Thursday, May 28, 2015

Update 28th May

Micheal Mulleady, Elphin and Roscommon player of the fifties/ Micheal O Muircheartaigh/ John Joe Nerney, Boyle/ Micheal Shivnan, Knockvicar, St. Michaels and Roscommon player of the fifties. Michael Mulled and Michael Tivnan were both colleagues of Michael O Muircheartaigh in teacher-training college at St. Patrick’s, Drumcondra.

     Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh a very special guest at Roscommon CBS Medal Presentation

On Thursday night  of last week I attended the medal presentation to the Roscommon CBS team that played in and lost the  All-Ireland Colleges ‘A’ Hogan Cup Final to Dingle in Croke Park in April. The special guest was Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh. He was in sparkling form. He is currently 84 years of age and as sprightly as a man much, much, younger. He has become an iconic figure, a living legend and I do not know many of those who are as active as Micheál. He has been to many, many, clubs and venues throughout the country and amongst the Irish diaspora abroad over the years. He got a glowing introduction by CBS staff member Kieran Beirne on Thursday night. I don’t know if he feels pressure but he certainly lived up to the introduction. I had the pleasure of introducing him a few summers ago at Boyle Arts Festival when he read from his biography  ‘From Dún Síon to Croke Park’ which I will quote a few pieces from here.
Early Life
Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh was born in Dún Síon just outside Dingle, County Kerry in 1929. Ó Muircheartaigh grew up on the family farm and was educated locally in Dingle. In September 1945 he began studying at Coláiste Íosagáin in Baile Bhúirne in the County Cork Gaeltacht where he was in training to be a teacher. It was at this all-Irish school that his name changed from Michael Moriarty to the Irish version Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh . In September 1948 he began the final year of his teacher training at St Patrick's College of Education in Drumcondra, Dublin.

Broadcasting Career
In early March 1949 Ó Muircheartaigh, along with ten other students from the college, and several from other colleges, did a test commentary on a hurling game at Croke Park. Each student had to commentate for five minutes in Irish and the most successful would be selected for further commentary work. Ó Muircheartaigh had never seen a game of hurling before. But he knew that those adjudicators judging his commentary were not able to see the game:
'Twas a new game to me. But I knew one person. He was in goal for UCD and his name was Tadhg Hurley. He went to school in Dingle and he had hurling because his father was a bank manager and had spent time in Tipperary or Cork. The moment my minute started, he was saving a fantastic shot. And he cleared it away out, I can still see it, out over the side-line, Cusack Stand side of the field, eighty yards out. But it was deflected out by a member of the opposition. The adjudicators couldn't see that that didn't happen. Who was called out to take the line-ball? The only person I knew, Tadhg Hurley. And he took a beautiful line-ball - Christy Ring never took better. He landed it down in front of the Railway goal, there was a dreadful foul on the full-forward, and there was a penalty. And who was called up to take the penalty? Tadhg Hurley. 'Twas the best individual display ever seen in Croke Park. It took him at least a minute to come from the Canal goal up. And while he was coming up I spoke about his brother Bob, who was in Donal's class, and his sister who used to come out to Dún Síon strand during the summer. So eventually he took the penalty. I've seen DJ Carey, I've seen Nicky Rackard, I've seen Christy Ring. None of them could ever equal the display he gave that day... Sin mar a thosaigh sé!"
Throughout his broadcasting he has speckled it with memorable phrases and anecdotes which are regularly repeated and he is a favourite subject for would-be impersonators. One of the best known quips relates to a great Cork hurler   "Sean Og Ó Hailpin.... his father's from Fermanagh, his mother's from Fiji, neither a hurling stronghold

Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh, RTÉ

Ó Muircheartaigh was the one selected and his first assignment was to provide an all-Irish commentary on the 1949 Railway Cup final on St. Patrick's Day.

He graduated from St. Patrick's College a little later and also completed a Bachelor of Arts degree from University College Dublin. He taught economics, accountancy and Irish in both primary and secondary schools throughout Dublin, the majority of which were run by the Christian Brothers. He continued teaching up until the 1980s, when he became a full-time broadcaster with Raidió Teilifís Éireann.

