Friday, December 10, 2021

Update 11th December

 Saturday DECEMBER 11, 2021


 Remembering Hal Cawley

Many tributes have been paid to one of football’s most amiable characters in the region, Hal Cawley, who has gone to his eternal reward.

Boyle Celtic confirmed on Thursday that the club’s “father” Hal Cawley had passed away and the tributes poured to Celtic’s Facebook page. The word ‘gentleman’ was appended to many of those tributes.

The club described him as “a gentleman to one and all”, and although he was “quietly spoken, when Hal spoke it was always something worth hearing.”

In a statement, Boyle Celtic added that the club wouldn’t exist without Hal’s contribution, highlighting how Hal and a group of local friends brought Boyle Celtic back to life in 1966.

“Through the 70s’, 80s’ and 90s’ when the club literally had nothing, great men like Hal Cawley, John Cryan, Seán Daly, Mick Gilmartin, and a few others kept us open, behind the scenes, and it will never be possible to thank them enough for what they did,” reflected the club.


Boyle Celtic went on to say that Hal took great pride in the success of the club’s youth teams in the knowledge that the future would be bright for his beloved club who are currently top of the Roscommon and District League Premier Division table.

Hal Cawley always had a touch of class about him,” the club continued.

In February 2019, the Roscommon Herald and SUPERVALU honoured Hal with a Hall of Fame award, an accolade he was very proud to receive from Republic of Ireland soccer international and special guest Ray Houghton.

“When he spoke that night, many from outside the club got a flavour for his vast knowledge of the game, the incredible history of it that he had and names of local area players who had played at the highest level in England, that most had never heard of. Those of us involved in the club have been lucky enough to hear some of the great stories he had, stockpiled in that sharp mind,” Boyle Celtic recalled.


Another proud moment for Hal was seeing the club reach the FAI Junior Cup semi-final against Evergreen FC in April 2017 at the Showgrounds, Sligo. He was very close friends with the club’s secretary Richard Kennedy, and indeed all Boyle Celtic members and players who had the height of respect for him.

“Hal had many, many friends around the town, in football and outside of football. I know we will all miss him. Rest in peace, old friend,” Boyle Celtic’s statement concluded.


Hal as a Gaelic footballer.

When Hal was presented with the Roscommon Herald/SUPERVALU ‘Hall of Fame’ award at a presentation in The Abbey Hotel Roscommon last year I congratulated him here in a blog. Then I went on to bring attention to his place in Boyle GAA as I wish to do now. Hal was a regular GAA player with Boyle in the latter fifties and on the winning Junior team in ’64 when there were only Junior and Senior grades. The team won six games before defeating Rahara in the final. The manager of the team was Bob Carr. Another member of that team panel who died recently was Seamus Scally who died in Dublin and was a close friend of Hal. Another great friend of Hal’s was paddy McDermott who passed away some years ago.

Hal worked for Stewarts when they were supplying electricity to the town as they did from the early 1900s’. When the ESB took over the provision of electricity Hal transferred to the ESB. 

Hal was a very visible individual as he cycled around Boyle going into Daly’s or Boyle Celtic Park. I accompanied him to Bellmullet, Mayo for a Celtic game once with Gerry Emmett and Johnny Greenan and it was a memorable outing. So many people have their own memories of Hal and a lot of these are ‘up online’ on the forums of now.  All good. These background icons in clubs give a sense of security and continuity within a club. Hal was a thinker and his opinions were sincere and thought out. He will be missed at Celtic Park.


 This Week-Ends Sport
F1 Grand Prix Sunday at 1 Sky and Channel 4.

Might I alert you to the sports event of the week-end which is the last Formula One (F1) Car Race of the season in Abu Dhabi. This is Ali V Frazier territory. The two protagonists are Lewis Hamilton of England going for a record eighth World Title versus the new kid on the block, Max Verstappen of Netherlands going for his first win. A few races back Verstappen was well ahead in the points table and the series looked almost over. But Hamilton has won the last three (?) and they are now level on points. While I have been aware of motor racing for years I never tuned into it like this since I happened on the Brazilian Grand Prix. It has traditionally been broadcast on Sky but Channel Four have wrangled this Sunday’s event for viewing with them also, with a preliminary position on the grid trials on Friday and Saturday. You won’t be on your own as the viewing audience worldwide will be huge and the drama could be electric and possibly dramatic.


