Thursday, August 27, 2015

Update August 28th

 ‘The Battle for Rural Ireland’

The ‘Battle for Rural Ireland’ was a repeat programme from RTE on Tuesday night last. The presenter was Richard Curran who with his family had moved from Dublin to the Inishowen peninsula in Donegal. It painted a pretty bleak picture for the future of swathes of remote rural areas. It focussed on a number of examples such as the area of Moygownagh in North Mayo once sustained by the power station of Bellacorrick. Many of the issues are only too familiar to us in our own region.

Those of us old enough to recall will remember the vibrancy and life of towns smaller than our own. Now, villages like Ballinameen, Frenchpark, Croghan, and Cootehall have declined in the service provisions that once were the reasons for their existence or which made them vibrant in times past. That decline has crept up the scale to larger settlements like Elphin and Strokestown. Boyle too has had its losses with the closure of Hotels, Banks, the Courthouse, Teagasc, mills, shops and the decline in employment opportunities.

The restrictions on the opening times of the Garda station were a curious final straw in that respect. Still Boyle has a lot of positives. It has ongoing potential for tourist development with Lough Forest Park having positive additional features, King House, Boyle Abbey, and Arigna Mining Experience and so on. In this respect it has received considerable name recognition from say Moone Boy and Paul Young of Cartoon Saloon.  Vention Medical as far as I know is a quietly growing entity plus Trojan, Feelystone, National Automation, McGovern Directional Drilling, Keville Engineering, Keenehan Tarmac, Roadstone and so on. It retains its educational, recreational, legal and many more services. It has a vital railway connection and it is recognised as an attractive architectural town of heritage proportions. So it has a considerable amount going for it.

Tourism is rightly seen as an option to assist in sustainability and certainly it is a product that can be enhanced. This summer we have seen a considerable increase in the number of visitors on the streets of Boyle. How much impact a summer of gloomy skies and rain will have is impossible to quantify. 

The TV programme focussed on the ‘push and pull’ factors which threaten rural settlement. 50% of world population now live in cities and this is continually on the rise. The cities are now the engines that drive the economic success of a country’s economy. They are the zones of employment and opportunity and where many young people want to be. They want to be in the city because of its employment opportunities but also for the social, cultural and lifestyle environment. All this comes at a cost to the urban over-populated region and the rural regions in a netherland of existence.
Dublin is Ireland’s hub as London is in the UK. We in Ireland are going down the road of the ‘two speed economy’.

There have been efforts by the IDA and others to spread the employment dividend through the country with limited success. Some factories have come and gone, some have stuck. It was thought a few years ago that working from home was going to be a significant option but that has gone off the boil. It was thought also that the new high- tech industries could set up anywhere but instead they have become clustered together in the cities particularly Dublin.

Even large towns now are under pressure and an example in the programme cited a shop closure in Longford an example that could be replicated in many towns.

A few small communities have in a sense ‘fought back’ like the example of Ballyhoura in county Limerick. I remember this being said of Kiltymagh in County Mayo, a good while ago. I do not know how that is going now.

Farming was once the lifeblood of the rural community and of the towns in its region. While it is still hugely important in that respect the numbers in farming have declined enormously. The recent crash in milk prices so quickly after the opening up of the quota system is a further blow to the sector.
So what of the future? The east of this country is going to continue to develop with population and employment increasing rapidly. Apparently Drogheda is a prime example of the population explosion of an old established town. All this has its challenges to these areas in the provision of vital services to facilitate this growth. Often these services lag far behind as we can see with accommodation once again in Dublin, schools provision, crèche issues, the crowded roads as in Galway, the interminable commuting from longer distances and so on.

Of course what is happening in Ireland is only a follow on to what has happened in other developed countries in recent decades.

Will large areas of rural Ireland just become retreats for those wishing to vacate the city at the week-end? We see evidence of this even at this remove from Dublin with the returning Dublin traffic on Sunday evenings.
There are huge changes afoot. We miss perhaps how dramatic these changes are since they are creeping changes though ‘creeping’ is too slow a word. Someone who leaves the country now and returns in say a decade’s time will really see the changes. Can we hope that large areas of the West of Ireland will be any more than a thinly populated theme park for the urbanites of the East? 
The Cost of Car Insurance.

Like so many utility bills the cost of car insurance keeps rising. When the estimate for our car insurance came to the house during the week its quotation was something of a surprise as nothing happened on our side during the year to warrant it. A call to the broker informed us that the cost of Insurance premiums were 20% up across the board this year due to claims. So there was the answer to most of the increase. On Tuesday’s Roscommon Herald- page 81- there was a piece on the cost of motoring generally, suggesting that while fuel prices were  down in the last year the insurance hike wipes these savings away. “This is the biggest one-year rise in insurance prices in well over a decade”, according to a statement from the AA. Of course in all insurance premiums there is a 5% payment to offset the issues with the former Quinn insurance. The AA also suggests that the average cost of running a family car for a year is in the region of €10,000!