For the early part of his broadcasting career Ó Muircheartaigh commentated on Minor GAA matches, in the Irish language. He also replaced the legendary Micheál O'Hehir when he was not available to commentate. Eventually when O'Hehir was forced to retire in the mid-1980s Ó Muircheartaigh took over as the station's premier radio commentator. He developed his own inimitable style of commentary and his accent is unmistakably that of a native Irish speaker. He is a true lover of Gaelic Athletic Association and it is reflected in the enthusiasm he brings to matches. His unusual turn of phrase has made him a much loved broadcaster and often imitated character. He has become particularly famous in Ireland for his unusual turns of phrase in the heat of the moment while commentating.

Ó Muircheartaigh's commentaries for RTÉ Radio 1's Sunday Sport show won him a Jacob's Award in 1992. He was also the Parade Grand Marshal for the 2007 St. Patrick’s Festival, having been given the honour by the chairman of the Festival in recognition and appreciation of his unique contribution to Irish culture.

In September 2010 he announced his retirement from broadcasting. The last All-Ireland he commentated on was the 2010 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final on 19 September 2010. On 29 October 2010 it was announced that the 2nd International Rules test at Croke Park would be Ó Muircheartaigh's final broadcast as commentator on RTÉ Radio 1 for official games. He did commentate for the Celebrity Bainnisteoir series subsequently.
He is a supporter of many causes and associated with a variety of organisations.

Sam Maguire's spectacular visit to Ireland's summit
In May  2014 Micheál accompanied  All-Ireland medal winners from 32 counties when they climbed Carrauntoohil bringing the Sam Maguire Cup to the summit as part of an Alan Kerins (Galway) Africa Charity project. Dr. Mick Loftus aged 85, a medal winner with Mayo in ’51, who has strong Boyle connections also participated climbing a significant part of the way.
So Miceál Ó Muircheartaigh continues his travels through the highways and byways of the Ireland and much further afield, a great and unique man. While the young footballers of the CBS might not have been very tuned into his character prior to the occasion they will be able to say for many a day that they met the Kerry legend.        

                                                             Nature Under Pressure

I mentioned before the near extinction of the corncrake through the country due to farming practises but on reading a letter to the Sunday Independent I see a reference to the decline of another regular wild life species. The one in question is the hare and the decline of the hare on the nature reserve of Bull Island of Dublin City. According to an ecologist with forty years’ experience recording wildlife on Bull Island, “local extinction is imminent if it has not occurred already”. Once the hare and rabbit were hugely visible. However I have not seen them as such in recent times. One place they were was on Boyle golf course. I do not know what the story is there now. The snaring of rabbits was a huge practise in the fifties and they formed an important part of the food diet in that decade. Then a disease called  myxomatosis was deliberately introduced  in Australia in the early fifties to rid the country of a plague of rabbits. It arrived in the U.K. and Ireland in the mid to late fifties and this reduced the numbers enormously. With some resistance to the disease the rabbit population rose again in recent decades but they do not seem very visible now. Perhaps, of course, I am wrong.  I started commenting on the hare but drifted to the rabbit as they join the corncrake and the hugely important bee on the endangered species list.
                                 The Closure of the English Language Colleges in Dublin

I am pretty surprised by the blasé attitude that exists towards the closure of so many English Language Colleges in Dublin. I would had thought that this very positive industry would have been regulated appropriately. The first thing is the blatant injustice in accepting substantial fees from participants, have them come here from distant parts of the world and then not being able to provide the services paid for. If, as a parent, one had a young family member go to Brazil, Spain, or wherever to learn a language and have the chaos of the closure of the school to which they had pre-paid their fees and so on I am sure we would be very angry indeed. I hear no word of the reputational damage to the country in all this. These young people are well educated and will form a strong body of opinion into the future and will be critical of this country in terms of this experience. In the tourist area if a provider caused so many people so much expense and vexation it would be seen as terribly serious. The efforts I see being initiated,  through television news, seem weak, delayed and uncaring. It surprise me also that regular and upstanding language schools do not raise their concerns more vocally since the reputation of Ireland in this service area has to be taking a battering. These young people and their families deserve much better intervention from the relevant state agencies          

                                                        Sport’s Review

Boyle Seniors v Elphin
The Abbey Park is the venue on next Saturday (May 30th for a championship double header, St. Ronan's play Eire Og in the Intermediate Championship and Boyle meet Elphin in the Senior Championship. Boyle defeated Elphin last year at Croghan so it will be interesting to see what emerges this time. It will be a busy evening for all Boyle club members and anyone who can help will be welcome.

