Thursday, January 26, 2017

Update 26th January

Boyle GAA Picture Gallery 
Since the opening of the new GAA complex at the Abbey Park in 2010 it has been anticipated that Boyle GAA Club would display its past long history with a permanent exhibition of pictures spanning the decades. Thankfully there is a good selection of pictures to choose from and it is proposed that groups of these will be framed covering various themes. The complex is ideal for this display project with generous and accessible wall space and which I know was in the mind of architect Chris O’Dowd from his initial design stage. If people have ideas regarding the themes that might be considered, they are very welcome to get in touch with us at We also hope to avoid having to draw on strained Club funds to finance this enterprise and we would appreciate expressions of interest in terms of people sponsoring an individual frame where the sponsor would be credited. It is expected that at least ten frames will form the initial exhibition with an incremental growth from there.       

The Election of the Snows February 3rd 1917.
Next week sees the 100th Anniversary of the election of George Nobel Count Plunkett in the North Roscommon by-election which took place on February 3rd 1917. Count Plunkett -a Papal Count- the father of Joseph Mary Plunkett one of the executed 1916 Easter Rising leaders was the 'nationalist' candidate to fill the seat which resulted from the death of long time M.P. James J. O’Kelly. In the election Plunkett was supported by a number of nationalist figures including Arthur Griffith founder of Sinn Fein and Michael Collins during his campaign. His most significant promoter however was Father Michael O’Flanagan then curate of Crossna. The opposition candidates were T.J. Devine from St. Patrick Street, Boyle who was a member of Roscommon County Council and the United Irish League the bedrock supporting organisation of the Parliamentary Irish Party then led by John Redmond. The third candidate was Jasper Tully proprietor of The Roscommon Herald and a former M.P. The election took place in a period of severe weather dominated by snow and so was labelled ‘The Election of the Snows’, Mister Devine a highly regarded gentleman was a clear favourite. However the tide of opinion was changing in Ireland and the legacy of the Easter Rising was to bring major change in electoral terms. Count Plunkett symbolised that change. The momentum generated by Father O’Flanagan and the ‘advanced’ nationalist supporters of the Plunkett candidacy led to a major victory for their candidate. After the election Plunkett declared that he would not go to Westminster as an M.P. and would represent his constituents in Dublin assuming the establishment of an Irish National Parliament there. The following year in December 1918, at a General Election, Sinn Fein, who had adopted the Plunkett election victory, and now being the party of the nationalist movement, swept the old Irish Parliamentary Party aside and met in the Mansion House as The First Dáil on January 21st 1919 as the first salvoes of the War of Independence echoed in Tipperary. 
So the 1917 election win for Count Plunkett, in which Boyle was the fulcrum, plotted a new course which was set in motion by the electorate of North Roscommon. (This is a summary paragraph of a more detailed exploration of the event which will be published in The Roscommon Herald of next week Tuesday January 31st). 

Three Irish Tragedies With Multiple Deaths and No Convictions

The Dublin/Monaghan Bombings 1974
Four bombs, three in Dublin and one in Monaghan, exploded on May 17th 1974. 34 people died, 27 in Dublin 7 in Monaghan and up to 300 injured. It was a coordinated attack by the U.V.F. and it is strongly suggested that the attack was facilitated by British security services. This was the biggest death toll of all the many tragic atrocities in Northern Ireland during those dark decades. No one has been convicted.      

The Stardust Tragedy 1981
I see there are moves afoot to have another review to see if any progress can be made into the cause and consequences of the Stardust Nightclub Fire in Artane, Dublin in the early hours of St. Valentine’s Day of February 14th 1981. 48 people died and 214 people were injured. The tragedy has become entwined in controversy because no real answers have emerged as to the cause of the fire and no one has been held responsible.

Omagh 1998
On August 15th 1998 29 people died and up to 300 were injured in a bomb atrocity in the town of Omagh in Tyrone, Northern Ireland. This tragedy became immersed again in controversy as to some prior knowledge by intelligence services not being acted on and other elements. Though a member of the Real I.R.A. was charged no one was convicted and held responsible. 

Former Garda Tim Griffin R.I.P.
The funeral of former Garda Tim Griffin took place yesterday Tuesday with his burial in Assylinn cemetery. Tim was predeceased by his wife Colette and is sadly missed by his son Tadhg his brother Brendan and sister Noreen and extended family. Tim came from Ardfert which lies between Tralee and Banna Strand in County Kerry. Indeed he never forgot his native county which is probably stronger with Kerry people than in many counties, I feel. He followed the fortunes of the Kerry team in ‘The Kerryman’ newspaper which he acquired regularly. He is also in a Boyle GAA team photograph from March 1959. He went about his official duties with a quiet diligence and he is retired now for around 30 years. He served in Tullamore and Ballyshannon where he met his wife Colette. The family lived in Marian Road and Deerpark and in recent years in St. Joseph’s Avenue. I seem to remember both he and Colette as badminton players in the 80s’ and also Tim with the scouts on a memorable trip to Mount Melleray in County Waterford in the mid-nineties. Tadgh contributes here to and is a most popular young man with a close circle of good friends. We sympathise particularly with Tadhg at this time.
We sympathise also with the Costello family on the death of another gentle man Dennis whose son Brian and brother Donal have long been active in GAA activities.                         



