Friday, July 24, 2015

Update 24th July

Echoes of W.B. Yeats 2.

‘He wishes For the Cloths of Heaven’
This is powerful love poem ending with;

‘But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams’

The Fiddler of Dooney is a light piece which resonates appropriately the musical tradition of Sligo. Of course many of his poems include local place-names which make for the area around Sligo being a tapestry for a good deal of the poetry of Yeats. ‘Red Hanrahan’s Song about Ireland’ is a fine elemental piece; ‘The old brown thorn-trees break in two high over Cummen Strand….’

We come now to a number of poems which former leaving certificate students will be pretty familiar with. There is a transition of style with the author introducing more topical affairs and his own views and beliefs. ‘No Second Troy’ addresses his disappointment and acceptance of his relationship with Maude Gonne;

‘Why should I blame her that she filled my days
With misery,’ ending with
‘Was there another Troy for her to burn’?
Yeats vents his frustration with the Ireland of his day in September 1913
‘What need you, being come to sense
But fumble in a greasy till’
He ends each verse with the repetition lines which became famous;
‘Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone,
It’s with O’Leary in the grave.’

Indeed the poem is very valid today and especially as we move towards 1916.
The following is one of my favourite poems by Yeats, though like films, songs and so on this can change. It is a little like a story I remember being told of a Boyle couple resting in a square while visiting London wherein their young daughter began to dance. She was seen by an elderly Irish lady who approached the parents to tell them of the memories it evoked of a time and world long past for her.

To a Child dancing in the Wind, 1916

Dance there upon the shore;
What need have you to care
For wind or water’s roar?
And tumble out your hair
That the salt drops have wet;
Being young you have not known
The fool’s triumph, nor yet
Love lost as soon as won,
Nor the best labourer dead
 And all the sheaves to bind.
What need have you to dread
The monstrous crying of wind!
The poem, very typical of Yeats in the years preceding the Easter Rebellion of 1916, expresses the tension between the innocence and freedom from care of youth and the dark realities of adult life.      

I realise I am just fiddling here with the poems of Yeats. It is just to remind people of some of those great lines and maybe some people will revisit these verses which, like so much, are accessible now if you are an online person. As a Maynooth student told a friend of mine; ‘The three most important words I learned in Maynooth coming up to exams were ‘copy and paste’! 


Minimum Wage
One of the debates of the moment is that of the 50 cent per hour rise in the minimum wage to €9.15. I listened to a spokeswoman, basically for the ‘hospitality sector’, on the Vincent Browne (Michael Clifford) Programme last night espousing all kinds of negative impacts for this. Apparently it took a Commission –the Low Pay Commission- to come up with this figure. The basic ‘Living Wage’ is €11.50 which is the aspirational target of the unions. Don’t hold your breath on that one.  I wonder how many of ‘The Low Pay Commission’ members were on either ‘the Minimum’ or ‘Basic Living Wage'

TV Programme of the Week; ‘Inside Job’ RTE Wednesday 11.30.
This was a jaw-dropping exposé of the capitalist system in the United States and how it led to the recent economic CRASH. The machinations and corrupt practises of the top executives of nearly all the U.S. banks and allied financial institutions beggared belief. The ‘Minimum Wage’ is our alternative planet. In Wall Street multiples of millions and billions swilled around. The ‘lobby’ system which strangles the U.S. Government was to the fore as executives moved seamlessly from being part of extraordinary failures of their banks to top public economic positions in government under President Bush, with the Obama administration similarly engaged. ‘Light touch’ or no ‘regulation’ were the order of the day

A new and telling element in it all was the role of the University Economic Dons many of whom were central to creating and endorsing the, what are termed the ‘logarithms’ of the capitalist system. Many of these economic gurus are so entangled in the system that their objectivity is totally compromised by being on a plethora of boards etc. The economics departments of the top universities of the U.S. were the ‘engineers’ of the sub- prime and ‘derivatives’ chains which led to the crash. One of the ‘banks’ which played a big role was Goldman Sachs who had Irishman Peter Sutherland in a top position, whenever. The programme suggested that the gap between rich and poor was greater now than it was for, one might say forever. This generation is one of the first to have a poorer standard of living than their parents had. For such a great country which has contributed so much on so many levels the U.S. is a real anachronism. Within a mile or so of the glitz of the tourist attractions of Washington there is great poverty.

This impacts us all as even in this town the Danske Bank (formerly The Northern later the National Irish) and AIB closed leaving just one, The Bank of Ireland. The attitude of the decision makers in the Irish banks was shown in their resistance to the Minister for Finance’s calls on mortgage interest payments. We are regularly advised, in terms of seeking value, to ‘shop around’ but the shops (the banking ones certainly) are consolidating and thus becoming fewer.