Davy Fitzgerald of Clare
While Davy Fitzgerald has been a near iconic character in Clare hurling in recent decades. He is now, however, becoming a near caricature of himself as represented in his post- match interview or non- interview after Clare’s loss to Limerick on Sunday. There are a number of very good players not playing for Clare at the moment for a variety of reasons and while Davy mentioned a three year programme for his management I think if the record does not improve this summer he will be under pressure. Still Clare were Aa-Ireland champions in 2013 which was at a time when Clare might not have thought was within their remit. Like the football game between Monaghan and Cavan the first half of Clare v Limerick was very poor but the second half provided some brilliant scores and it looks as if it is going to be another great hurling summer. This coming Sunday it is Dublin hurlers versus Galway in Croke Park. The dream is for Dublin to make the breakthrough in hurling with an All-Ireland win while Galway blow hot and cold and the non vibes coming from the county do not seem to suggest that 2015 will be any different. Still this is a very open season and with Kilkenny coming back to the pack any one of half a dozen teams could be in with a shout. From here it looks to me like Tipp are best equipped.

Roscommon v London
Roscommon achieved what everyone expected of them in defeating London on the score of Roscommon 1.14 London 0.10 on Sunday last at Ruislip.  While I was not there it seems as if it was not a sparkling display but hopefully it was the slight reality check everyone needs as we go towards the game against Sligo. Well done to Enda Smith who did supply some sparkle with a fine first half performance.

Boyle Celtic
Boyle Celtic had a good win over Strand on Tuesday evening and have reached the Sligo Leitrim Cup Final as a result. There they will play Calry on the week-end of June the 6th / 7th, probably in McSharry Park in Sligo.
Celtic are struggling to get a reasonable team together for these matches due to the number of players who are unavailable mostly having gone abroad in recent times. The émigrés include Brian and Jake McCrann to Canada; John Connolly to Spain, James Carty to London plus some others also being unavailable. Still they have done well with the reduced resources and under the recent management of Gerry Emmett so a Cup Final is a real possibility. 

Sin e.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Update 21st May

Prince Charles and Yeats Country

Yesterday, Wednesday, just up the road as it were, Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, visited Sligo where he lost his grand-uncle Lord Louis Mountbatten to an IRA bomb in 1979. On reflection it surprises me that a man of his connections, the last English Viceroy to India, would have been visiting Mullaghmore, in such a casual way at the height of the troubles. That area of County Sligo is one of the most spectacular in the whole countryside with the majestic Ben Bulben in the background and Dumcliff with the grave of W.B. Yeats between it and the sea. The lines on his headstone are so easily remembered. They are the final lines of a valedictory poem written by Yeats himself;    ‘Cast a cold Eye on Life and Death horseman pass by’. 

Under Ben Bulben

“Under bare Ben Bulben’s head
In Drumcliff churchyard Yeats is laid.
An ancestor was rector there
Long years ago, a church stands near,
By the road an ancient cross.
No marble, no conventional phrase;
On limestone quarried near the spot
By his command these words are cut:
Cast a cold eye
On life, on death.
Horseman, pass by!”

Yeats' Grave at Drumcliff

I have dropped into Drumcliff a good few times down the years and brought visitors to it from time to time. Not far from Drumcliff is Lissadell House now thankfully open to the public after a torturous court case regarding ‘rights of way’ between the owners and Sligo County Council on behalf of itself and members of the community who felt they were entitled to use certain routes through the estate. The courts found otherwise.
Lissadell is well worth a visit for the house and also the walled garden which when I visited some years ago had a collection of over a hundred species of the humble spud. Another memorable visit I had to Lissadell was for the concert of Leonard Cohen. Mister Cohen was well aware of Yeats and of his connection to the house and the Gore Booths. Mullaghamore is a lovely sea-side harbour village overlooked by Classiebawn Castle. Prince Charles had arrived in Sligo in the morning and visited The Model Art Gallery where he gave an impressive conciliatory speech re-echoing the Queen of England’s speech in Dublin Castle on her visit in 2011 wishing ‘that things had been done differently or not at all’. His speech is well worth a study. He talked of his own deep personal grief on the death of Lord Mountbatten and it must have been a poignant and affecting visit to the place where Lord Mountbatten and those who accompanied him were killed in ‘79.
Thankfully those dark and terrible days of ‘the troubles’ are –hopefully- in the past and that all involved can ensure that. As the Prince said  "Let us, then, endeavour to become the subjects of our history, and not its prisoners." Of course the poems of Yeats provided a rich vein of majestic quotes as they invariably do, “And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow.”
It was a faceted visit and what more can this overarching layer of the English establishment do in a conciliatory way.  

