Friday, February 26, 2016

Update 26th February

Kieran Emmett 10th Anniversary Concert and Sessions

Kieran Emmett, a member of the very wellknown and regarded Emmett family of Ballyfarnon, died in early March 2006. He was known in many parts of the country as a musician, wit, entertainer and character call it what you will. He would be at his best a bit late into the night in a public house regaling a close circle of friends with anecdotes of his adventures as he traversed the country selling tyres for Emmett Remoulds or attending fleadhs or music sessions the length and breadth of the land. Drumshambo and Boyle were two towns in which he spent much of his time. He became linked to a particular music house such as Conway’s in Drumshambo or The Ceili House Bar (now Kelly's Londis) in Boyle. It was in the Ceili House that I got to know him. From the sixties on the Ceili House became a mecca for traditional music since its proprietor Kathleen Dwyer Morris was a noted fiddle player nationally. Kieran’s associate in Boyle was the flute player Bernie Flaherty and they played in the region as a duo and travelled widely to sessions. During that time the Ceili House ran a variety of entertainments apart from music. One memorable event in which Kieran starred and won was the Boyle Bachelor competition!

In Drumshambo during the fine Mooney Summer School Festival he was a regular greeter in Conway’s bar and I spent a number of very entertaining hours with him there where he seemed to be known by everyone present. We also met up at the All-Ireland Fleadhs in Listowel, Clonmel or wherever it happened to be. We met early on the Monday morning of the All-Ireland Fleadh in Clonmel and while we were discussing the merits of the event a local lady greeted us as she was passing and Kieran offered the query “Mrs. would you know anywhere a man might get a bed for the day?”

Once as he thinking of changing the old car he had he wondered from me if an ad. in the Herald suggesting ‘Car for sale. Ten careful owners’ would have the desired impact!  Another example from Bernie Flaherty was after Kieran had in fact changed his car and Bernie observed a good rope in the boot and queried it. To which Kieran responded ‘Bernie do you think I would ever buy a car good enough not to have to have a rope in it?’ or words to that effect. Indeed many of Kieran’s lightening quips were uttered in the context of a particular conversation moment, topic, or personality under review. He loved his ‘native shore’ – Ballyfarnon and James Shivnan’s Bar where he was served ‘the best pint in Ireland’.

Kieran’s musical prowess is not to be underestimated and shortly before his death he unveiled his own lovely composition called ‘Down in the Hollow’ which was played by his many friends at his funeral mass. 

He was a gregarious individual and had friends in his various boltholes through the country like the Farleys, Brendan and Ollie, from Oldcastle County Meath, who will be performing at the Concert in Kieran’s memory which will take place in King House on Friday March 4th commencing at 8 pm.  Amongst the other performers are Charlie MGettigan, Bernard Flaherty and Joe Kennedy, Rosie Stewart, Mary and Tommy Finn, Frankie Simon and his brothers Paul and Brendan Emmett. It is expected that the ‘session’ will continue in Dodd’s afterwards.

On Saturday it is hoped to have traditional sessions in local bars also from 4 pm.
In summation Kieran was a character who brightened our lives on many occasions in those years. I am sure that on next week-end  there will be much reminiscing of Kieran and the remembering of his stories and adventures with much laughter. It is often said ‘there are few if any characters like him nowadays’. His larger than life spirit lives on though. 

The Election in the Snow 1917. 

Tomorrow we go to the polls and do our three card shuffle as best we can. One hundred years ago out forbears in North Roscommon performed the same duty in a historic way. This was in the bye-election of Saturday February 3rd 1917. The election was caused by the death of long-time Irish Party, Westminster M.P. James J. O’Kelly. A  number of people floated their names as possible candidates. It was rumoured that Sinn Fein would offer a candidate, possibly Professor Eoin Mac Neill  then in prison. Mr. Thomas J. Devine was generally accepted as the Irish Party or United Irish League candidate. (He was a resident of St. Patrick’s St. where the Patrick’s Well bar is now). Seamus Doherty a Sinn Fein organiser visited Boyle which he knew through business and held a meeting with a number of Sinn Fein confidants requesting support for the nomination of George Noble Count Plunkett, father of the executed Easter Rising leader and poet Joseph Mary Plunkett. A subsequent meeting took place in the Central Hotel later the Northern Bank. The meeting was presided over by a man who was to become hugely important in the election i.e. Father Michael O’ Flanagan curate at Crossna. They had just three weeks to organise their campaign. Prominent Sinn Fein members came to Boyle to support Plunkett and are recorded in an important autograph book of Mrs. Eva Feely of the Feely/Feighan family who ran the news agency McDonagh's across from the Central Hotel.  Some names here were; Arthur Griffith, Rory O’Connor, Joseph McGrath and if I remember correctly Michael Collins. 
The third candidate was Jasper Tully former M.P. and proprietor of The Roscommon Herald. The issues of the election included the threat of conscription, land division of the ‘ranches’ and for Sinn Fein of course the question of national sovereignty as a legacy of Easter 1916. The campaign was carried out in very severe weather conditions and the blanket of snow offered an ideal canvass for the posting of election slogans such as Vote for Count Plunkett father of the Patriot Joseph Mary Plunkett. Due to the huge energy injected by the visiting campaigners and the ‘whirlwind’ that was the activity of Father O’ Flanagan supported by a large number of clerical curates their candidate swept the boards. 
Plunkett headed the poll with 3, 022 votes to Devine 1,708 and Tully 687. It was a tremendous performance in the North Roscommon constituency covering from Tarmonbarry to Loughglynn. The winners retired from the count centre of Boyle Courthouse in triumph to their base in The Central Hotel.
The policy of abstention from the Westminster Parliament had not emerged prior to this but after the result was announced Plunkett declared that he would not try to represent his constituents in London and would not go any further that the old Dublin Parliament of College Green. 
The result was applauded by nationalists through the country and the Roscommon result was followed by similar results by McGuinness in Longford and Eamon de Valera in Clare. At the first post –war general election in December 1918 the Home Rule Party led by John Redmond was swept away and a new and traumatic era was set in train. In it all Roscommon North with the 1917 election of Count Plunkett had set the nation on a new course.  
(There is an extended essay on this election in Micheal O’Callaghan’s important book ‘For Ireland and Freedom’ published first in 1964 and republished twice subsequently. Barry Feely will also deal with this event in his upcoming publication  ‘They Dared to Challenge in the Garrison Town of Boyle’  which will be launched at Easter).               