Mayo versus Dublin

Could this be Mayo’s year? We may have suggested that many times down the years. Remarkably each time Mayo advance to this stage of the championship the hopes not just of Mayo people but certainly Connacht and indeed a multitude of people through the country are with Mayo. There is a strong feeling that no other county deserves an All-Ireland title currently as Mayo does. They have had fine teams since their last All-Ireland wins in ’50 and ’51. They have had many great footballers (including Boyle man Ned Moriarty). They have been so close but the fates have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory often. Their route this year is not some scenic route but right through the heart of the powerhouse teams at the top of the pecking order; Galway, Sligo, Donegal, Dublin and Kerry. If they win the last three in that list will demonstrate the quality of their achievement. A Mayo win would release a celebration that would only have been rivalled by Clare’s victory in ’95. I know I am getting ahead of myself and maybe that has been a flaw in previous years. Still one can dream and the resilience of Mayo’s attitude is remarkable. I hope this is the year it gets its just reward.
Kerry seems to be creating another great team and in Eamon Fitzmaurice they appear to have a talented manager with the characteristics of Kilkenny’s Brian Cody. Interestingly the Kerry minor team- manager is Jack O’Connor who in June last was appointed to manage the Kerry U 21 team for their next campaign.   
Boyle versus Strokestown

On Saturday evening next Boyle seniors play Strokestown in one of their most important games in a very long time. Boyle just now have a collection of fine players and when they are on song, as they have been a number of times this summer, they are a match for the best. It is an amazing thing that Boyle has never won a senior championship. An army backed team from Boyle won one in 1928. In the early fifties Boyle Junior team (there were only junior and senior grades then) included three players who played Railway Cup football for Connacht . This was in a time when the Railway Cup was a hugely important competition and Connacht counties had arguably their greatest players with Sean Purcell of Galway; Packie McGarty of Leitrim; Naas O’Dowd of Sligo; Gerry O’Malley of Roscommon and Mayo had a number of contenders in Langan, Carney and so on. The three Boyle junior players who played on the Connacht Railway Cup teams were John Joe Nerney, Dr. Bill McQuillan and Tim Lynch. Realboyle has already noted the presentation of a picture last Monday night to the Lynch family in appreciation of their generosity in allowing club teams train on their lands at Abbeytown. It also notes the football achievements of a footballer that many people would not be aware of as such, Tim Lynch.

Why I have wandered a good bit into those past records is that Boyle seniors this year have one of the best sides they have had in a very long time, as I’ve said, and a bit like Mayo who knows where the journey will take us. They meet another emerging team in Strokestown, on Saturday evening in Elphin. Strokestown have a wealth of young talent with whom we have become very familiar over the last decade. So Saturday evening in Elphin a good deal will be revealed about where we are at and where we are going in terms of senior football. I wish all involved the very best.

Boyle Ladies Agonising Defeat

Commiserations to our Green Street Veterinary Intermediate Ladies who bowed out if this year's Championship following an agonising one point loss to Kilglass Gaels in Croghan on Tuesday evening.  Playing conditions were difficult due to a water logged pitch following a day’s rain. Both teams gave it everything. Boyle took the lead for the first time mid-way through the second half but they were caught by an injury time goal. They can; however, look forward with confidence to next year as there is a strong panel of experienced players and emerging youthful talent.

Brian Keenan

It is twenty five years since the release of Belfast man Brian Keenan from captivity in Beirut. He had been held for four and a half years by Shia Militia much of it with English journalist John McCarthy.  He was first abducted in April 1986 and released after various campaigns on August 24th 1990. McCarthy was released a year later. For a time after returning to Ireland he lived in Mayo and now lives in Dun Laoghaire. Brian Keenan subsequently wrote an acclaimed account of his captivity in the book ‘An Evil Cradling’.    

Friday, August 21, 2015

Update 21st August

Sligo Fleadh Triumph.
I am not very knowledgeable on music festivals nationally or internationally but the annual All-Ireland traditional music festival that is Fleadh Cheoil must be one of the finest in the world. The Fleadh has been going now since the early fifties and we in Boyle had two memorable Fleadhs in 1960 and 1966. For a good while after coming to Boyle in the early seventies when I told people I was ‘from’ Boyle in say Dublin or wherever through the country, a regular reply was ‘I was in Boyle once …at one of the great Fleadhs there in the sixties’.  Each year it repeats itself and one has to  go back some distance to suggest that a Fleadh that was a poor one.