Dublin/Monaghan Bombings 1974. 

The Dublin/Monaghan bombings occurred on May 17th 1974 in Monaghan town and on three streets in Dublin. These were in Talbot St., Parnell St. and Leinster St. Over thirty people were killed in the highest toll of deaths on a single day of the troubles. A large number were young women, originally from rural Irish towns who were employed by the Civil Service. Many were rushing to get to their trains going home for the week end. It was a time when communication was a far cry from today so many an anxious parent and relative waited at railway stations through the country for their loved ones to arrive. This scene was replicated at Boyle station and was described to me over the years by  a friend of mine who told me of reassuring someone running frantically along the Boyle platform to find her brother. A Northern Ireland group claimed responsibility for the bombings seeing it as a kind of rebuttal or reprisal action against the southern state for its perceived lack of control of the republican movement within its borders. It is felt by the relatives of those killed in those bombings that the investigations into the bombings have not been as thorough as they should have been and that a body of evidence regarding them is available but submerged for political reasons even thirty six later. it is only on the anniversary of the bombings each year that national attention is afforded the atrocities and the hope is that, in time, ‘the truth will out’ on this collective atrocity.             


Roscommon v London.
The best of luck to the Roscommon team and all associated with them when the county begin their championship campaign in Ruislip on Sunday next against London. There is considerable pressure on Roscommon to lay down a marker in this game as they are being talked of as Connacht title contenders this year. The recent championship has taken its toll with the injury to Kevin Higgins of Western Gaels. I have not heard how serious the injury to young Murtagh who limped off in Castlerea in the St. Faithleach’s versus Roscommon Gaels game over a week ago.
There is a fine game in prospect in the Munster hurling championship in the clash of Clare and Limerick both of whom would have aspirations of going a distance in their hurling championship. A good start would set the momentum for the winner.

Donegal v Tyrone

This game turned out to be the battle that was anticipated. Though Donegal won and seem to have a better team in terms of personnel they were made fight all the way. There has been considerable comment on the way Michael Murphy of Donegal and Sean Kavanagh were so closely marked, which was very unseemly. How linesmen and umpires cannot be more interventionist puzzles me and must frustrate players, especially those flair players.

Boyle Juniors Good Win

I have a soft spot for the humble Junior team and intend to keep an eye on its progress through the summer. Last Friday on a cold inclement evening they had another good win, this time in the championship, over St. Faithleach’s. The final score was Boyle 1.13 St. Faithleach’s 0.7. It was a grand open game without a hint of malice on both sides. The Boyle team was as follows: J.McDermott/B. Goldrick/D. Mattimoe/C. Beirne/G. Goldrick/ M. Goldrick/ D. Kelly/ C. Brennan/ T. Halligan/ C. Deery/ C. Flanagan/ D. McGovern/ K. Kelly/ B. Kerins/ L. Conroy with D. East and T. McGarty. Like all classic junior teams there is a range of age and experience here. There may be some more fall-off as the senior team games take place but there are also some players who were not available on Friday evening last. Their next games are against Kilglass in the league and Kilbride in the championship, both in mid- June.   

