Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Joanne O’Riordan and Heroes / Roscommon Intermediate Ladies V Sligo / Roscommon’s Minors / Boyle Seniors Fine Win / John Murray R.I.P.

Old Photographs

Please click on the photo to view a large version

A group at the opening of the new school in Corrigeenroe in the early 1960s. A number of people are readily identifiable such as; a young Gerry Enright, John and Pat Nicholson with Corrigeenroe’s Father Henry Tonra. Photo courtesy of John Nicholson

Joanne O’Riordan and Heroes

We all need heroes or people to look up or inspire us from time to time. There are many different types of heroes some are quiet and some are more obvious. Last week I watched a documentary on the young Cork lady Joanne O’Riordan who was born without limbs. Through it all she demonstrated her courage, resilience, humour and optimism. It was a heart tugging account of her life and the image of Joanne as a very young child on the table was a tough image. Joanne also showed how articulate she was in her speech, to inventive minds at a United Nations seminar. The documentary was filmed by her brother Steven which showed the great family solidarity that obtained.
A number of years ago another young lady Orla Tinsley was involved in advocacy for Cystic Fibrosis patients in St. Vincent’s Hospital. She appeared on The Late Late Show and I believe her efforts had a very positive impact in the provision of improvements in that area.
Recently there was Donal Walsh who raised the profile of cancer patient-
suffering after a letter he wrote initiated intense public interest in his story. The courage and personality of Donal shone through up to his death in May 2013.
Internationally a young Pakistani girl named Malala Yousafzai has become internationally identified with her fight for the rights of young women to education in her country. This apparently goes against the fundamentalist thinking of certain sections of Pakistani society. Malala survived and recovered from an assassination attempt and continues her campaign.
These are just four examples of the courage of young people who one might be aware of. I presume that all age groups have their heroes but they do not spring so readily to mind. Father Peter McVerry looks like a man of great courage and patience in a very difficult environment as does Adi Roche.  Dubliner and Aussie rules footballer Jim Stynes made a huge impact during his fight against terminal illness. The latest bridge over the Yarra River in Melbourne has been named in his memory just recently. These are the high profile heroes. They set the high bar. For many of us the low hurdles are our challenge. As I wrote so often in another area ‘could do better’, maybe!       

Roscommon Intermediate Ladies V Sligo

I watched Roscommon and Sligo Ladies battle it out in a game in the Abbey Park last week and what a football battle it was. The game went to extra time and the intensity continued to the very end. Roscommon got off to an excellent start but it became a game of swaying fortunes subsequently and as I said went the full distance and more. One of Roscommon’s heroes was the no-nonsense goalkeeper Carol Manning whose club is in Dublin City so she has some travelling to do. Number four was Gillian Dufficey daughter of the very popular Jarlath of Supervalu.  Siobhan Tully was a real livewire corner forward. The manager of the team is Kieran Kilkenny. Noelle Gormley sister of Father Derek was one of the powerhouses of a strong Sligo winning side. The attitude of the referee Gerry Carmody was enlightening as he showed courtesy and consideration to all, many of whom he obviously knew from previous experience. While Roscommon lost they had reason to be pleased with their efforts and little more could basked of them in terms of commitment. As an irregular observer of Ladies Football it was all a very satisfying experience.

Roscommon’s Minors

On Saturday evening next Roscommon’s minors begin their campaign against Leitrim in the Hyde Park at 7.30. Evan McGrath is the Boyle representative on the team so good luck to him and the side under Fergal O’Donnell. Leitrim are said to have a good team this year so it will be interesting. We now expect good campaigns from our minor and U 21 side so they have a fresh tradition to emulate.
The draw for the next round of the Senior Inter County Championship takes on RTE’s Morning Ireland on Monday next June 30th when we will then know Roscommon’s senior opponents in their next game.  

Boyle Seniors Fine Win

Boyle's Senior team had a fine and comprehensive victory over St. Faithleach’s in the Abbey Park on Sunday. After an initial faltering quarter they really got into their stride and cracked in four goals in total some of them as good as has been scored in the park in a long time. The sight of Enda Smith going through the gears as he heads towards the opposition goals is one to behold for a Boyle supporter. (See Boyle GAA Blog for some details). It was good to see some young guns getting match time such as Colin Goldrick, Brian Furey, Peter Lavin, Ciaran Beirne and Conor Tivnan with Liam Conroy and Stephen Tonra.  

John Murray R.I.P.

