Friday, November 26, 2021

Update 24th November

 Blog Thursday November 24

‘Cross Street’ by Jarlath Tivnan.

A lot of people will be familiar with the name Jarlath Tivnan by now. He has adapted and written a number of plays and this weekend he has his new play at ‘The Arts Centre’ in Roscommon town from Thursday night to Saturday night inclusive. The play has been developed with the theatre company Fregoli in which Jarlath’s first cousin, Maria Tivnan, is a founder member in 2007.

‘Cross Street’ is an actual street in the middle of Galway city that I know pretty well. There is a real ‘Bohemian’ atmosphere about that core of Galway with the Druid Theatre, many music pubs, great bookshops like Kenny’s and Byrnes and a great atmosphere especially on busy sunny summer days.

Jarlath is also an accomplished traditional musician with his brother Conor. 

Fregoli has been regular players at the Roscommon Arts Centre to the mutual benefit of both entities. Maria has also been involved in Boyle Arts.


Boyle People on the Box

A number of Boyle people have been visible on television in recent times. Earlier this week Rachael Lavin featured on the Claire Byrne programme in a discussion on the subject of the moment i.e. Covid. The other guest is now a very familiar face on television it being Luke O’ Neill. Luke had an article in the Sunday Independent last Sunday titled; ‘Don’t despair…Strength will Get Us Through’. I hope so ‘with a little help from friends’.

Anyway, Rachael was obviously well prepared as she shot out statistics on the status and twists and turns that are now the unending story of Covid infections, vaccinations, age profiles, the non-vaccinated and so on. Rachael is a rising star and the best of luck to her.

With regard to the ever-optimistic Luke O’Neill I hope he is right but it is a very tough journey and an awful number of people will be scarred by it all.   

The Oasis of Achill

I don’t know if oasis is an appropriate word but for many Achill is a special place. On Nationwide on RTE on Wednesday evening Donie O’ Connor appeared in a segment on his friend, the artist Paraic McCaul. Apparently, along with art Paraic is an accomplished musician also and of course Donie is a diamond in terms of his music which we all love here in Boyle. Achill is a significant part of ‘The Wild Atlantic Way’ and has been a tourist destination for many decades. An island I have visited a number of times, which I enjoy going to also, is ‘Inishbofin’ off the coast of Galway, not far from Clifden.


John Mulligan’s ‘The Kettle’s Boyled’ in the Roscommon Herald.

I am a regular reader of John’s short piece in ‘The Roscommon Herald’.  Last week the title of his piece was; ‘Would cutting the national herd affect farm incomes?’ In it John explores the various supports which farming benefits from. I am from a farming background but while I try a little to be informed I would have a long way to go in getting a grip on the various schemes and supports that obtain. John writes of farm incomes being made up of 74% of farm subsidies in 2018 and an astonishing 158% in the case of sheep and cattle.  It is somewhat difficult to get your head around that. I remember farmers getting a subsidy some years ago for ‘set aside’ land. Perhaps that was an environmental payment of sorts.

While farmers can lobby for greater subsidies on an ongoing basis people in the small business sector traditionally fell or progressed on a business model. Pre Covid these businesses could not seek supports if their business was not going well. All they could do was adapt or close down. They had no CAP.  

When I came to live in Forest View and looked out at the sweep of the Curlew Hills there was a certain amount of tillage and ploughed land for various crops, potatoes, turnips, oats, and so on. That was the case with what were titled mixed farms of my youth. There is hardly a sod turned on those hills now. Farming is now a different animal.

On the next page I read Gerry Boland’s letter on ‘Industrial Farming’. On this occasion Gerry was highlighting the fate of breeding pigs and the conditions in which they are incarcerated. It would nearly influence one to become a vegetarian.  

Apparently, a section of the farming community saw fit to bring their tractors to a protest rally in Dublin in the last week.

(A couple of days later some members of the haulage industry did like-wise with their trucks and were photographed going three abreast driving slowly down the M50. It certainly was not a way to ‘win friends and influence people’ with all the concerns that people have right now. That and the season that’s in it!) 

“Our Forestry industry is in crisis, but nobody cares”

This was John’s subject for this week’s column. I was a bit aware of this subject after a conversation some time ago with a retired forester. I will not treat too much of it here in any depth, John does that much better than I ever could. Licensing seems to be at the heart of the matter. A stark number stood out which was that over 24, 000 hectares were licensed for felling while around 5 and half thousand for planting. The Minister for Forestry is Senator Pippa Hackett. I never heard of her. Also, it is said that farmers are driven away from tree planting by bureaucracy and time delays. This is an industry that is seen as a significant element in absorbing carbon

I have walked in an area where timber has been harvested and thought about how much timber is actually wasted in terms of being left to rot after the cream has been taken away. Is there nobody licensed to make use of this renewable fuel?   


Book Season

This time of year seems to be the high point of the book season. I see that Sean O’Dowd highlights a book by his brother Michael on the ‘Home Page’ of realboyle.

Last week saw Barry Feely another of his books. Fair play to him as to have a book in print is a big task. This one is titled ‘Good Mercy…The Life & times of the Mercy Nuns, Building Boyle Community’.

It is a tribute, as the title says, to the role played by the Mercy nuns to a number of key elements in the life of Boyle and its people.

They arrived in Boyle in January 1875 and their involvement ended in April 2012.

While the educational work of the nuns is fully treated of the role of the nuns with their commercial laundry is also described.

While the official launch was cancelled due to Coved the book with his other publications is available in the Una Bhán Shop at King House. 


Dukie …The Game of Life

The above title was launched recently in Roscommon by Seamus Duke who has had a career in local Journalism and especially from his time as a political and sporting commentator with Shannonside Radio.

Seamus is one of the core group of those who go by the moniker true blue Rossies. I was not at the launch but as might he said, all the usual suspects were there in force. Seamus is a colourful character and has a very visible presence in Roscommon town and well beyond it. He has a zest for life and living it and that is displayed in this account of ‘The Game of Life’. The centrality of Roscommon town has been a help in all that and the book name-checks a myriad of sporting, political and social personalities. He developed a large circle of friends and colleagues with whom he associated and shared many memorable occasions. All these get the full and effective treatment in this enjoyable book.          