Brexit Referendum June 23rd

If our election is important, as all elections are, I suppose the election in the U.K. on June 23rd is more important. A British exit from the E.U would cause all kinds of issues for this country. I am aware of the irony of writing this immediately after writing a note on the 1917 election. Boris Johnson’s emergence as being pro exit increases the threat of a British withdrawal from the EU. While there are pro exit arguments and perhaps Johnson feels legitimately that they outweigh the arguments for staying in the EU, there is a considerable possibility that Boris is looking after the future of Boris in the matter. Cameron and Johnson go back a long way to secondary school at Eton College even. Apparently Boris was the bright star while David was the middle ground student. Johnson naturally wants the top job and Cameron is the man in possession so the traditional political stance is ‘my opponent’s difficulty is my opportunity’ obtains. The support of Boris for a British exit from the EU smacks of opportunism. Does the future for the Anglo-American Alliance mean it will be led by Boris Johnson and Donald Trump? What a prospect. Indeed the possibility of a British exit could cause a domino effect with the migration pressure having the potential to overwhelm western Europe and as of now leading to the reinstatement of border security and checks along the borders of many countries.           

A big Week-End for Sport 

Roscommon v Cork
Top of the sport’s agenda for us in Roscommon is our trip to Cork on Sunday in the league. After the win over Kerry we now travel with hope that we can get a win here if Cork give one of their inconsistent performances.
On Friday night Dublin v Monaghan. The other games are Mayo v Donegal in Donegal Sunday; Kerry v Down in Down. TG4 give good coverage to the Division 1 games so check this out for viewing.
This week-end is GAA Congress week-end in Carlow. I imagine the change in U 21 and minor will be debated as there has been a lot of sentiments expressed about the abusive over-playing of young talented players in that age-range. The other item is the neglect of club players with fixtures being tossed around like snuff at a wake. Eugene McGee does not hold out much hope for positivity from the Congress as expressed in the headline to his column on Monday ‘Congress—the minefield that defies change in GAA’.


Ireland play England on Saturday around 4.20 I think. Ireland are already out of contention for Championship and Triple Crown so this is a dead rubber really….a kind of a challenge game. But they will take it seriously enough because ‘pride is at stake’. Ireland is decimated with injuries at the moment so the team is a pretty changing landscape right now. Talking od injuries I eventually got to see the film ‘Concussion’ about just that in American football. It did not have the edge of say ‘All the Presidents Men’ or Russell Crowe in the film ‘Insider’ dealing with the inner machinations of the tobacco industry and its link to cancer. Still it was educational and worthy and for people involved in contact sports especially rugby and boxing it makes uncomfortable viewing. So any time I see Jonathan Sexton take a heavy hit this week-end I’ll wince.
France ‘play’ Wales on Friday night. France are moving towards being the real bad boys of international rugby with their overt physical approach. By a process of elimination Scotland must be playing Italy.


A hugely important game is taking place from Friday and it is the election of the President of FIFA to replace Sepp Blatter. Blatter and Platini had their suspension appeal heard lately by The Court of Arbitration for Sport’. While their suspensions were not overturned they were reduced. Blatter must have gone to the open university as Gerry Adams in terms of denial of wrongdoing.         

Boyle Celtic Top Fine Win
Boyle Celtic 1 City United Sligo 0
This was a great performance and result by Boyle Celtic away in Sligo on Sunday last. Boyle put the pressure on City through the first half and went into an early lead on fifteen minutes with a goal from Michael Corrigan. Boyle missed some chances to extend their lead in that first half. City increased the pressure in the second half and Boyle had to defend valiantly which they did. The Sligo Champion ended its report with “Boyle in the end emerged worthy winners in a brilliant game’. Best fro for Boyle were Carlos, McDermotroe, Corrigan and ‘Man of the Match’ Luka Roddy. The team on Sunday was Suffin/Carlos/McDermotroe/Conboy/Brennan/ McCormack/Battles/McKilleen/ Corrigan/ Roddy/Calpin with Conor Deery.                 
They now sit on top of the Great Southern Hotel sponsored Super League with 37 points from 13 games played, 12 wins and 1 draw. That draw was against City in Boyle early in the campaign. City have 28 points from 11 games so if they converted their two games in hand, as they would be expected to do, it would leave just 3 points between the sides. Yeats are also in the mix and Boyle are away to them. Boyle’s biggest threat is to take some game lightly and get turned over losing a very good opportunity to get a second league success in a short time.