‘Back to the 80s’
A great number of people are eagerly looking forward to Abbey Community College’s musical presentation ‘Back to the 80s’ which takes place in St. Joseph’s Hall for the three nights of Thursday the 2nd Friday and Saturday. Immediate booking is advised as I am aware that it is going to be a sell-out show. It is great to see a College production again as one of its great previous shows, Oliver in the late sixties, is part of Boyle Musical folklore. 

Saturday Night at the Dock
Singer / Songwriter and Broadcaster, Charlie McGettigan, who won the Eurovision for Ireland in 1994 with Paul Harrington singing ‘Rock and Roll Kids’ joins Boyle’s Singer / Songwriter Donie O’ Connor and Drumshanbo’s  Eamon and Orla Daly for a night of “in the round” of music and song at the Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon on Saturday next the 29th. I do not know if there are tickets remaining but it is sure to be an entertaining event. 

‘The Pillowman’ at the Gaiety
Decadent Theatre Group present Martin McDonagh’s ‘The Pillowman’, in which Boyle’s Jarlath Tivnan has a cameo role, continues at the Gaiety for 2 weeks having begun on Wednesday January the 24th . 

The Weather
Perhaps there are very few countries where the weather is such a subject of conversation as in Ireland. It is suggested that there have been less than 20 days ‘real’ rain since last September and it must be the lowest rainfall for the three winter months of November December and January on record. Still one can get an angle on this as a man I met a few days ago remarked, ‘ wouldn’t it be great if we got this weather in the summer you would get an awful lot done’  

Bolt Minus One
Usain Bolt has been stripped of one of his gold medals after a team member, Nesta Carter of the Jamaica 4x100m relay team at Beijing Olympics 2008 was proved positive for drugs. So Bolt’s ‘triple triple’ has been diluted a little. 

Interesting  Fintan O’Toole; ‘Brexit resurrects the English Cult of heroic failure’ in last Tuesday’s Irish Times. In fairness to our neighbours he omits their heroic successes.

Roscommon v Galway in F.B.D . Final Sunday 29th at Kiltoom.
Next Sunday Roscommon play Galway for the fourth consecutive year in the preliminary Connacht League Final at Kiltoom. This league provides the testing ground for the National League team which opens with a testing game v Tyrone on February 5th in Tyrone.
Last Sunday Roscommon crashed in the final minutes after being in a ‘game won’ position against Mayo in Kiltoom. Roscommon led by 8 points with just 9 minutes to go when Mayo introduced substitute Andy Moran. Mayo ended with 3 goals two from substitute Andy Moran and this was disappointing and that is a euphemism! 
Hopefully this shock to the system will not be too costly and the simple adage that a game is never over until the final whistle will be firmly endorsed by this experience.  

Well done to Enda and Donie Smith both of whom had great games on Sunday last. While Enda has been a regular contributor it is great to see Donie playing as well as we in Boyle know he can. We have seen it down the years from a young age.    

Sunday’s team is as follows:

1. Darren O’Malley       (Michael Glavey's)

2.  Sean McDermott       (Western Gaels)
3.  Tom Featherston       (Oran)
4.  Niall McInerney     (St Brigids)

5. Ronan Stack     (St Brigid’s)
6. Sean Mullooly    (Strokestown)
7.  John McManus    (Roscommon Gaels)

8.  Tom Corcoran       (Strokestown)
9.  Tadgh O’Rourke      (Tulsk)

10  Fintan Cregg      (Elphin)
11. Ciaráin Murtagh (Captain)       (St Faithleach’s)
12.  Shane Killoran       (Elphin)

13.  Cian Connolly        (Roscommon Gaels)
14.  Ultan Harney         (Clann na nGael)
15.   Donie Smith          (Boyle)

16. Colm Lavin       (Éire Óg)
17. Kevin Higgins   (Western Gaels)
18. Enda Smith       (Boyle)
19. Niall Kilroy       (Fuerty)
20. Niall Daly          (Padraig Pearse’s)
21. Gary Patterson   (Michael Glavey's)
22. David Murray     (Padraig Pearse's)
23. Conor Devaney   (Kilbride)

Kellyanne Conway Spake
President Trump aid Kellyanne Conway has contributed a minor Donald Rumsfeld ‘Known unknowns…..’ when giving a different view in the slightly absurd debate last weekend on the number of people at Mister Trump’s inauguration by referring to take on the numbers as ‘alternative facts’. So now we can have a menu of facts on the one incident and you can choose which fact is indeed your fact. As the Irish gangster, played by Robert Shaw, used to say in the film The Sting ‘Doya followa’.