 His primary sporting reference is with Gaelic football. He begins with an account of the passage of the 2006 minor team to an All-Ireland final replay v Kerry in Ennis. While he describes several sporting highlights this was probably THE top of the list. As someone who was also there, I can say that he really does the victory that day justice.

He has always been a great supporter of Roscommon Gaels Club and devotes a number of chapters to their great days especially during the seventies when they had a fine team.

By association with Brian Keenan and Ollie Hannon, he shared great days and wins when their horses Montelado and Sir OJ were performing at top venues like Cheltenham. He also covers Leitrim’s memorable win in the Hyde when they won the Connacht title in ’94 for the second time the last being in 1927. He describes his interaction with many politicians and details the excitement of memorable election counts. Another highlight was his being, with friends, always with friends, when Padraig Harrington won the British Open golf title at Birkdale.

From page 104 he relays to story of a great young Roscommon golfer Ken Kearney. He was an outstanding amateur golfer. He then joined the professional circuit but reverted to the amateurs soon again. It was the era when Harrington, McGinley and Clarke and others were his contemporaries and went on to do great things. I had been aware of Ken at the time and wondered what he did then and this is the first time that I have read a brief account of his career.    

Another phase in life was Dukie’s support of Manchester Utd. and his visits to matches there, with friends. A highlight was interviewing George Best who was always an idol of his from boyhood days.

He obviously loved doing radio and could multi-task to a dizzying degree. After a long run with Shannonside the station was taken over by another group and the choice presented to Seamus was not palatable and he decided to leave. His account of this fracture is personal and emotive. He was leaving something he obviously loved doing. He was going to an uncertain future and he with a young family.

Seamus is the son of Seamus Duke senior from Elphin who died a young man leaving his mother with a young family. He pays tributes all around to his mother, wife and family. 

His very full life was a series of improvisations and he jumped many fences. It is all described in this very enjoyable book with great zest as he ticks off his bucket list of exciting sporting events, with friends and ‘banter’. The book is available in Boyle at Supervalu beside the wee entrance gate and costs €15. 


So in terms of Roscommon, there are books this year from Frankie Dolan a few months ago and also one by John Scally from Brideswell on ‘Great GAA Teams’ which includes the Roscommon team of the forties.

I would still and always recommend Mike Lennon’s monumental ‘A Dictionary of Roscommon Biography’ for aspiring young Roscommon local historians (and I hope they are out there). It has over 800 pages and lists thousands of Roscommon people of note and those connected with the county from outside. It will set you back 30/40 euro. 



Boyle Under 20 team takes on Strokestown in the Abbey Park on Saturday the 25th at 12 noon in the Division 2 Championship.


This weekend there are a number of interesting provincial games. A top one is Roscommon’s senior champions Padraig Pearses v Mountbelllew-Moylough of Galway, in Hyde Park. I presume it will be streamed some way.

‘Nothing compares to local’

This was the heading for ‘Hold the Back Page’ by Eamonn Sweeney (former St. Mary’s College student) in the Sunday Indo. of last Sunday. He went through a number of counties where some pretty extraordinary things were happening. In Tipp. for instance, the club players of Loughmore were out for the 17th weekend in a row playing competitive championship games. The reason for this lay in them being a dual club who were contenders for both football and hurling championship wins. A number of replays filled in any gaps there might have been!

In both Armagh and Galway the two great clubs lost out. The Armagh kingpins Crossmaglen-winners of 21 of the last 25 county- titles- being ousted by Clann Eireann of Lurgan. Corofin lost out to Mountbellew-Moylough. He them cited happenings in Clare and then came Antrim.

I got quite interested in the happenings in Antrim as a club called Creggan Kickhams won their first title in 67 years, the last one being in 1954. A phone call confirmed that Kickhams was the club of a really great Boyle Club activist, a while ago now, Kevin Young.  The winning injury-time goal was appropriately scored by Sam Maguire! Wasn’t it great and yes Kevin was there. Experiencing a moment like that is one of the great communal joys of life in this country. North, South, East or West there is nothing like winning a county final, only one that has not been won for a very long time such as this one. Cheers Kevin.


The Evergreen Beatles

BBC dedicate 3 to 4 hours of its Saturday night schedules to one group. It seems to have started with Abba but last Saturday it was the turn of Paul McCartney and The Beatles. I found it very interesting and it showed what great songwriters McCartney and John Lennon were. They began when I started to tune into pop music as such on Radio Luxembourg in the early sixties. Through the sixties, they were a phenomenon and it was a great period for good popular songs. Paul McCartney has always come across as a very humble, accessible and easy to talk with individual. This was very evident on Saturday night.  On Sunday morning listening to Miriam O’Callaghan one of her guests was the Belfast poet Paul Muldoon. He was there talking of his book on the Lyrics of the Beatles songs. While the early Beatles songs are fairly straightforward forward there are undercurrents to the many of the later ones that deserve scrutiny. So for the millions of people for whom the Beatles are still their music heroes Paul Muldoon’s treatise will be interesting.  

Next Saturday night it is Queen and Freddie Mercury who are in the Spotlight beginning at 8 and going on until 11.35.

‘The Lake District of England’

I saw this very interesting programme on Saturday last but in looking at the television programme now, for the times of the Queen series, it pops up again at 7 on BBC 2 on Saturday. The interpreter is the excellent Simon Reeve. The lake District has been made famous by its association with the poet William Wordsworth. The main river there is the Eden river and on one a number of occasions it caused Carlisle to be flooded to a major depth. Simon investigates efforts at rewilding and returning the Eden to its original windy way as mitigation during severe rainfalls. Another, of the number issues he looks at, is the impact of long-term tourism on The Lake District in terms of locals being unable to afford housing and employees having to be bused from long distances to service the tourist facilities there and so on. Could that happen in our superb lake District?

Anyway, it was interesting to me and Simon Reeve is a guide to follow on his many worldly travels.

It’s a Small World

We have all heard that said for decades now. But as I try to write here now on Thursday the 25th of November the following happening of 15 or so minutes ago may be a good example of that phenomenon. In another room I hear a set of Irish music. Nothing very strange in that you might say. However, when I investigate, it is a WhatsApp from Anne’s niece in…Abu Dhabi. 

