‘When we were Kings’ by John Keenan of the Galway 3 in row team of the sixties is a favourite essay of mine if you wish to Google same).    
P.J. Cunningham headlined his tribute in that Sunday Indo paper regarding Eugene McGee “A great manager and a great man”.  

A busy week end in prospect.
Friday evening usually kicks off the weekend. This Friday will see the flurry of activity with the election. I have noted this  a couple of weeks ago. The only revision I would have is that in the EU elections after the certain Mairead McGuinness, the near certain Ming and Matt Carthy the fun starts from there. I see Brendan Smith posters seeping into the Boyle area. Perhaps the opposite is happening in his area with Anne Rabbitte posters. The danger for Fianna Fail is that a surging Maria Walshe would take a second seat for Fine Gael. That would be a repeat of the previous F.F. debacle and invites the spake ‘Fool me once shame on you fool me twice shame on me’. Peter Casey’s bubble has probably evaporated but his transfers will be of major significance.
In England they have the first past the post electoral system which is a disaster for small parties and probably independents. The Irish system of transferable votes is much more nuanced and can lead to candidates being elected after any number of counts. If one was very clever one could start at what one would suggest was the weakest candidate and work the way up giving the vote a value all along the way….a kind of ‘Yankee’ bet. So you could actually give the Green candidate Saoirse McHugh a number one vote to suggest that you are coming around to environmentalism and go on to x, y z from there!    

Saturday Evening another contest of a different hue

On Saturday at McHale Park Roscommon play Mayo in the ‘real’ championship. Roscommon last won at McHale Park in 1986 with Gary Wynne on the team. It was the year after Dermot Earley and Pat Lindsay retired. Roscommon are underdogs but they seem to be very fit and strong and the if the hard running and back-up play, so much in evidence against a weak Leitrim, can be replicated to a degree they could really challenge. Also the game now is about panels and the use of twenty players. It surprises me in watching rugby that star players are regularly substituted a decent time from the end of the game. But for the manager in Rugby Union  it is a regular occurrence albeit with the possibility of 7 substitutes. Anyway it will again tell us where Roscommon senior team is at and how long the summer for county football will be.

*A friend of mine who is a Dublin resident and is a dedicated Roscommon supporter bemoaned the fact to me that he and his ilk could not travel to C’Bar on Saturday by train as the last train passing back to the capital would be well gone before the game was ended. Railways played a very important place in the fixing of fixture venues for decades in the early days of the GAA. Then there were ‘specials’ for games but now there is no co-ordination from both the GAA and CIE on this matter. It is worthy of consideration is it not?) 

Actually since I sent this blog first time I see a note on twitter regarding; Full details of the match special on Sat. are on the website…….too complicated for me to transfer to here but maybe someone can translate to realboyle…please. 

(A result from a first year colleges game this week Enniscorthy C.B.S. v Tullamore. At half time it was Tullamore 5.11 Enniscorthy  CBS 0.0. final result Enniscorthy CBS 11. 01 (34 points) Tullamore 6.12. (30 pts). It was a breezy day!)  

‘Good night and may your gods go with you’     Dave Allen.