Sin e for now. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Update 20th January

Joe Duffy and his Liveline Radio Show
Like any radio or television show there are varied opinions on their role and quality. They are liked, disliked, disliked intensely or ignored. It is hard to ignore the Joe Duffy Radio Show on Radio One. On Monday last the 16th while driving on a fairly long journey I got most of the programme. It dealt with a number of interesting stories. Perhaps there is a ‘typical’ phone caller to the show but there was a range of topics on that day. 
• No. 1. A topic which has been aired for a few days now is that of farm inheritance. I really had not heard much if anything on this story before. Farms are invariably passed on to the sons to the exclusion of daughters and the debate arose as to why this was so? In most cases it is that a son has dedicated his life to the farm and he is seen as the natural successor. Often there is desire to keep the family surname co-existing with the farm. Of course a daughter could retain her original name if married or double it with her husband to cope with that provision. 
A lady with a very benign attitude to this dilemma talked of the men inheriting the farm ‘while the women inherited the china and the pearl necklace’. The duty of care to the senior farmer or spouse was touched on and the lady said that ‘daughters often show a greater duty of care to the parents than the inheriting son’. Then there was the example of signage in business 'Joe Bloggs and Sons' as opposed to 'Joe Bloggs and Daughters'. I am sketchy on its contents now but it raised a new topic as I said and perhaps it will inspire a few signs where Joe Bloggs is joined by the daughters rather than the sons.                
• Item Number Two .. Job Disappears
The next caller, Aishling from Roscommon, relayed a story of applying for a job before Christmas and being in contact with the H.R. Dept. of a fairly big company and doing an interview on site. Later she was told over the phone that she had the job and to report for work on a particular date. She left her accommodation and got a new abode in the city –Kilkenny-where she had got the position.  However when she turned up for work no one knew of her or her job. Apparently the H.R. person she was dealing with was not available and she could not could get a reasonable answer as to what happened. One could tell by Joe Duffy that he was pretty upset by Aishling being treated in this way and set about requesting the company come on radio and explain what happened or he would have someone call to them and perhaps name them. That would have come to air on Tuesday so since I was not listening then I don’t know how it panned out. The message here is, as the old film producer once uttered; ‘An oral contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on’ 
• No. 3. Hospital Trolley Story
Hospital trolley stories are a regular feature of the show and Monday was no different. Peggy Hogan aged 88 relayed how she spent 33 hours on a trolley in Limerick Regional Hospital with a pretty serious condition.  She gave a graphic account of the trolleys lined up in the corridor to the extent that they ignored the ‘no trolleys past this point’ notice with staff negotiating their way around them, lights on, sleep almost impossible and so on. A lot of people who have experience of public hospitals will empathise with all this.
• Item no. 4. Legal Fees. Caitriona called in to tell Joe about the legal costs of her divorce. The bill she received was five and a half thousand while the quote she had got at the beginning was two and a half thousand. An appeal to the Law Society of Ireland brought a reduction of one thousand which was still  much higher than the quote she had been given before the process started.  

Dave got a legal bill of €34k for his divorce: when he appealed it, the amount was reduced to €6k. How that could happen is hardly credible. 

U 2 Concert Tickets     
Lots of people got in touch to complain that tickets for the U2 concert in Croke Park were almost impossible to get as they were snapped up in minutes from Ticketmaster. That is unless you were willing to pay way over the odds on Seatwave – the ticket ‘reseller’ company which is also owned by Ticketmaster. Johnny said he saw tickets for the U2 gig on Seatwave on  Wednesday the 11th, even though they only went on general sale on Monday the 17th!
That got a good deal of coverage and comment in the print media subsequently. The U 2 concert programme is centred around the contents of one album and thus it is called ‘The Joshua Tree Tour’. The concert takes place in Croke Park on July 22nd.
• So if you are in bother with an issue the affordable court of appeal is in talking to Joe on Liveline. It is a national release valve for immediate opinion some of it a bit scatty but for many it comes up trumps. I wonder now how Aishling, whose job disappeared, got on?

Great British Railway Journeys 
A popular if low key television documentary series of rail travel was broadcast on BBC through this week. It is presented by a former U.K. Minister for Defence Michael Portillo. On a trip earlier in the week Mister Portillo’s journey ended in Dublin so he introduced some of the sights of the city. One of these was the Ordnance Survey office in the Phoenix Park and he interviewed one of the top people there who was Andy McGill from between Boyle and Gurteen. The village turned up again this Thursday evening when its journey took it to Sligo with a diversion to various places of interest including the home of the famous Sligo traditional musician Michael Coleman at Killavil. Tomorrow evening’s journey ends in Westport. This is the eighth series with many different train journeys having been traversed in the previous episodes. The idea is based on a classic book on English train time-tables and journeys ‘Bradshaw’s Guide’ published originally in 1839.  Programmes like these are a tourist promoter’s dream.      
The deaths of two Connacht GAA greats ...

Willie Casey of Mayo
In early December one of the great Mayo players of the fifties Willie Casey was laid to rest in his native Ballina. Willie was a substitute the last Mayo won the All-Ireland in 1951. He won a league title with the county in the mid-fifties and was a regular on the great Connacht Railway Cup teams of that decade. I knew a little about his life once but it is submerged with me now. 
In his mid-eighties, Willie won an All-Ireland junior medal in 1950 as an 18-year-old and was promoted to the senior panel the following year. With captain Sean Flanagan and John Forde occupying the corner back slots, the Ballina man didn't make his senior debut until 1952 when he lined out against Kerry in a National League game. From then until his retirement after the 1964 Connacht final defeat to Galway, he was a permanent fixture in the Mayo defence.