GAA Season still in progress.

The Pearses v Mountbellew –Moylough in the Connacht Club Championship will take place on Saturday in Hyde Park. Knockmore of Mayo await the winners in the final and the tournament is pretty wide open in my eyes so it is a real opportunity to go all the way as St. Brigid’s did in 2013.


 Boyle GAA Club’s AGM is being held virtually on Sunday evening at 8 pm


The Sunday Independent Tabloid Sports Supplement;

(Which I am still reading)

The Legacy of Tiger Woods

Last Sunday’s edition of the above presented a number of articles that caught my eye. Eamon Sweeney is consistently interesting and last Sunday profiled the role of one of the greatest sportsmen across all games i.e. the golfer Tiger Woods. He is only overshadowed slightly in the golf statistics by the Golden Bear, Jack Nicklaus. Nicklaus has won 18 majors while Tiger Woods in an interrupted career has won 15. As a black man, he broke through so many barriers as many in the game were jealous of his achievements probably because he had one obvious difference which was the colour of his skin. It must have been difficult for a ‘revered’ (!!) golf course like the Masters’ at Augusta was a reservoir of prejudice and discrimination. For golfers especially this essay is very worthy of your reading time. Eamonn ends his stellar piece with “Golf didn’t deserve him”.     


Joe Brolly and Referees

Joe had a rambling article in defence of referees. Soccer referees at schoolboy level in Leinster went on strike because of the abusive treatment they were victims of in their league. A Mayo T.D. and former footballer Alan Dillon suggested that the treatment that referees got during GAA games was “no different than that in soccer”.

While referees have got a deal of criticism down the years their treatment especially in Roscommon has been pretty good. I cannot remember any serious incident with a referee in a Roscommon club game. Actually, I can …it was in the early seventies Roscommon v Galway. You see how something like that sticks. Anyway, Joe inserted an incident from a game –I presume in Derry- when a referee got abused and his report to the county committee went as follows;

“Given the notorious history of this fixture I brought the two teams to the centre before the throw-in and exhorted them to conduct themselves in the true spirit of eh Gael, whereupon I was struck a strong blow from behind which rendered me unconscious. In the circumstances I have nothing further to report” Signed P. Haughey (Referee) (page 12)


Nadine Doherty’s Tribute to a GAA Backbencher (page 11)

This was a lovely story of Nadine’s GAA connections as a star player for Donegal ladies team, watching Michael Murphy raise the Sam Maguire Cup in 2012 and the being connected to a man called David Mackay. His name would not be out front in the Croke Park civil service but he was obviously proud of Nadine and his Donegal roots. He ensured that on great days like those of 2012 that she and her mam were close to the action on the big day by giving them his own tickets. David was Nadine’s uncle and he passed away recently. 


Dermot Gilleece on Golf (Page 20).

Dermot Gilleece is an outstanding golf journalist. On Sunday he wrote a piece under the headline of; “K Club strives for return to the top”.

As a sidebar was a piece titled “The end of a long road towards equality”. It talks of the breakthrough of ladies into the last bastions of ‘men only’ golf clubs. Apparently Portmarnock and Royal Dublin have opened the gate to that great advance, it smacks me as being like the delegate from Saudi Arabia at the U.N. when women’s rights there were being discussed and the delegate declaring that moves were afoot for women there being allowed to… drive! He declared it with such self -satisfaction that he seemed a tad disappointed when he did not get a round of applause for this great advance in women’s civil rights.  

Now and I quote Dermot “As a club of ordinary members, all that was required to bring women into the fold was a PROPOSER and a TWO SECONDS from the existing membership…and nobody thought to do so since its foundation in 1885”!  

