Thursday, February 26, 2015

Update 26th February

Sigerson GAA Triumph, Boyle’s Big Role

While this has been pretty well flagged by now it was a great occasion in Cork on Saturday. There was plenty of drama and the result went our way. So it was one of the very  good football days. To have three players, ‘Man of the Match’ Tadhg Lowe, Enda and Donal Smith, from the club and win Sigerson medals on the one day is really something with their contributions being major to boot. It must be pretty rare but it would take a good deal of research to validate how unique it was. There were  five on the panel of the U.C.C. team from Nemo Rangers so my guess is that having three from the one club would have happened before especially in U. C.C. since their team is invariably made up of Cork and Kerry players. Apart from the Boyle contribution there were two other Roscommon players on the D.C.U. team, Fintan Kelly from Castlerea and Conor Daly from Pearse's. In the equally impressive support team were Roscommon men Aaron Clogher from Pearse's and Martin Conroy from the Frenchpark area, who I do not know. The chief was Niall Moyna with Meath legend Sean Boylan doing some consultancy. Cillian Cox of Boyle also featured for the RCSI in their competition grade. There were a number of other Roscommon players in the various grades most notably Colin Compton of Strokestown who was ‘Man of the Match’ for a Garda College winning team. The final game got plenty of coverage on the myriad of media outlets that are now active. It is just another barometer of the young talent that is present in Roscommon football at the moment.
These players are great role models for young aspiring footballers and Boyle GAA Club might ‘use’ them in a pro-active way to motivate and inspire upcoming talent by having them visible at under-age training and visits to schools et al. That is when they have the time of course.  I am sure that the young kids would be delighted to meet them.    

Boyle Juniors overcome the elements and St. Michael’s

Boyle 0.7. St. Michael’s 0.5.
After the drama of Saturday and Sigerson it was back to the realities and coal face of club football on Sunday at Cootehall. In a mud fest Boyle scored more than St. Michael’s and this usually means a win. It was cold, wet, possibly dangerous and overall miserable. In truth the game should not have gone ahead (in my opinion of course) in the conditions. The players should not have been asked to play in the conditions and that they tried so hard is a great credit to all thirty one of them. If I was the pitch manager I would be pulling my hair out as the pitch was pummelled and blackened. The damage done on a day like this can leave the pitch damaged for quite a while. It was the referee’s decision obviously.
Boyle led by 5 points to 2 at half time with two of those points coming from frees by Karl Kelly. There was a slight St. Michael’s revival and threat towards the end of the second half but without a goal Boyle looked safe enough. Best for Boyle were Dylan East, Colin Flanagan, Stephen Tonra and Karl Kelly. The Boyle team was as follows: C. Beirne, C. Horan, B.Furey, D. Mattimoe, J. Suffin, C. Goldrick, C. Flanagan, C. Cox, S. Tonra, P. Lavin, T. Halligan, D. East, K. Kelly, B. Kerins, D. McGovern with B. Goldrick. The management team on the day was A. Lavin, B.Shannon and P. Beirne. While Boyle had just the one substitute it is important that the second team participates to the best level it can as there are games there for those who might not otherwise get football.

