Thursday, September 29, 2016

Update 30th September

• The film ‘The siege of Jadotville’ will be screened in Carrick for just one week from Friday Sept. 30th to Thursday October 6th at 7 pm.

• The world looks on, the U.N. demonstrates its classic ineptitude, as another siege and destructive bombardment continues. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, die and a biblical city is destroyed. This is the fate of Aleppo in Northern Syria.

• On page 20 of this week’s Roscommon People there is a telling letter by a mother that travels from ordinary life via worry for her son, to hope following intervention from Roscommon Mental Health services.

Big Games National and Local

Mayo v Dublin
It is a busy week-end on the sporting front this week-end with the replay of the All-Ireland Football Final between Dublin and Mayo being the national star event.  I addressed this in the best way I could last week. Will Dublin improve and play with the confidence and style that we have come to expect from them? If they do then they will be firm favourites to achieve the two in a row. However if Mayo can unhinge their confidence as they did near two weeks ago then it will be another battle. I imagine that Mayo will be going out with a huge determination to get over the line this time. That determination rocked Dublin in the drawn game and demonstrated that Dublin are not unbeatable. Both teams will hope to improve on the deficits that surfaced the last day as is always the hope in a replay. For Dublin it will be much improved performances from many more of their so called stars, better accuracy from their free-taker and an overall improvement in terms of matching Mayo’s intensity and desire. For Mayo it is to repeat their intensity from the off, not let Dublin settle and get an early rhythm, that Aidan O’Shea -their talisman- makes a much better positive impact. They need him to do that. That they cope better with the class of Fenton at midfield.
There is also the possibility of very heated atmosphere and the players who can cope best with this will also have an advantage. There is a strong possibility that a number of players will see the line if the cauldron boils over. The loss of Liam McHale in the game against Meath in ’96 probably cost Mayo an All-Ireland win then. In that scenario referee Maurice Deegan and his officials will be very important to the quality and progress of the game and indeed to the eventual result.   
Hopefully there will be a window of decent weather and that the elements and slippery surface will not degrade the quality of the game. All in all it has the potential to be an intriguing affair but no one really can foretell what way it will develop. I still believe that Dublin have the most quality players in their extended panel which with black cards could go down to number 22/23.
I hope that Mayo will eventually capture that elusive prize for the first time since ’51.

Roscommon County Semi-Finals

Boyle v St. Brigid’s in Strokestown Sunday at 4.30
 Boyle have proved the surprise packet in this year’s Roscommon senior championship following three fine victories over Roscommon Gaels, Clan na nGael and St. Faithleach’s. In these games Boyle played a lot of scintillating football and their performance over reigning champions Clann was particularly impressive. Obviously Michael Jordan and Cian Smith have got their charges fine-tuned at this stage and they will need to be at their very best since their opponents on Sunday are the dominant Roscommon club team of the last  decade, that is St. Brigid’s. They will bring to this game a wealth of experience and a large number of well -known top players. These would include the Kilbride brothers Senan and Ian, Karol Mannion, the Stack brothers, McHugh and perhaps their manager Frankie Dolan.
Boyle have a number of experienced players also including Sean Purcell, Roch Hanmore, the Smith brothers Donal and Enda with team captain Tadgh McKenna. The emergence of a number of promising young players has added the pace and cutting edge, especially in scoring terms, as they have ran up big totals in their previous games.
It is a big occasion for the team and the club as Boyle have not contested a semi-final since 1927 which is remarkable. Hopefully the town support will get on board and travel in numbers to Strokestown on Sunday.
(Congratulations to Boyle U 12s’ on their impressive win over Roscommon Gaels at a windswept Fuerty on Sunday last in the League Final.) 

The Ryder Cup Golf-International
 While I am not a big advocate of golf I watch it from time to time. Along with the major tournaments especially when there are Irish players involved the Ryder Cup has provided some of the most exciting moments in sport over the past twenty five years or so. Since the battle of Kiawah Island in ’91 Europe have won 8 jousts to 4 for the U.S. These include some very comprehensive wins as at Oaklands, U.S. and the K Club in ’04 and ’06 by 9 points. Europe have won the last three meetings last year’s being at Gleneagles in Scotland when the team captain was Paul McGinley. Indeed the Irish contribution for such a small country has been immense and has provided some of the memorable moments, one being the shot by Christy O’Connor Jnr. In ’89.
The competition was dominated by the U.S. for many decades since its inception in the late twenties. One of its stalwarts was the great Arnold Palmer who passed away this week.
On paper the U.S. again seem to be much stronger but the paper model has not always carried through. The venue for this week-ends match is Hazeltine National Golf Club located in a suburb so of Minneapolis, Minnesota. So hopefully the event will again provide similar drama as has been the case for previous encounters. There is a lot of pride at stake and the U.S. are at home with a partisan crowd made even more partisan following the huge mistake of Danny Willett’s brother in his blog insulting American golf supporters.

