Thursday, April 30, 2015

Update 30th April

Richard Starkey at Seventy Four

Richard Starkey is seventy four and looks pretty well for it. As Gerry Emmett sometimes flatters people by saying “He is wearing very even”. Anyway enough of the Richard Starkey. He is of course universally known as Ringo Starr the drummer with the Beatles, probably the most famous pop band in the history of the genre. For people of my generation The Beatles were THE band. While I was a great admirer and loved many of their songs I am not an expert on their lives and music. Ringo with Paul McCartney are the two surviving members of the band the other two being George Harrison and John Lennon who was shot in New York in December 1980.

The Beatles lit up our lives in the sixties and led to it being referred to as ‘the Swinging Sixties’. It was a time when English pop music ruled the universal airwaves with the exception of the King i.e. Elvis Presley. The Beatles are of course a Liverpool creation and after some time in Hamburg they returned to The Cavern Club in the city under the management of Brian Epstein. Ringo Starr had replaced Stuart Sutcliffe as drummer. Every song released subsequently turned to gold.  The band prompted frenetic popular support which became referred to as Beatle mania.

Amongst their great albums are Abbey Road, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Revolver, The White Album and a hard Day’s Night which was the soundtrack of a slight movie of theirs. Ringo sang rarely but led the song ‘Yellow Submarine’ which first appeared on ‘The Revolver’ album. Donie O’Connor with his ‘Bubble’ song has resonances of ‘Yellow Submarine’ as a classic kids song. Ringo was later to be one of the voices in the popular children’s television series Thomas the Tank Engine The Beatles went through many various incarnations in a short time. Ringo is married to Barbara Bach for over thirty four years. He still tours in the United States with an amalgam group called the ‘All-Star Band’. He has stopped giving autographs and tries not to shake hands according to an article I’ve read recently. The Beatles and Ringo were part of a fun time of emerging possibilities in our yesterdays. Many of their songs will endure, some just pleasant sound bites and others with the depth of one of their greatest ‘Imagine’.  I’ve become smothered, in my mind, with all the material and achievements that I might refer to so recognising my own limitations I’ll just abandon that idea here.       

Roscommon Football’s Rising Reputation

Roscommon’s star continues to rise as evidenced on Sunday last with their Division Two Final victory over Down. It is a fine achievement to progress so rapidly from Division Three to Division One winning both divisional finals on the way. The almost muted reception of winning on Sunday and the appropriate low-key acceptance speech of team Captain Niall Carty is further evidence that Roscommon GAA have higher aspirations.

The dismissal of a Down player late in the first half distorted the win somewhat and after a pretty dismal first half the Roscommon team gave an excellent account of themselves in the second half. Senan Kilbride scored points resonant of the memorable ones scored by Frankie Dolan in Portlaoise over a decade ago . The display of a number of players such as young Murray at corner back was really heartening. Three Roscommon players were named on the media tam of the week Sean Kilbride, Ciaran Murtagh and Cathal Shine. It is good to see Cathal's progress as midfield has been problematic for Roscommon for some time. He is in the mould of Seamus O’Neill of Kilbride from a few years ago. He will of course need assistance in that area and maybe Higgins might develop more to provide that. It will also be necessary for the adjacent half back and forward lines to forage for the famous ‘breaking ball’. Along with Senan’s fine points, David Murtagh’s goal, struck with venom, was a delight. It was good to see that the management gave a number of what might be regarded as emerging or fringe players a chance. I was pleasantly surprised by the contribution of young Connolly and it was good to see Donie Smith, who was unlucky in Mullingar, get another quick chance. So well done to all involved, players, management, county board and the dedicated supporters.
Down, it must be said, were poor. The question on looking at the Division One Final was how Roscommon would fare against these teams? They would fare pretty well against a hugely disappointing Cork but the Dublin machine is another matter.

The Connacht Championship Fixtures are basically as follows. On Sunday next May 3rd, Galway take on New York in N.Y. with the winners playing Leitrim on May 17th. Roscommon play London in Ruislip on May 25th  with the winners advancing to meet Sligo, in Sligo, on June 20th.  Mayo take on the winners of Galway/New York/Leitrim on June 14. The Connacht Final is on July 19th.