Sporting Errata

1. Boyle girls on the county U 16 team panel are Ruth Cox, Roisin Wynne, Sinead Glennon and Aine Mullins.
2. I am a regular reader of Father Liam Devine’s Column in the Roscommon Herald. Recently he interviewed the great Tipperary goalkeeper Tony Reddin. In the piece a legendary  anecdote was clarified. It involved the former Taoiseach Jack Lynch, a great dual player with Cork in the 40s’, playing in a championship game versus Tipperary. Lynch had shortly before the game won a Dail seat in an election. Early in the game he darted in with a swagger and scored a neat point for Cork. Left back on the Tipp team was the uncompromising ‘Rattler’ Byrne. ‘Rattler’ announced to Lynch as he made his way out from the Tipp. goal ‘Come in here again like that Lynch and there will be a by-election in Cork ’.  
3. I note that Ireland is progressing in the World Cricket -50 Overs –One Day Cup. They defeated the erstwhile great West Indies in their first game and UAE a couple of nights ago at the GABBA in Brisbane.  Both of these were in dramatic –what is referred to as, run chases. This means that the opposition bat first and get a fine score which looks pretty much like a winning one. Ireland then bat and chase the opposition score. Ireland now have four of the top five successful run chases in the history of one day internationals in the World Cup. Their most famous one was when they defeated England in this competition in India in 2011. Interestingly the current captain of the England team is Irishman Eoin Morgan  Their next game is versus Zimbabwe on March 7th in Hobart, Tasmania. Since the games are on Sky I do not get to see them but ‘I am reviewing the situation’.
4. The FIFA decision to grant the 2022 World Cup soccer finals to Qatar is turning into a nightmare of Irish Water proportions. To think that the final might be on December the 23rd is something to behold but then again it may not concern me.
5. It is a great picture portrait of John Joe Nerney on the Home Page of realboyle. I visit him from time to time and he is well. He will be celebrating his 93rd birthday on April the first next. I have been asked many times down the years the question “How many of them left?”. The question is asking how many members of the great Roscommon team of the forties are still alive. Well there are three; John Joe with Liam Gilmartin from Ballymurray now living in Dublin and the man I refer to as ‘the forgotten man’ of that team Paddy Beisty in Rathcroghan. Liam got T.B. at the end of 1944 and this ended his football. Like many with T.B. it could have ended his life but he prevailed and is still fine and will be 94 in the summer. Liam has the distinction of never being on a defeated Roscommon C’Ship team and having three All-Ireland medals. Two senior and one minor from ’39, a team he captained.
6. Another picture on the Roscommon Herald this time was of Gerry O’Malley being presented with the inaugural Connacht GAA Council ‘Hall of Fame’ award, an award he is very pleased with. I visit Gerry a from time to time also and while he is fragile now he is still a great man. No player ever meant more to Roscommon supporters than the ‘lion hearted Gerry O’Malley’ through the fifties and early sixties. It was a time when all five Connacht counties had arguably their greatest ever player with Packy McGarty in Leitrim; Sean Purcell in Galway; Naas O’Dowd in Sligo and several great Mayo players like Carney and Langan.
7. I might as well finish my GAA football reminiscences with a sporting connection to Roscommon. Mark English, the Irish Athlete of the year 2014, of Letterkenny is the son of Paddy English- a former Garda- of Knockcroghery who played for Roscommon in the early fifties.  

Sports Books to Consider Reading ...continued…

7. Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong - David Walsh (2012, Simon & Schuster)

(Of course Armstrong’s own book ‘It’s Not about the Bike…. My Journey Back to Life’  by Lance Armstrong…a classic until his disgrace’ . Though Walshe’s book is fine I preferred Tyler Hamilton’s book on the same issue…’The Secret Race…Inside the Secret World of The Tour de France’.

We now know it all worked out. That Lance was found out, that David Walsh was vindicated, that it’ll make a fine film some day with Chris O’Dowd playing the part of his fellow countryman. But for a long time no one knew that. For a long time Lance kept winning, fans and media kept cheerleading, while Walsh was slurred, sued, isolated and bullied. Yet he persisted. This is the story of that story. The subtitle is My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong but Walsh will admit that at times it was more a crusade. But thank the stars for such a crusading journalist and such an exceptional and exhaustive one too.

Yet for all the details involved, ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ rarely drags; instead it often reads like something of a thriller, or a sporting ‘All The President’s Men’. In stretches, especially towards the end, it seems a little unrefined and rushed by Walsh’s meticulous standards — he had less than two months to write it even though in ways it was two decades in the making — which cost it a spot or two on this list. But the sheer verve of the narrative, the scale of Walsh’s journalistic achievement and the fact only someone grounded in the Irish experience and the pursuit of Michelle de Bruin could have pulled it off makes this a must-have in any self-respecting Irish sports library.

8. Full Time: The Secret Life of Tony Cascarino (I have not read yet but it comes highly recommended)

Tony Cascarino, with Paul Kimmage (2000, Simon & Schuster)

This changed the game. For a decade and more, sports autobiographies, especially football ones, were bland, formulaic, pedestrian. Then Cascarino cajoled Kimmage to team up with him and the result was an unforgettable read that changed forever the standard, expectation and possibility of what a professional footballer and sports person could offer a book. The genre still offers up its share of duds, but that more and more sportsmen — from Niall Quinn and Paul McGrath to Zlatan Ibrahimović and even Andre Agassi — are increasingly aware of treating the reader with respect rather than disdain is evident of what can be termed the Cascarino Effect.

With unprecedented honesty he opens us to a world of Tony Cascarino and professional football that we’d never have known, from dying his hair and tweaking his passport to suitably deceive potentially-ageist managers and chairmen; players swapping rooms with a team-mate whose pulled a woman only for a wife to ring enquiring as to the whereabouts of their worse half; the scathing, doubting inner voice that would echo in his head throughout his career; the dubious medical practices at Marseille; the narcissism of Glenn Hoddle, the madness of Bernard Tapie; the magic and mayhem of the Jack years; to the torment of his tormented father, when love excruciatingly breaks down with partners and wives, and the fear and dread of when a playing career is coming to a close.