Boyle lose to Kilmore

Kilmore 0.9 Boyle 0.4.

After the fine win over Padraig Pearse’s it was down to earth on Sunday last with defeat to Kilmore in Kilmore. The Boyle team is much under strength at the moment and this was reflected in this performance. Boyle had just one point to show at half time as Kilmore led by 0.5 to Boyle 0.1. Things did not improve dramatically in the second half and Kilmore finished deserving winners. Boyle’s best players on Sunday were Pat Goldrick in goals, Cillian Cox and Sean Purcell in backs and Ciaran Cox at midfield. The forwards did not get anything like the space they did in the Pearse’s game and found it difficult. The team on Sunday was Goldrick/Ciaran Beirne/ Cillian Cox/ Gilmartin/ Hanmore/ Purcell/ Cian Beirne/ Ciaran Cox/ Halligan/ Suffin/ Colin Goldrick/ Kerins/ Flanagan/ East/ McKeon with Horan and Kelly. Their next game is against Elphin.  

Friday, February 19, 2016

Update 19th February

Click on the photo to view full size

On the request of Frankie Flaherty New York  I post again this pic. with the correct set of names this time. 
The 1975 Boyle U16 County finalists with Seamus Sweeney current Chairman of Roscommon County Board GAA. Beaten by a Ml. Finneran powered  Western Gaels in Castlerea. 
Back Row: A. Morris/T. Regan/ SEAMUS SWEENEY/ P. Connaughton/ C. McMurrough/ D. Harrington/ J. Cox/R. McLoughlin/ J. Gallagher/ P. Butler/ M. Candon/ A. O’Dowd/ K. Lavin/ F. Harrington/ M. Quinn/ T. Conboy, Manager. ( James Dodd, missing from pic.)
Front: G. Murray/ G. Hannon/ J. McDermott/ D. O’Connor/ D. Dodd/ P. Daly/ S. Brennan/ B. Shannon/ B. Gaffney/ M.Martin/ G.Wynne/ S. Daly/ Players missing from this pic. Joe Warde/ Ml. Jordan/ R. Mullarkey,

Memorial Mass for Gerry O’Malley

A Memorial Mass for Gerry O’Malley will take place in Curragboy Church on Sunday next February 21st at 10.30. I am going, so if any GAA person wishes to accompany me give me a ring.

Political Literature

I collect political literature-ephemera of a kind- in this constituency for a friend who has transferred to Athlone. I am missing, as of now, material from Miss Miriam Hennessy of the Green Party; Tony Coleman from Loughglynn and Thomas D. Fallon from Tulsk. So if anyone comes across election material of those three candidates they might let me have same.  

Cake :-)

A large Fianna Fail (I think) didactic poster advertisement at Shilling Hill says ‘It is time to get our slice of the cake’! 

The Election.

There is a small amount of smoke but no fire in the election atmosphere that I discern in our area. The perceived wisdom is that Michael Fitzmaurice and  Dennis Naughten will be elected easily, perhaps in that order. The fight is for the third seat. A Fianna Fail of yore would be  a certainty to take at least that. But it seems that they will be challenged to take the one seat and Maura Hopkins will be the winner here with probably Shane Curran as her nearest challenger. However the Fine Gael fair wind is said to have run out of steam nationally so this will not help. There are mixed reactions to Shane Curran even amongst what one would label as GAA personnel. Shane is a kind of technicoloured dream-coat individual and some of those coats are confusing to a cadre of voters. Indeed, in our area, with the resignation of Frank Feighan, there is less of an impetus to get engaged at all. I know that Eddie Conroy from Boyle will engage a dedicated support but being part of ‘People Before Profit’, while a commendable aspiration, the party will not engage a large section of the electorate. That said, one of the stand out soundbites of this week’s Claire Byrne RTE television debates was Richard Boyd Barrett’s reference to the closure of Loughlinstown Hospital with the resultant overspill to St. Vincent’s Hospital which was already struggling to cope with its own intake. Substitute there the closure of Roscommon Hospital A&E and the transfer to University College Hospital Galway. Anyone who has experience of being there will understand the inference.

Dodgy Claims

I hadn’t heard the reference to the 50 cent raise in the minimum wage for a few weeks and then a politician referred to it again on the Vincent Browne debate this week as a real achievement of this Government. This cheeses me off as a claim of a significant  advance when the speaker himself starts at a salary of  €87 thousand plus expenses per annum. Another issue that is mentioned is the JobBridge Scheme.
“JobBridge, the National Internship Scheme, provides work experience opportunities for unemployed people. It is aimed at people who have been either getting certain social welfare payments or signing for credits for at least 3 months. Participants in the scheme will be offered an internship of 6 or 9 months with a host organisation. If they take up an internship they will keep their social welfare payment and will get an extra €52.50 per week.” 
I have heard on radio etc. much criticism of this scheme and of it being abused by its hosts.