Boyle GAA- a Good Evening’s Work
Boyle had two very good wins on Wednesday evening the 22nd last. The seniors defeated Strokestown in the Senior League at Strokestown. The game did not have the same amount of champagne football as the previous victory over St. Brigid’s but still it put a second good win on the back of a class performance in Kiltoom. Perhaps Boyle were a little over-confident on the basis of Strokestown being short a number of players but while Boyle started well enough, Strokestown with some lovely scores from Compton led at half time by 1.8 to Boyle 0.7. Early goals from Donie and Enda Smith in the second half were decisive though there was a little anxiety towards the end when Strokestown added a second goal from a penalty to leave just two points in it. A second goal from Enda after good work from substitute Colin Goldrick sealed the deal. The final score was; Boyle 3.14 Strokestown 2.12. ‘Man of the Match’ for Boyle was Sean Purcell.

There were several good performances such as from, Cillian Cox, Kieran McGowan, Ml. Hanmore, Damien Keenehan, Jim Suffin and the Smiths with Evan McGrath making a major contribution on his introduction. Well done to all involved again. It was refreshing to see some ‘fisted’ points from Boyle. You know how I like those.

The team’s onward schedule looks like this (terms and conditions apply); August 1st v Elphin, League, Boyle. Week-end 8/9 v Kilmore C’Ship, venue to be confirmed (tbc)/Aug. 15/16 V St. Croan’s, C’Ship venue tbc/Aug. 23rd/24 v Strokestown C’Ship venue tbc. 30/31st last league game v St. Faithleach’s.

Minor Victory
The minors had a very good win over Roscommon Gaels in the Abbey Park. They came from six points down to win on the score of Boyle 3.12 Roscommon Gaels 2.12. This was the second round of their Division Two Championship. They are in a group of five in which they lost the first game to St. Faithleach’s.  The top performances here were Kearney- again- in goals, Cox, Regan, Simon and Moran in backs, Flanagan especially when moved to full forward and Liam Casey. ‘Man of the Match’ went to Louis Garvin who came on as a substitute with youngsters Kelvin Morris and James Bolger also doing well when introduced. Well done to manager Donal Kelly- an unsung hero of Boyle football for a long time now-Kieran McKeon and Francis Bolger.


The Golf Open
As you might gather from previous postings I am a diligent reader of the Sport’s Section –and other contributors- to the Sunday Independent. Last Sunday there were a number of articles. Dermot Gilleece wrote well on the ‘Magic’ of St. Andrews golf links and of meeting past champions and their representatives. The piece was illustrated by a picture of Tom Watson on the famous Swilcan Bridge on the 18th hole. An ankle injury and the dark clouds outside (turf campaign postponed) afforded me the opportunity to watch much of the Open and listen to one of the great sports commentators, Peter Alliss. The performances of young Dunne and Padraig Harrington gave us hopes for an Irish top involvement on the last day, Monday, but alas it was not to be.

The Davey Byrne ‘Incident’
Both Niall Collins and Eamon Sweeney wrote on the Davey Byrne hospitalisation incident in the Dublin v Armagh ‘friendly’ game. We await ‘white smoke’ on that but don’t hold your breath. The new President of the GAA, Aogan O Fearghail from Cavan has been making noises but … feichfimid le fechfimid or perhaps not!

Dr. Ray Moran and the Cruciate Knee Ligament
On page six there was a not very subtle heading ‘At cutting edge of knee injuries’ relating to Dr. Ray Moran’s –brother of soccer player Kevin-journey with sports injuries especially the infamous ‘cruciate’ ligaments in the knee. I could write an essay on that issue. An acquaintance of mine once referred to the ligament as the ‘crucial’ ligament. How right he was.

Bother in Clare Hurling
Page 7 had Jamesie O’Connor trying -and succeeding-to be objective about the travails  in Clare hurling considering his old playing colleague Davy Fitzgerald is central to it all. Anyway we will be there for the all-Ireland Flead in 2016 God willing.

Paul Kimmage on ‘Tour’
On page 8 Paul Kimmage throws his sceptical eye on the Tour de France and especially on Team Sky and its leader, English cyclist, Chris Froome. Ironically Lance Armstrong turned up cycling the course for a charity on each of the days prior to the Tour. While the tour seems to attract huge attention in France its credibility is in the melting pot.

Pat Hughes on Sligo’s Hopes
The contribution of Sligo’s senior team player, Geevagh’s Pat Hughes, must have made painful reading for him on Monday regarding Sligo’s optimism against Mayo. Is this going to be Mayo’s year? You never know. Surely it has to happen sometime, hasn’t it?