Tony McCoy

The great jockey Tony McCoy ended his great career on Saturday last after his kinda ‘long goodbye’. Usually sportspeople who retire are pretty comfortable with their decisions but Tony did not seem so. It would not be a huge shock if he found retirement too dull and that he missed the competitive arena too much and returned. Of course returning to the rigours of being a jockey would probably be more demanding than any other sport so we will see. In terms of his greatness while he is unquestionably the greatest in his domain how does he rate in sport generally? I remember such an analysis once of the legendry  Australian cricket player Don Bradman whose test batting was 99.94 with the second being on 63.90. The argument was made that ‘The Don’ was so far ahead of the second placed international test batter that he was entitled to be regarded as a sportsman whose ability could cross the sports records. Perhaps so too with McCoy.

Boyle GAA

In reading the Boyle GAA notes one sees a hive of activity there with U 12/U 14 A and B/Minor/Junior and Senior and Ladies on the go. If one looks at the results as listed in this week’s Roscommon Herald one will notice the high scoring generally in the games. The example of the Murtaghs and Senan Kilbride are in evidence. For example the Boyle minors scored 5. 13 to Western Gaels 1.20 in their replayed Division three game last week. The Division Three minors play Kilbride in the Final in Tulsk on Friday evening.

The big upcoming Senior game is the first round of the Championship versus Castlerea on Sunday week May 10th in Castlerea. The Junior team made the long journey to Fuerty last Friday evening and came away with the spoils. I have always regarded the nurturing of a second team as very important to the welfare of the top echelon. 

GAA Higher Education Rising Stars

It is good to see that three Roscommon footballers Enda Smith, Tadhg Lowe and Colin Compton have been included with third level recognition of their best players in the season past.  


Missing Monkey

In Sean’s picture of the brass as featured on the Home Page some days ago the one thing I missed ... a brass monkey.


I have been informed of one of those popular fun sites, on Facebook I presume, and it is called sports One entry says: “The GAA has a place for everybody and it is…Junior ‘B’!  


I am a collector of quotations and this one struck me from a week-end newspaper “Life can only be understood backwards but it must be lived forward”. That is if you are not a Benjamin Button of course. 

Regards to ...
The Boyle Diaspora and I hope our visitors to Perth in Australia are having a good time. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Update 23rd April

 Lá ar an bPortach

The lovely weather of the past couple of weeks has set the scene for the annual bog campaign. I have been involved in these, off and on, for decades. In our national school days there were a number of essays which were hardy annuals and ‘A Day on the Bog’ tri Gaeilge or English  was a regular.

The farming year was a cycle. It started with the lambing season, followed by ploughing and planting with ‘the bog’ campaign beginning in May or early June. Nearly everyone had their area of bog. The first task was to survey the possible locations where the turf would be cut. This would naturally be a follow-on from the previous years.  Some bogs were pretty well organised with regular banks, drains and spreading grounds. However, others were less so or a mix of both. The banks or bog holes needed to be cleaned of the top layers or more recent soft residue growth. It was a bit of a debate as to when to start the cutting of the turf proper as the top layers, even after the ground was ‘cleaned’, did not make for worthwhile fuel.

The turf cutting instrument was called the ‘sleán’ a type of sharp spade with a particular shape of wing. This had to be designed to facilitate the left-footed or right-footed user. I never graduated to the sleán. The expert here was my father assisted by my older brother. I was the wheelbarrow boy. The spreading ground could be limited around some of the bog holes or might entail a fairly long run with the barrow to maximise the return from the particular bank being cut. Local carpenters or handymen were the makers of the wheelbarrow.

This reminds me of Barry Feely’s story of a man boasting about a wheel barrow he had made saying to his unimpressed listener, regarding his creation “I made that wheelbarrow out of my own head” to which the listener replied “And I’d say there is the making of another one in it “.

If the ‘run’ was long then the single sleán turf cutter could use two barrow boys to spread the turf. There was a particular way for loading the sods onto the barrow so that when it was keeled over the sods would not break up. The catching of the sods from the sleán developed a kind of rhythm. Very occasionally one might take the sod from too near the sleán and get a nick from it. This was during your apprenticeship. As the bank lowered to water level the challenge began of bottoming out without the water encroaching over or into the bog hole. This necessitated the allowance of keeping a wall of uncut turf between the sunken part and the water outside. These were called ‘corries’. The really good or ‘stone’ turf was at the lowest levels. From time to time the corries might not be able to keep the water out and they would break like a dam burst and the remaining spits were lost. If one ever got to the gravel bottom one had got the full bounty of that particular bank. As the water threatened there was a scurry of activity as the corries themselves were cut and dumped on the high ground. The barrow was abandoned and it was like a ship rescue as the remaining turf was salvaged.