All the evidence points to this year’s event in Sligo being another triumph. I do not know how they come up with estimates of numbers of people attending but they are huge.  Of course Sligo and the region which includes North Roscommon and Leitrim has a great traditional music reputation so the number of local musicians attending, performing and competing was impressive.  One of the elements that one senses immediately at successful events is that imponderable ‘atmosphere’.  I was there on Friday evening and one was immediately struck by ‘the atmosphere’.  The friendliness exuded from car park attendants, stewards, police and volunteers, all intent on making Sligo a memorable experience for the visitor.  Music rang out from pub doorways and indeed from any doorway that provided a kind of stage or recess for exponents of whistles, fiddles, flutes, accordions, bodhrans and instruments that might challenge a person to name.  From time to time these tunes inspired impromptu dancers from Sean Nos to just expressions of pure joy.

My friend and I took different routes to explore what was on offer planning to compare notes later.  I headed for Foley’s bar and found there a happily settled group of Boyle friends.  (A habit I noticed when I first came to Boyle was the practise of Boyle migrants to Dublin or wherever that they sought out their own town compatriots more so than other areas might).  While there was no music just then it did not take long  before musicians arrived and of course ‘room was made’ for them and the banjo and accordion music filled the air. It paused respectfully as a funeral of a highly regarded Sligo resident passed the front door.  And then it was off again with Sligo tunes like the Kesh Jig, The Boys of Ballisodare and the Sligo Maid to the fore. The word ‘atmosphere’ keeps jumping into my mind. My friend returned as arranged with tales of ‘great music’ in other venues and so we hit the streets again. There was TG4 setting up outside Foleys and further along a stilt walker like a Gulliver casting a red eye on all life under him. Getting through O’Connell Street was a challenge meeting up with people we regularly meet at Fleadhs and may not meet again until the next one. In an archway three old timers sang their songs in harmony accompanied by a harmonica and it was obvious that they have been doing so for a long time.  The Glass House Hotel was a buzz of layered sessions and a view over the Times Square of Sligo. Bernie Carty is there fresh from his Lough Key Forest Park sojourn with his specially decked out car and contributing to the welcome for the Roses of Tralee visit to the park including Pat Flanagan’s grand-daughter.

We heard that the former All-Ireland-winning Ceili Band, the Dartry, would be on the ‘Gig-Rig’  from ten o’clock. We knew most of the members of this band so we headed to the Riverside arena. We weren’t on our own as many more had the same idea.  A one-way system obtained crossing the river and a large crowd fronted the stage but with experience one might not be stalled by the initial crowd and eventually we got near the front.  It was evident from the music of the band that they were in fine form and were going to give it their very best.  It was obvious they were enjoying it also. The music rolled out with Sligo tunes and songs to the fore.  Fiddle player Mossie Martin son of Tom from near Keadue was a major contributor.  Mossie was in St. Mary’s College in Boyle in the 90s’, played soccer with Boyle Celtic, Gaelic with St. Michael’s and Roscommon minors and is a good friend of ours.  He is as Sean O’Dowd refers to such people ‘one of the good guys’.  In the background on the piano is another ‘good guy’ Kevin Brehony from Castlebaldwin, another St. Mary’s College alumni. On concertina and harp, originally from Monaghan, is a musical maestro and composer Michael Rooney.  There are two ladies Noelle Carroll and June McCormack with Philip Duffy, Declan Folan, Cian Kerins, Damien McGuinness and Mayo representative John Kilkenny.  In the enthusiastic audience I bumped into John and Anne Nicholson enjoying the festival.  Along with the music came the Sligo songs ‘Down by the Salley Gardens’ and ‘Isle of Innisfree’ which brought back memories of great Fleadh goers of yore Tess and Jimmy Flaherty.  The band leader remembered a great Leitrim/Sligo musician who passed away in March of this year, Kevin O’Brien. Indeed the spirits of those former great Sligo musicians, like Coleman, Morrison, Killoran, Finn, Horan and many more seemed present as their tunes echoed along the rippling waters of the Garavogue river.  A dancer too came to the apron of the stage and knocked sparks from the floorboards as I envied his athleticism, artistry and energy as the electric ‘atmosphere’ (there’s that word again) lifted the happy crowd.