Roscommon Girls U 16 in All-Ireland Final
Congratulations to Roscommon Ladies U16. All-Ireland ‘B’ Finalists Sinead Keenehan (Management); Sinead Glennon; Aine Mullins; Roisin Wynne; Ruth Cox
Roscommon U 16 girls will contest the All-Ireland U 16 ‘B’ Final in Nenagh, Tipperary on Wednesday July 29th next, against Waterford. This is as a result of their victory over Cavan last week in Ballinamore. Congratulations to Roscommon and especially Boyle’s representatives Sinead Keenehan as part of the management team, with players and panellists Sinead Glennon;  Aine Mullins; Roisin Wynne and Ruth Cox. I hope to be there. (James Dodd, if you read this, have the kettle boiling and tell P.J.Maxwell I’ll try and contact him then).
Mayo v Sligo
It was like men against boys in the Connacht final at Hyde Park on Sunday last as Mayo put Sligo to the sword. The performance of Aidan O’Shea at full forward was awesome. Mayo have now won ‘five in a row’ Connacht Championships. The last team to do this was Galway from ’63 to ’67. There is a question mark over the possibility of Mayo having done it around 1910 but it is inconclusive. Roscommon’s best was four in a row from ’77 to ’80. (A Roscommon contact from London espoused to me by email; ‘It could have been worse, it could have been us’. As Peter Alliss might say ‘Dear Dear, no need for that’).  

Sin e.    

Friday, July 17, 2015

Update 17th July

Frank Feighan to Step Aside

Boyle will again return to the situation of not having a T.D. representing the town and area as obtained for so many years. The rock on which Deputy Feighan foundered  has been the Accident and Emergency closure in Roscommon. Of course the good that he did was submerged by that.

Whether there was any other decision that could have made the impact which would have satisfied all is questionable. Having one deputy opt out as Deputy Naughten decided, and another stay inside the decision making process seemed to be a reasonable strategy even if it was not deliberate as such. Indeed Mister Feighan was left to hang out to dry by the Fine Gael leadership on the issue. They and the Roscommon Fine Gael hierarchy may feel privately comfortable that Deputy Feighan has opted out from the next election.

Deputy Feighan had a loyal and receptive following in Leitrim but the redrawing of the constituency has shorn him of this support. It gives the Roscommon/East Galway constituency the option of selecting a candidate who is without the tangible baggage of the Roscommon Hospital issue. The prospect, in an election setting, of canvassing and being regularly met with bitter reverberations from this would have to be too much to take. Indeed while people have the right to their own opinions and also the right to let their representatives know of these, surely there are boundaries as to how these are presented. Deputy Feighan certainly received an  amount of strident criticism and some people might reflect on the way they couched this and not be too pleased with themselves on mature reflection.

I have known Frank Feighan for a long time and I have found him always to be an honourable person who would have done his very best and I wish him well into the future.

What now of the pending election? Michael Fitmaurice seems to be in a very strong position considering the boundary changes. It is as well for him that he did not hang on too much to the coattails of Ming Flanagan as Ming’s European ascendancy has reduced his profile no end locally.
Dennis Naughten looks a strong prospect and will have the support of those who were active on the hospital issue.

The Fine Gael candidate looks certain now to be Cllr. Maura Hopkins who has been groomed assiduously for a run in the last couple of years.

It is Fianna Fail who have the conundrum. The fact that they have no obvious candidate as the time for a general election comes closer does not seem to auger well for their prospects. One would have expected that a possible candidate would be recognisable by now and it is certainly not the way of the old Fianna Fail machine. I presume that the party would expect that the numbers are there for them to have a Fianna Fail T.D.  Ivan Connaughton’s position is difficult to pin down now as he has issues with the leadership.

It is not difficult to see that these four as the main contenders barring a surprise like Michael Fitzmaurice was in the bye-election. Within these four blocs there will be one high profile loser. It will make for an interesting contest. 

Then there is Senator John Kelly of Labour. The constituency will hardly be fertile ground for a Labour candidate since there is expected to be a Labour meltdown at the next election.

I imagine Sinn Fein will also have a candidate. The loss of South Leitrim is again a big deficit for them in this new constituency. Then there are the probabilities of new party candidates such as Renua and further Independents. A Hospital Action Committee candidate would be problematic.
Brendan O’Connor ‘We’ve had enough, but of what?
“ ‘People can’t understand the news anymore’” is the shock conclusion of a top-secret, high-level report. There is growing unrest among the Irish public over the perfect storm of current news stories. The fallout from the Nama ‘Project Eagle’ story, the Greek crisis, and the Banking Inquiry have combined to drive so called ‘ordinary people over the edge’”.
These are the opening lines of Brendan O’Connor’s column on the front of the Sunday Independent of Sunday the 12th of July last. They certainly resonated with me.
I remember my late brother who lived in London, going to work, looking after his family, going to his local church club at the weekends, flicking through his paper, especially at the weekend, keeping an eye on the progress of Arsenal and Roscommon football. He certainly did not ‘wreck his head’ with the ‘perfect storm’ of current, local, national and international news stories.