Musicians John and Maggie Carty in Spells.

Boyle/Ballinameen musicians John and Maggie Carty accompanied by Francis Gaffney and bouzouki player Noel O’Grady from Swinford will be performing in the well- known Ballaghaderreen venue ‘Spells’ on Friday February the 26th at 9 pm. This is the first of Spells Ireland 100 series held in the Rum & Black club to commemorate the centenary of the 1916 Rising. John is one of the finest musicians in the country and was involved in the music for the film Brooklyn. John has travelled widely playing his music. His daughter Maggie is a fine musician and also an emerging singer. Francis Gaffney is well known also as an accompanist and is a fine singer himself and a regular at the Boyle sessions in Dodd’s every second Friday night. The Spells night promises to be a great night of quality music. Early booking is advised. Tickets are €15/€12 and can be obtained from 094 9860144. (While talking of music sessions I might make my first mention of a concert in King House on Friday March 4th in memory of Kieran Emmett. I will refer to this in detail next week.)

Dónall Mac Amhlaigh at the Boyle Fleadh

In a phone conversation with Jim Ganly of the Roscommon History Society this evening our talk strayed into the fact that his dad had worked with the writer Dónall Mac Amhlaigh in Northampton. Dónall was responsible for the very popular book in Irish  Dialann Deoraí (Diary of an Exile) later published in translation as ‘The Navvy’. 
Anyway the mention of Dónall reminds me of a story written by him after being in Boyle during the great Fleadh of 1960. Apparently he wandered in and out of a particular bar a number of times during the week-end of the event. Each time he saw and had words with the same man. On the Monday as Dónall was having his last drink before he took the train out of Boyle he asked his new friend if he enjoyed the Fleadh? His friend replied; “It would have been a great Fleadh only for all the bloody music”!

Boyle GAA

After their good win on Sunday, Boyle will hope to do well also on Sunday next v Kilmore in Kilmore at 2pm. Early points are vital to staying in the senior league which is very important in the development of the team. The minors play Castlerea at Castlerea on Saturday at 4pm in the Division 3 League. This will pose concerns for managements since a couple of the minors played key roles last Sunday v Pearse’s.

I remember fondly this time last year and being at the Sigerson Cup final in Cork when DCU with three Boyle club players, Enda and Donal Smith and Tadgh Lowe, were on the winning team over the home team UCC. DCU have qualified for the semi-finals again this year. Enda Smith is our sole representative now with DCU.
Sigerson Cup semi-finals : UCD v University of Limerick, at  Jordanstown, Belfast, 1pm : Dublin City University  v University of Ulster Jordanstown, Belfast, 3 pm.
The favourites are UCD and Jordanstown. The final takes place on Saturday at 2.30 and will be screened live on TG4.


I mentioned last week a very good film called ‘Spotlight’ showing in Carrick. It may still be there this coming week. A film I am going to see is ‘Concussion’ which deals with this issue in an American football scenario. As I have said it a very relevant issue in rugby especially and last Saturday’s encounter between Ireland and France did nothing to usage the concern. Ireland’s next rugby game is V England on Saturday the 27th in Twickenham.


A couple of seasons ago I referred to the Champions League as the television series of the spring. Tuesday’s game between Chelsea and PSG (Paris) was an excellent game and then on Wednesday night it was worth watching Real Madrid playing Roma for the performance of Ronaldo in particular. One of my earliest memories of a televised soccer game was from 1960. The 1959–60 European Cup was the fifth season of the competition. The competition was won by Real Madrid, who beat Eintracht Frankfurt 7–3 in the final at Hampden Park, Glasgow. It remains the record score for the European Cup final. It was Real Madrid's fifth consecutive European Cup title. Amongst the great Madrid players were Puskas, Stephano and Gento. It was a real treat even though one watched through what looked like a snow storm but it was just quality of the reception then.

Next week it is Arsenal v Barcelona and another genius of a player in Messi.

Next week’s RTE Election debate will possibly be worth watching, for a while anyway, as the players have got familiar with the process and with Fine Gael now getting nervy the issues and attack lines will have been distilled. Three days before the polls open, Miriam O’Callaghan will host a special Prime Time Leaders Debate on Tuesday 23rd in the RTÉ studios in Dublin, with the leaders of the four biggest political parties invited. The debate will be followed by a live reaction programme, The Spin Room, hosted by David McCullough. This is quite a good segment and assesses the performances well and in that sense one can learn……just like a football game……any game really! 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Update 15th February

Young guns step up to the plate.

Boyle 2.13 Padraig Pearse’s 3.9.