Micheal O’Callaghan wrote a post Boyle ’66 Fleadh account in the Roscommon Herald  which could apply to most of these great traditional Fleadhs and Sligo in this instance.  It went thus “the memory of it is still fresh in the minds of the thousands, and what memories they are.  To try and sort them out is almost impossible for they come crowding into the mind in a confusion of sounds, faces and incidents that prevents the pictures from coming sharply into focus. The skirl of the pipes, the lilt and lift of the dance tunes, the ballad singing and dancing on the pavements, the laughter and noise of the happy laughing crowd seemed to hang over the streets of Boyle.” 
John Evans 
There are ripples emanating from the ending of the John Evans period as manager of the Roscommon Senior team. I listened to a radio interview he gave last Tuesday night the 18th on the RTE Radio ‘Game On’ programme and he talked about a canvass against him by a number of people and the lack of support from the Vice-Chairman (incoming Chairman) of the County Board. Interestingly he presented some scoring statistics showing that the scoring averages had increased significantly during his tenure.  There was no mention  of the emergence of talented scoring players and their role in this.  These players are a product of the work being done at under-age level in the clubs and in the county with development squads in recent years.  I was not aware of any orchestrated effort to remove Mister Evans.  In a sense of course it could be said that since he had not been appointed to the extra term it was technically wrong to suggest that he was being removed.  Club delegates attending the County Board meeting, where Mister Evans was going to be recommended for another year by the board executive, would correctly have sought the opinions of their club membership.  In it all people are entitled to an opinion. That is the democratic process. The delegates could hardly have gone against the majority views, where that obtained, on whether John Evans could be endorsed or not.  Apparently the views from the general club membership were not in line with that of the county executive and I imagine the board executive became aware of this. Subsequently on social media it is said that a player, in endorsing the manager, suggested that the clubs opposed to the reappointment were making a mistake.  The clubs would not have been aware of the feelings of the players, as little of what happens within that group or how they actually feel emerges into the public domain. While the promotion to Division One is an excellent achievement, the nature of the championship defeats at Sligo and Enniskillen were a significant set-back in terms of the Roscommon GAA project. The appropriate procedure now is to move on with another appointment and not become engaged in a recriminatory tussle with Mister Evans, but to wish him well.


Cidona Days
On my way to the bog on Saturday I called to my local shop to get a bottle of 7 Up to help lubricate a dusty throat in prospect.  Next to the 7 Up was a flagon of Cidona and for old time’s sake I took it instead as it reminded me of sunny happy days saving hay on the sloping hill fields of Fuerty from where it was said that on a clear day You could see Croagh Patrick. 

Missing Butterflies
Last year I referred to the decline in the number of corncrakes but heard some of them later on Inishbofin Island. The same applies to me thinking that rabbits were in decline as mentioned about their demise on Bull Island in Dublin Bay. This summer I am thinking that a couple of other species are hardly visible at all and those are bees and butterflies. The bee situation is a very serious one as apart from honey their main role is pollination which is hugely important.  Butterflies are indicators of a healthy environment and healthy ecosystems.  They are a beautiful insect and I hope that I am wrong in my observations.

The Electric Bill
I notice an interesting letter in this week’s Roscommon Herald, page 47, regarding the increases in the cost of electricity from Cllr. Des Guckian of Dromod in Leitrim. He sees it as ‘a sly, secret imposition of charges, for a vital service, which must be opposed by all users’.  I have always found my bill to be pretty exorbitant considering that I would be diligent enough about its usage.  I am also aware that there are different providers but I have not investigated this in depth.  Sticking with a provider that one has become accustomed to is an Irish trait but I think that might be costly. 
The death took place recently of the actor George Cole whose character Arthur Daley was a favourite of mine in the TV series Minder which ran through the eighties.  In this he played a roguish Cockney wheeler-dealer with a sidekick played by Dennis Waterman.  A bit like the Trotters in ‘Only Fools and Horses’ Arthur’s dodgy projects all seemed to misfire but the character was never too phased by that. The character’s Cockney phrases became legendary.  Amongst them were; ‘He must be on them stair-rods’ ‘Stand on me’ instead of Stand by me.  To him a ‘Gregory Peck’ equalled a cheque.  He carried a ‘Doctor on Call’ sign for his parking requirements and referred to his unseen wife as ‘her indoors’.  His most famous one was his encouragement to an up-and-coming ‘entrepreneur’ with ‘The world is your lobster my son’.

I wish to congratulate two friends of mine who got engaged recently, Triona Mullaney –Dignam and Brendan McQuaid.
In referencing the girls Sean Daly Cup- winning team of last week I omitted one of the mentors responsible for the progress of the side, that is Eugene Sheeran.

Thrills of Week-end Games
At last we got a cracker of a game to light up this dull summer with Galway’s victory over Tipperary.  I listened to the second half on radio so lost some of the visual thrills of the final minutes.  I had it taped and it is the game of the summer.  Galway have invariably cause Kilkenny bother and could do so in the final. Kilkenny are the not the Rolls Royce team of recent years.  So the final could be another great game and Galway have every chance.