She had just happened on an Irish music session in a hotel there, where there is a Board Fáilte promotion of Ireland in train. She recognises one of the musicians who was from… Boyle… and with whom she had played music when they were teenagers. It was… James Carty… and friends who were there courtesy of Bord Fáilte. So she gets on her phone and within seconds, James’s music is to be heard in our kitchen.

An early example of this, maybe 8 years ago now, went as follows (from my memory of it) made radio, maybe the Joe Duffy Show. A young man in Tulsk comes across sheep on a road in the area and puts it up on Facebook as ‘Gridlock in Tulsk traffic’. Looking into his Facebook in Perth Western Australia was another chap from Tulsk.  I’ll call him Tommy. The sheep area is very familiar to Tommy and he gets on his phone to his mam. ‘Hello mam’….’ Tommy is that you. OMG’. ‘Mam I just rang to tell you your sheep are out on the road’. Mam, another ‘OMG’. Tommy ‘Mam sort that out and I’ll ring you back’.  

In our next edition here we will be sending greetings to all (that we know of) Boyle people abroad, as we do. So if there is anyone you’d like to add to the list let me know.

My phone is down at the moment but should…’be back soon’.  

We will leave it at that. Go get your Booster. It is a gift for Christmas.

Take care wherever you are. Tony.









Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Update 3rd November

 Blog Sat. October 30 last one Oct. 5.

The Coming Weekend’s Sport;

Boyle GAA have two very important games this coming weekend, both finals. 

(So, from GAA Notes on realboyle)

Boyle LGFA

Intermediate Final.

The Ml. Kerins & ‘The Well’ -sponsored Intermediate Ladies will play St Dominick’s in the Championship Final this Saturday, November 6 at 1.30pm in Elphin. Your support would be very welcome. Note that gates will be in operation for this game with €10 standard admission and €5 for concession entry (cash only).

Boyle won their place in the final following a win in a thriller of a semi-final v Eire Og on Sunday the 24th. Boyle had a comfortable lead at half time on the score of 2. 7 to 0. 4 though playing against the wind. Eire Og were much more decisive in the second half and whittled Boyle’s lead down to 2 points. With virtually the last kick of the game Eire Og were awarded a penalty but the taker’s shot came back off the post. The final score was Boyle 3.7 Eire Og 1.12. I would not know anything about the team they meet in the final only to say that the vibes are that St. Dominick’s are a rising club over all aspects of GAA activity. Boyle have some fine players in Suzie Keenehan, Isabelle and Sophie King, Saoirse and Roisin Wynne, Megan McKeown, Caoimhe Cregg and Kate Harrington with the team manager being Vincent Flanagan. Quite a few well known surnames there in a Boyle GAA context. So every good wish to this team on Saturday.  

2021 Division 1 U17 Championship Final Boyle v Roscommon Gaels

The minor team, which you will have heard me talk about before, take on a strong Roscommon Gaels side in the Division 1 Championship Final on Sunday, November 7th, in Hyde Park, at 2:30pm. This could be a cracker with two highly skilled teams and little to divide them. In terms of favourites I am reminded of an old timer when asked what he thought the odds were for an upcoming big game put it at 60/50. That is nearly logical in terms of this game also! I referred to the Boyle team after their fine win over Michael Glavey’s/ Eire Og in Kilbride as a real exhibition of quality football. While they dipped somewhat in their win over Clann na nGael they still took a big scalp there also. So I look forward to this game with great interest. Boyle have won only three, that I know of, minor titles over the decades. They were in 1938 and ’39 and 2011 with a Donie Smith led team. So we wish the team and manager Shane Spellman and the other team mentors the very best in this final. I know that a migrant from Boyle to Spain will be glued to some device to follow the game’s progress.       

Masters Final

“Good luck to Club Men Lochlainn Conboy and Seamus Kane as they prepare to line out against Cavan with the Roscommon Masters in the GMA Plate Final on Saturday, November 6. The game is set to be played at 2pm in the Fr Manning Gaels GAA Grounds, Drumlish, Longford”. (per Boyle GAA Notes)

County Finals

I watched both of the county Intermediate and Senior football finals. The Intermediate final between St. Faithleach’s and St. Dominick’s was very disappointing. The quality of the football was poor. While I always like to say that players do not go out to play poorly (except you’re Harry Keane) and the conditions were bad also this certainly reflected all that. The game went to extra time by which time I had migrated to milking the cow.

The county needed a good game and it came in the senior final between Clann na nGael and Padraig Pearses. While there were the usual mistakes, slipping and sliding, loss of possession et al there was some fine moves and scores especially the two Pearses goals. Pearses thoroughly deserved their win. They had the better all-round team plus substitute options and the Daly trio are a formidable force for their team. So now South Roscommon has three top teams and an emerging St. Dominick’s while the North-West is still struggling to leave their mark on the Fahey cup.

It was good to see my old pal Patrick McKiernan from Ballyfarnon as the man with the whistle and fair play to him for doing a good job and working hard to progress in this challenging occupation. 

Athleague Take County Hurling Title;

This was a pretty unique final in the sense of the two teams contesting it,

Athleague and Tremane, come from the same parish. The final third of the parish is Fuerty which is a tad more into football though many of the hurlers here are also members of the Fuerty football team. Tremane is a small club in terms of size but had a really top era in the seventies, once toppling Kiltormer of Galway in the Provincial championship. Their top player is Niall Kilroy of the county football team. He was the only stand–out player for Tremane in this final also. Athleague is regarded as the old heart of hurling in Roscommon and its wins go back to the early 1900s’. My father, Pat Conboy, played hurling with Athleague and football with Fuerty away back and was a dual player with Roscommon. I played hurling with both Athleague and Tremane and had a rare outing at senior level with Athleague once. But in those years I was more a wandering soul being in England and spending summers in the U.S.

I wandered off there also. Athleague won but the standard was so very disappointing that I will not go into any detail on it.            


COP (Conference of Parties…not a lot of people know that. It is a very 'humble' title for such an enormous gathering of the great and the questionable)

This hugely important get-together of the supposed influencers within this little planet of ours is ongoing in Glasgow until Friday the 12th of this month. The lead stars will just take their bows and then the workers (as in bees) will try and achieve changes that might save the world. It is surprising that the old standard sign from Hyde Park, London. proclaiming ‘The End is Nigh’ is not blowing in the wind of Scotland. One participant interviewed by RTE suggested that she had a “Front row seat to the end of the world”. I also heard the Irish Minister for Agriculture Donegal man Charlie Mc Conalogue waffaling on with bull******** to top RTE presenter Sarah Mc Inerney about methane, the national herd and protein etc. I do not know how these well-briefed presenters can wear this ongoing cruelty.