We travelled to Woodmount outside Ballinasloe neither optimistic or pessimistic just wondering what the story would be in the opening game of this year’s Senior League/O’Rourke Cup. We were a little late and if we were there for the start and realised just how many regular senior players were missing from the Boyle team we would have been pessimistic. Anyway is was 3 points each at that stage, holding our own not bad. The young Boyle forward line were doing very well as was the midfield of Thomas Halligan and Kieran Cox. Colin Goldrick with three frees kept the scoreboard ticking over aided by a fine save by Pat Goldrick in goals on 18 minutes. Cian McKeon and Goldrick again stretched Boyle’s lead to Boyle 8 points to 4. Boyle’s defence was somewhat porous and Pearse's created plenty of space for an easy goal on 23 minutes and a second on 28 to undo the point-scoring of Goldrick and McKeon. However after a good move Evan McGrath got a Boyle goal on 24 minutes to give Boyle the narrowest of leads at half time. The half time score Boyle 1.9 Pearse’s 2.5.
In the second half it was Goldrick and McKeon who posed the main threat for Boyle with Seanie Purcell contributing a fine point also. The Pearse’s goal threat seemed to be stemmed and after a cracking goal from Cian McKeon on 24 minutes Boyle were in a match-winning position leading by on the score of Boyle 2.13 Pearse’s 2.8. However a mistake in extra time led to a Pearse’s goal followed by a point leaving just a point between the sides. We feared the worst, that a game won was now to slip away but time came to the rescue and Boyle had held out for a very good win at a venue where we have regularly found it difficult to get positive results.(It should be noted that Pearse’s were also missing a lot of key players).

The McGovern Directional Drilling Boyle team today, which will have even regular Boyle supporters scratching their heads, was as follows; Pat Goldrick, Aaron Sharkey, Cillian Cox/Gareth Gilmartin/Ml. Hanmore/Seanie Purcell (0.1)/ Cian Beirne/ Thomas Halligan (0.2)/ Kieran Cox/ Jim Suffin/ Evan McGrath (1.0) / Ben Kerins/ Cian McKeon (1.3) / Colin Goldrick (0.7 fr. 4/ Conor Flanagan. Substitutes used Ciaran Beirne/ Cathal Horan/ Mark Goldrick with Karl Kelly.  This must be the youngest Boyle senior team ever. In terms of performers Goldrick did fine in goals The back line after lapses in the first half came good later and had fine performances from Gilmartin, Purcell and Cian Beirne. Halligan and Cox did well at midfield with star turns from McKeon and Colin Goldrick in the forwards. If one were choosing a ‘Man of the Match ‘ today it would be difficult to choose. Leaving Purcell out of the equation the contenders were Cian Beirne, Gareth Gilmartin, Cian McKeon and my choice today Colin Goldrick whose point scoring from frees and play were excellent.
Missing, through injury mostly, were; 1. T. Lowe/ 2. T. McKenna/ 3.4 E. and D.Smith/ 5. R. Hanmore/ 6. M. O’Connor/ 7. D. O’Connor/ 8. C. McGowan/ 9. D. East / 10. M. O’Donohoe/ 11. M. O’Connor 2/ 12. C. Deery/ 13. S. Tonra/14. A.N. Other   

Overall it was a very good win and great credit is due to the young lads today for getting the side off to a winning start and collecting two valuable points.

The fixtures from here are as follows; Away. Kilmore Feb. 21st  / A. v Elphin March 20th/ Home v Strokestown April 17th/ H. v Oran Apr. 24th/ A. v Clann na nGael Wed. May 25th/  H v St. Brigid’s Sat. June 4th/ H. v Ros. Gaels July 3rd/ and finally H v Western Gaels August 21st.   Ten teams, 9 games 4 away 5 home.   t.c.             

Friday, February 12, 2016

Update 12th February

Fine win for Roscommon in Killarney.

It was a long but very worthwhile trip to Killarney on Sunday last. Even the rain did not dampen the enthusiasm of the large Roscommon travelling support. Many supporters had gone on the Saturday and I was told that the atmosphere and welcome was top of the range on the Saturday night in Killarney. The long stand at Fitzgerald stadium accommodated all the 4 to 5 thousand supporters so no ‘trickle down’…. the neck effect here.
Kerry started better and for the opening ten minutes things looked a bit threatening . Then on ten minutes Enda Smith after a good run pointed and Roscommon kept the score-board ticking over, as they say, with several great scores from Cathal Cregg (2 points), Murtagh, Devaney, Fintan Cregg and Connolly to reach the 28th minute 8 to 3 in the lead. Kerry came with a late surge which included a goal to leave the half-time score Kerry 1.6 Roscommon 0.8. Roscommon had been playing with the wind and Buckley and Moran were on top at midfield for them so they looked in pole position at that stage. However the mobility, fitness and work rate  of all the Roscommon players stifled  Kerry in the second half and even against the wind Roscommon outscored Kerry to win on the score of Roscommon 0.14 Kerry 1.10. Two more excellent Cathal Cregg points were amongst the highlights of this half as was the dogged rear-guard action of the final minutes.
All the Roscommon players played well with a lot having outstanding games including Cathal and Fintan Cregg and Conor Devaney up front, the full back line of Seanie McDermott, Neil Collins,Niall McInerney and particularly Niall Daly at centre-back. The TG4 ‘Man of the Match’ award went to Enda Smith who posed a real threat when driving forward in possession. The substitutes Cathal Shine and Seanie Purcell also made vital contributions. It was great to see Enda getting ‘Man of the Match’ and to see Seanie Purcell coming on to such affect.
One of the real bonuses of being in division one is that many of the games are covered by TG4 and one can record them when at the game and review them on television at one’s leisure later. Also the coverage on the national newspapers is good and it was nice to see the top ‘strap’ of Monday’s Independent front page picturing Roscommon players celebrating and the banner headline reading “Roscommon win leaves Kerry in a spin.”
So well done to the team and all involved with them for this spirited performance.
The next match is against Cork, in Cork, in two weeks’ time. Cork had a convincing win against Mayo in their first game but went down well to an impressive Donegal on Sunday continuing a thing with Cork teams, their inconsistency.  