Yet as much as it’s Cascarino’s story, in ways it’s Kimmage’s book, and all the better for that. He especially deserves credit for devising a ground-breaking and now often-aped structure of in one chapter taking us through the day and a week in the life of Monsieur Cascarino, then in the next, bringing us back to another juncture in his rollercoaster of a career. If you didn’t catch it before, jump on and enjoy the ride.

**(A good deal of the material in the sports books reviews is ‘borrowed’…I would not to take credit or otherwise for material that is not mine! The books are in my order of preference of course.)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Update 18th February

The Oscars

A number of Boyle people will be keenly tuned in to the upcoming Oscars next week end. This is because Boyle man Paul Young, Tom Moore and Cartoon Saloon’s film ‘Song of the Sea’, while not the favourite, is a real contender for the Best Animated Film Oscar. It has won a number of preliminary awards and the vibes are good. The omission of a real favourite ‘The Lego Movie’ has opened up the possibilities for any of the remaining films. These included the Golden Globe winner ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’, ‘The Tale of the Princess Kaguya’, ‘Big Hero 6’, ‘The Boxtrolls’, and of course ‘Song of the Sea’. Apparently most, if not all, of the other films are digital while ‘Song of the Sea’ is a traditional hand drawn animation which is seen as an advantage. ‘Cartoon Saloon’ had another nomination in 2010 with ‘The Secret of Kells’. This is a great achievement for an Irish company against the giants of Disney and Pixar. Paul is currently in L.A. promoting the film. Everyone in Boyle wishes him and  ‘Song of the Sea’ every success.
• Epilogue. R.T.E. will soon be screening another Cartoon Saloon production titled ‘Puffin Rock’ which is voiced over by Chris O’Dowd. Paul has been  involved in the illustrations for ‘Moone Boy’ and at the end of last year the illustrations for the book of the series titled ‘Moone Boy The Blunder Years’  which reminds me that the next series of ‘Moone Boy’ will be transmitted shortly. So all in all a great collaboration from two of Boyle’s outstanding performers.  


Abbey Community College continues a Boyle tradition with their musical production of Oliver
Oliver alongside West Side Story are probably my two favourite musicals. Abbey Community College present ‘Oliver’ from Wednesday March 4th to the following Sunday March 8th. Boyle has developed a tradition with the musical ‘Oliver’ as this is the fourth time the show has been performed in Boyle that I am aware. It is something that the original production in the school year of ‘69/’70 by the students of St. Mary’s College, is still a stand-out memory for those who saw it then, forty five years ago! The Producer was Father Paddy Murray (brother of the famous footballer Jimmy) and the whole school  threw all its resources into the production.
Even at this remove the leads in the show are easily recalled Brendan O’Dowd as the cunning Fagin, Peter Wynne as the impish Dodger and John Bruen who began a great tradition as Oliver. Christy Harrington made a great impression as Nancy particularly with his rendition of “As long as he needs me”, Sean Simon was fearsome Bill Sykes and gave evidence of a talent that brought him later to The West End. The huge cast, all boys then, included James Dodd, Terry Garvin, Sean Boylan, Christopher O’Connor, Gerry O’Dowd and Peter Bolger. Then there were the Workhouse and Fagin’s boys and the incidental Londoners. Assisting Father Murray were the musical directors Mae Conroy and Nancy O’Connor.  The set was constructed under the supervision of teachers Pat O’Dowd and Michael Murphy with Padraig Meehan and Art  teacher Miss Chapman were responsible for the set graphics. Along with all these were a large number of others who performed the myriad of tasks necessary, if unseen, in all musical productions.
The Musical Oliver was first produced in London in 1960 adapted by Lionel Bart from the novel of Charles Dickens. It was produced in film format in 1968 with an iconic cast with Ron Moody as Fagin, Oliver Reed as Bill Sykes, Mark Lester as Oliver and a great Artful Dodger, Jack Wilde. It won six Oscars including ‘Best Picture’ which is rare for a musical. There are few musicals with so many good songs and songs with which the audiences, certainly the audiences of that time, could engage. Amongst the many stand-out songs are; Consider Yourself, I’d do Anything, Reviewing the Situation, Who Will Buy and numerous others.    
In 1991 Scoil Chroist an Ri returned with Oliver featuring  Michael Fitzpatrick as the hugely impressive lead, Sinead Keaveney as the Artful Dodger and Triona O’Dowd (sister of Chris) as Bill Sykes and current musical stalwart Vivienne Caldbeck/Moran as Nancy while Roscommon Herald reporter  Liam Sherlock anchored all as Fagin. Frank O’Mahoney led the production team then as he does now with Caroline Wynne as Musical Director and Katrina Regan the Choreographer.
It was Boyle Musical Society’s turn in 2003 with Frank O’Mahoney again at the helm and Katrina Regan there as Choreographer. By this time Anne Kielty was one of the cornerstones of the Boyle Musical Productions as Musical Director. This time, Thomas Beadnall continued the alluring role of Oliver with Sean McGuire giving a fine performance as The Artful Dodger. Derek Caldbeck was another impressive Fagin while Roscommon Herald journalist Majella O’Sullivan shone as Nancy and Matt Burke performed the intimidating Bill Sykes to great effect with the help of Bullseye. All these were backed up by an impressive cast of ensemble actors from the Society’s experienced company allied to a fine orchestra, pit chorus and seamless stage management.
• So we will revisit Oliver in early March with a confidence that Boyle’s tradition with this show in particular will be continued.   