Miriam’s Star in Decline ?
The decline of the impact of a fine broadcaster Miriam O’Callaghan was evident in the trivialisation on last Saturday night’s show. First there were  Packie Bonner, Ray Houghton & David O'Leary talking for the one thousandth time of Italia ’90 where Ireland scored two goals in four games –I think- apart from penalties i.e. two goals in  six hours. This led to a manic reception when they returned to the country. While I enjoyed it at the time as much as anyone its constant repetition has been overdone in my opinion.
Miriam’s next guests were three former Miss Irelands. I had only heard of Amanda Brunker who obviously just loves being on television  but has nothing of note to contribute.
This was followed by Panti Bliss, at which point I had enough. Still Miriam’s  Sunday morning radio conversations with some interesting people is good. I used to be indecisive but now I’m not so sure. My broadcaster of the moment is Aine Lawlor.

 Roscommons Team’s Hard Landing
There was no ‘soft landing’ for Roscommon at Enniskillen on Sunday last. It was just a crash. Leading by five points at the break and at the same level coming into the final five minutes one would have thought that Roscommon were home. But Fermanagh came with a late surge and everything went right for them as Roscommon froze being unable to get the ball forward.  Roscommon were caught in the headlights and we all left Brewster Park as shocked as we had been at Sligo in mid-June. It didn’t have to end this way and with the gift of hindsight the mistakes surface. It appeared there was a lack of leadership on the pitch and some puzzling substitutions. The introduction of Ronan Stack -a good wing back- at centre forward against the claim of Donie Smith who had been named on the team programme was puzzling. Towards the end there was an imbalance of backs versus forwards with at least eight backs on the field such as Niall Carty. Where was he actually meant to be playing? Another mistake goes back to Cavan with the introduction of Diarmuid Murtagh which resulted in exacerbating a prior injury.

 It might be said that our heads were higher than our possibilities and we were, thinking above our station, prior to the championship at least.  On a positive note there are a lot of very good young footballers in the county. If the deficits of midfield and centre back could be miraculously transformed by natural players in those positions, as Seamus Killoran and John Newton were, then we could be contenders. Anyway we will learn a lot in Division One of the League next spring.       
P.S.1. It was a nice touch to see the side-line flags at Brewster Park in the Roscommon colours though offset somewhat by the omission of a main Roscommon flag. What is it with flags and angst?
P.S. 2. The famous Black Card has to come under serious pressure at the end of the year. It was introduced to stop the pulling down of a player going through with a clear possibility of a goal chance. Players have now adapted to the ‘black card’ and use it the same way by taking ‘one for the team’ feeling that the penalty is not so severe. If Roscommon had indulged in some- such  ‘gamesmanship’, towards the end of the Fermanagh game, we might have got into last Monday morning’s pot and...

Sligo v Mayo Connacht Final in The Hyde
Sligo supporters will stream through Boyle on Sunday and enjoy it. On one of their last occasions in The Hyde some Sligo supporters from Cloonloo travelled in style by hiring stretch limos which really caused a stir around Hyde Park. Best of luck to our neighbours Sligo and their manager Niall Carew who proved in the game versus Roscommon that he had his homework done. One of his assistants is Keith Carty from Ballinafad a former student of Corrigeenroe N.S. and St. Mary’s College. Roscommon GAA is very pleased to host this big game with all the commercial benefit accruing to the county town. Douglas Hyde Park has failed to keep up with modern required standards so this is a big test for the venue and a real revamp of the facilities there is overdue.

Boyle’s Fine Performance v St. Brigid’s
Boyle had a fine win over St. Brigid’s in Kiltoom on Wednesday evening. While there was evidence of Boyle’s capability in earlier games such as v Western Gaels in the league and Elphin in the championship this was a virtuoso display packed with courage, pace, incisiveness and top class displays from everyone on view. Boyle have had their best teams in my experience in ’84, ’95 and 2006. This team now joins them and Wednesday’s performance is high on the list of top performances by a Boyle team.

Boyle led at half-time on the score Boyle 1.8 (goal from Enda Smith on 21 mins.) St. Brigid’s 0.5. Boyle actually led at one stage by eight points. The final score was Boyle 2.15 St. Brigid’s 2.9 so the second half went Boyle 1. 7 St. Brigid’s 2. 4.

The Boyle team was as follows; T. Lowe/ C. Cox/ C. McGowan/ C. Brennan/ M. Hanmore/ S. Purcell/ T. McKenna/ C. Cox/ R. Hanmore/ D. Keenehan/ D. Smith 0.6/ E. McGrath 0.2/ D. East 0. 1/ E. Smith 2.3/ M. O’Donohoe 0.1 with J. Suffin 0.1/ C. Goldrick/ A. Sharkey.                                              

In the league to date Boyle have beaten; Tulsk/Western Gaels/St. Brigid’s and drawn with Padraig Pearses giving them 7 points. They next play Strokestown on Wednesday July 22nd.  They have lost to Roscommon Gaels and Clann na Gael. They still have to play Strokestown/Elphin/Kilmore and I presume St. Faithleach’s
Jim Gavin Takes a Hit.
Dublin football team manager Jim Gavin is a highly regarded persona in GAA management. His response to News talk’s Colm Parkinson’s queries regarding the injuries sustained by Dublin’s Davey Byrne after an altercation in a ‘friendly’ match versus Armagh were juvenile in the extreme(Sunday Indo sport page 4). The injuries necessitated two nights in hospital.  I hope the GAA authorities take it out of Jim’s hands and have a proper investigation and try and ensure that such incidents  get the appropriate sanction. I imagine that the incident and his dealing with it the way he did is causing Jim Gavin some grief. On mature reflection he may not see it as his finest hour.

