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.)

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