My star (of) COP is David Attenborough who is to the world of nature what Shakespeare is to the English language. He will leave a legacy of film documentaries that could be stacked up in parallel to Hamlet, Macbeth and so on. Then there was the absence of the princes of India, Russia and China. That is like Manchester United playing with Ronaldo, Cavani and a goalkeeper. Even Bolsonaro of Brazil got someone to sign him in. An old Dáil trick.  

Hopefully no more collecting the tyres from Green Street to Felton. The prospects seem as if it is all on a knife edge. A big issue here is with farming reducing the ‘national herd’ which produces an inordinate amount of methane. Senior people look at their offspring but looking at the very young generation it is worrying to think what kind of a world we leave them. Fair play to Greta Thunberg for ringing the alarm bells and embarrassing the knobs.

A snippet of information that I overheard that interested me was as follows. The third largest contributor of greenhouse gases is…THE PRODUCTION OF CONCRETE. Not a lot of people know that either.        

Television Viewing

My Sports Highlights of this Year so Far.

Perhaps I watch too much television but (of course) it is the medium of our time. What do I watch? As you would expect I watch a lot of sport and a lot of sports. Probably the sports event of the year for me so far has been the Solheim Cup (ladies golf competition between Europe and the U.S.) with its highlight being the performance of Cavan’s Leona Maguire. It was magnetic.

The Ryder Cup had a whole range of drama and even if Padraig Harrington’s side was well beaten, the event overall was riveting.

The European Soccer Championships with Italy emerging as winners on penalties after extra time v England. Italy had the character of the competition too in their captain Giorgio Chiellini who possessed the characteristics of a pirate.

The Irish ladies’ soccer team with a win v Finland and a great performance, though losing v Sweden.

The win by Mayo over Dublin. The recovery of the Roscommon minors v Galway and the U 21-win v Down. The power displays of Limerick. Boyle minors v Michael Glaveys/Eire Og. I nearly forgot ‘The Edo Olympics’ and the Para Olympics’.  

While I also watch cricket from time to time and also some baseball games if they involve The Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, New York Yankees, especially the finals which they call ‘The World Series’. 

I imagine I’m leaving some sports out Ladies GAA games which are regularly top class. That is enough to be going on with!


 I have watched a number of really excellent documentaries during Covid. I started off with the great sports exposé titled ‘The Last Dance’. This was a series on the man who is regarded as the greatest basketball player ever, Michael Jordan. It follows his team ‘The Chicago Bulls’ in their relentless pursuit of national title number six. I have seen it written that the three greatest U.S. sportsmen are listed as Muhammad Ali; Babe Ruth who was a baseball player with the New York Yankees in the 1920s’; and Michael Jordan. Tiger Woods was on his way to being there but a tree got in the way.

‘The Salute’

At the Mexico Olympics of 1968 in the 200 hundred meters final two Black U.S. Carlos and smith took gold and bronze medals. They were divided by an Australian names Peter Norman. On the podium Carlos and Smith raised one arm each in a Black Power salute. Norman was wearing a human rights ‘button’. The reason that they wore just one glove each was because one of them forgot his gloves and Norman suggested the improvisation of wearing one glove each. The head of the Olympics an almost fascist American named Avery Brundage was outraged and the Americans were sent home. They were ostracised for decades and their careers were over. Norman too suffered a similar fate for, as it were, contributing to the protest kind of. Until this film was made by his nephew and released in 2008 very, very few remembered Peter Norman the great Australian and world class sprinter. He was ignored when Australia hosted the 2000 Olympics and died in 2006. Carlos and Smith, his life-long friends were pall bearers at his funeral. 

(*I tripped across the film ‘Salute’ on BT Sport, I think.)       

Political/Historical Documentaries.

1.     Blair & Brown. The New Labour Revolution.

Blair could have been a force for good but allowed himself and Britain to be sucked into the Iraq (Get Saddam Hussein) War by U.S. Hawks like Bush, Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld and an enthusiastic military power base with the ‘Big Lie’ of WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction.  

2.     America after 9/11. I just saw the second part of this on Tuesday night on RTE 1. Not for the sensitive.

3.     Once Upon a time in Iraq’ RTE 1 @ 11. 50 p.m. on Thursdays tells the story of the invasion of Iraq, the lack of any plan for after the invasion and the chaos that followed and will continue for decades. Some 3000 people were killed in the Twin Towers atrocity. In retribution tens of thousands, including American soldiers, have died in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. Those countries have been destroyed and they now face ongoing chaos, the threat of famine and, for many, persecution. All this in a purgatorial existence not to mention the trillions of dollars that were wasted through all of this madness.   

Two and three above are not for the squeamish.

After the French revolution an old aristocrat was asked the following question; “What did you do for the duration of the Revolution?” answered

“I survived”     

I’ll adjourn at that.

Take care, follow the guidelines.









Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Update 5th October


Blog October 5th.

Boyle U 16 s Convincing County ‘A’ title win.

I have been telling anyone interested in Gaelic football who I talk to in Boyle about a special town team who play pure Gaelic football. The proof of my mission was to be seen on Friday night last, under lights at Kilbride. It was a wintery, cold night but the football played was heart-warming. Their opposition on Friday last was a combination of Michael Glavey’s and Eire Og with a number of top-class players. They had beaten Boyle in the Abbey Park just a few weeks ago. This was in a league game for this year’s under-17 minor Championship. So this 2020 final was expected to be an even affair. However, it did not turn out that way. From ten minutes or so in Boyle began to assert themselves and at halftime, they led by 1.6 to 0.4.

The second half proceeded in a similar fashion and ended with a convincing victory for Boyle 1.13 to 1.7.  The detail of the game is clearly set out in Ronan Flanagan’s report for ‘The Roscommon Herald’, Sports Section page 8.