Boyle Celtic’s Cup endeavour had everything

I arrived very late at this Cup thriller between Boyle Celtic and their biggest rivals City Utd. of Sligo in Boyle on Wednesday evening. I was aware that Celtic were struggling to put out a team on this particular occasion which boded ill for a game against the strongest team in the Sligo Leitrim League. So it was not with optimism that I arrived only to hear that Celtic were 2 goals to 1 in front. I thought that it had started later than it actually had but I was informed that the game had only about ten minutes to go and that Boyle had just the bare eleven players. They were hanging on. I was pleasantly surprised. The clock ticked down as Celtic’s rear-guard action continued. But just four minutes from the end a high ball dropped into the Celtic area bopped around ominously and while it was cleared, the referee, from maybe thirty yards or so outfield, whistled. “Goal” he announced to the shock of the Boyle players and their small band of supporters. As you can imagine this decision was challenged and heckled but the decision stood, 2 all, a draw. A couple of minutes later, full time. Extra time was a holding period for Boyle as they edged towards a penalty shoot-out. A brilliant free kick from Lee McKilleen bounded off the angle of the goal accompanied by the sighs of the players and supporters. The two periods of ten minutes each passed without too much incident as the Boyle players lacking any fresh replacements fought valiantly. Then the extra time ended. It was now penalties and a pretty even opportunity. The goal to be used was the inner one away from the ‘crowd’. Celtic’s first man up, bang, wide. Aah. The run of penalties went near its course and with the fifth penalty to City to win it …missed, four all. Now to sudden death. Goal, goal, goal, then a Celtic miss but lo and behold City too missed. After all eleven players had taken their turn the score was again even at 9 penalties each. So to the first player was up again for Celtic. He had missed the opening penalty but scored and redeemed himself on the second attempt, ten out of twelve. Next up the City player… bang …off the goal post. Boyle had won. Relief, slight disbelief, smiles and banter. While it was not a national title or anything it was a great effort in trying circumstances. The goal that wasn’t, was forgotten. All shook hands, sportsmanship reigned and Celtic have something to salvage from their season. I’ll only mention one player from the evening and that is Lee McKilleen who is just such a fine soccer player with skill, heading ability, energy and commitment. I imagine he could have played at a high level had he so wished. So a smiling Celtic team, manager and support drifted away from a soccer game that had it all.
Those on duty on Wednesday evening were Kyle Suffin, Gerry Brennan, Lochlainn Conboy, Lee McKilleen, Owen O’Donohoe, Shane Battles, Aaron Calpin, Sean Mac Cormack, Mick Corrigan, Marcus Guckian, Luka Roddy.  Manager, Gerry Emmett.    

Sin é. ... T.C.        

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Update 14th May

“Man from Nashville Was to Blame”

The repeat of a recent music programme on TG4 called ‘The Session’ featured a very well- known Dublin musician, based in Nashville, named Philip Donnelly. He was a member of a group called ‘The Fleadh Cowboys’. The programme was first aired in 1987. Why I mention it here is that I remember Philip being in Boyle and involved in an impromptu session in the Ceili House Bar and a tail in the story of that session.

Philip was visiting Lough Key and Boyle on a Easter Holiday weekend in 1984 along with a musician friend who was a prominent legal eagle i.e. a barrister who was also a top class musician. 

Apparently the humour was on them to initiate a music session. This was encouraged and facilitated by Sean O’Dowd. By facilitated I mean the provision of venue, sound equipment and whatever instruments were needed. The venue was The Ceili House Bar now Londis on the Crescent, Boyle. It was a lovely Sunday evening and all descended on the Ceili House and what we’ll call ‘a mighty session’ ensued. Even in the pre-mobile days word spread and a packed house were happy out with this bonus session of quality. Like many bars the Ceili House had a regular clientele, a kind of a club following for traditional music and many a great session took place there.

This Philip Donnelly led music extravaganza was one of the most memorable of these occasions.. Official closing time for bars on Sunday nights then was 10 pm! It was an era when bars being open ‘after hours’ and trying-often poorly-to disguise this was part of the scene and I imagine is part of the folklore of the time. I am sure that the Gardaí did not have much difficulty on occasion in seeing who was in breach of the closing time and it was pretty impossible to disguise the sound Philip and his acolytes produced.

All the musicians, revellers and proprietors would just be hoping that the law of chance would be in their favour on this occasion. It wasn’t. So at around 11.00 pm the authoritive knock came with the salute ‘Guards on duty’. The heads dropped, the decibel level dived and as one person relayed it later, it was like ‘The Wall Street Crash’. The barman on duty opened the front door. A Garda sergeant and two Gardaí entered as the bar-room exhaled its smoke filled heated air to the street outside. Even the most imaginative bar person could not disguise the legal breach. There was no point in going to the menu of wedding, birthday, funeral, going away party, excuses. It was just a full on breach though they would have grumbled that by not being very much over the time the call was a bit severe.

