Friday, February 22, 2019

Update 7th February

Congrats to Hal
I wish to congratulate Boyle’s Hal Cawley who was presented with the Roscommon Herald/SuperValu Hall of Fame award at a presentation in The Abbey Hotel Roscommon on Friday night of last week. Hal received the award for his lifelong service to and support of Boyle Celtic Soccer Club. As a GAA person, while I do not want to interrupt the soccer theme, I note that Hal was a regular GAA player with Boyle in the latter fifties and on the winning Junior team in ’64. Now that said Hal got glowing commendations from many corners especially Boyle Celtic officials past and present who accompanied and supported him on the night. All these and Hal’s own thought s and reflections on his soccer journey are encapsulated in a lovely tribute by Kevin Egan of the Sport’s section of The Roscommon Herald page 8. It is titled ‘Guardian Angel Fulfilled by Football. The Guardian Angel caption is culled from Boyle Celtic Chairman Sean Kerins's reference to Hal as  ‘Guardian Angel’ (an overseer) of Boyle Celtic.
 "THE PORT AUTHORITY" & Jarlath Tivnan
There is a residue of support and good will for Boyle actor Jarlath Tivnan. Jarlath will be in The Dock in Carrick-on-Shannon on Wednesday February the 20th in a Decadent Theatre production of a play titled ‘The Port Authority’. The play revolves around three stories.  A young boy leaves home for the first time, a man begins a job for which he is not qualified, a pensioner receives a mysterious package. As each man confronts the significance of these events, they are forced to take stock of themselves, their feelings, and of the decisions they have made. The writer of the pay is the award-winning playwright Conor McPherson of Seafarer, The Weir & Shining City.
• Further afield John O’Dowd from Abbeytown takes part in Martin McDonagh’s ‘Skull in Connemara’ which is touring in the north of England.
Cartoon Saloon Another Oscar Nomination
'Late Afternoon' is the latest success story for Kilkenny-based Cartoon Saloon of which Boyle’s Paul Young is one of the founding fathers. The short was written and directed by Louise Bagnall for Cartoon Saloon. They have had previous Oscar nominations for ‘The Secret of Kells’, ‘Song of the Sea’ and ‘The Breadwinner’ so this is the fourth time at the Oscars for Cartoon Saloon which is an outstanding record.
Evan McGrath ‘Man of the Match’
So to using the word ‘outstanding’ again, this time in relation to the performance of Boyle’s Evan McGrath in last Sunday’s fine victory over Monaghan. Evan becomes the second Boyle to win the award this year as Donie Smith got it for his performance v Galway in the FBD final. This was a-top Roscommon performance of true grit, determination and skill with a number of excellent performances. Fair play to team captain Enda Smith for converting with a fine penalty at a crucial stage in the game. Had Evan’s goal- bound shot not been saved it would have been an early top goal award contender after his powerful run in the lead up to it.
So from periods of despair as the search for a manager stumbled along late last year the Roscommon supporters have a bounce in their step once again. Fair play to all involved and it looks very much as if Roscommon’s stumbling in the management quest has come up trumps in Anthony Cunningham and his team
 Launch of Boyle GAA’s ‘I’m a Celebrity… get me out of here’
This Boyle GAA fund-raising venture will be officially launched with bells and whistles on Friday night in The Moylurg Inn’. The Event proper will take place on Saturday March 16th. I imagine that we will hear the panel of ‘Celebrities' on this Friday night and hear plenty about the event from thereon in to the big night. A young energetic committee has taken this project in hand so we can look forward to that youthful energy and imagination resulting in an energetic and entertaining show on what could be a hectic St. Patrick’s weekend.
Brady Rules at Atlanta
It was a long late night on Sunday night /Monday morning watching the finale of the American Football season with what U.S sports fans regard as the greatest annual sporting show of all. This year’s game was a pretty muted and record low-scoring game where the New England Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams by the score of 13–3. This meant they had the same number of wins as the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most Super Bowl championships won with six. Tom Brady and the team manager Bill Belichick have been there for all six and three (I think) lost finals. In any assessment  of sports achievements it  is a remarkable record and one that is unlikely to be ever equalled in that sport. If we have issues here with defensive Tyrone style football then this too was an exhibition of similar play with the veteran Belichick and his on-field general Brady finally outwitting the novice Rams manager Sean McVay and the novice quarter back Jared Goff. The BBC coverage with Mark Chapman and his pundits Osi Umenyiors, Jason Bell and Mike Carlson made it an entertaining 11.30 to 3.30 four hour experience where Osi sang the praises of the defensive game. As an aside the cost of a 30 second advertisement during the game (which were not the BBC of course) was €5,250,000 !