As he cut each spit, the work of the cutter grew progressively harder as he had to throw the sods higher and higher to clear the bank. Furthermore, as the cutter descended one spit at a time, the quality of the turf increased and the blacker and more compressed it became. By contrast, the burden eased for the spreaders as the earlier spits had to be spread further out than the later ones.

One of the treats of the day on the bog was the tea break where we would be joined by colleagues from neighbouring banks. The tea seemed to have absorbed a flavour of our environment.
We boys did not have the luxury of watches in the early years but the Dublin to Westport ‘up and down’ evening trains, which ran close to our bog, were our markers for the day’s end.  By evening time both cutter and spreader were well and truly exhausted. The cutting element of the campaign could last well over a week. The ‘saving’ took much longer and of course the weather played a key role. While the turf today is cut in a commercial way it still has to be saved in the traditional time consuming and back-wearing way. That is what confronts me and many others in the coming months. There is the echo of a bog and man proverb there!


Senior People Charges

I have recently become aware of a senior person who had a package from Eircom which in my view was exorbitant and unsuitable. Apparently this agreement was arrived at a good while  ago and there was no revision of it subsequently. I have a feeling that ‘senior’ people are often the victims of overcharging in a variety of ways. So if you have a senior relative you might bear that in mind. Of course I am also aware that many of these people are very capable and also it may be difficult to raise these matters with them. So terms and conditions apply!    

Oliver Fallon and Gallipoli

I’d just like to recognise the contribution of Oliver Fallon to the RTE programme of Monday night last ‘Gallipoli-Ireland’s Forgotten Heroes’. The programme dealt with one of the many disastrous campaigns of The Great War and the Irish participation in it. It also reflected on the lack of recognition of their contribution on their return to a changed country. As Oliver reflected;
 “They came home to a country where there was only room for one set of heroes-and it wasn’t them”.

Looking for Tony Keats and Family

I have had an enquiry from a friend of mine regarding the family of Tony Keats. He states that;
“The family of Tony Keats moved from London to a farm near Boyle in about 1940. She - a former singer - inherited land there and moved her family including a retired British Army officer, Phoebe, Phyllis and Toni a son”. If anyone has any information on these people I would be grateful if they could get in touch with me at 086 816 3399.

Thursday Night TV

Why is that Thursday night TV has such a dearth of watchable material? We’re not all students.
Another thing, do TV stations synchronise the transmission of their ads? It is difficult to surf away from a station’s ad breaks as many of the options are also similarly engaged.

Zsa Zsa Gabor, Actress

"I never hated my many ex-husbands enough to give them back their diamonds"


Roscommon’s U 21s Journey’s End

The journey of the Roscommon U 21 team came to an end on Saturday when they defeated by a good Tyrone side. Roscommon as a team and some components of the side did not play up to their best on the evening and the dash and flair that existed in Tuam was absent in a much more laboured performance. Credit for much of this must go to a Tyrone side that had its homework done and carried out their pre-match strategy excellently with the usual dash of gamesmanship. They had pace and purpose and in classic Tyrone style kept the ball with their hand-passing regime.  They also picked off numerous long range points. Roscommon had a number of these also especially from Compton and Murtagh. When Tyrone went four points up at the start of the game the signs looked ominous though we could reflect on a similar start against Galway. Still the six point tally from corner forward Brennan from Tyrone was decisive. It is always the case that as a team progresses towards the ‘business end ‘ of major competitions the deficits in the team composition become apparent.  It is a big ask for many of these players in terms of the amount of games they are asked to play and an element of staleness and exhaustion must be a consequence of this. This is an ongoing debate of course. While the Roscommon fans turned out in big numbers as usual they too were kind of stale too and very muted throughout.
P.S. I mentioned last week about abuse of players and managers, on Saturday evening a Roscommon supporter, close to where we were, adopted the Tyrone assistant manager and former great senior player Brian Dooher for ongoing barracking. It was a nonsensical exhibition of boorish behaviour.

Roscommon v Down in Division Two League Final 

It is an excellent achievement for the Roscommon team to be participating at this level. They had been here in 2014 in the Division Three League Final last year against Cavan. Down will be motivated on Sunday to get the better of Roscommon since they were defeated by them in a vital league game early in the competition. The game is not hugely important in itself but it is very good preparation for the championship games to come. Also any game of significance in Croke Park is an experience for the team.          