Along with Dr Mick Loftus (former GAA president) and Paddy Jordan, who were also unused subs in 1951, Willie had to wait until 2007 to receive his All-Ireland medal.

A winner of several Mayo SFC medals with Ballina Stephenites, Willie was laid to rest in Leigue Cemetery, Ballina in the first week of December.

Jim Killoran of Ballinafad Sligo
Jim Killoran of Cartron, Ballinafad and Sligo was laid to rest on Tuesday last the 17th in Ballinafad cemetery. He played for Sligo from 1956 to 1966. His home club was Keash but He played for a number of clubs during his time. In Dublin he played with Innisfree with Peter Burke and played with clubs in Liverpool and Manchester during his time there and became a great Liverpool soccer supporter. He is said to have played minor football for Roscommon around ’54 and he is pictured on a Boyle team of the fifties. For this reason, had I known in time, I would have attended his funeral in Ballinafad. I am told that as they laid Jim in his final resting place a small plane landed on Lough Arrow nearby. Some people might suggest that it was symbolic in some way. A tribute to Jim -written by P.J. McKeown- will hopefully feature in an upcoming edition of the Sligo Champion. 

Boyle Celtic Advance in Thriller. (A very Boyle perspective)

Boyle Celtic 3 Ballina Town 3

(Boyle win 4 -1 on penalties a.e.t.)

Those in attendance at Ballina Town soccer complex got full value and more for their money on Sunday afternoon in an FAI Junior Cup thriller between Ballina town and Boyle Celtic before a decent crowd. Boyle had got to this stage a few years ago but went down to Tipperary side St. Michael’s in Boyle but this time they were determined to go a step further. 
On a mild misty day on a perfect surface the quality of football was top class. Boyle opened strongly playing some intricate football as they dominated the first half hour. Young Danny Browne was pulling the strings in midfield but was also attracting more and more attention from the opposition. Boyle’s play finally had its reward with a Danny Browne cross finished to the net by Michael Corrigan. Ballina threatened after that with number 11 Cawley particularly, causing problems along the left wing and a run from him caused a mistake in the Boyle defence resulting in a penalty on 35 minutes which was converted; 1 all. Just on half-time a corner for Ballina crossed and following some confusion in the Boyle goals ended up in the net to send Ballina in with a 2 to 1 lead. The Boyle goalie felt that he had been impeded in that tussle. Half-time score Ballina Town 2 Boyle 1.

So it was up to Boyle to get their game back on track which they did eight minutes into the second half with Carlos winning a tackle in midfield and putting a good ball into the box and Calpin finished to the net. Teams level 2 all.
Kyle Suffin in the Boyle goals brought off a couple of top saves to keep Boyle level. Boyle manager Darren Hurd introduced Luka Roddy on 23 minutes of this second half, up front and in an even, competitive and free-flowing game Luka paid dividends with a lead goal on 33 minutes. Boyle might have gone more defensive at this stage but Ballina equalised again on 40 minutes with a strong header, 3-3, and Boyle were in grave danger of letting a winning position slip. Suffin made a save and Calpin cleared off the line as the ball ping-ponged around the Boyle goal. As the seconds ticked towards the close and extra time, however, a Ballina attacker was fouled and a penalty was awarded in the dying moments and it looked as if Ballina would pinch the game at the end but Kyle Suffin brought off another fine save to send the game into extra time.
The two periods of 10 minutes extra-time passed without any major incidents apart from a creeping number of yellow cards. And so after 1 hour and 50 minutes it was down to a penalty shoot-out to see who would get through to the last 16. 

Impressive Penalty Shoot-Out
Boyle’s Danny Brown was first up, scoring with an impressive strike. Ballina’s star player was first up for them but alas for him he made a first mistake of the day as Suffin made an impressive save. Celtic now in the driving seat. Next up for Celtic was Niall Brennan and it was a repeat of Browne’s fine score. Ballina’s second effort was again saved by Suffin so it was 2 – 0 in the shoot-out to Boyle. When Ml. Corrigan added a third it looked very good for Boyle. Ballina’s third penalty-taker hit the bottom of the post and looked as if Boyle were through but the referee called it back for some goalie infringement. The player finally scored for Ballina so it was now 3-1 to Boyle. Fourth up with a chance to win it for Boyle was Gerard Mc Dermotroe who took it in his stride and confidently dispatched the ball to the net for Boyle’s fourth goal from four penalties and sending them into the last 16 of the Cup for the first time. Naturally enough the Boyle Celtic team celebrated the victory as did their small band of dedicated supporters who had made the journey.