So after the Boyle v St. Brigid’s game on Sunday evening it is another long day’s journey into the night watching more drama from the States. It keeps giving.                              

European Team Captain -Darren Clarke
 Rafa Cabrera-Bello (Spain)
Matthew Fitzpatrick (England)
Sergio García (Spain)
Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland)
Justin Rose (England)
Andy Sullivan (England)
Henrik Stenson (Sweden)
Danny Willett (England)
Chris Wood (England)

The captain’s picks
Lee Westwood (England)
Martin Kaymer (Germany
Thomas Pieters (Belgium)

Captain: Davis Love III/Dustin Johnson/Jordan Spieth/Patrick Reed/ Jimmy Walker/ Brooks Koepka/ Brandt Snedeker/ Zach Johnson/ Phil Mickelson
The captain’s picks
JB Holmes/ Rickie Fowler/ Matt Kuchar/  Ryan Moore.

Trump v Clinton T.V. Debate
I stayed up, prepared, and watched the first U.S. Presidential debate and it was worth it. There were no real disasters by either candidate but the general consensus was that Hillary Clinton ‘won’ the debate and there were suggestions that Donald Trump was not as prepared as he should have been. The debate was ‘moderated’ by Lester Holt who I thought did a good job and like any good referee let the game flow a bit. I see today that there are conspiracy theories regarding a small box-like outline inside Clinton’s jacket! Also Trump complained about the ‘harder’ questions Lester Holt asked him and the quality of his microphone!
The view is that outside the dedicated support base of each candidate that many people are deciding on the lesser of two undesirable candidates for the Presidency. Neither candidate floats my boat and it is a real question as to why the election for the most powerful political position in the western world comes down to two candidates who start off from such low bases of popularity and distrust. Apparently Hillary Clinton is intensely disliked (I don’t want to use the word ‘hated’) by a large section of the U.S. voting public . Trump is seen by many as a disastrous candidate whose term will be a white water ride for the people of the U.S. and internationally. Even in the debate he took shots at important allies like Japan and South Korea. It is being suggested that Mister Trump will have a high profile ‘team’ of advisors which will guard against extreme actions. An element of this process that came to my mind is that this hugely influential group have no electoral or people’s mandate, just the imprimatur of the President. Of course Congress will be another restraining influence.
   Some people in the U.S. might be surprised and ask why people outside the U.S. are getting so engaged in following the current drama. It is because the result has universal ramifications. When I tuned in the early morning to the U.K. Referendum result I was really shocked at the result with the added possibility of Boris Johnson as a Prime Minister.  Maybe it is my nature to fret. The election of Donald Trump may not shock people- because it is a real possibility- but it will really worry millions of people in the U.S. and also internationally.
Like the U.K. Referendum a close result should (!) awaken the political establishment as to their lack of engagement and care for large swathes of their population who see themselves as abandoned by the political system and are now kicking that system, as with so many in the poorer unemployed white community. The coloured and Latino communities had their time in electing Barack Obama but that did not work out as a salvation. It is ironic that the deprived white community see some possible salvation in the billionaire Donald Trump.
There are two more debates, the first on Sunday October 9th and then on Wednesday October 19th.  While the health of the candidates has been queried the incredibly prolonged campaign to become President is a real test of that. It is no wonder that there are few wobbles along the way.  

Japanese Knotweed an emerging environmental and monetary threat
And now for something completely different! I had not heard of this species of invasive plant until very recently but like buses none appear for a long time and then three arrive almost together. Down the years there have been reference to the rhododendron expansion in Killarney national park and the battle to contain it. Rhododendron has now been joined by Japanese Knotweed. Apparently it is a fiercely invasive and dangerous species. It is dangerous in the fact that it can spread at a real speed and can do damage on various levels. It is growing along roadsides and its root system can cross under roads to the opposite side. It can emerge via cracks and can infuse tarmac and indeed concrete via the smallest cracks. Cutting the ‘weed’ only encourages its growth and it can grow vertically and underground at speed. It is prevalent in counties Cork and Galway but its spread makes it national issue. In areas there are signs erected by County Councils urging people NOT to engage in cutting or interfering with the ‘weed’ because doing so can make matters worse. There are a growing  number of specialist companies emerging who have the expertise to deal with treating this threat appropriately. Even then there is no easy fix solution as it can require proper treatment over a number of seasons to eradicate and this can be very expensive.
I imagine that a process of education in terms of ‘knotweed’ recognition and protocols will emerge.  Perhaps papers like ‘The Farmer’s Journal’ have already highlighted the possible economic threat that this poses. It cost €80 million to clear the core site for the London Olympics of this hazard.  

I am not at all qualified to say too much about this issue but I am mentioning it for local awareness. In this age the ready initial source of information is available if you Google the title.

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