Ronan nominated Conor Kelly as ‘Man of the Match’ and it was a clear decision amongst many sterling performances. Conor is the son of John Jnr. and grandson of John Kelly Snr. who was an All-Ireland U 21 winner with Roscommon in ’66 and a regular county senior player from then to the mid-seventies. Colm was outstanding in this game displaying all the skills with an energy that was special. I will not go beyond mentioning Colm here as there were so many fine performances throughout the team that it is best to list the team and panellists in total as they all contributed to an outstanding and really enjoyable exhibition of Gaelic football. The skills of foot-passing, gathering and securing possession, understanding and support play, driving at and through opposition attempts at defence, unquenchable energy and pace, great free-taking, in other words all the skills a coach would delight in.

I don’t say this lightly but it’s as good as anything I have seen.

I saw this once before when watching a St. Jar lath’s team win one of their many Hogan Cups in Longford, maybe 30 years ago. The thing I brought from there also was that all was done in silence from the players which was replicated last Friday. Some side-line mentors were probably not on that hymn sheet. 

I left one skill for last. I saw one the finest high-fielding catches I have seen, from young Eden Kerins (grandson of Liam) about 15 minutes into the game.

The team: Sean Caravan/ Joseph Coyle/ Daniel Casey Capt./ Mark Dwyer/ Oran Henry/ Eden Kerins/ Mark Halligan/ Conor Kelly/ Niall O’Donnell/ David Duggan/ Luke McGrath/ Catha McKeon/ Shay Noone/ Gavin O’Connor/ David Flanagan with David Beirne/ Jamie Kennedy/ Nicholas Callan/ Oisin McDermott/ Andrew McGee/ Karl McKeon/ Tommy Walsh.

I congratulate especially their manager Shane Spellman for his contribution to this win. Well done Shane.

Also his acolytes Dessie Mcloughlin/ Kevin O’Connor/ Gerry Emmett and Jim McGrath. There is plenty of knowledge and passion there. It can boil over a little but…

I mention also the significant Boyle support that was in Kilbride on Friday night. Apart from Cathal Feely I did not see many of the Boyle senior team present but I might have missed them. The referee, Kerryman Gerry Carmody, deserves a mention also for his handling of the game.

This same team now face into the business end of this year’s (2021) U 17 Minor Championship. This is at the stage of a semi-final v Clann na Gael this week-end.

 It is hard to switch gear from the above so I’ll post it to Sean as a stand-alone item.

 Maybe I’ll come back with ‘normal stuff’ (!) like

1.     Crazy murders in the U.S. and London.

2.     The wild and crumbling Atlantic Way: Donegal's and Mayo’s mica crisis.

A scheme, which was to be administered by county councils predominately in Donegal and Mayo, would give homeowners up to €275,000 to reinstate their crumbling homes.  Apparently that is not enough. It is slated, as of now, to cost over €3 billion. Taking ‘The National Children’s Hospital’ cost inflation as a yardstick it is just a guess what it might really cost.

Where is that block supplier now? I have heard little of his company.

There are 6,600 houses in Donegal and Mayo crumbling due to the issue and the question is possible; Will it stop there?    

I have not used this term for a while…’unbelievable’.  

3.     A very disturbing issue at Cork University Hospital which defies logic.

4.     An Attorney General doing a decent ‘nixer’ over a year after his appointment as a Government apparatchik.

5.     The Irish army discrimination and ill-treatment of a number of female officers and the frightening trial procedures they have to face.

6.     The spiralling costs of fuels and electricity with threats of outages etc.

7.     The spiralling cost of house building materials.

8.     The cost and lack of availability of housing.

9.     Maybe I should just say the blanket spiralling costs of everything.

10.Online scams.

11. The streets of Dublin.

12.The struggle to adhere with climate change needs.

13.Oh Yes …Covid 19. 

14.(You get a small indulgence if you have read to here! I remember a ‘Plenary’ indulgence. What was the lesser one called? They were to do with Purgatory! It was defined as, “A place where some souls suffer for a time before they went to heaven”. There is a mill in my home village of Castlecoote and one potential poet defined it as;

“A place where some souls suffered for a time… before he went to England”    


Thanks for having me”, as contributors like to announce on U. S. News channels.        




Monday, September 20, 2021

Update 20th September

 “The Autumn winds blow chilly and cold’ is a line from a Simon and Garfunkel song ‘April it will come’. There is the touch of the Autumn snap as of now and we face into a problematic time. It has a mixture of hope weariness and reticence. ‘Hope’, the final quality captured in Pandora’s box, is that by April a more positive picture will have emerged. That would be over two years since the pandemic struck. It is two years of different living. Very occasionally I meet a person I have not seen since before it all struck and I can see those two years of age on their faces as I am sure they can in me. For everyone, it has been a tough time but for senior people those two years of restricted living are long lost years (up to a point) which we can ill afford.

Some of that loss can be seen in the Bard’s great poetic view of Autumn


Sonnet 73 (‘That time of year thou mayst in me behold’)

William Shakespeare


That time of year thou mayst in me behold

When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang

Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,

Bare ruin’d choirs where late the sweet birds sang.

In me thou seest the twilight of such day

As after sunset fadeth in the west,

Which by and by black night doth take away,

Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.

In me thou seest the glowing of such fire

That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,

As the death-bed whereon it must expire,

Consum’d by that which it was nourished by.

   This thou perceiv’st which makes thy love more strong,

   To love that well which thou must leave ere long.


Michael D. and another Zappone-gate

Like an eternal circle there comes around these division 3 or 4 news stories that in the status of things are of little or no consequence. Zappone-gate has been on the agenda for … a month perhaps… and as it begins to submerge for the insignificance that it was it is now being replaced by a supposed snub from the President, Michael D. Higgins, for not partaking in an event marking the establishment of the Northern Ireland state. Perhaps the Catholic Church representative was unwittingly bounced into attending but Michael D. took time to analyse it more deeply.

He decided that it would be hypocritical of him to attend an event celebrating the historical division of this island, an event he fundamentally disagreed with.

I agree with him.

People may think that Michael D. is some kind of adult teddy bear but as a former student of this, he has form in standing by his strongly held views which are cogently thought through and not Twitter fed.

I remember, from a good few years ago, hearing Michael D. on a radio debate with a Chicago-American politician on some sensitive issue and ‘wiping the floor with him and his argument’.

Now if Mister Bruton wants to attend I presume that can be facilitated and I imagine it would not be a burden on him.    