It has to be said that all the Boyle Celtic team contributed to a fine performance and win, so mentioning ‘best for Boyle’ seems a tad unfair. Still Seanie Purcell was their best player with a consistent strong performance with Connolly and Mc Dermotroe also doing well at the back. Browne started very well, Calpin played himself to a standstill with Shane Battles being very impressive. Kyle Suffin compensated for his slight error around the penalty to make a number of top saves throughout. Dessie Carlos had a handful in matching the Ballina Town star player Cawley but he made a mighty effort in that regard. Corrigan, Brennan, Aaron Murren and Roddy contributed handsomely. The substitutes yesterday were Luka Roddy (played); Lochlainn Conboy/ Thomas Lavin, Geevagh/ Marcus Guckian, Carrick-on-Shannon/ Aaron Sharkey with Lee Mc Killeen and Sean McCormack, Tulsk both injured. (Manager Darren Hurd)  

It was a historic win for the club and as a consequence of the draw will now meet VEC F.C. from Terenure, South Dublin City in the last 16. The V.E.C. stands for Vocational Education Committee as the club was formed in 1974 for employees of Dublin V.E.C. THE REAL PLUS OF THE DRAW IS THAT BOYLE CELTIC ARE AT HOME. The next rounds are on the 3rd/4th/5th of February.  

**Highlights from the Ballina game will be shown on Sunday next January 22nd at 2 p.m. on Eir Sport, the old Setanta channel I’m told.                  

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Update 13th January

You Cannot Avoid a Trump Watch

I had kinda thought about staying away from President–Elect Donald Trump for a while but it is just not possible and I guess it is going to be so for some time if not for all the time he is in office. On Friday the 20th he will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. Don’t ask me to forgo watching how that pans out. We had a foretaste of how he intends to deal with ‘the press’ on Wednesday at his first Press Conference since being elected.
Apparently there is some file that was allegedly put together by a British agent which suggested that the Russians had compromising material of Mister Trump following a trip to Russia some time ago, all of which Trump says is just nonsense. This was published by some outlet and CNN went with it in some format so Mister Trump boycotted questions from the CNN reporter at the News Conference. It was a testy affair. As one news reporter said to her studio presenter there were so many ‘news’ points from the conference that it was all confusing. Oh yes on who leaked the story it was according to Trump ‘probably, most likely the (U.S) intelligence community’. Certainly not a very good footing to start on for a President and a vital branch of the U.S. administration.  
Donald showed, with a van load of files, that he was passing on the running of his many businesses to his two sons to run while he was President. If, when he returned to the business they had not done well they would be ‘fired’, an echo from his T.V. Apprentice Show. While there seems to be some disbelief that the siblings will not even mention the businesses to their dad-the-President during family time. 
Then there were the Russians who are now regarded as having ‘hacked’ into the Democratic Presidential Campaign plans and maybe influenced the result of the election. With regard to Putin, they may get on which would be an asset and then again they may not get on!
As one commentator suggested it was like a strong wind blew into an office and all the papers were now up in the air. Trump supporters see this as bucking the system and the cosy relationships which existed between various elements which dominated the political system heretofore. This new President is certainly a shock to the system and while it may be theatre of kind it is hugely serious and concerning on a universal scale.
Certainly if the opening salvoes are anything to go by the roller coaster is warming up. Let’s see what Friday the 20th brings. Fasten your seat belts.

RTE’s Aine Lalor re. Trump; ‘Do you think he knows how much he doesn’t know’.  He wouldn’t be on his own in that.
That is a kind of variation of the famous Donald Rumsfeld spake in February 2002.  Donald Rumsfeld, then US Secretary of State for Defence, stated at a Defence Department briefing that: 'There are known knowns. There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don't know’.

Obama Bowing Out
The contrast between the above and the outgoing President Barack Obama was in stark relief when the outgoing President gave his farewell address to a crowd in Chicago on Tuesday night. The eloquence and elegance of the man shone through. There were achievements and disappointments. His capacity to achieve was stemmed by an opposing Congress. Perhaps those who favour the incoming President regard Obama as part of the political establishment but he certainly had a dignity and a dignified finale without recrimination. He spoke of the democratic process and encouraged his audience to continue to engage with it.  He was generous in his thanks to his wife Michelle and family and also to his Vice-President Joe Biden with whom he had an obviously great relationship. It will be interesting to see where Michelle Obama goes from here but it is obvious that she is woman of substance and her future career will be the subject of much speculation. She will also be looked on, by some, as a possible Presidential candidate in the future whether that possibility fades with time is to be seen. It would be doubly ironic that the first lady President of the U.S. was also a black President. But that is too advanced speculation.      

Mick O’Connell -at 80- A Prince of a Gaelic Footballer
You probably have to be a ‘senior person’ now to remember one of the greatest and purest Gaelic footballers ever, Mick O’Connell of Kerry. Mick was born and reared  on Valentia island. He won 4 All-Irelands, a dozen or so Munster titles numerous Leagues and so on with Kerry. Nothing very strange there perhaps. But Mick was different. He was regarded as slightly eccentric. This may have stemmed from his giving away his medals and once going home directly from Croke Park and leaving the Sam McGuire Cup in the dressing room. I met him a couple of times. Once he was working in Galway and asked someone to get a few footballers to join him in Pearse Stadium for a training session. The someone, a student landlord, contacted a couple of Kerry students and footballers Ger O’Keefe and Paudie O Mahoney and they contacted Martin Carney and Tony ‘Horse’ Regan. I was a friend of those lads and staying with Tony in Salthill. So the five of us joined Mick O in Pearse Stadium for his practise. It was a bit intimidating but we were honoured really to be there. On the Back Page of last Sunday’s Indo there is an account by Joe Brolly of an attempted interview by Ger Gilroy and Joe Molloy of Newstalk’s ‘Off the Ball’ which I thought some of you might not have accessed.