I’d like to pay a small tribute to John Murray of Marian Road who died this week. John was a colleague of mine in the St. Mary’s College/Boyle Vocational School for many years. He was a mild even-tempered man, courteous and kind. He was held in the highest regard by staff colleagues and pupils many of whom attended at his funeral. I heard a tribute by a son to his father in the church not too long ago where he ended with; ‘My father was a good man’. John was a good man and one of nature’s gentlemen. He certainly fought the good fight in his later years.  My sympathy to his wife, daughters and extended family. May he rest in peace.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Boyle GAA's Fine Week-End / 'McGovern Directional Drilling' Boyle Seniors Fine Display / Both Boyle National Schools Contest Finals / The World Cup / Errata

Boyle GAA's Fine Week-End

Boyle teams had some notable success over the week end. The girls U 12 side had a convincing win in the final of the Division 1 B competition when defeating St. Ciaran's on the score of, Boyle 5.7 St. Ciaran's 04. This side has been very impressive under the guidance of Adrian Brogan and team. It augers well for the future of the ladies game in the town. Years ago I remember people saying that there was not much in the way of sporting activity for girls but Boyle GAA club has certainly done its bit that respect in recent years. We will always remember the contribution of Sean Daly, Fr. Derek Gormley, Theresa Warde and Tom Commins amongst others in this regard. The sound of the car horns and celebratory cavalcade of winning teams is one of the memorable joys of being a young and winning sports activist. Once again a Boyle side were 'Simply the Best' which was the theme song we used on those occasions in the past. This prompted one very young observer then to suggest that t.c. had a very limited collection with only that one song!  

'McGovern Directional Drilling' Boyle Seniors Fine Display

Boyle's victory over Elphin in the first game of the senior championship was probably the best display by a Boyle side since, maybe Kilbride in the rain, some years ago now. While it was accepted that Boyle have a number of very good players the overall balance was going to be the query. In this they all came up trumps with the performance of Mark McGovern rolling back the years being a major talking point. It must be said that Elphin's performance was puzzling and way below expectations. I am aware that they are missing a number of players through emigration. Recent campaigns where they reached the final zone without success may have blunted their motivation. They have a job to do now.  Still one swallow while it may indicate a summer still doesn't make a summer. I do not wish to start analysing the game that is done elsewhere. The game goes a good way to securing Boyle for senior Championship next year, so one important box was ticked there. So Peter Bolger had something of the Cheshire Cat smile about him on Friday evening and deservedly so. This week continues with two very important Senior League games with Padraig Pearse's on Wednesday away and St. Faithleach's on Sunday in Boyle. (For all Boyle GAA Club activity log into their weekly blog and also Facebook).
One of the really impressive features of the fixture on Friday evening was the huge effort put in by the host club Shannon Gaels. The pitch was in great shape, there were numerous stewards to help with parking, there was a fine sound system and tea to boot. But the really significant thing was the welcome and the pride that the club took in having the Senior Championship game at their venue and the lengths they went to ensure all was in order.
Among those I saw busily engaged in all this were Al O'Dowd, Chris O'Dowd, James Deane, John Heslin and Ollie Donagher with many more. So well done to Shannon Gaels. A couple of  questions doing the rounds on the evening were; When was the last time Elphin and Boyle met in the senior championship and
the more difficult one of when did they meet in such a tie in Croghan?      

Both Boyle National Schools Contest Finals

St. Joseph's National School went down to a very good Ballybay (St. Brigid's
School) in the top schools final on Tuesday evening in Ballyleague. They had already beaten Abbey National School Roscommon, Cornafulla and Creagh on their way to the final. While they did not win that final their success in being there is commendable as it is a very difficult competition to win and I commend Fuerty footballer and their teacher Sean Melia on his efforts.
Scoil na nAingeal Naofa, Boyle,  went down to Cornafulla in their final. I imagine a good few of these young ladies had tasted success with the U 12s'
referred to above so they too can reflect on a good season.  

The World Cup

The World Cup is really hotting up and it is proving to be hugely entertaining, at least I think so. The atmosphere is matched by the exotic colours of the supporters of the competing countries. The two stand-out demolition games have been Holland over Spain and Germany of Portugal. I enjoyed the England game versus Italy but not the result. It was a real chess game and in Sterling a real talent seems to be emerging. The shock result has to go to Costa Rica's (north of Panama) victory over Uruguay.
Today's (Wed. ) stand out game is Spain seeking to recover v Chile, first game winners over Australia and tomorrow it is the vital tie Uruguay v England.