The death of ‘Greavesie’.

On opening up the online line news on Sunday morning I was saddened when I saw that one of my sporting icons, Jimmy Greaves, had died. With Gerry O’Malley he was my sixties sporting, I suppose, heroes.

The first I saw of soccer football was on the Pathe News and such which were part of attending the ‘pictures’ (later films) in ‘The Blue Moon’ and ‘Royal’ cinemas in Roscommon town. The first game I saw on television was the 1960 European Cup final between Real Madrid V Eintracht Frankfurt. It took place at Hampden Park, Glasgow before an attendance of over 126, 000 people. Real Madrid’s Di Stefano scored three and the great Hungarian Puskás scored four in a 7 to 3 result.

I then became aware of English soccer and the dominant club team of the early sixties was Tottenham Hotspurs with a great team. In my few years in London in the mid-sixties, I started going to odd games in Fulham, Stamford Bridge, Loftus Road and such.

Once when working on a McInerney building site in East London I had a slight accident. I was up on scaffolding, maybe 10 stories high, and jumped in a window from the scaffolding which was no big deal only for…. a board with a nail standing out was attached to the top of the window sill and my head sailed by this but it left its mark and the blood flowed. I went to a nearby hospital and got patched up with a wrap-around bandage. I took the following day off. I was living in Ealing, West London then and decided to use the day to go and see the great Spurs team quite a distance away in North London. A memory from it was being the butt of jokes about my Sikh head-dress from adjacent Spurs supporters.

However, the one vivid memory from that game was a magical goal by Jimmy Greaves. I followed his career nearly always after that. He was a prolific and record goalscorer. He was a shoo-in on England teams up to and during the early games of the 1966 World Cup but perhaps it was because of a slight injury or whatever he was dropped by team manager Alf Ramsey from the World Cup Final England team and replaced by a great West Ham player Geoff Hurst.

There were no substitutions allowed in that era so there was no chance of a cameo appearance. It broke his heart. I was still in London that World Cup sunny summer.

Jimmy continued for a time with Spurs but then incredibly he was moved on to West Ham. He also played for some other clubs as alcohol took its toll. He addressed his alcohol addiction and returned to the limelight as an early television soccer pundit and teamed up with Scot Ian St. John former Liverpool great player. They were not just a soccer pundit team but a very entertaining comic double act.

Jimmy remarried his wife and had a good life but never lost his personality of lovable decency. He got a stroke in 2015. About a month ago I watched a detailed documentary on his life in football on BT Sport and the challenges he overcame.

It is some coincidence that today, Sunday Sept. 19, that Spurs V Chelsea is one of the games being televised on Sky. Jimmy started with Chelsea then went to Italy for a short spell and came back to Spurs with whom he will ever be associated. My old pal John McPherson, a great Spurs and ‘Saint and Greavsie’ supporter, might encounter him in the Utopia of above.

Jimmy Greaves was a special player and I will remember that goal of his always.

P.S. I just remember a little story from that Documentary on BT Sport.

Sky was taking over the ITN channel transmitting ‘The Saint and Greavsie’ and the two men met up to discuss its implications. Jimmy said to Saint John that he was offered a job with Sky and turned it down.

Saint John said to him; ‘Jimmy how could you do that, turn Sky down?’

Jimmy answered; ‘Saint I feel like I’m getting too old to be climbing ladders putting up those bloody dishes’!       


Film ‘The Keeper’

Last week I tripped across a film on BBC with the title ‘The Keeper’. I read the little paragraph relaying the content and tuned in. It involved the capture of a German soldier in France by British forces and his transfer to a ‘Prisoner of War’ camp in Lancashire near the war's end and for some time afterwards.  The film showed a traumatic event in the German soldier’s early military life. A grocery supplier to the camp, who was also a team manager for the nearby St. Helen’s Town soccer team, saw this soldier playing football in the camp as a goalkeeper and was impressed. The manager eventually got sanction to bring the soldier out of the camp to play with his team. That had its difficulties in trying to overcome the prejudice of having a German, a recent enemy, playing for them. However, he was so good that the small club overcame that and soon his reputation spread and the Manchester City manager arrived to look him over. He too was impressed and brought him to Manchester City. Again prejudice and resentment followed at an even higher degree. Again his ability subdued the resistance. He played in the Cup final for Manchester City in 1955 v Newcastle then a powerhouse who won by 3 goals to nil. Man City were again in the final of 1956 this time v Birmingham City. Near the end of the game with Man. City leading 3 goals to 1 the Man. City goalkeeper sustained a serious neck injury. Though obviously in great pain he played on as substitutes were not allowed then. Pictures show him holding his neck as he received his medal and it turned out that he had a broken neck.

He had married the St. Helen’s manager’s daughter and tragedy struck when their first son was killed in an accident at an early age.

He played for Manchester City from 1949 until 1964. During the war he had received an Iron Cross but in his football career he not only got the Cup Final medal but also was awarded an OBE from the Queen of England in recognition of his assistance in post-war reconciliation between England and Germany. He also received a German equivalent of same. His wife, who was his rock, died a young woman in 1980 but the German Iron Cross recipient and footballer who became a hero and legend with Manchester City died in Spain in 2013 aged 89. His name was Bert Trautmann.    


The Very Different Stories of Four Women;

Both local papers cover the story of a Tipperary born woman who made a big impression in Athleague circa 1920. The Roscommon Herald on page 16 and in The People on page 36 have short articles on the lady named Aleen Cust MRCVS. The letters after her name tell us she was a veterinary surgeon. Apparently RTE/Nationwide were investigating this lady who is well remembered and regarded in Athleague. A timber sculpture representation of Ms. Cust can be seen near the bridge at Athleague. (Nearby is another timber sculpture to another legend –living- Johnny Haughey forever associated with hurling in Athleague and the county).

Dublin-born Irish woman, Violet Gibson, came to fame in the late 1920s’ after she attempted to kill the Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini. What motivated her is a mystery. Had she succeeded it might have had an influence on subsequent history. She too is getting the T.V. Documentary treatment on Wednesday Sept. 22 at 9.30 on TG4. 