Boyle Senior Team’s League Progress

Boyle senior team have now played four games in the O’Rourke Cup League winning two and losing two. Their victories were against Tulsk and a fine win against Western Gaels. Their defeats were by Roscommon Gaels on a hot Easter Monday in Lisnamult in a bedraggled affair. On Sunday last they went down  to Clann na Gael in Johnstown on the score of 2.13 to 2.7.
While Boyle has several top players the strength in depth seems to be lacking for this level. That is no reflection on the players they are as good as they are and that’s the reality.  Might I suggest for consideration  in terms of using scarce resources that Ciarán Beirne, a good goalkeeper, be used between the posts thus releasing Tadhg Lowe for a forward position. He will then be on site for free-taking in that area!
The first priority is staying in the top league division so the team will be hoping for another couple of wins to ensure that.

Sin é.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Update 15th April

Student’s Death in Glasgow

As I write the news that the remains of the body of Karen Buckley, the Cork student missing in Glasgow, have been found. This is of course the nightmare scenario for her parents, family and friends. I know that we as parents are continually emphasising to family members to take care in various situations and especially when abroad. Perhaps these requests do have the desired effects but occasionally they can be seen as an overload of parental concern.
In any event there are a good few examples of tragic outcomes, such as Karen’s, in various parts of the world. Indeed it has happened to a foreign student in our country in the benign –one would have thought – city of Galway when Swiss student Manuela Riedo was murdered in September 2007. Again the confluence of coincidental happenings led to the tragedy as they often do. The whole country felt the pain of those Swiss parents. We also felt a communal shame that we in some way were responsible for her child and did not take care of her.
In my own lifetime I have ended up in a very small number of situations or locations that prompted me to say to myself with urgency ‘I shouldn’t be here’. Once was in New York when I exited the underground train at the wrong-very wrong-station. A second was feeling I was being followed as I walked home late in London. The third time was taking a short cut by a Dublin canal. Short cuts are hazardous. Nothing happened but the brief time it took to get out of those situations were periods of fear. Being alone or leaving someone alone is taboo in many of those circumstances.  
Young people may not always realise the worry and concern of parents and despite the advance of those young people into mature adulthood that parental safety concern remains, perhaps latent but entrenched.     
 Karen Buckley, by all accounts, was happy; living away from home, studying at university in Glasgow and surrounded by friends. This was her right of course. But some evil has intervened to bring closure to this normal bright life and to pass a terrible burden of loss on to her family and friends.


Roscommon CBS Brave Challenge

I attended the Roscommon CBS v Dingle game in Croke Park on Saturday. It was a fine occasion as all these type of competition finales are. They may not have broad appeal but for the core group involved they are of major significance. It was nice to meet up again with former student colleagues in the Croke Park Hotel prior to the game. The atmosphere there before games is always good, as, at that stage, there are no losers. While the CBS were defeated by the better team they might have ‘stolen’ it with a couple of goal chances that were not converted. CBS went ahead some ten minutes from the end and the possibility of the silver lining shone for a brief time but Dingle steamed ahead in the final minutes to add to their 2014 title. Still Roscommon CBS did very well and this broadens the C.V. of Roscommon football that obtains at the moment. This is giving supporters a feast of good football and results of late and we can hear Roscommon being commended for its progress by the various pundits and sounding boards that obtain in the varied media of the moment. This week sees that continue in Sligo.

All-Ireland U 21 Semi-Final Roscommon V Tyrone in Sligo.

Roscommon take on Tyrone in the All-Ireland U 21 Semi-Final in Sligo on Saturday evening April 18th at Markievicz Park in Sligo at 6 p.m.
Roscommon overcame Galway in a brilliant game at Tuam a couple of weeks ago. The team looks in good shape at the moment having a number of star senior players and a credible ‘strength in depth’ which is now a requirement in any game. While the Roscommon versus Galway game was a classic shoot-out, Tyrone will most likely pose a very different proposition. It is likely that they will bring a very defensive model to the game and it will be a real test for the Roscommon forward line to make inroads against it. Still with an astute management and a good deal of experience in the team of big games the hope is that Roscommon will proceed to another U 21 Final where Saturday’s winners will meet the winners of Dublin versus Tipperary.
 We wish all involved and particularly the Boyle participants Enda Smith and Evan McGrath the very best on Saturday evening. Boyle streets will be busy on Saturday afternoon from around four as the large following, which this team has, makes its way north towards Sligo. Hopefully the town can benefit as the same crowd wend their way home through Boyle circa eight o’clock.