O’Rourke Cup Division One League

Next Sunday the senior club league begins in Roscommon and Boyle make the long journey to play Padraig Parse’s at Woodmount for 2 p.m. Boyle have prepared well under their manager Ml. Jordan and assistants and a good start is half the battle but there are no easy games at his level so every game is vital. In this way it mirrors the county’s position.

GAA Errata

The decision of the GAA at high levels to fine Longford club Dromard €3,000 later reduced to €2,000 for allowing the club ground to be used for a soccer summer school has been widely criticised. I know the arguments but if the GAA were to avoid much bad press on the issue they might have issued a stern warning to the club regarding a repeat and leave it at that. €2,000 down the drain is a large amount for a small club for which, like all clubs, the burden of fund-raising is a constant chore. Croke Park is constantly on the airwaves at the moment for the promotion of two Bruce Springsteen concerts in May. Now I regard Bruce highly but he is not Gaelic sport. Many events other than Gaelic games have taken place in GAA grounds and Croke Park itself did facilitate rugby and soccer only a short time ago. In small towns the duplication of facilities means that what could be very good facilities are divided by two with another code down the road. 

The death of Mayo’s Father Peter Quinn.

For Mayo GAA followers their dual All-Ireland winning team of ’50 and ’51 are the benchmark heroes for them as the Roscommon team of ‘43/’44 are for us. The names of that Mayo team are known far and wide. The ’51 Mayo team was as follows; S. Wynne/J. Forde/ P. Prendergast/ S. Flanagan (Capt.)/ J. Staunton/ H. Dixon/ Fr. Peter Quinn/ E. Mongey/ J. McAndrew/ P. Irwin/ P. Carney/ S. Mulderrig/ M. Flanagan/ T. Langan/ J. Gilvarry with L. Hastings. (those on in 1950 team not listed above were W. Durkin, goals/ W. Kenny/ P. Solon/ M. Mulderrig/ M. Caulfield). In the ’50 final they defeated Louth by 2.7 to 1.6 and in ’51 they defeated Meath by the score of Mayo 2.8 Meath 0.9.That Mayo team won four Connacht titles in a row. With the death of Peter Quinn aged 91 and recently based in Florida, there are now just two members living of that great team who are Paddy Prendergast who lives in Kerry and Paraic Carney ‘the flying doctor’ which appendage he got because he flew home from the U.S. for some games. Father Quinn was ordained ‘for the missions’ shortly after those All-Ireland victories and the team presented him with a signed football used in the final prior to his departure.
Just for your information there are two of the Roscommon all-Ireland winning team of ’44 still with us. Liam Gilmartin now approaching 95 is still hale and hearty and lives in Dublin and the ‘forgotten man’ Paddy Beisty who was a young substitute  in ’44 and lives in Rathcroghan and will be ninety in March.

Liverpool Fans and ticket Prices

Apparently ticket prices for premiership games are very high or at least the cost of decent tickets are. I haven’t been to a premiership equivalent game for decades. I went to White Hart Lane, Stamford Bridge and Loftus Road in the sixties. I don’t remember the prices from then!  In any event in Monday’s Independent there is a picture of a large crowd of Liverpool fans leaving the grounds in protest at the prices in the 77th minute. The 77 was chosen to coincide with a new price of £77 for particular tickets. At the time Liverpool led Sunderland by 2 goals to nil but ironically Sunderland levelled with two late goals. In an attendant article the greed of various branches of the football hierarchy were referenced, from players with obscene wages to agents, to Gordon Taylor PFA Chairman getting wages of over £3million. Much of this is on foot of the huge money that T.V. pay for the rights to screen the games which necessitates ‘pay per view’. It is all a long way from the flat capped traditional working class supporters who populated the Kop end, in decades past.  


I did not see the Ireland v Wales game on television on Sunday. The interest in rugby, despite the huge coverage of the games in newspapers and television, is in a hiatus as I see it. The shock of the performances of the Northern Hemisphere in the Rugby World Cup last summer plus the fact that no Irish province has qualified for the Heineken Cup play-offs will take some time to recover from. The Irish coach Joe Schmidt is no longer the messiah he was spoken of prior to the World Cup. The image of Paul O’Connell being carried off after getting injured against France is kinda symbolic of the closure of a great era for the game in this country. It will be difficult to replicate those years of success and expectation in Northern hemisphere rugby.  

The Save Roscommon Issue

Things have gone quiet on this front in the last week or so after the great response of over 25,000 submissions being advanced to the Review Commission. However an interesting development which will be given close attention by the campaign’s leadership is reported on page 7 of the Roscommon People this week. It reports that there is similar resistance to the same proposal by south Kilkenny to the expansion of Waterford City at their expense. There however they are going to the High Court contesting the issue. The case result will have implications for all four areas affected by the same proposal. It may not be the current Minister Alan Kelly’s bother then with a new Government and Mister Kelly himself reported to be in a fight for the last seat in Tipperary.