Next Thursday night Christy Moore comes to Boyle so I'll probably take a break from Brazil. Then with this beautiful weather there are turf possibilities.
A couple of weeks ago I had a very interesting talk with Carlo Cretaro who travels the world with his partner on the back their very imaginative web site 'next stop who knows'. He is currently in Rio de Janeiro [River
(discovered) of January]  and thus soaking up the World Cup atmosphere.
Last month I had a visit from Pat and John Nicholson former Boyle and Roscommon footballers of the latter sixties. Pat is in California and was very impressed when I showed him the current GAA facilities at the Abbey Park. 
I see also that Eoin Kennedy has returned to winning ways on the handball circuit after dropping back due to life commitments.  Eoin is the son of Eugene Kennedy, nephew of Pat and Joe  and grandson of Master Kennedy. Eoin has been an outstanding handballer for a number of years now and has amassed a huge number of  titles in the various codes. The death of Mrs. Patricia
(Patti) Purcell reminds me of other Boyle handballers, her brothers Tom and Seami Gaughran from the Golden Age of Boyle handball when Paddy Perry was the crown prince and Casey's alley in St. Patrick's Street resounded to the
echo of the handball. 
Sin é for this week. t.c.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Bonfire Dance / Strokestown Fundraiser / GAA success for U12 girls / Boyle GAA update / Roscommon Co Council / "Noel Derby" / Boyle Golf Club Update

Bonfire Dance next Saturday

Saturday 21st: Tawnytaskin Community Centre, great Bonfire Dance. Music by The Psychonics. Doors open 9pm. Tickets €10. Supporting entertainment. Hot Dog stand on site. A great night of entertainment guaranteed. Admission only by ticket! Tickets available from any committee member or please contact: Ann 086 813 0005 or Mary 085 161 8420


Laura O'Rourke-Cullinan wrote: We will hold a fundraiser in Aid of St. John's Ward on the 6th of July in Strokestown Park House. Its an "Away With The Fairies Fun Day". It was inspired my our Brave little girl Isobel who was diagnosed with a Wilms Tumour at 21 months. Please Like and share our Facebook page and Event. [here...]

GAA success for U12 girls

U12 Boyle GAA Girls

Congratulations to the U12 girls who won the Division 1B County title vs St Ciarans yesterday. It was a great team effort. Well done to the girls and management team for their hard work and dedication.

Boyle GAA update

Best wishes to the St Joseph’s Boys National Schools and to the girls of Scoil na nAingeal Naofa who compete on Tuesday in Ballyleague in the Cumann na mBunscoil Football Finals. The Boys Final will be at 5pm and the Girls Finalat 6pm. Read the full update [here...]

Roscommon Co Council

A viewer wrote: "I hear that a senior official in Roscommon Co Council is now trying to take away the Municipal meetings from Boyle. I understood it was the intention to give greater power to the local community by establishing Municipal Authorities in place of Town Councils. This move should & must be resisted at all costs, surely Boyle has lost enough already."

"Noel Derby" (from Tony Conboy's Blog in 2009)

..Stranger on a summer Sunday morning, on the town bridge, to Noel; "Could you tell me where one man with a hangover could get an early drink?" Noel; "No, but I could tell you where two men with a hangover could"
..Stranger leans out of a car window and cryptically addresses Noel on the bridge; "The quickest way to Dublin Mister?" Noel, "Telephone!
More [here...]

Boyle Golf Club Update

Boyle Golf Club

There was a great turnout for Sunday’s Bartley Moran Trophy with over 40 players taking part. The winner was Terry Canning with a great score of 62, 2nd Pat Brogan 67, Gross Brendan Gaffney, 3rd Lionel Lynn 67. Special thanks to Michael Rush for organising and to all who took part. Thursday’s Mens competition was won by John McGuinn 25pts, 2nd Pat Brogan 25pts, 3rd Michael Simon 24pts. Friday's Scramble was won by Terry Canning, Pat Conroy and Michael Rush. The top three on the Golfer of the Year Leader board are Tom Kearney, Brendan Gaffney and Willie Tiernan. Full details are on the noticeboard. This week's full update [here...]

MS Roscommon Warrior / Wing Hung Chinese Restaurant / Barbeque at Boyle River

MS Roscommon Warrior 10k Run/Walk Sunday 15th June
This year's was the fourth annual of the MS Roscommon Warrior 10k Walk/Run. It was a pleasantly mild day for the enthusiastic 100+ participants. They travelled a 10k physically testing course from the start point at Matz Barbers on Green Street, onwards up hills through lovely scenery in Garrow, Copse and down again to Boyle.

