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.   



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