The reason I missed the TV coverage of the second half of the hurling was that I was on my way to see Boyle play St. Croan’s in Hyde Park in the senior championship.  This was a real roller-coaster of a game. On the front of this week’s Roscommon Herald Sport’s Section there is a fine picture of two Boyle subs looking very relaxed during this topsy- turvy game in which Boyle were in winning position a number of times only to be somewhat lucky to emerge with a draw.  For the neutral it was the game of the week-end but for Boyle supporters were not as cool as the two subs pictured as it provided a good few hands-over the-eyes moments.  The team’s final game, against Strokestown, looks very much like deciding who will qualify for the quarter-finals from the group with Castlerea.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Update 13th August

The Pleasure Ground by Jarlath Tivnan in Galway Town Hall Theatre, Friday, August the 21st and Saturday the 22nd.
Boyle actor Jarlath Tivnan, fresh from his successful appearance in ‘The Dead School’ at Galway Arts Festival, now appears in his own play the Pleasure Ground in Galway Town Hall Theatre for two nights, Friday August the 21st and Saturday the 22nd. The play is Directed by Jarlath’s cousin Maria Tivnan of Fregoli Theatre Company Galway, whose company has performed at Boyle Arts Festival a number of times.
So if you are from Boyle and in Galway reading this, as the Aldi Challenge goes, ‘Tell your friends and (maybe) they’ll tell their friends…..’ and we could generate a supporting crowd, which would be nice.   
The story of the play centres around, ‘a group of friends who’ve gone their separate ways who meet back at their teenage haunt, the town park and playground, known as the Pleasure Ground. The town is in limbo, the Pleasure Ground’s glory has faded, and life hasn’t quite matched up to youthful expectations. Over their night together, buried secrets become unearthed, past grievances boil over, and scores are settled’.

The plays performers are Kate Murray, Peter Shine, Eilish McCarthy and Jarlath Tivnan

Initial reviews say;

“bog gothic… reminiscent of Patrick McCabe”
“a marriage of brutality and tenderness” Irish Theatre

70th Anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bombs

The recent week or so has seen the 70th anniversaries of the dropping of two atomic bombs by the United States on Japan at the end of World War 2. The first bomb was dropped on the city of Hiroshima on August the 6th 1945 and the second on the city of Nagasaki on August the 9th. Up to 130, 000 people were killed in total in the two cities on the actual days with many thousands more, over the succeeding decades, dying as a result of radiation sickness, usually cancer. RTE screened  an incisive programme on Thursday night August the 6th, the 70th Anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing, titled ‘Hiroshima: The Real Story’.
There were a good few points made, some that I was aware of and a good number that I was not aware of heretofore. Apparently Einstein’s famous mathematics equation  E=mc2 contributed to the possibility of harnessing a powerful new force. German scientists led by Heisenberg were at the forefront of the development of an atomic bomb using this force. The US joined this race, with a galaxy of famous scientists led by Oppenheimer, because there was a great fear of a Hitler dominated Germany using the bomb if they developed it first. (The US effort was called The Manhattan Project and the bomb in development was called ‘the gadget’…the ultimate ‘gadget’). With the defeat of Germany this threat evaporated. The rationale behind the dropping of the bombs on Japan has been questioned ever since. This especially applies to the dropping of the second bomb on the city of Nagasaki despite the reservations of some of the scientists who contributed to its development. The reason forwarded by the United States was that it would prevent the loss of at least half a million American lives that would be lost in the invasion of Japan.
In 1964 Truman added that it also saved the lives of half a million Japanese lives which would also be lost in that invasion. The programme touched on the reasons why the bombs might not have been used citing the facts that Japan was then becoming a spent force with constant bombing, the destruction of its resources and formerly powerful fleet and the possibility of a peace or surrender- seeking grouping in the country emerging. It also suggested that Japan could have been blockaded and so on. Japan, while nominally ruled by an Emperor holding God-like status, was actually dominated by a militaristic elite who were determined to fight to the end.
Of course military influence was not just a Japanese phenomenon. It was also a powerful force of influence in the US as it still is. New to me was the struggle to actually complete the bomb and the implication that some vital material was scavenged  from the German Atomic Research Programme which helped complete the process.
Anyway after the first test at Los Alamos New Mexico, demonstrated its power the US military, with the assent of President Truman, were anxious to demonstrate its capacity in an actual war deployment. Its effects were devastating as we know. Japanese authorities did not respond instantly after the first bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August the 6th and were given little time until the second bomb was dropped on August the 9th. This drew the Japanese Emperor out in the open with a call for surrender. Thus began the Atomic Age.
Those of us, old enough, will remember the days of fear during the Cuban Missile Crisis during the 13 days of October 1962 when the world teetered on the brink of a nuclear holocaust. The world got another graphic reminder of its destructive power and legacy with the Chernobyl disaster in April ’86

Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 70 years on is a hugely important story and  a constant reminder of man’s capacity to …..                            
A Japanese survivor described the damage to people:
“The appearance of people was . . . well, they all had skin blackened by burns. . . . They had no hair because their hair was burned, and at a glance you couldn't tell whether you were looking at them from in front or in back. . . . They held their arms bent [forward] like this . . . and their skin - not only on their hands, but on their faces and bodies too - hung down. . . . If there had been only one or two such people . . . perhaps I would not have had such a strong impression. But wherever I walked I met these people. . . . Many of them died along the road - I can still picture them in my mind -- like walking ghosts”.

