Monday, August 3, 2020

Oblique View Sunday August 2nd 2020.

Innovative Streaming of Championship Games

One of the real local innovations in GAA sport is the ‘streaming’ of the senior championship games that are taking place these week-ends. Last weekend it was St. Brigid’s v Clann na nGael and Boyle v Padraig Pearses. There was plenty of drama in both games to enthuse the viewers with both games ending in draws.

 Last Friday night the game streamed was Strokestown v St. Brigid’s again.

Tomorrow-Sunday- the games being streamed are Fuerty v Western Gaels and Ml. Glavey’s v Pearses I think. The quality of the feeds is good and Seamus Duke is knowledgeable if a little rusty as yet commentator. All this is great for those still reticent regarding being out and about in terms of going to the games or those who cannot get tickets and it most certainly is good for those away from home especially abroad. So hats off to those who have enabled this to happen.

One has to recognise also the club streaming of games. Colin Kearney is the videographer for Boyle games. The quality here is good also but the lack of commentary and detail in terms of who scores etc. reduces its overall appeal. There is an opportunity there for an upcoming club commentator to assist Colin and thereby enhance the presentation.

A kind of correction

In my essay on haymaking, after a conversation with a family connection, I seem to have mixed up the ‘buckrake’ name with another device. Maybe the device for bringing in the rows to the cock base was called a ‘tumbler’ which does not really resonate with me. So if anyone can clear that up I’d have a listening ear. Oddly in watching a Netflix film called ‘Searching’ which had a lot of online ‘stuff’ on it, last night, a ‘Tumbler’ also emerged. So we were well ahead with our hayfield ‘Tumbler’.

 Actor Brendan Gleeson as Trump

I see that Brendan Gleeson has taken on another beefy role portraying Donald Trump in a series dealing with the former FBI Director James Comey. It is based on Comey’s memoir ‘A Higher Loyalty’. So Brendan has ranged from his great run as Michael Collins maybe 25 years ago, via Winston Churchill in ‘Into the Storm’ for which he won an Emmy award and now the Donald himself. The series will begin airing in the U.S. in late September. So it is guaranteed a top audience in the run-up to the presidential election in November. Just to keep in mind while the character of Trump is writ large the film is more focussed on Comey and his interaction with Trump which got him ‘fired’.

A truly amazing athletic story with a Roscommon connection 

I was just ‘in vacant or pensive mood’ in the kitchen at one o clock plus on Saturday when I heard a reference to a Roscommon athlete that I had never really heard of (I should have of course). His name was/is Shane Healy. I tuned into it as it was a programme in ‘The Doc on One’ Podcast. Shane Healy’s father apparently came from around Tulsk and while in England met Shanes’s mother. They returned to Ireland circa the early seventies. The marriage dissolved with his mother and a sister returning to England. Shane went through a difficult number of years going from care home to care home. Jumping forward with the story he eventually went to the U.S. After adventures there he got into athletics which came naturally to him. Coincidentally at a top Athletic College, he met another Roscommon man, Daniel Caulfield, brother of soccer player and manager John from Knockcroghery. Daniel was on an athletic scholarship there at the time. It was only two weeks ago when Daniel was referenced on the ‘Off the Ball’ series where John featured on their ‘Mount Rushmore’ segment and mentioned his brother Daniel.  I cannot relay the complete twists and turns of his life but his two dreams were of finding and meeting up with his mother again and going to the Olympics. This series has some marvellous o.t.t. stories and can be tuned into through the various devices. I’ll give you a chance to find out about how his dreams turned out. I will reveal same here in the next View. So that gives you plenty of time to search for yourself.

Another tale from ‘The Doc at One’ Podcast

Last Saturday-July 25th- I listened to another incredible story which was an account of the attempts by an unauthorised Irish cycling body to have their cyclists inserted into the Olympics in Munich. This was NOT the first time as it had been attempted also at Melbourne in 1956. For decades after Irish Independence, there were three bodies governing Irish cycling.

(A)    These were National Cycling Union representing Northern Ireland and linked to U.K.

(B)     The National Cycling Association (NCA) which was an all-island organisation and was by far the largest, but whose members were barred from UCI (international) events because of their adherence to the 32-county (Republican) ideology.

(C)     Cumann Rothaíochta na hÉireann (CRE) which was a 26-county organisation, strongest in the Leinster area, which was recognized by the UCI as the governing body for the Republic of Ireland and whose members could compete internationally in UCI events and in NCU-NI events in Northern Ireland.