As I have flagged before, this coming week-end sees the Sigerson Finals in Cork hosted by U.C.C. The semi-finals on Friday see D.C.U. face U.C.D. and U.C.C. v D.I.T. Carlow the surprise packets of the year. D.C.U. include five Roscommon players on their panel with three from Boyle.  Conor Daly of Padraig Pearses, Fintan Kelly from Castlerea with Donie and Enda Smith and Tadhg Lowe from Boyle. Oran player Thomas Featherstone is on the Carlow panel.

World Cup Cricket

Ireland had another famous cricket victory this one in the current World Cup in New Zealand when they defeated one of the aristocrats of world cricket The West Indies. Because the competition is on television channels I do not have I was not able to see what must have been a thriller to watch. But c’est la vie. Perhaps this constricted viewing possibility is the future but it cannot be good for the broad appeal for those sports. I know that the subject was written of in last Sunday’s Independent but I have not got to ‘study’ those references yet.     

Club Semi-Finals

One feels for St. Croan’s whose hopes were dashed on Saturday evening being defeated by a very good Ardfert team from Kerry. The standard of club football and hurling in counties is generally a reflection of their county teams status. Good Junior teams there would be Intermediate in other counties and the same with Intermediate teams. Ardfert therefore would probably be a good senior team in most counties and so on.
I was really impressed by Corofin in their fine win over St. Vincent’s. It was a great game of football, a kind of throw-back to the time when St. Vincent’s played Tuam Stars in an unofficial All-Ireland club title game. I feel that Corofin will win the final though Slaughtneil really dug out their win against Austin Stacks of Tralee. While St. Croan’s had strong claims for a penalty in their games how St. Vincent’s did not get a penalty in their game beggars belief. If the referee did not see it could he not have had a prompt from one of the umpires who were looking down on the Corofin back ‘touching down’ on the ball in the small square to save a certain goal ? Also if Kieran Donaghy stayed at full forward he would be entitled to many more penalties than the two he got as the Slaughtneil could not cope with him. Even as it was he was probably entitled to a further two.          

Sports Books I Recommend

Since I am reputed to be a general sports fan(atic) I was asked by a friend from the old country –Fuerty - to recommend some sports books for his consideration. All he was interested in reading were sports books. As usual for me he got the LONG answer! I have started at my number ten here since the list and my reasons took on a life of their own. I’ll try two per week and see how that goes.

“ These are my  ideas of sports books to consider reading ... which has nearly developed into a short pamphlet in its own right! I was doing it for myself also I guess.  

Notes: It depends on whether you wish to concentrate on your particular favourite sport but for me great sports books cross sports and are great because they are about life and its challenges…..adversaries…..triumphs …disasters. All human life is there. The test of any great work is will it stand the test of time? How many of these books will still be read/relevant in…. say…. 25 years?  

• For someone from Roscommon the history of Roscommon GAA published in 1990….with which I was involved….only available now in the Library….. gives a good account of the GAA in the county especially of the progress of the county senior football teams…… especially the great days of the forties.
•I have just finished Cake…. Shane  Curran’s book with ghost Tommy Conlon. While this is not literature and has been sniffed at in quarters, it still relates to a sports world in our own county with which we are familiar and there are many very relevant elements to it. It is also the one ‘warts and all’ books on Roscommon football from someone who was in the thick of it.