Christy Wynne’s London Memories
I enjoyed Christy’s memories of his time in London as presented on last week. Having spent some time myself in London in the later sixties Christy’s  reflections resonate with me. Indeed he has written quite a number of fine articles reflecting on times past in Boyle and long may he continue to do so..          

Mayo advance
Well done to Mayo who reached the All-Ireland Semi-Final with a comfortable win, in the end, over Donegal on Saturday last. The contributions of O’Shea at full forward was a match winner but there were many other fine contributions. So this year Mayo look better equipped to continue the challenge. It is a pity that they now have to face the powerful challenge of Dublin who have an extended panel to draw on thus leaving them with 15 + 5 options on Sunday the 23rd. Mayo do not have the strength in depth in any way to match that. The foolishness of Kevin Keane in getting himself sent off eliminates one option. Donegal were relying too much on Michael Murphy and it looks that Sunday’s game was the swan song for a number of their fine team such as McFadden, Gallagher, Lacey, Toye and so on.

Tyrone v Monaghan was a poor game with a nasty edge to it. Tyrone did well to win but continue to bring a gamesmanship element to the game that is off-putting.

Kilkenny were convincing winners over Waterford without  putting in a Rolls Royce performance as so often in the past. They still have many powerful hurlers in Reid, Hogan and Fennelly. There was, however, a high toll of uncharacteristic wides from the sides. Waterford are a young side and hopefully they will continue to develop.

Next Sunday it is the turn of Galway and Tipperary. Again the question is; Which Galway will turn up? Tipp look really strong this year and are fancied by many to go all the way. Kilkenny are a bit off being the super team of past years, especially with the loss of J.J. Delaney, so next Sunday’s winners will go in at least 50:50 to the final. If Galway win they have always being an issue for Kilkenny. In any event it looks like a good pairing for the hurling final.

Boyle Seniors Continue to Impress
While being a pretty confusing team formation for Boyle seniors in Strokestown on Sunday last they were convincing winners, in the end, over an under-resourced Kilmore side who put up a traditional energetic first half performance. Boyle supporters have become spoiled a bit –of late- with some silky football from this team played at pace. The first half was not thus and with Enda Smith being well marked at half-time the result looked in the balance somewhat. The second half was very different with Enda coming out and Jim Suffin going to full forward with telling effect. It was great to see another of the young guns making a big impression as Colin Goldrick did with a contribution of four points. Boyle had fine performances from Tadhg Lowe in goals, Cillian Cox, Conor McGowan, Ml. Hanmore in the back line and Jim Suffin up front. Conor Flanagan marked his introduction to senior football with a well taken early goal. The introduction of Mark O’Connor was telling and Mark O’Donohoe also did well when introduced. Towards the end Kilmore went all-out for the necessary goals which left them wide open at the back from which Boyle took advantage with a late scoring flurry.
The final score was Boyle 3.12 Kilmore 0.10.
They now need to overcome St. Croan’s who suffered a narrow defeat to Castlerea-in the next round on Sunday evening the 16th, in Hyde Park at 7 pm. This would ensure a deciding final game against a resurgent Strokestown to see who will join Castlerea in qualifying from the group. This is as I see it.

Boyle U 14 Girls Capture the Sean Daly Memorial Cup
On a beautiful Wednesday evening in the Abbey Park, Boyle U 14 girls had a convincing win over Kilmore to take the Sean Daly Memorial Cup. Present was one of the most eclectic crowds, of young and not so young, I’ve seen in the park for some time. The location of all the requisite tents and paraphernalia of Circus Corvinni Ireland on the training ground lent a carnival atmosphere to it all. I may go as oddly I’ve never been to an official circus per se.
The availability of a team programme was a great help in acquainting oneself with the names of those involved. Boyle had 31 participants listed. The Boyle players who stood out were, Rhiannon Connolly in goals, Shannon Kerins at number three, Ciara Sheerin at number six, Kate Harrington and Erica O’Connor at midfield, Grace Flanagan and the Duggan sisters Ruth and Sarah. The team manager is Vinny Flanagan with Tom Kearney. As I’ve said before the Abbey Park on a fine summer’s day or evening enveloped by a large group of young people involved in sport is an idealistic scene.  