Kieran McDonald

It was nice to see and hear Kieran McDonald the Crossmolina and former Mayo senior Gaelic football star on the popular T.V. show ‘Second Captains Live’ last week. As one of the presenters noted ‘it is novel to actually hear Kieran as no one –outside his own zone- had heard him talk publicly before’.   Kieran who was formerly a very colourful blonde destroyer and All-Star player proved an interesting guest with the measured comments of a different personality. One incident he referred to was regarding a time he gave up inter-county football. It resulted from abuse his sister was getting regarding Kieran. As he said he could take a certain amount of it himself but when it transferred to his family he drew the line. Abuse of players from side-lines or from spectators is an issue. While it is practised thankfully by a very small minority it can of course be damaging to a young players self- esteem and confidence.  There are a number of versions of the ‘Praise the child and it will prosper’ proverb. Then at an inter-county level the abuse players and managers get from time to time is just absurd.  Often this is from people who have not played the game to any high level. Amongst the games spectators invariably there are the parents, extended families and friends of players. Sometimes they have to listen to their sons and daughters getting this abuse and that cannot be easy for them to listen to. To confront it causes its own issues. Players and managers do not make mistakes deliberately so they should not be accosted as if they did. In Gaelic they are all amateurs and often our neighbours. As the sign recently placed on the Boyle GAA complex wall suggests ‘Give Respect Get Respect’.
I have drifted from Kieran McDonald there but I was impressed by him and it was nice to hear the voice of the great Crossmolina footballer.

Lip Reading

An element of T.V. coverage in recent years is its capacity to pick up on so much. Even with our own television sets we can play and rewind to try and grasp some little item. In recent times one sees managers and some players cover their mouths as they talk through some ideas. I presume this is to ensure that what they are saying is not picked up by someone with an ability to lip read their thoughts and secrets!

Last Man Standing

I am still standing after seven games in the St. Brendan’s Club’s ‘Last Man Standing’. I have been going with the top teams of course and they have stood me in good stead but now it is into the ‘second cut’. This week it looks like it has to be Crystal Palace to win at home over West Brom.

The Masters at Augusta

While I could only follow it in the last two days The Masters is a great event with one of the great commentators in Peter Allis. It was good to see Rory McIlroy do well from a slow start but it seems as if a new star has emerged in Jordan Speight to challenge Rory for top spot. It looks as if the tiger is in decline and as a writer quoted by Paul Kimmage in his article in the Sunday Independent said “Tiger has to find himself first before he finds his golf” and that may not happen. I imagine Rory will eventually win The Masters at a place where tradition permeates all. It is a pity that the policy towards ladies is so archaic and wrong though.

Sin é 


Friday, April 10, 2015

Update 10th April

Some National News Stories Currently
·        Now that the trials of Graham Dwyer and Ian Bailey have faded from the front pages what are the current issues in the news.
·         The Irish Water saga ploughs on like a derailed train that has hardly left the station.
·         The HSE and the deficiencies in the health system.
·    Workers who went on a one day stoppage last week are feeling the heat from Dunnes Stores management. Dunnes, the original Ryanair of the Irish retail business, do not like being challenged by unionised workers. This looks like a dispute that will run for some time. 
·        The cost of rented accommodation in Dublin is going through the roof for workers and especially students.
·         The Mortgage Crisis Continues in its many hues.
·         The lack of housing in Dublin. 
·        Drug abuse and homelessness in Dublin. It is something to see, in the heart of the city, this drug abuse almost openly and of people sleeping in doorways on the prestige street of the capital. Though these issues are highlighted regularly they continue with little hope of redress. 
·         The teachers and their dispute regarding teacher assessment of their own pupils.   