It was, said Joe “A bit like Ant and Dec cross-examining Seamus Heaney. "Wow," said Gilroy to begin. Then . . .

Ger: One of the things you're legendary about is that you didn't celebrate your wins. . .
Micko: What was there to celebrate? Football was only a pastime. More important things to be doing in life. (silence)

Ger: You like rowing?
Mick: I rowed as a pastime.

Ger: It kept you nice and fit?
Mick: For rowing you mean?

Ger: For football.
Mick: Football and rowing have no association.

Ger: (nervous laughter)
Mick: You seem to know all about the sport. What age are you? 23 is it?

Ger: (nervous laughter) I wish.
Mick: What age are you?

Ger: I'm 39. (silence)

Joe Molloy (intervenes as an act of mercy): There must've been a good coach who helped you out?
Mick: Who? I never used the word coach. Where did you get that? (silence)

Joe: Can I ask you a few questions about your career?
Mick: I never classed it as a career. It was a pastime.
Joe (struggling now): Are you surprised you're classed as one of the true greats?

Mick: That's only comment.

Joe (trapped now): Can I put this to you. You are beloved by Kerry people and beyond?
Mick: Beloved?
Joe: Yeah.
Mick: I don't know what that means.

O'Connell went on to disagree with Joe's phrase "Gaelic football" countering that it was no longer football but simply "Gaelic".

"A lot of older people don't even go to the games anymore or watch them. The game isn't governed properly. There are no visionary people administrating it."

He finished by saying: "The ends to me weren't important. The means were what mattered. To be able to fetch a ball in the air. To kick with both feet. On and off the ground. If we won, well and good. If not, the same."
Then, he was gone. Back in studio there was silence.
A true legend.

Hospital Waiting Lists

The record for the number of hospital patients waiting on trolleys reached a new high -612- a week or so ago. Some managements within the Health Services have put it down to the unexpected numbers who are entering hospitals with the flu of the moment. I know from what I hear that the recent flu has really bitten but to regard such a phenomena as unexpected is a bit much. It seems as if it is a problem that the Heath Service are totally unable to solve. Anyone who has experience of going into A&E's in hospitals are witness to the almost war zone conditions that exist in them. It has to be acknowledged that ‘front line’ staff in those hospitals do their very best in appalling conditions, as I witnessed myself in Galway University Hospital some time ago.
While the new Minster for Health Simon Harris started off with great energy and determination it seems as if the reality of it all has blunted his optimism that he could and would make a real difference. It is a good while ago when the Health portfolio was said to be the ‘Angola’ ministry in that it was beyond redemption. 
If one counted the number of facilities in Ireland with the word ‘hospital’ appended the list would number is 163 with 66 in Dublin. This includes all categories. It is an octopus of a service.

Just like the hospital issue this is another crisis that seems as if it cannot be resolved. Each winter we see the evidence of homelessness on our television screens and then the bluster with the politicians repeating the mantras of the previous year as they promise to solve the issue but then the following year it is the same old tune.
I seem to remember an initiative by Minister –then- Alan Kelly where they started to put in place a number of maybe twenty or so quick-build houses. I probably have missed the allocation of these when finished but they never appeared on my radar.
The occupation of Apollo House once again highlighted the plight of the homeless but it became a twisted debate of conflicting interests.

A tame I.T. Sligo no match for Roscommon
It was nice to see a Roscommon senior team play a competitive in Boyle’s Abbey Park last Sunday before a decent crowd for an F.B.D. league fixture.  It was a pity that it was not more competitive as I.T. Sligo were a weak side and Roscommon scored almost at will. It was good to see Donie Smith nominated as ‘Man of the Match’ by Seamus Duke in the Roscommon People. Credit is due to the many members of Boyle GAA club who prepared the grounds on Saturday and ensured the smooth running of the event on Sunday. It shows the spirit, commitment and pride they have in showing the club at its best on such an occasion.         

King’s Hospital School Alleged Incident?
A story that hit the headlines in late November/early December concerned an alleged incident at a top Dublin school ‘King’s Hospital’. The story seems to have run into the sand as it were as I have not heard a dickey bird about it since the initial furore. 

My favourite sentence of the week-end’s reading
The Mayo writer of a novel called ‘Solar Bones’, Mike McCormack when asked about former prominent Mayo and Irish politician and EU Commissioner Pádraig ‘P’ Flynn responded
“He’s a talented man usurped by his inner amadán’.
P. had given the following answer to a question from a reporter in The Late Late Show audience about his pay and expenses in 1999.
 “I get, give or take, it works out at about, with expenses, €140,000 a year and I pay 30.3% tax on that, so it’s about a net 100,000 and out of that 100,000 I run a home in Dublin, Castlebar and Brussels. I wanna tell you something, try it sometime…”

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Update 5th January

My Christmas Just Past

December 1st RE-Union

Generally I have a reserved opinion on Christmas. However I can say that I enjoyed the Christmas just gone. So these notes are just a review of Christmas Past for me. It was pretty busy and started early. It had a mix of television viewing, book launches, quizzes, more television viewing, walks, social and family occasions.
The first real ‘occasion’ was a very successful St. Mary’s College/Boyle Vocational School Re-Union on Thursday December 1st. I’ve noted this here previously but it set the tone of sociability and good feeling for the rest of the month. It is always great to meet old friends who one might not have seen for years. This was the case here with the presence of Frank Fahey from Loughrea,  a very popular teacher in the college back the years and Tom Colleran from Ballaghaderreen, Phil Fannon/Cooney and  John Moyles amongst others.