Great win for Shane Lowry
Well done to another Irish golfer, Shane Lowry, on his great win on Sunday in Akron Ohio and I hope the Irish golfers do well in the last of the majors this weekend. 
I March 2008 Shane stopped off at the Moving Stairs on his way home through Boyle after winning the ‘West of Ireland Championship’ at Rosses Point. Benny Morgan who has strong connections in Shane’s home golf course of Esker Hills, Tullamore, Offaly was on hand to take the picture.

John Evans Steps Down
John Evans has stepped down after three years as manager of the Roscommon senior team. His achievement has been in the promotion of Roscommon from Division Three to Division One and supporters applaud this. However there was huge disappointment with Roscommon’s losses to Sligo and especially to Fermanagh at Enniskillen. While the County Board Executive were interested in retaining John for another year the vibes from the clubs did not seem to line up with this. Rather than having a divisive debate at Wednesday’s County Board meeting John Evans decided, apparently, to step aside. We wish him well henceforth. Of course the issue which will engage the minds of Roscommon GAA people in the near future is who his successor as manager. Roscommon will be. Whoever it is will face a challenging league campaign next spring in Division One , a trip to New York for the first round of the championship and an expectation of a decent run in the championship. Perhaps the expectations of fans will be tempered by challenging league. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Update 5th August

 The poems of Yeats final reference

The classic Leaving Certificate poems of Yeats include September 1913 and ‘The Fisherman’

‘Although I can see him still,
The freckled man who goes
To a grey place on a hill
In grey Connemara clothes
At dawn to cast his flies’
This is the idealised Irishman but Yeats finally gives up on this with;
‘A man who does not exist
  A man who is but a dream’
‘Sailing to Byzantium’ starts with a line that has regularly been adapted to other connotations;
‘That is no country for old men’ (The ‘That’ standing for Ireland)
The second verse has an evocative picture of;
‘An aged man is but a paltry thing
A tattered coat upon a stick,’
In ‘Among School Children he focuses on himself as that senior man amongst the young
‘I walk through the long schoolroom questioning
……A sixty-year –old smiling public man’   
An earlier poem ‘An Irish Airman Foresees His Death’ relates a truth rarely referenced, war as an adventure of sorts, a heightened life experience;
‘I know that I shall meet my fate
 Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate
Those that I guard I do not love’ 
This poem is quoted fully in a war film depicting an American bomber plane of the Second World War called ‘The Memphis Belle’. Crews were required to do twenty five sorties over Germany and afterwards be re-assigned to less onerous duties enhancing survival. The film focuses especially on the crew’s twenty fifth bombing flight.
Leonard Cohen at a magical concert at Lissadell House in the summer of 2010 quoted the opening lines of ‘In Memory Of Eva Gore-Booth and her sister Countess Markievicz’
‘The light of evening, Lissadell,
Great windows open to the south
Two girls in silk kimonos, both
Beautiful, one a gazelle’
Unlike many artists the power in the poetry of Yeats does not diminish with age as seen in his valedictory poem dated September 1938 ‘Under Bare Bulben’.The famous lines ordained by him to  be carved on his tombstone in Drumcliff come from the final lines of the final verse six
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!

 Sports Review

While summers past have given us many great Gaelic games especially hurling in the current season to date there has hardly been a decent game in either code.
Like all Roscommon supporters I have watched the progress of Fermanagh especially. It was interesting that they avoided the anticipated slaughter by Dublin. They actually played as if they were enjoying themselves!

This was in stark contrast to the performance of Kildare who were abysmal. It will take some time to live down this defeat. Kerry looked awesome winning on the record score of Kerry 7.16 Kildare 0.10.Few if anyone can run at a defence with the menace of Darren O’Sullivan. For him and the Gooch & co. it was a hot knife through butter. Kerry now play the winners of Monaghan v Tyrone in the semi-final. Kerry must now firm favourites to retain their crown irrespective of Dublin's claims. 
I imagine the proud followers of Cork in both codes will be pretty shattered by the performances of their teams a couple of weeks ago. The managerial position of even the legendary Barry- Murphy must now be in jeopardy.

I see that the Roscommon manager John Evans has been meeting with the top officers of the County Board and the suggestion is that John Evans will be manager for next year.  While there has been a considerable amount of progress with the league promotions it is in the championship that the real stature of a team is tested. In two of the three championship games Roscommon did not do themselves justice. Even in the Cavan game and it has to be acknowledged that Cavan were not a top side it took a long time to finally put a fourteen-man team to the sword. There were, in the eyes of many supporters, quite a few mistakes made by the management which frustrated many supporters. While Roscommon have a large number of very good young players there are significant positional deficits in the panel. While Mayo steam-rolled Sligo there is not any optimism now (there may have earlier in the summer) that Roscommon would have done a lot better.    

Croagh Patrick Cancellation an Omen!