Shane Curran Joins the Race

The addition of Shane Curran to the list of candidates in the Roscommon/East Galway constituency has certainly put a cat amongst the pigeons. It is understandable that Eugene Murphy is annoyed but the Dublin hierarchy obviously felt that they needed to bolster their chances of a seat by adding a higher profile candidate in Curran. How this plays out is a real conundrum. How the first count goes will be hugely important. It is expected that Dennis Naughten and Ml. Fitzmaurice are certain to win seats though they would dislike that being said right now. Curran will shave some votes of course from both candidates probably more from Naughten because of location. Many people feel that it is Maura Hopkins’s seat to lose and that she is the favourite for the third seat having really got around the county since coming into politics in the county. Fianna Fail’s prevarication for so long in their team selection hasn’t helped them and now the addition of Curran does not help their campaign atmosphere. But as the old phrase goes ‘we are where we are’ and it would be in the interests of the Fianna Fail candidates to mend bridges for the purpose of the campaign. The Roscommon People on page 23 has its ‘Quote of the Week’ as a stray in the wind from Eugene Murphy as follows; ‘If Shane Curran can transfer to me and get me over the line I would be very, very, happy.’
Also the advent of Shane Curran has reduced the light thrown on the other candidates for the time being at least. I imagine that Senator John Kelly, Sinn Fein’s Claire Kerrane and the other candidates feel that is the case. There are suggestions that Claire Kerrane will do well but is perhaps a candidate for the future if Sinn Fein develop in the constituency.  Eddie Conroy will get a good Boyle vote for a start and hope to build on that. Anne Farrell and Miriam Hennessy have a lot to do to establish identification  especially outside their own zones of recognition. Like many of the constituencies the count for Roscommon/East Galway will be fascinating.           

Fine Gael-------------------------- Maura Hopkins

Fianna Fáil----------------------- Eugene Murphy, Shane Curran

Sinn Féin -----------------------  Claire Kerrane

Labour Party --------------------John Kelly

Social Democrats ------Anti-Austerity Alliance

People Before Profit-----------Eddie Conroy

Green Party----------------------Miriam Hennessy

Independents/ Others-------Michael Fitzmaurice, Denis Naughten

Renua Ireland ------------------Anne Farrell

I see from the Roscommon People page 32 that another person has put their name forward as an Independent community candidate named Thomas D. Fallon originally from Kiltoom and now resident in Tulsk.



Friday, February 5, 2016

Update 5th February

2016 Blog February 4th.

Welcome to Division One.
Roscommon 1.9 Monaghan 2.10.
Roscommon were just edged out at St. Brigid’s ground at Kiltoom on a wet and inhospitable day on Sunday last. It was one of those games where Roscommon might have gained at least a draw but Monaghan closed with a surge and what can be regarded as a mistake at the end gave the opportunity to a fine footballer Conor McManus who drilled the ball to the back of the net to give Monaghan a win they arguably deserved.  It is certainly a learning curve for Roscommon but the problem here is that learning on the job, as in this game, comes at a cost. Still, on a positive side, we seem to forget that Monaghan are a very good side with recent pedigree so the Roscommon management can tell the team they were able to cope with that challenge on Sunday. 
Also both sides can be applauded for their efforts in very, very, difficult conditions. It was also a challenging day for supporters though the anticipated crowd was reduced by circumstances. Roscommon led on the score of Roscommon 1.5 Monaghan 0.2 at half time and with the wind this was not enough. Even in this half Monaghan missed a considerable number of chances. Roscommon’s goal came from a penalty won and converted by Ciaran Murtagh after 27 minutes. A real body blow for Roscommon came with the dismissal of Murtagh with a black card for an innocuous foul seven minutes later.
In the second half two key times were a Fintan Cregg point which was a real goal chance missed and  a purple patch Monaghan in which they tagged on three points in a couple of minutes to leave just two points between the sides. Monaghan substitute McKenna added two points and it was really in the balance as the clock slowly wound down. Roscommon went ahead with a fine point on 33 minutes from a difficult free by Fintan Cregg. But Monaghan came with that late surge and scored 1.2 in the final five minutes. 
For Roscommon the fullback line of McDermott, who shackled Conor McManus so well for so long, Collins and a very impressive Niall McInerney did well. The half back line had difficulties. Midfield too had to cope with a very strong Monaghan midfield. Enda Smith scored a fine point and set up Fintan Cregg for his goal chance.  Fintan Cregg in a ‘Man of the Match’ was very positive aspect of the game. Cathal Cregg worked tirelessly and as I said the loss of Ciaran Mutagh was pretty significant. Senan Kilbride was smothered on occasions and seemed to move too far away from goal at times. I imagine he felt hard done by with the referee on one occasion particularly near the end.
For Monaghan Drew Wylie at full back, Darren Hughes at midfield, Dermot Malone at centre forward, Thomas Kerr with two crucial points, substitute McKenna  and of course McManus at the end all contributed to a narrow but very important win for them.
Next Sunday it is down to Kerry who will be seeking to put a very poor display against Dublin to rights. One of the surprises of the week-end was the margin of Cork over Mayo.
It is going to be a roller coaster of a series.  