In any event it was most likely that the hour would have been stretched to the limit anyway such was the atmosphere of the occasion. The black books were out and the names of ‘the ons’ were being entered for the record and their day in court if they wished to be present. A Garda approached Mister Donnelly who was casting a cold eye on proceedings from the congested stage.

‘What’s your name?’ to which he answered ‘Phil Donnelly’. ‘Address?’ asked the Garda. Then came a long number followed by an American Avenue title, Nashville, Tennessee, U.S of A. The Garda was a bit put out by this long and distant address and enquired if ‘Phil’ had any ‘home address’ which would have simplified things for the black book I imagine. Phil did not oblige as that was his address at the time.
Sometime later the notices of our date with the justice were distributed like voting cards with one house being the repository of a good share of same for the ‘ons’.
Those of us who wished to attend and have their day or part of a day in court did so, some weeks later. The process was more psychological than penal.

The Roscommon Herald gave the Court proceedings some  coverage in the following week’s edition under the headline ‘”Man from Nashville Was to Blame”. The sergeant in charge said that “The licensee had no excuse and all those present gave the excuse that this man from Nashville was a great musician”. Mr. Tom Callan Sol. Defending explained that ‘Being Easter Sunday evening the place was thronged with visitors and the people got carried away with this famous musician”. One of the Gardaí very generously acknowledged that “Most of those on the premises were about to leave”. Fines of £5 and £3 were imposed. Why the distinction is not obvious.  

Philip Donnelly was made aware of his Roscommon Herald headline and a copy was forwarded to him. He framed it and for some time afterwards it got prominence in a Nashville Bar he played in.
The night deserved the recognition.


Boyle Seniors lose out to Castlerea
Boyle went down to a somewhat better Castlerea performance, on the day, in the first game of five in the senior championship. It was just an awful day for games and a number of games elsewhere were called postponed because of the weather. One has to acknowledge and credit the efforts of all those who participated but question the wisdom of the game going ahead in the conditions. The team’s next game is against Elphin at the end of the month in Boyle.  

Boyle Juniors on Friday Evening
Boyle juniors play their fifth game on Friday evening versus St. Faithleach’s in Boyle at 7.45. This is in the Championship at 7.45. Last week I said the team had won all four of their league games when in fact they had won three, losing their initial game to ST. Aidan’s. In doing that I broke one of my own rules of ‘if in doubt leave it out’. There are seven game in this Junior ‘B’ Championship and with the structure of the Senior C’Ship, with five games, resources will be stretched. 

Boyle Ladies Game
The Green Street Veterinary sponsored Ladies play St. Mary's this Sunday 17th May @ 4pm in Tulsk in their next league game. Please come out and support the girls.

Champions League
The Champions League has been the star television series of the winter/ spring, at least for me. The cream has also come to the top. Bayern Munich who looked invincible last year lost out to a dazzling Barcelona last night by the aggregate score of Barcelona 5 Bayern Munich 3. The first leg score of 3 goals to 0 was too much for Bayern plus the absence of stars Robben and Ribery. The forward trio of Messi, Neymar and Suarez have been brilliant for Barca. Eamonn Sweeney in the Sunday Independent’s Hold the Back Page has been gushing praise on Messi in particular describing his two goals in the first leg with “Moments like this are balm for the soul and inspiration for the spirit….they represent football in its truest sense”. Tonight, Wednesday, it is Juventus versus Real Madrid in Madrid with Juve leading by 2 goals to 1. The final could still be an all-Spanish affair, like last year, with the Barca v Real rivalry a Champions League Final game to really look forward to. The venue is Berlin. A Juve v Barca final would raise the prospect of Suarez meeting up against Chiellini and Evra. He has history with both of these players.
The only defence that could possibly trouble the Barca trio is Tyrone.  

Claremorris Memory Anecdote
Being at a wedding in Claremorris last week-end reminded me of an incident on a journey to a Connacht Final in Castlebar in the early sixties. We went by ‘hackney’ car. I was a gasun (gossoon/garcon) serving my time amongst a number of veterans. The old hackney car had seen better days and as the Johnny Keaveney of Boyle story goes when asked if his exhaust-smoking lorry was hard on oil he replied ‘It would be if it got it’. Our car was on a petrol ration on this occasion and just made it to Claremorris and was coughing and kicking as we encouraged it towards a street petrol pump in the distance. A man stood in the doorway reviewing our approach with the troubled vehicle. The car was eventually berthed alongside the petrol pump. The driver got out and approached the man in the doorway who enquired of our driver “Is it turf or sticks ya want?’  

