Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Passing of a Friend / Roscommon Victory of 1944 Remembered / Kerry v Donegal / Scotland Vote

The Passing of a Friend

My friend John Mac Nama passed away last week end. I was aware of his illness and its possibilities. His passing like that of anyone will leave a void. The life and death of each of us has its influence on others. I got to know John ( his family knew him as Sean) over thirty years ago. It was centred around our mutual interest in the hobby or pastime of quizzes. He was a regular participant in a quiz which ran for a few years, over the winters, in The Ceili House Bar, Boyle. Then John and I joined up making up a team with a number of others particularly  John Casey and Eamon Perry and at other times Liam O’Callaghan, Bill Mannion, Tom Mullaney, Sheila Tighe and Liam Coyle. We participated in quizzes within a twenty mile radius and had great battles with good teams from a number of places especially  Carrick-on-Shannon, Croghan and Drumsna.

I used to say that when we had John with us we were contenders but when we did not it was Kilkenny without King Henry. We were only half serious about it all and we had great fun. The team travelling to quiz  venues was akin to the dedicated car loads that used to go to championship football games. We had a great run in a Carrick-on-Shannon Golf Club Quiz with Bill Mannion and Liam O’Callaghan and Liam Coyle. It is fair to say that at the time we liked a pint or more and once we were in a strong position at the half-time break but our form declined somewhat as the second half progressed!
John was a classical quiz enthusiast. The trivia introduced in more recent times was not for him. “Sure this isn’t a quiz at all” he’d exclaim, frustrated that the Greek Gods were not on the agenda. The classic set pieces of Greek and Roman Gods, obscure anniversaries, the names for groups of mammals or animals, horse racing and Gaelic sport were grist to the mill of his broad mind.

Once when asked the name of an obscure-to us- Turkish Prime Minister he came up trumps and as a  rider suggested that we include his first name, Suleyman, also!  Another one was; What is the state capital of Hong Kong? (before its take-over by China). One would have thought that Hong Kong was its own capital but John in a flash said ‘Try Victoria’. Now when John said “Try or I think it is. ” the answer writer did not argue. It took us a little while to realise that to our initial cost. Picture rounds with BeyoncĂ© and Katy Perry and company were an occasion for his cigarette break.
I did a series of quizzes for the County Library Services involving national Schools where John with John Casey and Pat Duignan accompanied me as correctors. I used to introduce us as former actors from the Television series ‘Last of the Summer Wine’. Being the droll man that he was, John enjoyed such harmless devilment.    
John was a great Longford supporter being from Ballinalee and often referred to his Alma Mater St. Mel’s where a colleague was Christy Wynne. He was employed for some time as a librarian which gave him an ideal background for a man of his interests. He was also a dedicated Fine Gael supporter. 
John had fine and helpful neighbours as he was himself one. He was supported in his illness with great love and care by his close family in Galway. He is survived by his brothers Leo and Jim; sister-in-law Rita, nephew Kevin, nieces Leonie, Claire and Lorraine and extended family. The regard in which he was held by his family, relations, neighbours and friends was very evident during his funeral days and they and I will miss him greatly. Ar dheis De go raibh a h-anam dilis. 


I extend my congratulations and best wishes to John Murphy on his retirement from long service at Boyle Community Information Service as covered on realboyle this week. 

Roscommon Victory of 1944 Remembered

The victory of Roscommon over Kerry in the 1944 All-Ireland Football Final will be remembered at a function in the Gresham Hotel Dublin on Saturday night, the eve of this year’s final. The celebratory reception in 1944 was held in the same hotel hence its selection for this 70th  recall. The event is being organised by Roscommon supporters in Dublin headed by Mike Lennon. The event in 1944 was organised by Murty O’Beirne from Ballinameen. Murty was an uncle of the late Sean J. McQuaid and was prominent in Dublin business and political circles running for election in 1937 in Dublin. 
 Family members of many of the Roscommon ’44 team will be present at Saturday night’s function.  One of the three surviving members of the team 93 year old Liam Gilmartin will be the special guest. The other two surviving members is player John Joe Nerney of Boyle and panellist Paddy Beisty of Rathcroghan. It could hardly be imagined that the ’44 win would not be repeated by Roscommon in the following seventy years! 

Kerry v Donegal

Once again it is very difficult to have much confidence as to a winner, this time of the senior football final. Can Donegal play as well again as they did against a shocked Dublin side? Kerry will not be as surprised as Dublin were. How will  Donegal cope with Kieran Donaghy? I imagine they will do much better than Mayo did, probably in a more physical way. This match up here will be one to watch. The double against Mayo will have brought on a developing Kerry side. It is felt that the Kerry fullback line is suspect and can be exploited by the good Donegal forwards. Kerry seem to have a better midfield pairing. The Kerry bench can provide a player who you may not have heard of but can contribute a vital score or two as happened against Mayo. So while I wish Donegal to win I think Kerry might shade it. If Donegal win it will be a great achievement for the team and their Management since they looked a spent force in the middle of 2013. So I hope our dedicated club person Mary Clifford will be celebrating from Sunday evening.  

Scotland Vote

What a historic day Thursday September the 18th  is going to be for Scotland and its people. It has only seemed to dawn on people over the last few weeks. It is really a difficult tantalising Yes/No decision for a nation.  For the diehards on both sides it is not so. However it is the middle ground that will decide as it so often does. While the Yes side have had the more prominent campaign it is probable that there are many No voters who are keeping their own counsel but in the anonymity of the voting booth they will be able to have their say and they will probably tip the balance. It may not be as close as is being predicted. But then what do I know?  t.c.

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