An Balla … Great (!) Walls
This is an interesting series TG4 dealing with great modern walls established to keep people in or out but basically in their allotted place. The affable presenter Síle Nic Chonaonaigh visited the ‘great’ wall which already exists for a considerable length of the U.S. Mexico border; the wall and Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) dividing North and South Korea; the residue of The Berlin Wall and the grotesque wall which divides the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. There was one touch of levity here as a Palestinian business man showed her the hotel he had opened under the wall’s shadow which he called ‘The Walled Off Hotel’.
We live in historic times.
I doubt but that it was always so. Listening to the RTE News at 6 this Wednesday evening it had the full range of news ‘stories’ international and national.  BREXIT, for a change, had to compete with the two big national stories for top billing. They were the outrageous spiralling cost of the National Children’s Hospital and the nurses strike. The lack of control and transparency with the costing of the hospital is to use a word I use regularly …. unbelievable. if we were not in the middle of another huge issue i.e. Brexit, there would have been a case for it to bring down not just a few bureaucrats and a couple of ministers but the Government with them.
Nurses Strike
The nurses strike and its immediate impact on people who have had x, y, z cancelled/postponed is also incredible. But having thousands of procedures cancelled/postponed creates the ripple effect which will last for months on end. It is like a crash on a motorway. The saying that ‘all wars end’ could be transferred to strikes. So this strike too will end. Is there no way to reach the end before the beginning? It looks stark at the moment as both sides ‘dig in’ and try to win the hearts and minds battle. I have used the analogy  before that we are a small country which has its benefits. We have a population about the size of Birmingham. With all the resources and money being spent in the Health services here how can it be that such a tangle of what seems just now as intractable issues are allowed to fester until they just break and cause such hurt to a particularly vulnerable constituency.
And then Brexit! Do not get tired of it for it will shape, for ill, our (foreseeable) future. For a real insight/education into the phenomena I highly recommend two brilliant documentaries. The Brexit campaign features in a documentary shown on Channel 4 on Jan. 7th titled ‘Brexit: The Uncivil War’. The programme focuses on the P.R. battle between the top strategists on the ‘Leave’ and ‘Remain’ sides. Benedict Cumberbatch as Dominic Cummings wins all as top –behind the scenes- man for the ‘Leave’ side over Craig Oliver of the ‘Remain’ side. One significant scene is the development of a telling slogan e.g. ‘Make America Great Again’ and ‘Fake News’ etc. It is the slogan on the red ‘Leave’ bus. Initially it is ‘Take Control’ but a brainwave comes on Cummings to insert ‘Back’ so it became the transforming ‘Take Back Control’.
The second documentary is titled ‘Inside Europe: Ten years of Turmoil’ . Two episodes have already been transmitted. The first a really engrossing one on the dilemmas of David Cameron and how Party politics trumped national interest. This shows Cameron hurrying to and fro from Brussels as Theresa May is doing at the moment with the same mantra seeking a different result. Gliding or flying around but still stuck in the mire of it all. The second episode describes the Greek crisis and how it nearly brought down the euro. Of course we have ‘form’, as the cockneys say, in that ourselves.
These programmes show what the top bureaucrats Jean Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk are like and they are as they say in Munster ‘Senior Hurlers’. If that needs verification just listen to what Mister Tusk said today; ‘European Council President Donald Tusk has spoken of a "special place in hell" for "those who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of a plan of how to carry it out safely".
Still there was a little sliver of light tonight as I watched/listened to Tommy Gorman of RTE News report from Belfast. The Sligoman would be my ‘go to‘ man on who?, what? and where? in N.I. As he commented on the softer tone of the DUP he expressed a feeling that change may be in the air. To quote Churchill - hardly a ‘Remainer’ I’d venture- after the WW2 victory at El Alamein; "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning”.

For me it is the end for tonight. ‘Good night and may your God go with you’.

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