Roscommon football legends book for Pieta House fundraiser
A friend of mine and a former sports reporter with the Roscommon Herald, Richard Canny, is currently compiling a book on the Roscommon Senior Football Teams from the late 1970s and early 1980s and he wants to hear from people who followed the teams during that era. The following is a message from Richard and his co-author Billy

“2015 marks 35 years since the ending of a golden period for Roscommon football when a team laden with stars just fell short in 1980 to win a first All-Ireland SFC title for the county since 1944.
The great Kerry team of that era put paid to those dreams but many Primrose and Blue supporters still hold wonderful memories of these Roscommon footballing legends.

This special group of players won the hearts of Rossies everywhere as they captured four successive Connacht titles from 1977-1980 and National League honours in 1979. Their exploits during this time ensured they sat comfortably at Gaelic Football’s top table.

Reflections on that great Roscommon team are now to feature in a new book - as part of a special fundraising initiative for Pieta House. All proceeds from the book will go towards the charity which continues to do such valuable work in the area of suicide prevention. (
We want you to be part of the book by providing us with your favourite memories of that great team: it could be the All-Ireland final fever which gripped the county at the time; particular moments from championship or league games; personal reflections on players; general anecdotes or even stories handed down through the decades. We would particularly welcome any valuable photographs of that time you may wish to see in the book.

You can send your contributions or scanned photographs to Alternatively, you can also post your comments on our ‘Roscommon Football Legends’ Facebook Page. All contributions will be considered for this special fundraising publication. Please make sure you leave your name and preferably your general locatiowhen making a submission. Watch out for more details over the coming weeks. Contacts: Richard (086) 8168900 or Billy (087) 120 8699. The deadline is basically NOW@>


The Death of Omar Sharif
Jim Sheridan said of Omar Sharif on his death “He loved the world and the world loved him”. That about sums him up. Omar Sharif starred in two iconic films in the sixties ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ with Peter O’Toole and ‘Doctor Zhivago’ with Julie Christie. Omar was Egyptian and known also for being a notable Bridge player. He was a popular and engaging guest on T.V. talk shows.  
Boyle GAA have been running a ‘Know Your Sports’ challenge for most of the year. This is the latest top ten table.
Henri Clifford 66 : Steve Tonry (1) 63 : Trevor Conroy 62 : Colin Ginty 60 : Gerry Nerney 60 : Steve Tonry (5) 59 : Eamonn Davey 58 : Paul Doran 58 : Cormac Regan 57 : Paul McDonagh 56
Congrats to
Carmel Goldrick who recently completed the Ring of Kerry Cycle. It certainly was an ideal location for a cycle but I imagine it could be distracting.
New Referee on the Block
I was pleased to see a new referee in the Abbey Park during the week. This was former St. Ronan’s stalwart, Patrick McTiernan. Fair play to you Patrick, it is good to see former players get involved.  
St Swithen’s Day.
St. Swithin's Day is 15 July, a day on which people watch the weather for tradition says that whatever the weather is like on St. Swithin's Day, it will continue so for the next forty days. That was yesterday Wednesday and it was a lovely fine day. Today Thursday not so.
**Since it has been a big week for sport and the result from last Sunday subdued the poetry gene in me I have postponed ‘Echoes of Yeats’ for this week.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Update 10th July

Echoes of Yeats

Some time ago I was asked if Seamus Heaney would be quoted as regularly as W.B. Yeats or provide the lines that some people never forget from the poetry they learn at school or wherever. My answer was that it would take some time to see what impact the poetry of Seamus Heaney had in that respect.

In all this I do not pretend to be any authority, far from it. I presume the greatest number of quotations from the written word are from the bard himself William Shakespeare. Perhaps The Bible is also a contender. In Irish literature Oscar Wilde is a leader in the quick witted responses that one might have hoped to be able to give oneself. In poetry it has to be William Butler Yeats born in Sandymount, Dublin in 1865 and died in 1939 in southern France. His remains were returned to Ireland in 1948 and buried in Drumcliffe graveyard as Yeats himself had stipulated.
This is his 150th Anniversary Year of his birth and Sligo is alive all summer long with a celebration of his anniversary with lectures, seminars and poetry readings run by the annual Yeats International Summer School (July 26 to August 7). ‘The Blue Raincoat Theatre’ company has pulled together 26 productions of Yeats’ plays to be performed outdoors on the mountains and beaches which inspired him. It is written that his aims were to write for an Irish audience and about Ireland, to re-create a specifically Irish literature in English. In doing this he explored such themes as Irish Myths and Legends; Love ‘lost as well as won’ in all its hues and later other themes. 