House Numbering
While I obviously know the number of my own house I rarely use it. Neither is it indicated on view on my door or otherwise. Sure wouldn’t everyone know where I live! It reminds me a story of a visitor looking for a convent in some part of the country. He asked someone he met on the roadway and was given directions. He proceeded as directed but he eventually felt he had gone beyond the requirements of the directions he had been given.  He went back and met someone else who indicated that ‘the convent is just up at the top of that road where the trees are’. The visitor replied; ‘It’s a wonder they would not put a sign indicate where it is?’ to which his local assistant replied; ‘What would be the need for that? Sure doesn’t everyone know where the convent is?’
However while the lack of house numbers may have been ok in the past their lack must now be a cause of frustration to many in these different times. Apart from casual visitors and those in the know a whole new commercial consideration has come into play and that is on line shopping.  It must really be challenging to those in the delivery of these goods when they come into estates, to find poor house numbering or no numbers at all.
So I too must do better, a phrase I used from time to time in another life.
Some time ago there was a process underway regarding the roll out of post codes throughout this country. I have not heard of it in recently.                                               


Roscommon’s Fine U 21 Connacht Final Win
There were two great results for Roscommon football, on consecutive days, last week-end. On Saturday in Tuam, the heartland of Galway football, Roscommon and Galway served up as good a game of football as I’ve seen for a considerable time. After an early advantage to Galway when they went five points ahead Roscommon fought back to lead at half time by 1.10 to 2.5. There were some great scores through all this. The second half continued in the same high standard and Galway controlled the opening ten minutes or so of the half but a Roscommon goal engineered by Enda Smith and finished by Kenny saw the tide turn. Roscommon ran out three point winners on the score of Roscommon 3.14 Galway 3.11. There was a range of fine displays from players on both sides with Roscommon’ shining light Diarmuid Murtagh ending up with 1.7 including six frees. This is a fine Roscommon team with a number of exceptional players but the strength- in- depth is also there as evidenced by the contribution of the substitutes.  This is the county’s fourth U 21 title since 2010 with near misses in the interim. Beating Galway in a Connacht final was also very important.
Well done to the Boyle contributors to Enda Smith and Evan McGrath
The Roscommon support was in the ascendancy in the five thousand plus crowd on a lovely evening for football in Tuam the home of Stockwell and Purcell who are remembered near the dressing rooms in a modest way.
Roscommon now meet Tyrone the Ulster champions who defeated Donegal this week. Cavan looks like a possible venue for that All-Ireland Semi- final next week end 18/19th. In the other semi-final Dublin will play Tipperary winners over Cork.

Roscommon Seniors Promoted to Division One
Roscommon continued the good work on Sunday with promotion to Division One of the League for 2016. Consolidation in Division Two seemed to be the objective at the beginning but the win over Down, away, meant all associated with the team and its supporters began to feel an even greater reward for their efforts was possible. And so it transpired in a poor enough game, especially in the first half, against a tenacious Westmeath, who were fighting relegation in Mullingar on Sunday. The injection of the U 21 players Murtagh, Smith and Harney swung the tide in Roscommon’s favour in the middle of the second half. Supporters were well tuned in to happenings elsewhere which also went Roscommon’s way but there were times in that second half when things looked ominous. So next year Roscommon will be playing Dublin, Kerry, Mayo, Monaghan, Donegal, Cork and Down. This will really be a challenge but it where all associated with the games in Roscommon would wish to be especially at this time when there are so many good young players emerging.  These wins were referred to in one local newspaper as Roscommon’s Easter Rising.
Roscommon CBS v Dingle in All-Ireland ‘A’ Colleges Final.
On this coming Saturday my former secondary school Roscommon CBS play their biggest ever game when they take on hot favourites Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne from Dingle the reigning title holders. CBS have overcome some big challenges on their way to this final defeating St. Gerald’s of Castlebar, Summerhill, Sligo and Good Counsel, New Ross. Still any team from Kerry brings with it a certain high standard as this year’s All-Ireland club finals re-echoed and one can only hope that the Roscommon School do well. Liam Gilmartin aged 93 and one of the first students of the CBS on its establishment in 1937 hopes to be present on Saturday supporting his old Alma Mater.

University Challenge Finale
Once I watched little television apart from sport and current affairs. Perhaps it was because I always seemed to be going to meetings. That phase of my life has abated pretty much. A good few years ago in our staffroom at St. Mary’s College when something about meetings came up a staff colleague declared ‘I am secretary of so many different things I am now often writing to myself!’
Anyway one of my favourite quizzes comes to a finale on Monday night next on BBC 2 at 8 o’clock when Oxford's Magdalen College take on with Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. A team I thought as having the star of the show this year, Gabriel Trueblood, was beaten by its sister Oxford College. You might not know many answers but the format of the quiz in enduring. While longevity is not always an indicator of a quality series it is in this case.


Obama Legacy

Barack Obama is obviously working on his legacy issues with the ongoing treaty with Iran and his moves towards rapprochement with Cuba.

Jonathan runs out of luck

President ‘Good Luck’ Jonathan obviously ran out of luck with his losing of a recent election in Nigeria.