Emma Donlon (2nd), Donal Egan (1st), Michelle Lannon (3rd) Tony Byrne (MS)

Everyone buying a ticket this year wass in for the draw. Prizes included an Apple iPad, €150 Stewarts voucher, meal vouchers from Bruno’s, Open Door, An Craoíbhín, Clarke's, Tai Chi Court, Wing Hung and Kilronan Castle. Vouchers from Boda Borg, Zipit, Battlebridge Paintball, Supervalu, Justine Flowers, Aura, Enhance, Phillipa's Hair Design, Waikiki, W.J. Sloan’s, Hair & More, Joe Simon’s and Dalys.
Race winners, €130 vouchers from sásta Fitness, trophies from Feelystone and perpetual cups from Mattimoe’s Bar, Tea/coffee provided by Creighton’s bar, Hot food by Troy and sandwiches by The Fox's Den, Keash.
Other prizes: best dressed and best team. A big thank you to the businesses around Boyle for their generous help ...MS Roscommon,

P6150037Realboyle photo: on your marks, get set, go ...

P6150116"Best Dressed Warrior" Martin Tymon accepts the Betty Meyler glass bowl
from Maire Egan and Tony Byrne

P6150092Participant PJ Egan accepts a gift voucher from organiser Anne Marie Hayden

Wing Hung Chinese Restaurant, Boyle

P6140008View Wing Hung's realboyle photos [here...]

Leo and the management at Wing Hung Chinese Restaurant are to be congratulated. They have recently completed a totally new and beautiful interior decor change to their very popular restaurant by the river in Boyle Town Centre.
Wing Hung adds a classy element to Boyle's growing number of "Where to Eat" premises. Recently Marty Guihen opened 'Open Table' on the Crescent. 'Bruno's Restaurant' and The Bazaar Coffee & Internet' joined the circuit with our well established Clarke's Bar & Restaurant, Margaret's Cafe, our Indian Restaurant, Tai Chi Court and Troy Deli on Shop Street.
Roma Grill on Bridge Street and Mirela's, Main Street remain deserved favourites with extensive burger, battered fish and tasty homemade chunky chips on their menus. The Stonehouse Cafe at Boyle Bridge, Five Star Italian in Supervalu and Aunty Bee's Tearooms on the grounds of King house are firm favourites for quality, pleasant surroundings and ever-friendly service.
Last night Gerry & Phil Emmett reopened 'An Craoibhín' on Elphin Street following its 2014-style kitchen enlargement. Reports quote Gerry as saying "The sparkling new kitchen is now bigger than the bar/restaurant".

Barbeque at Boyle River

Barbeque at Boyle River

On a lovely summer's evening, yesterday's Barbeque at the Stonehouse Cafe beside Boyle River ... what a great idea !!

Canon Gerry Hanly's 40 years / St. Joseph’s Parish Council / Canon Gerry Hanly planted a tree / Traditional Music Session - Friday 13th June

Celebrating Canon Gerry Hanly's 40 years


Friday 13th June: St. Joseph’s Parish Council, family, fellow priests and a large congregation joined with Canon Gerry for a Mass of Thanksgiving and Celebration at 7.30pm in St. Joseph's Church. Like Canon Gerry the ceremony was a relaxed one assisted by Bishop Jones, 11 co-celebrants, three local choirs and a bio-appreciation by Fr. Noel from Sligo. Our soon-to-be-retired Bishop Jones introduced his words with a great one liner ...As Henry V111 said to his first wife, "It won't take long".
Following Mass a very enjoyable social evening was held in St. Joseph’s Hall with music by Michael Harrington and Frankie Simon. Refreshments courtesy of the Parish Council
[View Realboyle photos...]

