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.

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