New Beer Ads
I see an advertisement for a new lager beer titled ‘Hop House 13’. A catchy name it is not. I actually saw another new beer by the name of ‘Blonde’. More catchy perhaps!

Sin é ... Slán



Thursday, April 2, 2015

Update 2nd April

Two Notices
**A couple of deadline notices. First the Bright Sparks Quiz on Friday night and second the Boyle GAA Know Your Sport deadline is Easter Monday. I believe this can be done online.

Organ Donor Week Contact Details
I was asked to repeat the ways one can sign up to the organ donor so I repeat it here. Organ donor cards can be got by phoning Lo-Call 18905 43639 (Free Call) or Freetext the word Donor to 50050. You can store organ donor card, the E card on smart Mobile Phones, simply search for Donor E Card at I Phone Store or Android Market Place.  

                                                                   SPORTS REVIEW

Roscommon lose out to stronger Galway
Roscommon were beaten by a stronger Galway side last Sunday. The midfield dilemma still prevails and it hard to see how it can be resolved. Cathal Shine had a great game against Kildare but he needs considerable assistance to make for a midfield that we can feel comfortable with. It was a very difficult day for football and Roscommon –as did Galway-had a number of chances which did not materialise, wood work and all those vagaries.  So it is down to the coming weekend as to which teams from Division Two get promoted. Down have 8 points with Laois, who have 5 points, to play. Roscommon, Meath and Cavan all have 7 points playing Westmeath, Cavan and Meath. We would expect Down to beat Laois and get promoted. If they do not draw Cavan or Meath will have 9 points and if Roscommon beat Westmeath they too will have 9. If Meath win Roscommon go up because of their game result. If Cavan win they, as of now, have a better points difference over Roscommon. Galway now with 6 points is safe and has little chance of promotion even if they win against Kildare who have 4 points. So it all goes down to Sunday.

Roscommon U 21s Face Connacht Final Challenge
   The Roscommon U 21 team play Galway in the Connacht Final at Tuam on Saturday at 6. While the Roscommon supporters have high hopes this is going to be a difficult game. The Galway U 21 players on the senior team did well last Sunday particularly Damien Comer. Anyway we wish the team and all associated with it all the best. (On your visit to Tuam’s rather neglected pitch environs you will come across memorials to former Tuam and Galway legends Sean Purcell, Frank Stockwell –referred to as ‘the terrible twins- and goalie Jack Mangan. These are near the pitch on the dressing room side).
Roscommon CBS in First Senior ‘A’ All-Ireland Final
Last Saturday Roscommon CBS made history by reaching their first Senior ‘A’ Final on Sunday April 12 in Croke Park v POBALSCOIL CHORCA DHUIBHNE (Dingle) the holders of the Hogan Cup. While the CBS had great school teams in the early forties the competition was restricted to Inter-Provincial games then. The Hogan Cup competition began in ‘46. When CBS did win a Connacht title in 1948 with Batt Lynch as Captain they lost the semi-final to St. Patrick’s Cavan. The CBS came out of Connacht again in 1998 and despite a 1.13 from Stephen Lohan they were defeated by St. Colman’s Newry-the eventual winners- after extra time at Clones. So this is a historic first for the school. It is a credit to the management of Willie Hegarty and Seamus Heneghan and also to the surrounding clubs who have done a lot of good work at under-age level. I am thinking especially of Oran and St. Ciaran’s who complement the usual number of Roscommon Gaels players. CBS will have a huge task in dethroning the reigning holders Dingle of Kerry easily dismissed as their second half defensive displays against Summerhill and especially against Good Counsel demonstrate. In any event it is a great achievement for CBS and expands the reputation of youth football in the county.  

 Ireland Hanging On
Ireland just kept their hopes just hanging on with Shane Long’s late goal. I asked someone by text what the game was like and the response was thus; “Yeah, it wasn’t as bad as they normally are, for once”.