St. Joseph’s Parish Council


Canon Gerry Hanly planted a tree, Friday 13th June


Long, long after we have all passed away, this tree in the grounds of St. Joseph's Church will remind people that at time of planting, Canon Gerry Hanly had been ordained 40 for years

Traditional Music Session - Friday 13th June


Dodd's Lounge on the Crescent is a venue for many meetings, music, and songwriters. It was 'full house' for Friday's Traditional Irish Music session by local musicians. [photos...]

weekend in Boyle / Clarke's Bar & Restaurant / Crystal Clear Coolers

In Memory Of My Father, by Tony Conboy

Tomorrow (Sunday) is Father’s Day so maybe some of you might meet up with your own dad in an 'accidentally on purpose’ kind of way. Perhaps it will be in his local as opposed to yours and you could stay with him and not be impatient in rushing off to see your own friends. Make sure this time that you buy the extra drink or three. Perhaps you could ask him about some story you’ve heard a number of times before as if it were new. Maybe you could ask his opinion on something. He’d like that. Just make time, because it may surprise you that he’s probably your best friend. In his mind he has wisdom to dispense from the well of life’s experience and your wellbeing is all important to him. Engage and be patient even if it is slightly challenging. Years hence you may remember the modest occasion and feel pleased by your awareness in making it happen.
Read Tony's memories of his dad, first published on June 14th 2009 [here...]

St. Joseph's BNS and Scoil na nAingeal Naofa

St. Joseph's BNS GAA team 2014

St.Joseph's BNS Gaelic Football, Finalists, Large Schools Cumann na Bunscoil 2014 on Tuesday next at 5pm in Ballyleague.
Scoil na nAingeal Naofa have reached the Girls Large Schools Cumann na Bunscoil 2014 Final. They play Cornafulla on Tuesday next at 6pm in Ballyleague. Support is greatly appreciated.

This weekend in Boyle

MS Curlew Warrior 10k Walk/Run start from Green Street at 11am
Family Cycle to the Lough Key Forest Park 3pm, from St. Joseph's Church Car Park
Fireside Trad Sessions with Sarah Egan and Shane Meehan 6-9pm in Mattimoes 

Clarke's Bar & Restaurant

Don't forget FATHER'S DAY at CLARKE'S open for a special sitting of SUNDAY LUNCH on FATHER'S DAY from 1pm call Clarke's on 071 966 2064 to book your table.

Crystal Clear Coolers

Crystal Clear Coolers

Sage Computerised Accounts / Customer Service Training / Billy's World

Sage Computerised Accounts Improvers ….

A two day Sage 50 Improvers course will take place at Boyle Enterprise Centre on next Tuesday June 17th and Tuesday June 24th from 9.30/5.00 each day. The training is suitable for currents users of Sage 50 who would like to gain advanced knowledge of the software to assist in running their business. Cost of the training is €140 per person. For more information or to apply for this Programme,  please call Malcolm Mc Donagh on (071) 914 6815 or email
The Training is promoted and supported by Role Skillnet, based at Boyle Enterprise Centre

Reminder re Customer Service Training

A Customer Service training course will take place at Boyle Enterprise Centre next Tuesday June 17th from 9.30/1.00. The training is suitable for anyone working in, or seeking employment in a customer service role. Cost of training is €30 per person. The training is free for Jobseekers or JobBridge Interns. The course is also available in Castlerea, Roscommon and Sligo.
For more information or to book a place please email or call 086 203 9182

Summer weather for the coming week

Irish Independent: "IRELAND can look forward to basking in some long-awaited sunshine next week, with temperatures predicted to push into the 20s. Forecasters say that from Sunday onwards, temperatures will rise above the usual 16-18 degrees Celsius mark for this time of year, marking the start of a mini heatwave. Some parts of the country will enjoy a pleasant 23C as we head into the early part of next week. Pat Clarke, meteorologist with Met Éireann, explained that next week "Ireland will experience dry, sunny, pleasant weather with higher than usual temperatures for the month of June"."

Billy's World

The charity Billy's World was started by Cora and Tony Byrne, parents of 5 year-old Billy, a special needs child who passed away in March 2013.
Following Billy's passing Cora and Tony's long term wish is to give families with special needs children something they themselves never experienced as a family with Billy on the Island of Ireland - a holiday centre catering 100% for special needs children AND equally for each and every member of their family. What we are trying to achieve at the moment along with fundraising is a high profile.
Please watch the video [here...Website [here...]

Ice Cream Vans / Tony Conboy's Oblique View / Abbey Community College courses

Clamp down on ice-cream vans.

Shannonside FM: "Fine Gael’s Catherine Noone says the chimes of ice-cream vans are an aggressive form of marketing to children. She says the 'pester power' of ice-cream vans could be contributing to the problem of child obesity. Senator Noone says she’s not trying to be a killjoy."
...Dear Catherine Noone, you have little to occupy your annual salary of €65,000 plus expenses!