The climb of Croagh Patrick was officially called off at the 11th hour. This was the first time that this has happened since 1951. Some Mayo people are seeing it as a sign of hope for their footballers, since 1951 was the last time Mayo won the senior All-Ireland.

The remaining football championship fixtures are as follows:
1.       Saturday next August 8th the two remaining quarter finals are Monaghan v Tyrone and Donegal v Mayo.
2.       Sun. 9th All-Ireland hurling semi-final, Kilkenny v Waterford 3.30.
3.       Sun. 16th ibid Galway v Tipp.
4.       Sun. 23rd Dublin footballers versus the winners of Donegal v Mayo.    
5.       Sun. 30th Kerry versus the winners of Monaghan v Tyrone.
(For Mayo/Donegal  to win an All-Ireland from here they will have to beat Donegal/Mayo, Dublin and most likely Kerry. If they do they will deserve an All-Ireland). 
Boyle GAA

Photo: The Senior team from Elphin game are as follows;
Back Row; S. Tonra, B. Goldrick, J. Cox, D. Smith, K.Kelly, T. McKenna, E. McGrath, T. Lowe, Ml. Hanmore, K. Cox, C. McKeon, D. Mattimoe, B.Kerins, C. Brennan, M. O’Connor.
Front; C. McGowan, C. Horan, B. Furey, C. Cox, G. Gilmartin, A. Sharkey, C. Flanagan, J. Suffin, S. Purcell, E. Smith, D. East, C. Goldrick, M. O’Donohoe, C. Tivnan, D. Keenehan, M. McGrath

Boyle Senior footballers play Kilmore in Stokestown at 4 on Sunday next, August the 9th , in the third round of the senior championship. To date they have lost to Castlerea and beaten Elphin. (The team had a good win againover Elphin on Saturday last in the league which puts them in contention for a play-off spot in that competition).
For the following week-ends of August, Boyle play, St. Croan’s in the Hyde and Strokestown in the senior championship.

While I know a good few of the U 16 team I do not know them all so someone might forward the names to me at;   

Roscommon U 16 Girls Gallant Display in All-Ireland Final.

I was at a great if heart-breaking game for Roscommon U 16 Girls team against Waterford at Nenagh on Wednesday the 5th of last week, in the ‘B’ All-Ireland Football Final. It was a heartbreak because Roscommon lost by just one point, Waterford 2.9 Roscommon 3.5, in a game in which skill, dash, courage and drama abounded. Waterford started as if they were going to steam-roll Roscommon and led by ten point at one stage but the Roscommon girls fought back and at half-time the score stood at Waterford 2.7 Roscommon 2.1. Roscommon dominated most of the second half and got a goal two minutes from time to leave just a point between the sides but Roscommon could not get the equalising point to bring the game to extra time. It was a tremendous effort from a gallant team who deserved better. Roisin Wynne of Boyle was just terrific in her defending duties.  Michael O’Brien of the Roscommon Herald stated at the end of his report this week that; “It was the greatest underage ladies’ game of football that this reporter has ever witnessed”.   

The Banking Enquiry?

If people had any optimism in the Public Accounts Committee’s Enquiry into the Banking Collapse it has been greatly eroded. The performances of Neary, Hurley, Cowan, Ahearn, McCreevey and so on reminds me of an attitude adopted by some in going to confession. A little suggestion of contrition –though that act is not easy to remember after all this time- salving of the conscience a wee bit and then it is a rub of the hands and one more spin on the merry go-round. Now where is the merry-go-round?

 On Tom McGurk’s Late Review on TV 3 recently the attitude of the top people in PTSB with regard to mortgages, the way they treated customers and their choreographed explanations came under severe criticism. Apparently the PTSB is a fully state-owned entity but Minister Noonan is not able to exact appropriate influence on its procedures and attitudes. The chorographers, including the legal eagles and the public relations whizz kids rule. There was a telling picture in The Irish Times of CEO of the Irish PTSB, Jeremy Masding, at his press conference with the words, ‘Serious/Controlled/No smile’ directions on top of his presentation notes as he stated ‘We apologise unreservedly to all impacted customers’. How depressing it all is and how devastating it is for those caught up in its machinations. ‘Impacted’ has an appropriate onomatopoeic ring to it.
Three banking people were found guilty last week for some cover up for their superiors ‘upstairs’ while those from ‘upstairs’ were nowhere to be seen. 

Last Word on Yeats 

(Letter to, 'The Irish Times' doing the rounds on ‘social media’)
Sir-If they do exhume the bones at Drumcliffe churchyard, I hope they don’t get the nasty surprise I did in my Leaving Cert. when I was expecting Yeats and Kavanagh came up instead.

Yours etc., Robert O’Shea, Newcastle West, Limerick.