Mary Regan’s Book Launch
The following night saw the launch of Mary Regan’s book of her husband Christy’s pictures. This is the second such publication and it was launched by a former excellent student I remember well, Harry Keaney who had worked with Christy at the Roscommon Herald in the 80s’. Harry spent a good period of time afterwards in New York and at one time was voted Sligo ‘Person of the Year’ there. He returned to Ireland and became Editor of the Sligo Champion and now works with Ocean FM.

T.J. Devine and the Election in the Snows February 3rd 1917.
Mary’s book of pictures ‘Through Christy’s Lens’ was my second ‘book launch’ as I had attended when Michael McDowell presented Father Tomás Flynn’s book on the 1917 By-Election in North Roscommon titled ‘Thomas J. Devine and The Election in the Snows The North Roscommon By-Election of 1917’. This book deals with the forgotten candidate of that 1917 election, T.J. Devine. The event is particularly remembered for the election of George Nobel Count Plunkett father of Joseph Mary Plunkett one of the 1916 Rising leaders. T. J. Devine lived in St. Patrick’s Street and has a number of close relations living in Boyle.  
The election took place on February 3rd so its Centenary is just a month away. It is a very important event in the historical progression of the time and I am surprised to hear so little about it being remembered, at present. 

Sunday December 4th
The event of the day was Boyle GAA AGM. There was general satisfaction with the cabinet and saw the first Lady Chairperson, Kathleen Hanmore, take office. The County GAA Convention took place in Ballinameen for the first time on December 16th and was a more contentious affair especially with dis-satisfaction expressed with the financial state of play. Perhaps I will return to this.

‘Roscommon Legends Book-Launch’ the 11th.  
Richard Canny’s book on the great Roscommon team of the second half of the 80s’ was launched by Dermot Earley Jnr. in Kilronan Castle and turned out to be a very social affair as I have related here previously. There are some copies of the book still available with me.

Ecumenical Service Church of Ireland
Keeping in mind the religious tenor of the season I always try and be present for this light religious occasion with its emphasis on sung Hymns.
By this time the Christmas tree was put in place so the festive season as evidenced by the fine town lighting and various carol renditions at various locations. Now I missed quite a few events so it demonstrates what a full programme is there if one wishes or has the energy to participate.

Railway Cup Final and Remembering a Railway Cup Legend
On Saturday the 17th with friends I attended the Railway Cup Final between Connacht and Ulster at Pairc Sean Mac Diarmaida, Carrick-on-Shannon. It was a disappointing game and one yearned for the great days of the Railway Cup of my youth when over 40,000 people attended the finals on St. Patrick’s Day at Croke Park. It gave us a rare enough occasion to see football and hurling legends play such as hurling maestro Christy Ring of Cork. It was also a time when Connacht had some of its greatest football stars in each county.
On that Saturday night I travelled with my old friend Paddy Cummins of Killina to the village of Brideswell, in the St. Brigid’s Club area of South Roscommon to attend the launch of fund-raising campaign to provide a memorial to the legendary Gerry O’Malley who died on January 6th 2016.
At the back of my mind was the Annual Boyle GAA Christmas Quiz so that had to be moved a bit forward in the mind then with some prepping as its date came closer.
On the Monday a number of us had a very congenial little party for a close friend in a local home.
Late Christmas cards were dispatched supplemented by a little foray into card emailing.
The week progressed with the usual last day chores and the arrival of family members which would see a first ‘all-present’ for the occasion in a number of years.

Christmas Eve Saturday
Since I was aware of the considerable preparation of the Boyle Church Choir I attended in good time for the Christmas Eve Vigil Mass and it was heartening. After the conscience alerting messages regarding the terrible situation in Aleppo in Syria the Choir demonstrated the breadth of singing quality, in its programme. After the Christmas day mass there is the bustle and bonhomie of goodwill and greeting people not seen since perhaps a Christmas past, “Happy Christmas” being echoed with “And a Happy Christmas to you too”.    

A Bright Christmas Day
The lovely weather had to have a considerable cheering effect on all as only a year ago some people were struggling with floods and such elements. I would have to remind myself that while things with me were following a fairly benign path there were people ‘out there’ who were not so lucky. Christmas Day started with a family gathering and following food it was a real search of the television programme to find something reasonable to watch for a lazy evening. That search was in vain unless you were a fan of ‘Mrs. Browne’ which I am not.