Returning to quotations from over a dozen collections  one of the early poems is ‘The Stolen Child’ beginning;
Where dips the rocky highland..’ with the refrain ‘For the world’s  more full of weeping than you can understand’.

Down by the Salley Gardens is close to the top of his best known and loved poems. It is of course a powerful song of lost love ending with;
‘But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears’.

I will abandon the idea of which of his poems is better known  or recognised with a prime contender;
‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’ opening with the line;
 ‘I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree’. It is a powerful series of pictures of a fairly simple feature in Lough Gill.

A little oddly, for an early collection, he writes a powerful love poem ‘When You Are Old’ opening
‘When you are old and grey and full of sleep
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

(I’ll return to William Butler next week since I have to get my thoughts together more since this little writing idea is getting more entwined and running away from me).

Advance Roscommon Fair

Roscommon overcame Cavan at historic Breffni Park on Saturday evening to advance in the championship. They now meet Fermanagh in Brewster Park, Enniskillen on Sunday next at 3.30. It was a very good all-round performance from Roscommon on Saturday with a number of stand-out performances. While against Sligo it was difficult to nominate anyone who had a good game, here it was difficult to see anyone who played badly. I have to say that Cavan were poor especially after they had the man sent off at half time. While we in Roscommon have had our lean periods we have put our heads up from time to time. Cavan with a more illustrious history than ours have really wallowed for decades and  may not have been in an All-Ireland semi-final since Roscommon beat them in ’62. Seeing the sign Mullahoran on the way home reminded me of Cavan’s great history as that club with Cornafean were to Cavan what Tarmon and St. Patrick’s Knockcroghery were to Roscommon in the forties.

At half time one could say it was nearly fifty- fifty but as the second half progressed Roscommon looked comfortable winners from a fair bit out. The game was finally wrapped up by a second goal from Enda Smith which put him in the frame for ‘Man of the Match’ –which RTE had already decided- with a sterling second half performance. Cathal Cregg got the R.T.E. ‘Man of the Match’ while Ultan Harney and young Daly were other contenders.
I felt it was a mistake to introduce Cian Murtagh who had to come off against Sligo with a hamstring injury which he ‘tweaked’ again in Cavan. I have been to Brewster Park before. It is a nice venue and an interesting date to be there.

Roscommon have a strength in depth especially in the forward line where Donie Smith must be near a starting place.. John Evans and team must be pleased with the response of the team especially having received the jolt of the early Cavan goal. While the manager said somewhere that is was good to be able to answer the critics especially in the media or some such. There will always be critics and Sligo was such a shock to nearly everyone that comment which could be seen as criticism was inevitable. 'Audi alteram parte' as the Roscommon Herald’s motto goes.   

If one might suggest that the senior team management be more circumspect with his comments then the minor management and team came and went with little fuss. I had forgotten the Championship game versus Sligo was actually on last Friday evening so meagre was the pre-match comment on it. (Reporters often thank people at grounds they are reporting from for refreshments provided I will do so also thanking Helen Finn for her hospitality in Butlersbridge on Saturday afternoon)  

Cork and their manager have been getting rea criticism. That they did not manage to see out the game against Kerry  was a big blow to them and it will be a real test to see if they can win the replay in Killarney.

I was at the Leinster hurling final between Kilkenny and Galway in Croke Park. The question before hand was; ‘Which Galway would turn up?’. Actually it was a mixture. Kilkenny turned up as they nearly always do and won comfortably in the end. Despite the retirement of so many great players they are still a formidable outfit and are led now by T.J. Reid and Richie Hogan. Galway were not close enough because they lacked the control and ‘touch’ i.e. the skill set of the opposition. Joe Canning though produced one of the hurling moments of the year with a sublime piece of skill for majestic goal. They say that the conveyor belt in Kilkenny is not what it was but their team also won the minor championship scoring four points in the dying minutes to win by two over Dublin who looked like winners three minutes from time. Their U 21s’ suffered a big defeat to an emerging Wexford last night.

Kellogg’s Cul Camps

It is one of the sights of the summer to witness the Abbey Park occupied by scores of youngsters participating in the Kellogg’s Cul Camp or the blitzes which occur there from time to time. Peter Carney who with Willie Hegarty oversees the Cul Camps told me that the numbers in Boyle were never higher and this year there were 138 kids involved with 8 team coaches. At the beginning Boyle would have had between 30 and 40 kids. Of course Boyle with its fine dressing room facilities is an ideal venue. the work that the above gentlemen do is to be commended.   