Sine e.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Update 7th May

The Air Circus at Ballymore, Boyle 1933

Thrills Wing Walks and Cruises.

Courtesy of Sandra McCrann I have an article describing a pretty unusual event in Ballymore outside Boyle many decades ago, 1933 in fact. In the Autumn of that year a very different circus came to town. It was an ‘air circus’ with over half a dozen aircraft under the direction of Sir Alan Cobham. There were Tiger Moths and a plane referred to as the ‘Air Ferry’ and another called the ‘Cierva Autogiro’. A huge crowd had gathered in Ballymore enthused to go by a fly-past over Boyle of the ‘circus’ on the previous evening. The newspaper account begins; “The red Tiger Moth seemed to drop out of the sunlit sky away to the south-west and in a few moments she streaked across Boyle. To the north of the town she banked sharply, came rushing back, zoomed low over the housetops while the vibration of her engines rattled the window panes, vanished as quickly as she appeared as the people in the streets strained their necks to view its progress in wonderment”.

So the crowds set out for Ballymore and a day of excitement and for some the adventure of their first flight. Along with that there were the acrobats; “Watch him walk on the wings” the crowd were directed by the colourful announcer over the clear tannoy which could nearly be heard back in the town. And so he did to the amazement and anxiety of the crowd below. Then the public were encouraged to take to the air themselves for a tour over the town and neighbouring countryside. There was an understandable reluctance at first for the earlier flights but after a slow start business improves. Being in the ‘Air Ferry’ was no issue and was a comfortable cruise but two young daredevil locals volunteered for what was termed an “acrobatic flight’ not knowing what an “acrobatic flight” actually meant. They learned quickly at the plane ‘loops, rolls, spins and rushes straight up to its zenith and then nose dives towards earth, levels out and dashes off into the distance. The two local adventures return to earth, one very enthused but the second pale and breathless’. I imagine that they told of this adventure for years after. Perhaps some senior people will have heard of this famous happening in Ballymore from their parents or neighbours.

Personally I remember being in national school in the late fifties and with the sound of a plane we were allowed out of class to see the phenomena. A local photographer, from Athleague, called Hennigan, was tragically killed on a photographic assignment in a small plane around that time. Not long ago we heard of the U.S. using ‘drones’ which were small robotic almost model planes to bomb or spy on enemies in various conflicts. Today I am told that some photographers can use ‘drones’ in their work which enables them to take aerial photographs without taking to the air themselves.

Air shows were a feature of the twenties in the United States where the flyers were referred to, in some cases, as ‘barnstormers’ because they could fly in one side of a barn and out the other, apparently. Galway/Salthill in recent years also staged a popular and impressive air show and there was one in the midlands, the location name escaping me just now.
Anyway Ballymore with Sir Alan Cobham’s Circus was there in the early days and what a spectacle it must have been and also it provided a gold standard conversation subject for the winter of 1933.
P.S. Apparently the Ballymore ‘airfield’ was so impressive that it was ‘staked’ during the Emergency to ensure that no unwelcome parachutists would use it as a point of entry. I know that is a ‘believe it or believe not’ concept but I have that story it in my head. Perhaps someone can tidy up those ideas for me by getting in contact. 


Boyle V Castlerea in Senior Championship

Boyle Senior team take on Castlerea in the first round of the senior championship at Castlerea on Sunday next at 3.30. One would imagine that this is pretty fifty-fifty game in terms of result. Both teams have a number of well-known players and also players missing through injury or otherwise. Boyle have won two of their league games over Tulsk and a very good win over Western Gaels with losses to Clann na Gael and Roscommon Gaels. As the Roscommon Herald reviewer Martin Wynne sees it “Boyle have plenty of quality , but whether they have the strength in depth remains to be seen”. In looking through Martin’s review it was scary to see the number of players out through injury especially the sacred cow of injuries the ‘cruciate’ ligament.