Postscript;A non-sporting prominent national journalist and Monaghan supporter sent me a long text after the game complaining about the framework of the game in terms of parking in a muddy field, lack of cover and ticket availability. He referenced the ticket story by saying that a lot of Monaghan people did not travel to the game because they thought the game was ‘sold out’. He just managed to get a ticket on the Friday prior to the game. Then when he arrived he saw a van selling tickets. He suggested that if Roscommon was not in a position to host the game appropriately they should have forfeited venue.  
The fact that he took the trouble to send me such a detailed note indicated his annoyance.
I have the height of regard for the valiant efforts of St. Brigid’s club to make their facilities available for the game but perhaps the ‘rumour’ of moving the game to Carrick on Shannon in the circumstances had merit. Leitrim have from time to time chosen Roscommon for Championship games.
The fact that the Gardai restricted main-road parking contributed to the issues. After big games in Roscommon town that is not done to the same degree anyway on the same category road.         

Films ... "Spotlight"
I went to see the film Spotlight earlier this week and while it is not on the level of one of my favourite films ‘All the Presidents Men’ it is a very good film. It deals with the exposure of paedophilia by priests in the city of Boston in the late nineties and early part of the 2000s’. A new editor comes to the influential Boston Globe newspaper and suggests a particular area which he feels an investigative unit in the newspaper could and should investigate. These are a small group of investigative reporters who are known as the Spotlight unit.
As in many instances of injustice or wrongdoing with service providers or regarded institutions not only is the wrong-doing a matter for exposure but the cover up is also hugely important. Somewhat like the Watergate investigation in ‘All the President’s Men’ the question emerges of, how high up in the Church hierarchy of administration does the cover up in Boston go?

A classic quote from the film; Mitchell Garabedian: ‘If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse them. That's the truth of it’. This is an adaption of an African proverb made popular by Hilary Clinton as a book sub-title.  

The startling answer in ‘All the Presidents Men’ was that the cover up went all the way to the top resulting in President Nixon having to resign.  
In the ‘Spotlight’ investigation the reporters encounter the usual institutional obstacles of cover up and the exercise of power and influence by the Catholic Church in a city hugely influenced by a Catholic Irish society. I’ll leave it there but recommend that you see the film.
Another fine film currently showing in Carrick is Room. There has been plenty written about this film so I will not try to add to that.
A film for sports people to look out for which is coming to Irish cinemas from February 12th is ‘Concussion’.  Will Smith plays Dr. Bennet Omalu who investigated the effects of concussion on some American footballers and obviously has strong views on a subject that is engaging many sports observers, especially those of the said American football and rugby in this part of the world.

Terry Wogan
There has been much written about Terry Wogan the hugely popular broadcaster originally from Limerick. Terry played a key role, accidentally in a way, in England in the seventies and through the height of the ‘Troubles’ for Irish residents throughout Britain. His calm affable nature provided a nuanced contrast to the fundamentalist destructive nature of the IRA campaign in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Warrington. These could have sparked a considerable backlash against the Irish community in England at that time but apart from occasional issues it did not develop in a significant way. I imagine that Terry Wogan helped in the creation of that tolerance. I watched the repeat of a good interview done by Gay Byrne with Terry, a religious sceptic, for the series ‘The Meaning of Life’ last Sunday night. The programme ended with a classic Terry response to the traditional ending question of each programme.
Gay; ‘When you die and it turns out that there is a God to greet you at the pearly gates, and all that, what will be your response?”
Terry answers after some deliberation, “You’re having me on!’  

The U.S. Presidential Election Campaign
I kinda tried to get to grips with this very odd but very influential jigsaw piece in the U.S. Presidential candidature steeplechase. I tried to write it up here myself but got tangled so I have retreated to ‘cut and paste’ the following which represents the Republican version, which would be enough to start with !
What happens at a caucus?
Upon arriving at a caucus, typically in school gymnasiums, town halls, or other public venues, participants group themselves according to the candidate they support. Undecided caucus-goers create their own group. Decided participants then speak on behalf of their candidate, attempting to convince other attendees to join their group. Caucus participants also have the opportunity to change, if they want to switch camps before the final count is done. Whichever group of supporters literally has the most people will receive the largest number of delegate votes, which are then tabulated from around the state. 

Phrase of the moment;
‘Fiscal space’ which seems to mean the number of billions that the incoming government will have in hand to spend on x, y, z. That is not taking into account the fact that as a country we owe…… what ? Say €100 billion and our economy is in deficit meaning that we spend more than we take in, in taxes. My own ‘fiscal space’ is always under review but I’m not going for election.

Sporting Local Connections
I have been told of two local sporting connections, that of a son of Philip Hickey formerly of Elphin Street who is a member of the Dublin U 21 hurling panel and of James Kelly being on the Mayo U 21 football team. James is the son of Kieran, the grandson of driving instructor John and nephew of postman Brian. Kieran who now lives in Belmullet, came to St. Mary’s College and had a keen interest in history especially Michael Collins. Another member of the family played a little with Boyle after the family first coming to Boyle. I forget his first name now but he had played some under-age with Dublin and was a fine footballer. He lives in Dublin now.