10. Only A Game?
(One of the first good insightful soccer books most are just formulaic)

 Eamon Dunphy, edited by Peter Ball (1976, Viking)
 “A failed football club in October. A depressing place.” Very Samuel Beckett, all the more so when the club in question play at the Den and the player in question is Eamon Dunphy. A newspaper recently omitted the question mark at the end of the title when mentioning Dunphy’s most important book; that was to miss the whole point of it. Is soccer really “only a game”? Not when you’re married with two small children and eking out a precarious living in the old Second Division in 1973-74.
 Long before Dunphy the public man, and even longer before Dunphy the caricature of himself, there was Dunphy the scared, ageing footballer at — oh Lordy — Millwall. The book is dedicated to ‘the good pro’ and one of the minor characters is a young Gordon Hill, later of Manchester United, cocky, and tricky and flashy: the anti-good pro, as it were. Needless to say, the story doesn’t end happily; Dunphy loses his place and is gone by Christmas. Football in England has changed unimaginably and those days. Millwall play at the New Den, a much nicer stadium than Cold Blow Lane ever was. But Only A Game? is timeless.


9. Come What May: The Autobiography

Dónal Óg Cusack (with Tom Humphries) (2009, Penguin) (a significant book on a social level. Humphreys was the finest Irish sports writer of his time until ...)
Significant for obvious reasons (Irish Sports Star Comes Out!), yet this is a book that in every respect is almost determinedly non-sensationalist. Therein lies part of its appeal. The big reveal — or non-reveal, really — doesn’t occur till chapter 12. Apt, because while Cusack’s sexuality is part of what he is, it’s only one part of what he is. For one, he’s a proud Cloyne man; this being 12 months prior to Christy O’Connor’s The Club, no GAA autobiography had captured the essence of that unit and sense of locale so well. And while he’s opinionated and confrontational as his fascinating behind-the-scenes tales and thoughts on the various disputes with the Cork County Board confirm, Cusack can be a reasonable man too, and a better man with it for making a point of being fair to Frank Murphy. The elephant scene involving the two of them is classic stuff. So is the entire book.

Sin e.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Update 13th February

The Graham Norton Show 

As my friend Tadhg Griffin rightly says The Graham Norton Show is a really entertaining diversion on T.V. Mr. Norton is a funny, very witty and perceptive host with top line guests who after some initial confusion buy into the manic pace and spirit of the show. It is a pity that Graham did not have the influence though to veto the initial supposed joke, in his show last week. It was a representation of Irishness which included a pig with a St. Patrick’s Day hat pushing a shopping trolley with a slab of Guinness. In old Irish history text books there would be the caricatures taken from the London Illustrated News of the 1800's where the Irish were depicted in a way which was almost evidence of the Darwinian theory. This all changed in the famous posters being used to recruit Irish soldiers for service during World War One of course.  Also on the same show was Michael Flately. The show is of course a great medium and publicity vehicle and that was why Michael was there. I doubt if this Chicago born son of a Culfadda man was impressed by the introduction. Oddly I have not heard any reaction to it.   

Boyle Musical and Singing Tradition Continues with Dodd’s ‘Session’