Tony Conboy's Oblique View

This week Tony wrote "Roscommon are getting closer to their established rivals Mayo and might have just pipped them at Hyde Park on Sunday. It would have been a sweet win." Read more about the Roscommon v Mayo game and articles in full on Boyle v Elphin and Local Historian Mister Tivnan [here...]

Abbey Community College

The following Post Leaving Certificate Courses courses will be available at Abbey Community College for the academic year 2014/2015 from September 2014.
FETAC Level 5 Certificate in Business Studies FETAC, Level 5 Certificate in Information Processing FETAC, Level 5 Certificate in Sport and Recreation Studies
Courses are full time for 1 year and are suitable for students who have recently completed second level education or for mature students wishing to return to the work force or progress to third level. Applications forms and enquires to 071 966 4646

Thursday, June 12, 2014

In Memory Of My Father, by Tony Conboy.

Next Sunday is Father’s Day so maybe some of you might meet up with your own dad in an ‘accidentally on purpose’ kind of way. Perhaps it will be in his local as opposed to yours and you could stay with him and not be impatient in rushing off to see your own friends. Make sure this time that you buy the extra drink or three. Perhaps you could ask him about some story, you’ve heard a number of times before, as if it were new. Maybe you could ask his opinion on something. He’d like that. Just make time, because it may surprise you that he’s probably your best friend. In his mind he has wisdom to dispense from the well of life’s experience and your wellbeing is all important to him. Engage and be patient even if it is slightly challenging. Years hence you may remember the modest occasion and feel pleased by your awareness in making it happen

(First published on June 14th 2009)

Though he died over thirty six years ago -1973-it seems as if I am still getting to know him. I should have done it then of course but it wasn’t fashionable and I was a younger member of the family. Also I felt I knew a lot more then than I do now. In getting to grips with my father he seems to slip through my fingers. I could not but say that he was a solid, hard-working, farming man. When he arrived at the scene of a problem the rest of us stood back we were confident that he had the answers. Invariably he had. I know now that having the answers wasn’t quite so simple. He was never demanding or commanding. Indeed he was, for a man of his background, deferential. His solution might be pretty straight forward and we would wonder why we hadn’t thought it through. The answer was from his store of experience. He had his weaknesses of course and it surprises me, in a naïve way I suppose, that a genuinely solid and sensible kind of man drank too much. But I’m not here now to talk of weaknesses.

I have many images of him and think of how the poet Patrick Kavanagh, so effectively remembered his parents in his poetry, particularly his Mother and more obliquely his father in his poem ‘In Memory of My Father’; ‘Every old man I see in October coloured weather seems to say to me I was once your father’. It doesn’t happen thus often to me but I can easily recall pictures of my father at his best. I can see him in the tillage field with the knapsack sprayer on ‘the barrel’s edge poised’ as he sprayed the potatoes. He was skilled in the bog with the slean slicing the turf sods or with the shears snipping at sheep-shearing. He is in the hay-field, in his latter days, winding the hay ropes or in that period also when because of age he had graduated to the end of the threshing machine where he bagged the grain. His forte was in harvesting, from the smaller fairs of Creggs, Ballygar, Glenamaddy and such places, his kind of cattle which he brought together like a football team for the big fairs held in Roscommon town. In a sense I can only post a flavour of the growing number of pictures, as they drift back, for these paragraphs.

We shared a number of lesser things like the adventures of the Cisco Kid in The Irish Press, and occasional articles on World War Two, like Stalingrad, in the Sunday Press. I seem to remember, in his company, the radio programme ‘The Ballad Makers Saturday Night’ though I shouldn’t go back that far and listening to the radio as the Derry Boxer, Billy Kelly, was robbed by the referee’s decision against Ray Famechon. He sang regularly from his small stock of songs such as; ‘I Dream of Jennie’, ‘The Galway Shawl’, ‘Noreen Bawn’ and ‘Lovely Derry on the Banks of the Foyle’ and enjoyed Moore’s Melodies and John McCormack. He had been part of the Independence movement but spoke little of it. He was ‘a county footballer’ and hurler and followed the fortunes of Roscommon from a distance but rarely came to watch us play, which was a disappointment.