Roscommon Fleadhs
 Easter Monday is the date of the Roscommon Fleadh which is the first Fleadh in the country. Boyle had a great reputation for Fleadhs and Irish traditional music for decades. There were two great All-Ireland Fleadhs in the town in 1960 and 1966 in great weather at Whit week-end which people subsequently referred to as ‘Fleadh weather’.  There were many other county Fleadhs and Connacht Fleadhs in the town during those years. I remember the big crowds and great atmosphere at these festivals. There was always a good ‘Northern Ireland’ group of people present at these Easter Fleadhs in Boyle.
Through the years I was also at All-Ireland Fleadhs in Buncranna, Clomel, Enniscorthy, Ballina, Sligo and of course a number of times at the spiritual home of the Fleadh, Listowel.
Next Monday’s County Fleadh is in Elphin and I expect that the strong tradition of Roscommon Fleadhs will continue

                                                    Top Sports Books Finale

I’ll finish off today with my number one book. It is a pretty personal choice as it covers, for the most part, Gaelic games of the forties. I have a particular interest in those years which were the great years of Roscommon football. Cavan were Roscommon’s senior opponents on four occasions in those years at Final and Semi-Final level. The Polo Grounds trip of ’47 was the most unique of All-Ireland finals. Cavan beat Roscommon in the Semi-Final so Roscommon were close to the trip which would have provided so much material for ‘folklorists’ and scribblers like me. Paul Fitzpatrick has written a book I would love to have written myself …with Roscommon as the central theme of course.  It’s a lovely book written with a light yet poignant touch. t.c.        

1.                    The Fairytale in New York: The story of Cavan’s finest hour

Paul Fitzpatrick (2013, Ballpoint)

The 1947 Polo Grounds All-Ireland was Ireland’s Rumble in the Jungle, New York our Zaire, a location and adventure so exotic that it scarcely seems believable. But it did happen, and thanks to the initiative of Fitzpatrick, we now know just how and why.

It’s an admirable piece of research; unlike other GPO-JFK-like moments such as Munster beating the All Blacks or Seamus Darby’s goal, few of the witnesses are still alive, yet young Fitzpatrick pieces together a compelling narrative, right from the opening page when a Cavan player arrives on the docks of Manhattan and meets his New York-based elder brother for the first time. The one fault of the book is hinted in its subtitle. The Kerry experience is somewhat neglected. This story was much more than Cavan’s finest hour.

The following books are also very worth considering.
11. Last Man Standing: Hurling Goalkeepers

Christy O’Connor (2005, O’Brien)

John Feinstein may have done it a few times over on Stateside: follow a group of sportsmen from a range of teams over the course of a season, all competing for the same prize while sharing in something bigger again. But it’s hard to say if any of those efforts match this of O’Connor’s. He didn’t just go for players in any old position. He went for goalkeepers. And not just any goalkeepers, but the greatest and most charismatic generation of custodians the old game has ever known: Cusack, Cummins, Fitzgerald, Fitzhenry, McGarry.

To top it off, O’Connor was a fine goalkeeper himself and so brings a unique empathy and understanding to his subject. As Liam Griffin notes in the foreword though, this book would have helped rid some men of their demons and teach the rest of us to stop demonising these “exceptional, courageous and often lonely souls who have the guts to be The Last Man Standing”. It’s an exceptional book.

12. Screaming at the Sky: My Journey

Tony Griffin (with TJ Flynn) (2010, Transworld) …….a different unique story by a Clare hurler.

About the highest praise you can give Tony Griffin is that while Christy O’Connor’s The Club is possibly the best GAA book ever, it’s not iron-cast that it was even the best book by a Clare hurler in 2010. Screaming At The Sky is another original, even lyrical, book, brilliantly crafted by ghost-writer Flynn, consisting of just four chapters, each a season in Griffin’s career.

13. The Damned United, David Peace
Brian Clough’s 44 days at Leeds United. Greatest football novel ever written…led to film The Dammed United….Johnny Giles did not like it!

14. ****The Miracle of Castel di Sangro, Joe McGinnis's…….a loveLy book… would be like a book following Fuerty or St. Croan’s  to Croke Park.
A small-time team in Italy’s Serie 'B'.  Magical and surprising. 

15. Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream by H.G. Bissinger. Later a TV series.
16. Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi (Tennis)……controversial at time of publication.

17. A current very popular biography is: (soccer)
Zlatan Ibrahimović’s hilarious autobiography reveals football's………

Sep 12, 2013 - Zlatan Ibrahimović does not do humility. As might be suggested by the title of his autobiography – I Am Zlatan – modesty is not his thing.
18 a/b/c The Anthony Daly Autobiography/ The Paul Galvin Autobiography/The Bloodied Field about Bloody Sunday in Croke Park in 1920.

19. ‘I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović’ is the story of the football player known to fans around the world as Ibra. Modest Zlatan is not.
What next in terms of the top…..films maybe!
Sin e