This was very much in line with Brendan Behan’s call at the establishment of some organisation with ‘Let’s start with the split!’ 

It was group 2 which tried to get into the Olympics by inserting their team at the starting lines and have other members join some way from the starting line! A tragic event at Munich, the killing of the Israeli athletes nearly but not fully scuppered their attempt. Strange but true. It too, like the Shane Healy story, was a fascinating documentary from the same series. 

Sunday Miscellany Programme dedicated to Arigna mining

I may be wrong but the Sunday Miscellany programme of Sunday July 25th was totally engaged with the mining tradition of Arigna. It was a very interesting programme for those of us in this region. I did not take notes as I listened to it but I heard some lady from ‘The Plains of Boyle’ describing her father’s work in the mines. Brian Leyden had another very appealing contribution there. Brian certainly has a voice for radio and is a significant recorder in his writings of North Roscommon and Leitrim where I believe he lives.  I remember especially a radio programme of his called ‘No Meadows in Manhattan’.

If you have not visited the Arigna Mining Experience, then I recommend it highly. I have brought a number of visitors there over the years. On one occasion I took my London nephew who worked in some aspect of engineering. After the tour which outlined the really terrible, unhealthy and dangerous working conditions in those narrow seams he emerged exclaiming that “I will never complain about my job after seeing what went on there”.

Carrowkeel Needs Respect and Understanding.    

I was saddened by Marese McDonagh’s piece in ‘The Times’ recently on the damage to monuments in the Carrowkeel cemetery of passage graves. These go back millennia and are huge national treasures. To walk all over them and damage them is so thoughtless. The statistic regarding Sligo having such a majority of these Megalithic (huge stone) tombs is telling. Actually one of the finest ‘PORTAL DOLMENS’ in the country is just a few kilometers out of Boyle off the Gurteen road. I am nearly reticent to mention it; in case it gets the same treatment as Carrowkeel. On a fine day, a trip up to Carrowkeel is magic. I have been there a number of times, once with Philip James as part of Boyle Arts Week. If Sligo has the majority of Megaliths, then the area around Tulsk/Rathcroghan has a huge number of very important Raths. I’ve said this before also that in many advanced countries this area would be deemed so important as to be preserved as a national park. The era of the surge of slatted sheds etc. was a poor one for this area. If you are a passenger in a car sometime travelling from Ballinagare to Tulsk check out the number of invasive farm buildings in the area of the Rathcroghan monuments.       

Laying the Grounds for an Election Result Contest.

President Trump appears to be laying the foundations for contesting the legitimacy of the November Presidential election if it goes against him. He bases this on the suggestion that extensive voting by postal vote would be distorted or manipulated. He also suggests that the election should have be postponed because of the Covid 19 pandemic. Both have some merit but…It would seem that, accepting that the election takes place, there will be a long hiatus with count challenges etc. This happened after the election of 2000 Bush v Gore. Some may remember the checking of perforations and such on the ballot papers.

“Year 2000 United States presidential election recount in Florida. ... The Florida vote was ultimately settled in Bush's favor by a margin of 537 votes when the U.S. Supreme Court, in Bush v. Gore, stopped a recount that had been initiated upon a ruling by the Florida Supreme Court”.   

I have an idea for the U.S. election! Since so many of the states are cast iron red (Republican) or blue (Democratic) and there are about six states which can go either way why not just agree to have the election in those ‘SWING’ states as they call them.

The fact that a winning president can do so with the minority of votes is questionable by me. Even in England the single non- transferable vote can mean that a candidate can win an election on any % of votes. I firmly believe the Irish system of Proportional Representation even if a little drawn out at times, is a really sophisticated system.

While Joe Biden is the current favourite and seems like a nice reasonable man ‘he is no Jack Kennedy’. I have asked before and no one has answered me, how come such a great country like the U.S. can have such a dearth of really good candidates?