Boyle has a fine tradition of musicians and songsters. Each year we have a top musical presentation which goes back many years. In the sixties there were the fine Pantomimes written by Micheal O Callaghan. I particularly remember a concert in The Royal Hotel on the occasion of Maureen O’Sullivan’s visit to Boyle in August 1988. Performing at that concert was a cross-section of the finest singers in the town, singers who were the backbone of the tradition and choirs for years. They included Agnes Devine Conlon, who owned a bar where the Patrick’s Well is now. Also performing were Rosaleen Moran, Jim Casserly, Mary Ryan and Josephine Carroll. Two fine traditional musicians who contributed at that concert were  Kathleen Dwyer Morris of the great Sligo fiddle tradition and Josie McDermott an all-round musician, singer and songwriter, a bard in the old tradition.
Boyle hosted two of the great All-Ireland Fleadhs in 1960 and 1966. On every other Friday night (from this Friday night February the 13th) the traditional element of that musical legacy continues. This is the bi-weekly ‘session’ in Dodd’s. This has the mix of traditional music and a varied selection of fine singers. These include singer-songwriter Donie O’Connor. Donie has a couple of C.Ds to his name with many fine songs. Included there is his iconic ‘Boyle Song’ which is a homage to his youth and the town in the seventies. Another great song relates the tragic story of the deaths of three generations of the one family in a fishing boat each with the same name off Kilkeel in county Down some years ago titled ‘My Name is Michael Green’. The Gaffney brothers are two fine and very different singers. Francis is a widely acknowledged accompanist and has a broad range of lovely songs one of which is the evocative ballad on the loss of the explorer Sir John Franklin who led an ill-fated expedition to discover the North West Passage around Canada in the eighteen forties. For variation Francis can take off into the mighty humourous and detailed ‘Charladies Ball‘. Vera Gaffney is another beautiful singer. High in Brendan’s repertoire is the account of the marathon fight between ‘Morrissey and the Russian Sailor’. When the ‘Session’ used to be in The Railway Bar, some years ago, I heard the genial proprietor  Liz O’Dowd exclaim ‘I do not know that much about traditional music but I love those Gaffneys singing’. I concur. Bernie Flaherty is a great musician and also  a somewhat under-the radar singer with great interpretations of songs like ‘Galtee Mountain Boy’ and the ‘Gallant Sailor’. Then there is Kit O’Connor’s positive take on Roger Whittaker’s ‘The Last Farewell’ . John McGuinn  is a fine country and western singer and contributes from time to time with his favourite being Willie Nelson’s ‘Seven Spanish Angels’. Kevin Flynn is another regular contributor with the haunting ballad ‘Aghadoe’. Now there is an Aghadoe near Killarney but maybe there is one in Cork also as there is reference to Mallow town in this song. The song is credited to John Todhunter who died over one hundred years ago so that dispels my idea that the song related to the troubles of the early twenties and puts it back to the late 1800s. Anyway if Kevin Flynn’s accompanists can find the right key for him it is a great song by me.  Helen Grehan also contributes from time to time. Helen is a fine composer of songs and of course The Grehan Sisters, Helen, Francis and Marie were a significant group during the great folk revival of the late sixties. Of course there is always the a.n.other who I ‘forgot’ to mention. I am also aware that there is regular Singers Night in Dodd’s on the third Saturday night of each month. Boyle’s great tradition is in rude health at the moment and long may it continue. 

Roscommon GAA Fixtures 2015 involving Boyle.

There are major changes to the Roscommon Senior Championships this year. They look innovative and it will be very interesting to see how this pans out. While it will take a bit of concentration regarding the qualifying for the final stages it is certainly worth a shot.   
All Championship grades will follow the same format and after the Group Stages the teams finishing first and second in Group One ( a top seeded group) will proceed to the Championship Semi-Final stage, the teams finishing third and fourth will contest the Championship Quarter-Finals, while the teams finishing fifth and sixth will move to Group Two ( and not to Intermediate as possible heretofore) for the 2016 season. 
The teams that finish first and second in Group Two (the weaker group) will take (just)the remaining two Championship Quarter-Final slots and will also move to Group One for the 2016 season while the two teams that finish bottom of Group Two will contest the Relegation Play-off (with just the one going down). 

In the Senior Championship Group One features St. Brigid’s, Padraig Pearse's, St. Faithleach's, Roscommon Gaels, Clann na Gael and Western Gaels and one of the highlights of the opening Round will be the meeting of St. Brigid’s and Padraig Pearse's, who are now managed by former St. Brigid’s keeper Shane Curran.

Group Two of the Senior Championship features Boyle, Castlerea St. Kevin’s, /Elphin/ Kilmore/ Strokestown who will meet All-Ireland Intermediate Club Finalists St. Croan's in Round One.

Adult Football League Division One 

(Commences weekend of March 22nd) 

St Brigid’s /Padraig Parses /Strokes town /Clan an nail /St Faithleach's /Roscommon Gaels /Western Gaels /Elphin /Boyle /Tulsk Lord Edwards

Boyle play Tulsk Lord Edwards in their first game on March 22nd.

In Junior or Second Team Boyle will play St. Aidan’s/ Naomh Bearrai / St Michael's/ Ballinameen/ Fuerty/Ml.Glavey's.

Everyone wishes St. Croan’s, with David Casey as manager, the very best of luck on Saturday evening v Arfert, Kerry in the Intermediate All-Ireland final at Croke Park. It is just an amazing journey for the club. Indeed the introduction of the All-Ireland series for Junior and Senior has been one of the great success stories of the GAA in the last decade. The records show that, while the dominant counties such as Kerry and Kilkenny are pretty dominant at these levels also (Ardfert for example and Ballyhale Shamrocks), numerous other clubs have had their hour in the sunshine including a number from England which is great.  
There are other top GAA club games on this week-end as well. Corofin of Galway take on St. Vincent’s of Dublin at Tullamore and Austin Stack’s of Kerry, with Kieran Donaghy, play Slaughtneil of Derry in Portlaoise 

Roscommon’s Great Win in Newry

The Roscommon team came back from a lack-lustre draw v Cavan to one of their finest league wins in a very long time by defeating Down at Newry on Saturday night last. It was a great occasion with a great atmosphere I am told as I was unable to be there. I tried to follow it on Shannonside but while I recognise that the commentator is hugely popular in the county GAA community for me there is much too much ‘icing on the cake’. 