Issues of the Moment
I see that NAMA is once again in the spotlight. While I would not have the competence to comment on this elephant in the room it seems to be a hugely controversial organisation. They were very quick, along with Minister Ring, to try and bat down Colm O’Rourke’s criticism regarding the sale of a property in South Dublin in which the Dublin GAA was interested. It seems as if Mick Wallace has opened another more serious front for them now. Whatever happened to the Sitserv issue of a short time back?
I thought I might mention the performances of Charlie McCreevy, Brian Cowan, Patrick Neary the former Regulator !, and John Hurley the former Governor of the Central Bank.

Best Wishes To a Regular Reader
Best wishes to Carline O’B….who keeps an eye on the health standards in West Derby near Liverpool. We hope your daughter Emer gets the results she deserves in her GCSE or is it GCES? Anyway Caroline we had a good evening in Cavan though E. was in a different Frame of mind. The forward planning hadn’t allowed for a Sligo hiccup.


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Update 3rd July

John Joe’s Final Lap.
Boyle and Roscommon paid a dignified and appropriate salute to John Joe Nerney on his passing last week.  The guards of honour from Boyle and Eastern Harps on Friday evening with that of the post office on Saturday were symbolic of their regard.     
The Mass service, in all its elements, on Saturday was moving tribute and in keeping with a deeply religious man. From Father Coughlan’s opening remarks and tribute through the presentation of the symbols of John Joe’s life, sporting and otherwise, to his daughter Theresa’s final commendation all were fitting of our friend and inspiration. The route of the cortege, stopping at the Abbey Park past the old Abbey with flags flying at half-mast at Shilling Hill past John Joe’s home in Mockmoyne to his final resting place was symbolic of his life’s journey. His final journey is recorded tellingly in Sean’s pictures on realboyle. 
The esteem for John Joe can be gleaned from the efforts made by many people to be present such as Geoffrey Brennan, Galway, Bill Corcoran  and Liam Gilmartin, Dublin all former football colleagues.
As I said elsewhere we thought in a sense he would always be with us. He will be of course be in our  memories. We will miss him but can are grateful for his long presence with us.  

Boyle Juniors Top of Their Table

Boyle Junior GAA - click on photo to view large version

Ballinameen Junior GAA - click on photo to view a large version.

Well done to the Cooney Motor's/Centra Junior team on their win over neighbours Ballinameen in the Division 5 league on Wednesday evening in the Abbey Park, on a score line 4-11 3-06. There were standout performances from Jim Suffin at midfield, veteran forward Liam Conroy bagging 4-03 with minors Conor Deery, Liam Casey and Jack Cox making telling contributions. The team are now top of the Division 5 table with a couple of games to play. Their next outing is in Junior ‘B’ championship this Sunday against Kilglass Gaels in the Abbey Park at 4:00pm.
Team: J. McDermott, J. Cox, D. Mattimoe, B. Furey, C. Brennan, C. Beirne(Capt.), D. Kelly, P. Lavin, J. Suffin, L. Casey, C. Goldrick, G. Goldrick, C. Deery, L. Conroy and B. Kerins. 
 Subs: D. O'Driscoll, M. Lavin, C. Beirne, C. Tivnan, D. McGovern, K. Kelly, S. Tonra and S. Spellman. 
When I asked Liam coming off what he had scored in his total, he replied ‘I got four goals anyway’ leaving aside the trivia of points. It was a great personal performance from Liam a stalwart of Boyle GAA down the years. I remember about a decade ago, at a game in Ballinlough, Liam exhorting his team mates to put the ball into him with “Give me the ball I’m on fire”. The fire was still burning on Wednesday evening. Well done to the management of Aidan Lavin and David O’Connor. The introduction of the young players on Wednesday was a real injection though it was the introduction of Steve Tonra that steadied the ship in the second half. The panel now seems pretty good though a number will be missing due to having played in the Senior Championship.

It was good to see a similar make-up to the Ballinameen squad with long-time players Joe Kearns, John Murtagh, Pat Casey and Paraic Brehony leading some good young players in their team. It was a good enjoyable game played in the right spirit. 
It was nice to see a tweet from Ballinameen team assistant manager Brian Costello afterwards as follows;

“Abbey Park, Boyle. One of the most beautiful GAA grounds in the country @BoyleGAA @Ballinameen_GAA”

Boyle Representation on Roscommon Girls U 16 Team
The Roscommon Girls U 16 side defeated Leitrim in the Connacht U 16 ‘B’ final at Ballyhaunis on Wednesday evening. Boyle was represented by Aine Mullens, RoisinWynne, Sinead Glennon and Ruth Cox with Sinead Keenehan as part of the Management. Roisin Wynne won the ‘player of the game’ award. So the future of the game in Boyle looks healthy with Miss Wynne carrying on the fine family tradition.