In Memoriam

When I was young the work of the grim reaper hardly impinged on my life. But as one grows older it becomes a regular visitor. Within the last month or so I have witnessed the passing of a number of people who I knew to varying degrees. Joey Mahon was a man I met shortly after coming to Boyle all those years ago. I met him regularly in their shop on the Crescent as I bought sporting gear for club and college teams. He was a gentleman to deal with and always a pleasure to meet. Sometimes, in those early days, the tab in ‘the book’ for goods got a bit tangled because Joe was not a man to send regular reminders or anything like that. I had to do the reminding and of course all would be resolved with good nature. We would also meet up in the back bar of Dodd’s which had a regular clientele of foresters, farmers’ teachers, and emerging businessmen. Mrs. Dodd kept us all in line. Joey and I were part of that group. He was great company. He was always interesting and interested in the best way. He had ‘the word’ for everyone. We were both involved with Community Games for a time and I have a fragmented memory of us in a crowded O’Rourke Park with a tent for our group of competitors when enjoyable chaos reigned. We both had some input into the placing of the Margaret Cousins Plaque on the Crescent. My brother, after a long sojourn in East London, adopted a phrase to describe a person of good standing there as ‘a diamond’.  He was such. He was highly regarded in the business of being an undertaker a task he carried out for me when my sister passed away in Boyle in the early nineties. I have never heard of other than understanding undertakers but Joe took it to a different level with compassion, understanding and as a real friend. He was just a friendly, kind and decent man. 

Mrs. Hynes ‘Lourdes Villa’, Rahoon Road, Galway City.        

I attended, from a social distance regrettably as it had to be, at a funeral at Rahoon in Galway last Saturday the 25th. The funeral was of my former landlady Mrs. Hynes. I spent about two years as a student-lodger in her home at the top of Rahoon Road, then on the edge of Galway city. That was in the late sixties. I kept in contact and called on her from time to time down the decades. We were firm friends. She was originally from Geesala in west Mayo and never forgot her home place. In phoning her from time to time I had to be aware that I could not ring when the top news of the day or some of the top political programmes were being aired. During her late years she would laughingly ask the question “Tony do you think that I will make the hundred?” I always reassured her that she would and that we would make every effort, when that came to pass, that we would get the President, Ml. D. Higgins - who she supported as a Galway T.D.- to come down and present her with her Centenary cheque himself. Despite efforts, that did not happen but in February of 2019 we gathered to celebrate her achieving her goal and receiving her cheque. She took it all in her stride. In recent times she spent a good deal of time in her sunny porch saluting the world going by. That stream of humanity, many who did not know her at all, including children, returned her salute and it became a very local ritual. She passed away in her home of seventy-six years. I will remember her, always.

(Some former Convent of Mercy students may remember a Mairéad Hynes who was her daughter. She spent some time teaching in the convent in the early 80s’.) 

I would also like to mention Paddy Beirne from Ardmore, Boyle Parish on the Killaraght road. I used to meet Paddy first in the Ceili House Bar a little back the years, later in the Craobhin and then when visiting Sean Young in the Plunkett Home. Everyone who knew Paddy gave him the same reference that of being an absolute gentleman. He was a quiet man but loved to talk of times gone by of which he had great recall. He was very well looked after in The Plunkett Home where he was so highly regarded.

It was nice to see the salute to a great Boyle GAA supporter Tony McGovern with a minute’s silence before the Boyle v Padraig Pearses senior championship match at Woodmount on Sunday last July 26th. Tony has been a regular consistent supporter of the club for decades in every way than one could and he would have enjoyed the cut and thrust of that game no doubt.    


Television Documentaries of Note

Since I have watched some television (!) during this Covid time I have been meaning to ‘treat of’ the best of them here for some time. But I’ll divert to a bould businessman receiving an employee thus.

“Today is not your day and tomorrow doesn't look good either”   

Anyway, I’ll just mention two of them today and ‘treat of’ anon. Back in the early days of Covid, in March, I gorged on a series called ‘The Last Dance’. It told the story of the great basketball sportsperson Michael Jordan.  He was a super sportsman near the pedestal of Muhamad Ali.

If you can still get the chance to check in on ‘The Rise of Rupert Murdoch Dynasty’ do so and stay with it. It is the story of a driven man (Australian) who created a newspaper and t.v. owned empire. This gave him great power which he uses in political circles in Australia, the U.K. and now in the U.S. with his ownership of Fox News. The series is about the Rise and Rise near nosedive and Rise again of Murdoch. No British P.M could win an election in the last 30 years who did not have his backing. He was the man, through his newspapers especially The Sun who enabled Nigel Farage to win the Brexit Vote and he then hitched his wagon to Donald Trump. He is a loud advocate of denial of human influence in global warming. A destructive power. It would need a masters course of analysis to see why he has such a destructive nature. He is married to his fourth wife jerry hall who was once married to Mick Jagger. It suggests the question to her; “Apart from the fact that Rupert is a billionaire what other characteristics attracted you to him, Miss hall?”  (jerry hall all lower case it seems.) 


No Jane Clarke poem tonight. Sorry.      


May your Gods go with you. t.c.                  


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