Tyrone Victory

Tyrone, who defeated Roscommon in the U 21 All-Ireland Semi-Final, overcame Tipperary in the final in Parnell Park last Saturday evening in a thriller in terrible conditions. I talked to a Tipperary man who was there and

Senior Championship Structure

The structure of the Championship is very different this year and it looks good in itself, but it is testing.

*I’ll try and explain the structure as I see it.
There are six teams in each of two sections ‘A’ and ‘B’ which means five games. (This will favour the top teams with extended panels of course and also be detrimental to the Junior squads as more of their team members are going to be called on for the senior team over five plus games).

The groups ‘A’ and ‘B’ are seeded on last year’s standing. In group A’ there are St. Brigid’s/Clann na Gael/ St. Faithleach’s / Padraig Pearses/ Roscommon Gaels/ and Western Gaels.

In group ‘B’ are: Boyle/ Elphin/ Strokestown/ Kilmore/ St. Croan’s/ and Castlerea St. Kevin’s

After the first five games, 1st and 2nd in Group ‘A’ go straight to the semi-finals.

3rd and 4th in group ‘A’ play the 1st and 2nd in group ‘B’ for the other two semi-final places. (That could actually mean 4 teams from group ‘A’ going into the semi-finals). That is the main business of the championship.

Now for the tidying up; 5th and 6th in group ‘B’ play-off and one goes down to Intermediate.

5th and 6th in group ‘A’ go down to group ‘B’ while 1st and 2nd in group ‘B’ are promoted to ‘A’.

(3rd and 4th in group ‘B’ are finished after the first run of their five games).  Promotion to group ‘A’ would secure senior football for two years.

While this is interesting it must have been devised by someone with actuary experience.

Boyle Juniors 
I attended three Boyle GAA games over the week-end and there were three good wins. On Friday the minor team won their Division Three League with a hard earned victory over a strong Kilbride side at Tulsk. Kilbride led by seven points to four at half time. Boyle played very well in the second half and were convincing winners in the end on the score Boyle 3.10 Kilbride 0.10. The team and panel was follows; Robert Kearney/Adam Simon/Jack Cox/Dermot O’Driscoll/Oisin Regan/ Michael Lavin/Conor Flanagan/ Liam Casey/Jack Moran/ Conor Deery/ Jonah Tighe/ Cian McKeon/ Sean Mullins/ Gareth Gilmartin/ Emmett O’Driscoll/ Marcus Meehan/ James Bolger/ Dermott O’Driscoll/Ronan Flanagan/ Mantas Grigaitis/Conor McGee (inj.)/ Brian Conway (inj). There were some outstanding performers on this team. The ‘Man of the Match’ was the goalkeeper Robert Kearney with a fine performance also from Cian McKeon who scored three goals including two penalties with Liam Casey, Jack Cox and a very impressive Conor Deery.  A number of these players were out again on Sunday with the winning U 16 team versus St. Barry’s/Kilglass. It was nice to see Jack Moran confidently point a free from the ground from fully forty metres out. 
Boyle Juniors followed the example of the younger players with a good win over St. Barry’s on the score of Boyle 3.11 St. Barry’s 2.10. This Junior team now have four wins from four games.


V.E. (Victory in Europe) Day May 8th.

Friday May the 8th will commemorate the allied victory in Europe and the final surrender of Germany in 1945 at the end of World War 2 in Europe. Victory over Japan –V.J. Day-is celebrated on August 14th. During the week I happened across a programme commemorating V.E. Day and it was most interesting. I might refer to it next week. There will be a number of programmes on BBC on Friday the 8th. Friday though will have the drama of the U.K. election results which will have major implications for this country.

Health and Safety Extremes  
As the ‘Health and Safety’ juggernaut continues I heard it said on radio that  85% of children have never climbed a tree. My boyhood was a far cry from this as was the four-cornered handkerchief helmet.  

Audio and Video Tapes

I am trying to get to grips with various ‘collections’ in my domain just now such as Maureen O’Sullivan, St. Mary’s College, Quizes, GAA Club and County and so on. I am a reluctant disposer of such. Also, what might one do with a large number of audio music tapes? I imagine there are some reasonable ones amongst them!

Keats Family Boyle Area 1940

I’ll just repeat this enquiry of a couple of weeks ago and it is, if anyone ever heard of a Keats family who came to a farm near Boyle circa 1940 please let me know?