Typhoid Mary Mallon

I do not listen enough to the radio as there are so many programmes of interest there. Amongst my favourites are ‘Sunday Miscellany’, ‘Playback’ a summary of good pieces from the weeks programmes and the ‘RTÉ Radio: Documentary on One’ in the early afternoon each Saturday. This award-winning documentary series has had outstanding programmes down the years and a Pod Cast of them is a real gold mine. Last Saturday I happened on one called; ‘The Curious Case of Typhoid Mary (Mallon). This told the story of a Mary Mallon from Ireland. She was a New York cook, who, while not getting ill herself, became a ‘super spreader’ of the typhoid disease in the early part of the 1900’s in New York. She was isolated for decades on an Island in view of New York and died there. This suggests likeness to the two great French books on Island incarceration ‘The Count of Monte Christo’ and ‘Papillion’.

Nicki Minaj

With my fourth lady who hit the headlines this week, I must be amongst the few who have not heard of her worldwide. That recognition got a real boost this week with a slight tweet about resistance to Covid vaccination. Her name is Nicki Minaj!  All I can say is that she can really dress up. Why is she famous…I think it is in that peculiar way that is, ‘because she is famous’!

I’ll rest my case there.


Mayo Defeat by Tyrone.

It was another of those huge disappointments for Mayo and its multitude of supporters. In a way, Mayo seems to lose the same way regularly. A goalkeeping mistake, a full back being over-reached by an opponent, and a lack of leadership on the field. It is something that the current team captain has not scored in any of his 5 or maybe 6 finals.

There has been plenty of ire to go around in Mayo following the result but I have no wish to add to that. They keep falling but keep getting up. There is a kind of heroic resilience there. Like all Mayo people I too, a Roscommon person, wish them to win. I imagine that the last living members of the 1950 and ’51 Mayo teams, Paddy Prendergast and panellist Dr. Mick Loftus, must feel these defeats greatly. Anyway, Mayo can look forward to next year and at least a Connacht Final win as the odds lie. I would like it if Roscommon could be so optimistic.

One should not forget Tyrone coming from a drubbing in Kerry two months or so ago, to win an All-Ireland final by beating Kerry in the Semi-Final and Mayo, convincingly, in the final. That was something special and they should be acknowledged for it.  

The Missing C.S.P.C.A. Water Troughs  

For a Boyle Arts Festival talk I walked through Boyle to rehearse my topics. I missed one I had been aware of and that was the C.S.P.C.A. (Canadian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) trough. This ‘Philanthropic Society’ say fit to install these troughs so that animals on fair or market days had water   It had been outside Dodd’s Bar for a long time. Then it was transferred to the Courthouse steps and later to the front of St. Joseph’s Hall. In those locations, it served as a fine flower receptacle.

After a cursory search I could not locate same. Last week I started to make some enquiries and then in a pure coincidence Sean, on the Home Page of Realboyle, gave the same subject full prominence.

He numbered those as 3 which I was not aware of and came up sometime later with the one at the end of St. Patrick’s Street. So there should be two more somewhere. All I was aware of was the one from the Crescent area so if anyone knows anything of its whereabouts please let us know. These are all part of interesting street furniture, which have a history and storied background from the town's past.


Solheim Cup Golf and now The Ryder Cup

I found the Solheim Cup for golf, where Europe defeated the United States, hugely entertaining thanks in large part to the outstanding performance of Cavan’s Leona McGuire.

Starting Friday is The Ryder Cup the male equivalent of above. It takes place in the U.S. this time and the European team is captained by Padraig Harrington. There are two Irish golfers included in the 12 team players, Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry. While McIlroy is an acknowledged star of the game it is another great achievement for Lowry. So this weekend is booked solid by thousands of golf enthused people who will be glued to their television sets to watch the thrills, spills and drama and maybe some controversy in The Ryder Cup. Even if you are not a golf fan you should dip in and maybe see why this is such a magnetic event.             



I remember here two Boyle men that I knew back the years who passed on recently. One is Michael McPadden of Hanley Ave. who was in his middle fifties. He was a student in St. Mary’s College but I also knew him as a footballer as the McPadden lads all were. I have not met Michael for a long time. His picture on the Home Page here showed a fine strong man.

The other is Willie Suffin who I always with Bert Mahoney with whom he worked in his earlier times. May they both rest in peace.










Friday, September 3, 2021

Update 4th September

 Blog Friday September 3rd.


Where to today?

Thoughts on Tyrone v Kerry.

I have asked a friend to get me a copy of ‘The Kerryman’ newspaper so that I can read their take on Kerry’s surprise defeat by Tyrone in the All-Ireland Semi-Final. That is part of my holistic approach to getting a grip on what happened.  

I have to hand this week’s ‘The Roscommon Herald’ and Father Liam Devine’s short take on it also. As you may know there was a certain amount about Covid and the Tyrone team for the last few weeks. Liam too has a few mentions of that issue and I will quote one nice one as follows;

 “The rapid recovery and the rude good health of the Tyrone players must be a great boost and consolation to people who have tested positive with Covid 19”.

It was the Kerry players who seemed to be struggling with cramps and so on as the game went through injury time. I presume that will be addressed in their post- match analysis.

Anyway Tyrone won because they played with a ferocity that may have been taken from Limerick's playbook. Their determination, motivation, and drive and their taking of the goal chances were key.

Their win now sets up a totally new challenge for Mayo in the final. There is no calling of it with any degree of certainty. Maybe Mayo will be less overawed by Tyrone than they would be by Kerry? Will Mayo be able to cope with the total war of the Tyrone team and substitutes? While the Mayo management will have been preparing, for the most part, to face Kerry they will now have to re-gig their mindset to face a very different challenge. Maybe this fresh challenge will present Mayo with (as is being said) a better chance of getting the Holy Grail of Gaelic football. It is intriguing, interesting, fresh, novel and only God knows how it is going to pan out.    


Father Devine’s Column

This is one of the features that I always go to when I start reading the Sports Section of, ‘The Roscommon Herald’. This week he referenced four different items The game as above and also that the Meath minor midfielder Jack Kinlough had Roscommon connections which he has. His father Oliver (Ollie) Kinlough and his grandfather -Frankie-who was the great forward with the Roscommon team of the forties. ‘Kinlough of the Golden goals’ as he has been referred to from time to time. Ollie played for a time with Padraig Pearse’s and also had some game with Roscommon a good few years ago now.