Sigerson Cup Quarter Final Boyle’s ‘Man of the Match’ 

I accompanied Jnr. Smith to the Sigerson Quarter Final last Wednesday in Belfast. The game was between D.C.U. and St. Mary’s Training College. It was Junior’s third trip north to football games within the week. The other two were D.C.U’s fine win over Sigurdsson favourites Jordan town and Roscommon's finer win over Down. This third visit also ended in victory in a tough struggle after extra time. D.C.U  on the score of D.C.U 1.11 St. Mary’s 0.11. At half-time of normal time St. Mary’s led by 0.8 to 0.3 and got a late leading point which seemed like a match winner but Donnie Smith levelled with a splendid point. They were level again at halt-time in extra but D.C.U with a  very strong bench pulled three points clear in extra time. The first of these was a second 45 from D.C.U. goalkeeper another Boyle man Tadgh Lowe his second of the game. Roscommon were represented by five players on the D.C. U. team; Tadgh Lowe, Enda and Donnie Smith, Conor Daly, Pearse’s and Fontan Kelly, Castlerea. My ‘Man of the Match’ was Tadhg Lowe with a flawless performance which included the added bonus of the two 45s’. It seems as if the Roscommon senior squad is in a very strong position in goalkeeping terms if Tadgh is not in the mix a view expressed by a delighted member of the D.C.U. backroom team at the game’s conclusion. 
The Sigerson takes place next week-end in Cork hosted by U.C.C. and I hope to be there. For those who have been involved in Sigerson it is a competition which remains in their psyche for a lifetime. I was Secretary of the U.C.G. Club circa 1970.The competition was just amongst a narrow group of Universities at that time, U.C.G/U.C.D/U.C.C./Trinity/Queens then Maynooth but it later expanded greatly. It created its own myths and legends of great players and ‘interesting’ week-ends in the host cities environs. Dr. Hugh Gibbons was part of a great run of U.C.G wins in the thirties and ‘The Horse’, Tony Regan of Oran became a legendary associate from the seventies until his retirement a few years ago at U.C.G. as a player and a coach. From a Boyle perspective John Kelly was a great U.C.D. participant and Captain as was Tom Ryan with U.C.G. I am nearly sure that the O’Donohoes, Niall and Rory were also there and perhaps Gary Wynne. One always forgets someone so I’d be happy to be informed. Today we are in the unique position of having three participants in the semi-final stages.        

Sin e for this week.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Update 5th February

The Meaning of Life.

I suggested casually last week that I would watch the TV show ‘The Meaning of Life’ presented by Gay Byrne and I did. The subject for interview was the English entertainer and acknowledged bright spark Stephen Fry. The show trundled towards its conclusion in an unexceptional way until Gay asked Mister Fry what he might say to God if they met when he died. It almost seemed as if Fry anticipated the question and went into overdrive with an attack on the injustices allowed by God in the world such as the suffering of (blameless) children.          
He said, "I'll say, 'Bone cancer in children?  What's that about? How dare you? How dare you create a world in which there is such misery that's not our fault’ and continued in a similar vein. Fry's response caused a stir among viewers.  
Gaye Byrne appeared taken aback by Fry's response at first but in the following days relayed that a number of former guests had expressed atheist and controversial views in the past.
Of course the inequities seemingly allowed by God have been one of the constant moral misgivings in the history of the Christian religion.  Some of the inequities have been incorporated in religious theology such as the pretty absurd idea of ‘Original Sin’. Of course the question of ‘Why the meek suffer and evil prospers?’ is the great conundrum of godly justice or injustice. Like so many proverbs there is the opposing proverb or statement which says ‘The meek shall inherit the earth’. I doubt that many of the meek would be inclined to believe that. Anyway ‘The Meaning of Life’ came to life on Sunday night.