I accompanied him to his last Roscommon match in Ballinasloe, around 1969, against Galway, when they did particularly badly. ‘Shadows on the wall’ he repeated as we headed back to the car in the Fair Green. There was a dividend in being the son of Pat Conboy when asked who I was in that area. It’s a little ironic that I wrote about Roscommon football and the Independence conflict later and had so little information from him, who had been so involved, on those subjects. Before he went to Roscommon hospital for the first and last time, early in 1973, he had his last drink in Warde’s in Goff Street, Roscommon town. He did not seem so ill that he was to pass away within a week. I could have stayed and been by his hospital bedside when he died and of course I regret that. Inexcusably I was to repeat that mistake later. I don’t know what he’d have made of the tricolour on his coffin and the volley of shots which were fired at his graveside. I didn’t rail against his death as Dylan Thomas did in ‘Do not go gently into the dark night’ but I missed him and would have particularly liked him to be around for some big occasions later in my life.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Getting Closer / Roscommon v Mayo / Boyle v Elphin / Local Historian Mister Tivnan

Roscommon v Mayo.

Roscommon are getting closer to their established rivals Mayo and might have just pipped them at Hyde Park on Sunday. It would have been a sweet win. Still one must look at the positives of an upward curve. There were many very good performances. The full back line did really well. Half back Ciaran Cafferkey got a fine goal. Kevin Higgins got a lot of possession at midfield but his ratio of scores from efforts is much too poor. He should be advised to ‘give it to the shooters’ as Killian with a K Egan will remember. Cathal Cregg covered miles of ground. The first half was very poor football. The introduction of Enda Smith and Diarmuid Murtagh showed that the young guns are ready and it was probably a mistake not to start them. Donie’s introduction was too late. So I expect a number of changes next time out though the manager seems to be wary  of starting the under 21s’. Still there were a lot of positives and this summer and the  next few years give us possibilities to look forward with optimism to. Once again the admission prices at €25 for the stand and seated area with €20 for terrace was much too high. I am told that the equivalent in Leinster is 15 and 10. The Connacht Council argument is that it has so few games in which to bring in funding. Still it is the same people who support draws and such fundraising efforts who go to those early games. Sad for Donie Shine who suffered the curse of the cruciate ligament injury on Sunday. It is a tough injury and so prevalent. He was back to near his best at times this year but now he faces to tough road of recovery and rehabilitation. 

Boyle v Elphin in the Senior Championship

Boyle have their first outing in the Senior Championship on Friday evening in Croghan stadium v Elphin. As the cliché goes there are no easy games at this level and this is no different. As usual there is a certain amount of coming and going from last year’s successful Intermediate campaign. Marc O’Connor who had a great season in 2013 has pulled back and Ciaran Cox is in London while Roch Hanmore has returned from Oz. Enda and Donie Smith will be key players but there are others like Cillian Cox, Tadgh Lowe, Mark O’Donohoe and of course the captain Sean Purcell who will also be very important. The question is have Boyle the strength in depth that is necessary at this level. Friday evening will inform us as to the present overall quality of the side.

Local Historian Mister Tivnan

I was one of a very good attendance in the Church of Ireland last week to hear Mister Frank Tivnan talk of the background to that building amongst his many diversions. We were also invited to participate in the singing of two famous hymns as he said to give it all a certain atmospheric lift. History and local history especially is a passion for some people and there are few as passionate as Mister Tivnan. Here he described the symbol of the eagle fronting the lectern and the broken pillar, the term Dulce et Decorum…and the imagery of the stained glass windows and the explanation of the place name of that lovely area and graveyard of Easters now or Esters now.  Years ago I accompanied him on a tour of the town and my attention was drawn to objects and elements that I might have passed numerous times without noticing including the varied chimney pots as one walks down from the Crescent!  It is a positive facet of Boyle that there are so many elements from the Famine pot, the various plaques and inscriptions that make Boyle such an interesting streetscape. And one has to commend Mister Tivnan for a lifetime of sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm for it all.

World Cup

I have been a jack of a number of trades and a master of none down the years. In the same sense I follow nearly all sports. The carnival of emotions that is the World Cup is upon us so it is as well that the turf is ‘footed’ if not saved. Once again I read Eamon Sweeney’s remembrance of past World Cups especially his first one of 1974 when Johan Cruyff and Holland were in their prime. Though they did not win they were one of the great teams. That period from the middle sixties to say 1980 was a golden age for sport. The competition is in Brazil which had probably the finest  team ever to win a World Cup in 1970 and the finest team never to win in ’82. So we look forward to the dramas, the controversies, the emergence of heroes and villains, agony and ecstasy, against the towering backdrop of Favelas, deep social inequality, corruption  and unrest.  ‘Double, double toil and trouble’.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Jimmy's Hall / Roscommon V Mayo in Hyde Park on Sunday / Keep in Mind /Congrats To ...