Boyle u12 Panel ... click on photo to view large version

U 12s’ at Croghan
I spent a good part of Sunday June 21st in Croghan supporting Boyle’s under 12 footballers in two League finals. The first game involved them in the Division 2 Final versus old adverseries, Strokestown. It was a game of swaying fortunes between two evenly matched teams. However Boyle just lost out to the black and amber. Niall O’Donnell, Luke McGrath, Oisin Cregg, Conor McPhearson and Daniel Casey had stand out games though it probably unfair to nominate some to the exclusion of others but c’est la vie. The final score was Strokestown 3.9 Boyle 2.10. It was confusing for a time since the team did not play as numbered in the programme. 

The next game was between St. Michael’s and Kilbride in the Division 3 League Final. I knew a bit about the St. Michael’s team from the Cumann na mBunscol final but alas they went down to a slightly better Kilbride side especially in the second half. One of their managers Vernon Keaveney, I was told, works in Chicago and commutes in a sense from Cootehall. Now that is a serious commute.
Boyle ‘B’ were out again in the Division 5 final this time against St. Barry’s. This was another close encounter but this time Boyle came out victors. Goals were the order of the day with David Duggan (O’Donohoe) bagging four goals. Niall O’Donnell was again on duty here to great effect as were Eden Kerins, and Gavin O’Connor who clocked up the miles. The panel was treated after in the club rooms. So well done to all involved.          

World Cup Football
I had hoped to watch more of the Women’s World Soccer Cup finals in Canada but was unable to due to the lack of coverage on the channels I have anyway. The final takes on Sunday next when Japan, the holders, play the U.S. former winners. The English lady player, Laura Bassett, scored an ‘own goal’ in the 92nd minute of their game versus Japan in their Semi-Final which ended their chance of a Final appearance.
The final takes place on Sunday midnight our time.  

Death of ‘crooner’ Val Doonican
‘I became an overnight success after twenty years trying’ I associate as a saying of Waterford born Val Doonican about his stardom in England in the sixties and seventies. His first song to do well was  ‘Walk Tall’ and others included ‘The Special Years’ and a comic rendition of Paddy McGinty’s Goat. He became associated with a varied and colourful clothing apparel, cardigans and pull overs. He came across as a pleasant reliable and down to earth individual, a kind of favourite uncle. He based his singing on the style of Bing Crosby that of a crooner. He hosted his own television show from 1965 to 1986. Along with Terry Wogan he established a very acceptable Irish persona in England when ‘The Northern Troubles’ created some difficulties for Irish people there. He was made a Freeman of home city of Waterford in 2011 and died at the age of 88.     

O Sé - A Legacy
Tuesday night’s documentary on the Kerry legend Paidi O Shea was a very impressive programme. It pulled no punches with its earthy directness and the undercurrent of Paidi being a brash, forceful individual who burned the candle  at both ends. 
His sudden death at a young age shocked the Kingdom with telling recollections of when they heard of his death from Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh and playing colleague Sean Walshe. The most obvious element that permeated the programme was the fierce determination of Ó Se to succeed and the ability to dispense this determination to those around him. His mam came from Sligo. Did Pat Spillane’s mam also come from Sligo? He also made a significant contribution to his home place in terms of tourism identity.  I have not been to that area of Kerry yet but it is on my ‘bucket list’.

Hugely Important Game for Roscommon
This Saturday evening Roscommon play Cavan in historic Breffni Park. This is a hugely important game for the Roscommon GAA project. Many of us were extolling the status of the team but the Sligo result was a reality check. Roscommon football has been on an upward curve for some time and especially in this past year. We go to Cavan with an even chance and hopefully we will be the winners. Little went right for many players in Sligo so hopefully they will get back on track on Saturday and I wish all involved well.              

Best Wishes to Father Brian Conlon
Like a lot of people I would like to wish Father Brian as he is affectionately known all the very best in the next phase of his life’s calling. I know he will be greatly missed from his present posts in Cootehall and in Boyle. I have known Father Brian for a long time and his positivity and sociable demeanour was always uplifting. He officiated at a family occasion last summer and contributed significantly to it being the memorable occasion it was. So I wish him the very, very, best in his new domain of activity. Our loss is certainly someone else’s gain.

Murmurations of Starlings 
I came across a reference to great gatherings of starlings –murmurations-around Carrick-on Shannon in recent times in Joe Kennedy’s Country matters on the Sunday Independent. (Oddly I have not seen this pictured locally). Mister Kennedy describes it thus ‘….thousands of birds displaying their lives for all to witness, swaying and waltzing in the evening skies, celebrating life’s joys..’ Apparently all this was captured on video and with music added was online in the Irish Independent Tuesday the 23rd of June. The video was compiled by Edwina Guckian of Sean-nos ar an t-Sionann. Perhaps some people might remember this phenomena on T,V, from south of Athlone some years ago. These air shows go on from 8 to 10 pm. I actually came across a mini display where the Boyle Celtic road meets the N4 on Wednesday evening!

The Black Beach
Now that I have nearly completed my contribution for this week my next project for the evening is a visit to the ‘black beach’ i.e. the bog.