The Holocaust Commemorated

The horrors of the Holocaust during  World War Two has been commemorated over the past couple of weeks being the 50th Anniversary of the first concentration camps being liberated.  One of the most compelling documentary films I watched covering those events was titled ‘Night Must Fall’. This was compiled from film taken by the army units who first liberated the concentration camps and were the first to encounter the full horrors of that  Nazi programme. The completed film was not released until now because the content was thought to be too graphic for people to see. All this inhumanity  by a supposedly civilized country. Of course history is laced with evidence of (civilised) man’s inhumanity to man. The Pogroms of Stalin, in the 30s’, are regarded on a scale to that of the Nazis, in Cambodia, Rwanda, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Balkans we have seen large-scale atrocities in recent decades , though The Hague has demurred on a crime of genocide in the Balkans in the last few days. The Northern Ireland Troubles gave us Bloody Sunday and the Omagh bombing amongst others while the Irish Civil War of the early twenties had a number of atrocities. The appalling killing of the Jordanian pilot in the Middle East shows that the tradition continues and the future gives little hope for optimism. The frightening theme in all this is the capacity of so many so called civilized societies to descend into the abyss.

The Oscars February 22nd

Boyle will be strongly represented at this year’s Oscars. On T.V.3 News this Wednesday evening  Paul Young was filmed at a pre-Oscar party talking of meeting up with Clint Eastwood. Paul and Cartoon Saloon, based in Kilkenny, are nominated for an Oscar in the Animated film sector with their film ‘Song of the Sea’. The film has been getting very positive reviews. This is the second time that Cartoon Saloon has been nominated as they were also nominated in2010 for ‘The Secret of Kells’.(I remember an Oscar party in The Moylurg on that occasion).To be nominated so quickly again is a great achievement and maybe this time they might get the gong which would be awesome. 

I have seen three films recently which have been nominated for best film and best actor and one best supporting actress Oscars. ‘The Imitation Game’ with Benedict Cumberbatch;    ‘American Sniper’ and Bradley Cooper; ‘The Theory of Everything’  with Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones. ( Another real contender, I am told, is the film  ‘Birdman’ with Michael Keaton which I have not seen).

‘The Imitation Game’ is set in Bletchley Park where the English set about and succeeded in breaking the famous German Enigma Code during W.W. 2. Benedict Cumberbatch plays the part of the deciphering genius Alan Turing who is regarded as mainly responsible for achieving this. It also focusses on his troubled life and his early death. The whole Bletchley story is pretty engrossing. It is something that despite the numbers of people who worked there during the war that little was known of its activities for around fifty years. It says something for the English capacity to obey the rule of secrecy. It was from there that what can be regarded as the basis of the computer emerged.
‘American Sniper’ tells the true story of an American supreme sniper in Iraq. The film is controversial in terms of whether it glories in war or not.  It is hugely successful at the box office so there is no such thing as bad publicity in those terms.

‘The Theory of Everything’ relates the story of the life of Stephen Hawking-author of ‘A Brief History of Time’- with his struggles and triumphs and the support of his wife. In terms of the Oscar I feel that Eddie Redmayne (who I had not heard of before) is the clear favourite with his co-star Felicity Jones a strong contender to make it a double. The role of Stephen has strong echoes of Christy Brown as portrayed in an Oscar-winning performance by Daniel Day Lewis in 1989.


Tadhg Egan

It might seem as if I watch too much television. Perhaps I do. C’est la vie. We all have our weaknesses! Boyle people continue to pop up on the box. Nationwide on Monday focussed on Irish emigration to Canada. It sounded like a very positive option. When it came to Vancouver the programme honed in on the activity of the GAA and there commentating eloquently on its positive role was Tadhg Egan of Boyle.

Oliver Fallon will be involved in Sunday night’s programme on The Great War. 

Roscommon GAA

Roscommon got something of a reality check on Sunday last against Cavan. Because of results last year Roscommon supporters would have thought that their side would start with a narrow win. This division is going to be difficult and I do not see any team dominating it. The trip to Down on Saturday is a really tough one but one never knows.  
Congratulations to the Roscommon U 21 team on their win in the Hastings Cup in which the county has a great  record in recent years.
I’ve just heard of a D.C.U. 3.10 win over Sigerson favourites Jordanstown 1.10 and a two goal contribution  by Enda Smith with Donie Smith and Tadhg Lowe. Sigerson is one of the great GAA competitions and I have great memories of its adventures when I was Secretary of U.C.G. GAA club in the early seventies. Though I do not meet many of the U.C.G team of the time we share those great times and have a lifetime association because of them. Maybe if D.C.U. get to the finals week-end in Cork (?) I might get there. Where is their next game?

Super Bowl Error

I managed to stay with last Sunday night’s Super Bowl which saw the victory of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots over the Seattle Sea Hawks. It was a game of swaying fortunes and the most dramatic moments came at the death. A great improvised catch seemed to move the result Seattle’s way but it was followed by a coaching error of juvenile proportions which gifted the Lombardi Trophy to the Patriots. As a friend of mine used to quote ‘Shmart young fella required ... but... not too shmart’.