Jimmy's Hall

I will not attempt a critique of the film as it would take a good deal more study and consideration though I have been aware of Jim Gralton for quite a while having read Des Guckian’s book on Gralton when first published. I also knew Gralton’s close relative Maggie Gralton from quiz encounters. Other local connections are the Ryan’s of Ballyfarnon Sean and Boyle Celtic’s Joe.   
The film will certainly revive interest in a man who was an alternative voice with a broad life experience. This voice would be regarded as a much too radical and threatening voice for the time and place.
The stand out performance in the film is that of Jim Norton as the local parish priest Father Sheridan who represents the dominant position of the church in local, particularly rural society. While Barry Ward is fine as Gralton he does not portray the fire or threat one might expect from a radical political activist. For general reasons there are quite a few liberties taken with the character of the real Gralton who was a much older man at the time depicted in the film. Films do that regularly of course.
Amongst the scenes which really interested me was the ‘Pathe News’ coverage of the arrival of the Papal Nuncio at Dun Laoghaire with all the pomp, ceremony and deference that the state could muster at that time. Things and times have changed of course.
An interesting scene is the noting of the names of those attending ‘Jimmy’s Hall’ for a dance and the subsequent reading of these names from the altar. In my own time I remember the contributors to particular church  collections being read from the altar!
In local terms it will provide a subject for discussion especially in Leitrim, perhaps even reviving some old debates! That the film was made in Leitrim had to make a contribution economically for a time. It also provided an opportunity for quite a few people from the region to participate. So, while it is a slight distraction, one cannot resist keeping an eye out for familiar faces. The music side is well represented by John Carty, Harry Bradley, Mossie Martin. The highly regarded Lennon brothers are also there. Maggie Carty is also quite prominent while John O’Dowd has a short but strong showing.   
So in conclusion the film revives a very interesting true story of the clash of ideologies of those and subsequent decades. It showed the dominance of the power brokers. The social power of the church has waned and the recent elections show that people are more willing to adopt radical representation relegating, in part anyway, the establishment. The film has resonances for our time also as reading this week’s Roscommon Herald, Boyle Town Focus, page 56, the first notice announces: ‘Meeting of Roscommon/Leitrim Irish Land League’!           

Roscommon V Mayo in Hyde Park on Sunday :

This game will tell us where Roscommon are at in terms of development and progress. In recent years Roscommon have suffered heavy defeats by Mayo. Mayo were in the All-Ireland final in 2013 and closer than we give them credit to an all-conquering Dublin side. So it is a big ask of Roscommon on Sunday. For Mayo, while they will be taking one game at a time their real goal and aspiration will be the ultimate winning of an All-Ireland title. As a Roscommon supporter one always hopes and wants to be there when that hope is realised. In 1952 Mayo were after winning the All-Irelands of 1950 and 1951 but were defeated by Roscommon in the Connacht Final of 1952. There was a newspaper strike at the time so everyone relied on  Radio Eireann for news of results but they held back from announcing the result as it seemed incredible. Boyle’s John Joe Nerney starred in that game. But as the Mayo paper ‘The western People’ reported on Gerry O’Malley’s display ...’He gave a display so outstanding that no praise of mine could give him just merit’. Thankfully both are still with us.
Could the hand of history repeat itself as it sometimes does? Recent results have shown the resilience of the underdog with Limerick hurlers beating Tipperary; Tipperary footballers beating Limerick; Waterford hurlers drawing with Cork and Laois hurlers being just two points short of Galway. So good luck to Roscommon and all who sail with her especially our local representatives Donal and Enda Smith. 

Keep in Mind:

Two events I hope to go this week-end are Mister Frank Tivnan’s talk in and on the Church of Ireland, Green St. on Friday evening at 8.30. Then there is the concert in aid of the ‘Join Our Boys Trust’ on Saturday night in St. Joseph’s Hall.

Congrats To;

Boyle Celtic who saw their League campaign through to a successful conclusion on Friday evening last. Celtic Park was in celebratory mood all through the evening with no real fears that it would not be achieved. There was a fine crowd present including veteran Celtic supporters Hal Cawley, John McPhearson and Liam Kerins. Team captain Kyle Suffin gave a wide-ranging post-match  thank you to the people who contributed to the win. Also present to make an attire presentation was the popular Mister Troy.