I remember suggesting this to a lady member of Boyle Golf club maybe 40 years ago when having a talk on this issue. I suggest that she replied, ‘Oh no, don’t do that’

Rugby with Brendan Fanning

Connacht which at one stage were going to be disbanded as a rugby entity has really emerged and for 15 minutes or so looked very good against a star-studded Leinster. In Sunday’s Indo Brendan had articles on two Connacht players; that is if Robbie Henshaw of Athlone is allowed. The other is Jack Carty and his exclusion from the Irish team is a debateable question. Mentioning the absence of Carty from an Irish panel another omission crashes into my mind from tonight –Friday. It comes from the All-Star GAA awards.

The Hurling All-Stars

This has a hurling team of 12 yes 12 Limerick players and one each from Waterford, Kilkenny and Clare. This must be a record for one county to dominate to such a degree and it illustrates how dominant Limerick are right now. Also, the beaten All-Ireland finalists and the man not chosen Patrick Horgan who has been a consistent and major hurler for Cork. Maybe the selectors thought that Horgan had enough in the four he has already but that could hardly be the guideline. 

In looking at this team it brings to mind the famous Dublin team of the late fifties. There were fourteen of the team from the one club it being St. Vincent’s. The odd one not from that club was the goalkeeper. I wonder how the Vincent’s keeper felt about that.

This was the 50th Anniversary of the All Stars. Roscommon’s first winner was Mickey Freyne in ’72 followed Dermot Earley in ’74 and ’79; Pat Lindsay in ’77; Harry Keegan ‘78/ ‘80/ ’86; Tom Heneghan  ’79; Gerry Connellan ’80; Danny Murray ’79/ ’80; Paul Earley ’85; Tony McManus ’89; Enon Gavin ’91; Francie Grehan ’02. One real deserving Roscommon All-Star by my reckoning who was passed over was Frankie Dolan for 2013. Enda Smith was a nominee a few years back.

As you can see I got a lot out of that tight Sunday Independent Sport’s Supplement.   


The An Post Books of the year were announced this week

I was going to list a few of the books but changed my mind! Every year there are fine and lovely books for all tastes. I’ve just highlighted three that interest me more than the rest.


Eason Novel of the Year

Beautiful World, Where Are You – Sally Rooney


Irish Independent Crime Fiction Book of the Year

56 Days – Catherine Ryan Howard



Sport book of the Year in Association with Ireland AM.


Fight or Flight: My Life, My Choices – Keith Earls, with Tommy Conlon


Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year

Snowflake – Louise Nealon

Odgers Berndtson Non-Fiction Book of the Year

·        We Don't Know Ourselves: A Personal History of Ireland Since 1958 – Fintan O’Toole.

This book was the overall winner.

Dubray Biography of the Year

Did Ye Hear Mammy Died? – Séamas O’Reilly

Bookselling Ireland Cookbook of the Year

Everyday Cook – Donal Skehan

National Book Tokens Popular Fiction Book of the Year

Aisling and the City – Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen

Bookstation Lifestyle Book of the Year

Décor Galore – Laura De Barra Best Irish Published Book of the Year

The Coastal Atlas of Ireland – Val Cummins, Robert Devoy Barry Brunt, Darius Bartlett, Sarah Kandrot

Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year (Junior)

·        A Hug for You – David King, illustrated by Rhiannon Archard

Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year (Senior)

The Summer I Robbed a Bank – David O’Doherty, illustrated by Chris Judge

Teen and Young Adult Book of the Year

The New Girl – Sinead Moriarty

RTÉ Audience Choice Award

Your One Wild And Precious Life - Maureen Gaffney

Library Association of Ireland Author of the Year

Marian Keyes Short Story of the Year

Little Lives – Deirdre Sullivan

Listowel Writers’ Week Irish Poem of the Year

Longboat at Portaferry – Siobhan Campbell

The Love Leabhar Gaeilge Irish Language Book of the Year

Madame Lazare – Tadgh Mac Dhonnagain

The An Post Bookshop of the Year

Kennys Bookshop and Art Gallery, Galway.  


I’ll adjourn with that for now.

Take care of yourselves and try and follow the golden rules. It’s difficult but despite life’s trials and tribulations it’s still popular.

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