Sunday, July 13, 2014

Garth Brooks Concerts / Roscommon v Cavan / Boyle Ladies GAA / World Cup and the Death of Di Stephano

Garth Brooks Concerts….What a Mess.

Sometimes when things go wrong at a high level the barstool sages casually espouse; ‘I could have told them that’. To actually sell up to 400,000 tickets for five concerts subject to licence, (I was going to use ‘seems to me’ but I’ll leave the qualification aside) was just hugely irresponsible. The result now is a huge loss to many different groups. First there are the people who bought the tickets though they are expected to get their money back and what an operation that will be. The Joe Duffy show  is likely to have enough material for the foreseeable future in the travails that will emerge there. Those worst effected are the people from abroad who have booked flights, hotels and bought tickets. Then there are the multitude of service providers in Dublin City, hotels, bars restaurants, B.& B.s’ and so on. Many people, possibly students, were to have a period of part-time employment on the foot of the concerts. Croke Park, referred to by objectors as Corporate Croke Park, which I presume is the group running the stadium as a fund-raising machine will also lose of course and the regime which will emerge will be considearably more restrictive on the stadium’s use. The objectors will possibly have to keep their heads down with the loss of so many part-time jobs and the ‘legacy fund’ of 500,00 for local amenity projects now gone. It was of course their right to object and so on and it is more likely that it was the City Council executive who were the final arbitrers in all  five concerts not going ahead being unlicensed. Perhaps, though I have not heard it said, they were worried about the scale of it all and if there was a disaster who would then be accountable? Then there is the country’s reputaional damage as against what would have a huge good news and promotional story for Ireland Inc. How so many agencies could not see the light in the tunnel being an oncoming train is mind-boggling. There was the distinct Celtic Tiger attitude of ‘build it and seek retention’.  It has been regularly suggested that the Church, Fianna Fail and the GAA were the great Irish institutions; two have been rocked, is this a body blow to the third?      
The reality of all the brinkmanship is that there should have been a much earlier intervention and awareness and perhaps the sage Kieran Mulvey should have been consulted earlier. Even I might have suggested that there was (possible) trouble ahead. (As I finish this note did I hear correctly that Garth Brooks was still asking that the five would go ahead?)

Roscommon v Cavan:

Next Saturday Roscommon GAA supporters head for Kingscourt Breffni Park, Cavan for a championship game. Roscommon and Cavan have a history. In 1943 when Roscommon won their first All-Ireland they defeated Cavan in a replay, a robust affair. In ’44 Roscommon disposed of Cavan in the Semi-Final before beating Kerry in the Final and making it two in a row. It looked as if Roscommon would rule for a time with a great side They were shocked by Mayo in ’45 but returned in ’46 but lost to Kerry in a replay. Cavan were their opponents in the ’47 Semi-Final the year the All-Ireland took place in the Polo grounds in New York a great prize. Cavan won and beat Kerry in New York. The two counties did not meet again at this level until 1962 when Roscommon were victors before going down to Kerry in the final. This was to be Gerry O’Malley’s final. After the early fifties both Roscommon and Cavan went into decline but occasionally the old embers sparked into life and the hugely dedicated supporters, of both counties, shook off their disappointments and emerged re-energised. So we travel to Cavan on Saturday evening to a football tradition where as Seamus Heaney said about Derry ‘ Where hope and History Rhyme’.
(Best wishes to the Boyle connections involved at the week-end Enda and Donie Smith on Saturday and Evan McGrath on Sunday in Castlebar with the minors plus Fergal O’Donnell and Stephen Bohan of their management team).

Boyle Ladies GAA:

Boyle Ladies GAA team play Shannon Gaels in the Intermediate team Championship at 12 noon (High!) in Boyle. When I asked if this was an ‘important’ game the response I got was; ‘Every game against Shannon Gaels is an important game!’ Tradition!

World Cup and the Death of Di Stephano.

A good few people including myself will have withdrawal symptoms as the World Cup comes to a conclusion. It has been a feast of drama, theatre and entertainment. I really enjoyed it. The German victory over Brazil had elements of GUBU about it. The goals were pouring in when the person I was watching it with got a message on his I Phone with an altered picture of the towering statue of Christ the Redeemer over Rio with his his hands over his eyes! Another story came from the Roisin Dubh pub in Galway who had the offer of 50 cent reduction on a German lager for every goal German scored from a starting price of 4 euro. Near the end of the game therefore they were down to 50 cent.
One of the greatest soccer players in the game’s history Alfredo di Stephano died in Madrid this week. He was born in Argentina but became a naturlised Spaniard. He was part of the great Real Madrid side which won five European Cups in a row from ’55 to ’60 inclusive. It included some other special players such as Gento and the Hungarian legend Puskas.  That final was played at Hampden Park Glasgow and was watched by 127,000 people. Real won scoring 7 goals to Eintracht Frankfurt’s 3. Stefano, the ‘blonde arrow’, scored 4. It was the first game of soccer I saw being on a snowy television screen. It was on May 18th 1960 and I still seem to remember it.        

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