Gerry O’Reilly R.I.P.

Liam also referred to the death of Gerry O’Reilly of Rooskey. Gerry played wing back for Roscommon in the All-Ireland of 1962 v Kerry. He was a Garda and lived in Templemore the Garda training town in Tipp.   

Liam also paid a tribute to Liam ‘Chunky’ O’ Brien who was one of the star players in the Kilkenny team of the seventies. His club was ‘The Village’ one of the three great Kilkenny City clubs. It is also the club of Brian Cody.

I remember being at a senior hurling final in Nolan Park a decent few years ago and they honoured a club team from Bennetsbridge at half time which had won several county titles in the sixties. Even I was aware of the great players of that club team as the announcer called out their names.

I have suggested to Father Liam that he put together a book with material he has already had published in his columns in ‘The Herald’.

He is from the same townland as myself in Castlecoote, Fuerty and he went for a time to Roscommon C.B.S. and then to Summerhill and then Maynooth. He was in Sligo for a long time and during that time was P.R.O for Sligo GAA County Board a position he took with Roscommon when he transferred for a time to Athlone. He currently serves in Loughglynn area.


P.S. If you are reading through ‘the Herald’ of August 31st you might read a very interesting essay titled;

 ‘Athleague man cares deeply about his local environment’.

The man in question is James Moran who I know pretty well and he touches on many elements of living in past and present times and highlights the grave challenges that are ahead for the next generation.      


Some Boyle GAA Notes

The Boyle Senior team play Michael Glavey’s on Saturday in the Hyde Park at 6.30. After their fine performance and win against Roscommon Gaels last time they will be hoping to copper-fasten their grip on the knock-out stages with a win…but you never can tell!

Two members of Boyle GAA were featured in the national papers recently with Cian Smith the Boyle team manager talking to reporter Arlene Harris. Cian talked initially of how fate and coincidence probably saved his life from cancer.

He talked about his cancer from diagnosis in 2007, intervention, the period of treatment to where he is now. It is a very telling and clear account of his experience. I do not know if you can access it online but it was published in the Health and Living section of the Irish Independent of Monday, August 23rd. Cian a member of the Roscommon All-Ireland minor winning team of 2006. His dad Mike Jnr. is Chairperson of the Mayo Roscommon Hospice Foundation.

The story emphasises the necessity for men to be more aware of health issues and not be dismissive of the warning signs.     

Daire Cregg turned up in the Farmer’s Journal talking of his farming exploits. Between education in UCD, football with Roscommon and Boyle and farming he certainly leads a very busy life. I have been detached from farming for quite a while now but Daire’s condensed story of heifers, bull calves, and ‘Friesian Jersey crosses’ told me I was well out of touch with Daire’s farming world. Still, he was able to insert the classic saying ‘every day is a learning day’. One that seems apt with Daire is ‘if you want something done ask a busy man’.      


Mention of Castlecoote

 R.T.E. will be transmitting a double documentary programme, on Monday and Tuesday nights the 6th and 7th of September on the tragic death of Father Niall Molloy in July 1985 aged 52. Father Molloy was then a curate of Athleague/Fuerty parish in Castlecoote. The death occurred around a wedding in Clara in Offaly and confused details surrounding his death have since then been contested by his family. His nephews Bill Maher and Henry McCourt have been trying steadfastly to uncover the truth of what happened to their uncle and who was really responsible. Perhaps this R.T.E. documentary might throw some light on it but I would not be in any way optimistic.


Seamus Heaney Nobel Laureate

On Wednesday night, on TG4, I watched a repeat of a programme paying tribute to the great Derry poet Seamus Heaney. I should have ‘taped it’ as it was a delight. It represented a kind and humble genius, a supporting and guiding wife that was Marie Devlin and family siblings who mirrored his humility. His life’s story flowed as if it was a stream. He came from Bellaghy, went to secondary school in St. Columb’s Derry then on to Queens University. There he met his wife Marie who was his soulmate. He lived first in Belfast until 1972 and then in Wicklow and later Dublin. He lectured a great deal abroad in Berkley University California, Oxford and Harvard. I remember getting a poetry book ‘Soundings’ autographed by him during Boyle Arts week when he gave reading in The Church of Ireland. He was awarded the Noble Prize for literature in 1995. He got a stroke in 2006 and died August 31st 2013. I was in Dublin on his funeral day and regret not attending outside the church at Sandymount then. I was in Croke Park for an All-Ireland Semi-Final Kerry v Dublin with friends. Before the game started his death and funeral were announced and a minute’s silence called. The crowd of 80, 000 stood and paid their respects and ended with a round of applause. It was a unique and remarkable gesture. His daughter mentioned it in the documentary and how shy Seamus would be if he could have known.

One of his book collections of poetry has the apt title of, ‘The Spirit Level’ which makes one think, especially in these testing times. I could go on a good bit about Seamus Heaney but maybe if I add the poem which was nominated as Ireland’s favourite it would be better;


  ‘When all the others were away at Mass’

I was all hers as we peeled potatoes.

They broke the silence, let fall one by one

Like solder weeping off the soldering iron:

Cold comforts set between us, things to share

Gleaming in a bucket of clean water.

And again let fall. Little pleasant splashes

From each other’s work would bring us to our senses.


So while the parish priest at her bedside

Went hammer and tongs at the prayers for the dying

And some were responding and some crying

I remembered her head bent towards my head,

Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives–

Never closer the whole rest of our lives.   

The family too talked about the inscription on his headstone and for whatever reason I looked at again later in my scribbled notes when Ronaldo had scored his two goals;

“Walk on air


Your Better


The Death of Pat Hume

 Another death, that is the death of Pat Hume on Thursday. Pat was the wife of the one of the greatest Irishmen in Irish history, John Hume. Like Marie Devlin, but in a very different environment, Pat was the rock on which John rested and relied on to get him through all the challenges and adversity of his times. The family were threatened, abused, mocked, but she held it all together. She was one of those heroic Irish women. She was married to John (another Nobel Prize recipient) for 59 years and in the announcement of her death yesterday the family began “We are heartbroken to announce the death of ……”  We owe these women like we owe so many mothers huge, unconditional, gratitude.


All this has chastened me and I will not now enter the arena of farce that is a thing called Merriongate. Get real as to the scales of significance.