Our Big Game on Sunday; Boyle v Padraig Pearses
Boyle return to the County Semi-Finals on Sunday next at Hyde Park at 2.45. Their opposition, Padraig Pearses, are possible favourites for the title. Boyle narrowly lost in their first round to Pearses so they too are in with a good chance of progressing on Sunday. This will be Boyle’s third semi-final in three years the other two being in ’16 and ’17 where they lost out to St. Brigid’s and Roscommon Gaels. I see a different atmosphere about the team this year though and this could be a breakthrough year. Boyle are a better side this year and there is a quiet resolve to maximise the window of opportunity that seems to be there this time. However having said all that while their first half performance against Michael Glavey’s in Castlerea last Saturday was scintillating their opening 20 minutes of the second half was puzzling dipping into a valley. It was like an effort at Dutch football deserting the defensive trenches to play in no man’s land. I’m confident though that all that is absorbed and that winning pragmatism will emerge on Sunday. So hopefully the town, which currently has hedged its bets in terms of flag-waving will, flower after Sunday. Tonight -Thursday- I drove home through the town and I am puzzled by a noticeable absence of the colours even in places where it would be thought a given.
Win or lose I applaud the huge effort that all of the panel members and management have put into this and previous campaigns. They are putting Boyle football on the map and hopefully a big and VOCAL support from Boyle will congregate in a not very hospitable environs of the large stadium that is Hyde Park.
Two Weeks in the Life of…
All-Ireland Football Reflection
Oscar Wilde said he always wanted to have something to read in his travels and that was the reason why he used to carry his diary with him. I keep a raw record also which is locked in being illegible to everyone else but myself!
Why I mention it here is that when I sat down to stay on track with a few paragraphs bi-weekly I wondered what will I ‘scribble’ this evening ? Also the evening is short as I am going to Roscommon …again …as I hear over my shoulder. I left off last time preparing to go to the All-Ireland football final replay. That is nearly forgotten now! However it was a real contest between two gladiatorial giants. For quite a while it was a chess game with little to choose at half time. Dublin reenergised from an escape in the drawn game saw new heroes emerge with Mannion, O’Callaghan, Kilkenny, Cluxton and a relatively unknown i.e. Murchan striding around Coke like antelopes in a safari park. The old aristocrats Kerry brought their warriors and great tradition to the table too with names we will hear for the next decade like Clifford, O’Shea, Murphy and Geaney but in the end the blues for a combination of reasons finally arrived at station number 5 and being cast into the folklore of Gaelic football for as long as it survives.
Last Sunday in the independent Sports Section there were two columns on the back page one by Colm O’Rourke and the other by Joe Brolly. I haven’t read Colm O’Rourke’s piece yet maybe on the train tomorrow but I have scanned Brolly’s. towards the end it deals with the Dublin football team in broadest terms and how they have reached out to Diarmuid Connolly as told by selector Declan Darcy. It is worthy of your attention. A telling end to his column is the following, and I quote " Long after the stadium was empty the stewards at Coke park went into the empty Dublin dressing- room, only to find Stephen Cluxton mopping the floor" !
Having returned to base I tuned in on Sunday to the ladies All-Ireland final. After a tough contest in terrible conditions they won their third title in a row. I had hoped Galway would win but they fell short. I expect that they will return
Sunday Morning Hurling Abbey Park on the 29th
I have been informed that the official launch of a hurling initiative will take place on Sunday morning next at the Abbey Park at 11m. I think that hurling is the supreme game and that it was never better. The skills which are on display in top games are mesmerising. And what’s more it’s getting better if that is possible. I played hurling as a boy since it was part of the heritage of Athleague with which club I played as I did in the CBS.
There have been a number of times that hurling has sparked as if into life in Boyle. I remember Richard McGee mentioning that it was around in the late forties. A legendary character called Bob Carr who came from Offaly and had a saw-mill at Ardcarne promoted the game through the later sixties. Army officer P.J.Keane, who played for Limerick and Munster, got a good young team together in the early seventies with T. P. Toolan and Martin Candon being on Roscommon under-age teams. The fire went out but a Mister O’Dowd originally from Galway but back in Boyle from England tried again to light the flame. I do not know why it died again.
Now I am told that a number of people are setting out on that journey again with the support of the County Hurling Board for Minors. From what I have heard there are enthusiasts from Cork and Wexford amongst those involved. I really hope it catches on. I see its sister game camogie beginning to be nurtured by a number of dedicated and excellent ladies in the park at the moment. Bringing a game like hurling to a new place is not a short project it is a ten year one and I wish it well because to me it is the Riverdance of sport.
A Scottish Story of Appreciation
I will just paste to here a nice heroic story as told by Neil Francis rugby columnist of the Sunday Independent of Sept. 15th
“A TRANQUIL gathering in the Scottish highlands is disturbed as a small boy falls into the icy waters of a nearby river. There are shrieks as the boy is carried away towards a waterfall and certain death. Before anyone can even think, a young man dives in and swims heroically for the toddler. Just as it seems that the waterfall is about to take him, the hero lunges and grabs the child by the scruff of the neck. He scrambles for an outlying rock right on the edge of the waterfall. Against all odds, he holds on until they can both be pulled to safety. Once back on land, the hero returns the child to his grandfather. The old man turns to the rescuer and points to the child's head:
"He had a hat..."
(I got interrupted when doing up this blog which I send to post late Thursday night ... well actually very early Friday am. Perhaps I can get back to the second half on Saturday!)