St. Stephen’s Day ‘The wren the wren the king of all birds..’
It was down to the Abbey Park for what might be termed a ‘novelty game’ in which an ‘over 30s’ panel played an ‘under 30s’. It turned out to be more ‘meet and greet’ causally watching proceedings on the field which was played in a seasonal spirit. Well done to all involved in that. I indulged myself later in ‘going into town’ to watch a Munster v Leinster rugby game and moved location to Clarke’s to catch up with the tail end of the St. Stephen’s Day, Lough Key Treasure Hunt. The welcome from former students was generous and a pleasant couple of hours passed quickly with one particularly good young musical ‘wren boy’s’ group from Knockvicar.

The GAA Quiz
Boyle GAA Quiz is at present an established event in the Christmas social calendar of Boyle. While it is a fund-raiser of a kind for the club, the club is as pleased with its social ambience as anything else. The hall got an early morning make-over from a very capable crew. This was the ninth Christmas Quiz starting with a humble outing in the Moylurg, transferring to The Moving Stairs for a Rally Quiz and for about three in that venue under the GAA banner. Having outgrown our venue we moved to ‘the hall’ which had a slight risk element to it. Francis Candon provided a disco element to it for a couple of times which only Francis can do and progressed to higher tech presentation and earlier ending so people could first meet up and then disperse to their own favoured venues. Each year I get a little nervous as to its continuity but this year’s success guaranteed another year at least.

Dodd’s, a topping Trad Session
The Christmas traditional session is one of the best of the year and this year was no different. The usual suspects, O’Connors, Morrises, Tivnans, Brendan Gaffney and Bernie Flaherty were present. I like music sessions to be interspersed with songs and on this occasion that was done in spades. Donie sang the Boyle song in tribute to a subject in the song who was present on the night, Bernie Tansey, and he followed later with a clever song involving Angeline Jolie romantic dilemmas. There were songs also from Kit, Brendan, Bernie and a Galway visitor Grace. John McGuinn was cajoled into singing a couple and added to the diversity as did Gerard Tivnan with the classic ‘Rocks of Bawn’. I was in the good company of a music devotee Kevin and his visiting niece as we traded stories of Kieran Emmett, Peter Horan and Patsy Hanley. One story I heard on the night was ‘credited’, if that is appropriate, to Paddy Daly who disallowed singing in his bar on the basis that: “ It was nearly impossible to get a very good singer to sing and it was equally difficult to get a person who couldn’t sing to stop” 
 Anyways, as my uncle used to remark, it was a very enjoyable night.

The Night they brought Liam McCarthy to Ballyfarnon

Gaye Sheeran, Master Lynam, Cian Flanagan Tipp. minor winner; Tommy Lynam, Gerry Emmett, Ray Lynam with the McCarthy and Irish Press Cups at Killoran’s in Ballyfarnon on Sunday Jan. 1st

Tony with the Liam McCarthy All-Ireland Senior Championship winning trophy with the Irish Press Cup for the winning All-Ireland Minor Hurling winners both being Tipperary in 2016. 

I have Gerry Emmett to thank for the fact that I have now a snap, as Jimmy Murray used to call them, of mé féin holding two prestigious All-Ireland Cups, the Liam McCarthy, All-Ireland Senior Hurling Cup and the ‘Irish Press Cup’ for All-Ireland Minor Hurling. This event took place in Killoran’s Bar in Ballyfarnon on Sunday evening. While it was hosted by the Killoran family it was facilitated by the Flanagan family from North Tipperary which I will explain. Edel Killoran/Flanagan of Ballyfarnon now lives in North Tipperary and her son Cian Flanagan played wing-back on the All-Ireland winning Tipp. minor team. For the family to be able to have the two cups for key days at this time of year was a pretty good achievement and to have them to bring to Roscommon was a generous gesture. It was well appreciated on the night and young Cian played his role as a modest guardian of the silverware as well as he can play the game. A number of St. Ronan's veterans were present such as Cian’s grandfather Michael and uncle Damien with cousins and extended family. It was good to see Tommy Lyman, Patsy McKiernan, Gaye, Mary and Dermot Sheeran, Francie Cooney, Travers, Phil and Gerry, John O’Connor, Bernard Mulhern and many ladies, whose names I would not know, and youngsters present. Plenty of pictures were taken and I imagine there will be a few on display ‘into the future’ as they say. Sean Martin gave an appropriate speech of welcome and thanks to the Flanagan family for their effort in making it happen. He recalled the All-Ireland day and of the extended Killoran family meeting before the game outside the Croke Park Hotel and the nervousness then, overshadowed later by the excitement of victory and pride in having a very tangible link to this big sporting day for Tipperary.
As a postscript Gaye Sheeran told me of Bob Carr and a Garda Delaney (?) promoting hurling in Ballyfarnon once. Now if anyone could come up with that picture it would be a collector’s item.
As you can see it was a pretty busy and top Christmas for me. Meeting people home from the many places contributed to that as it does to all here.    

A Happy and prosperous 2017 to all our Boyle area emigres (I am sure below is only a representative sample).

Australia --- Timmy O’Dowd/ Ciaran Conlon and family/ Paraic Sweeney & Ms. O’Connor/ Conor Nangle/ Enda & Jacquie and Emer O’Callaghan/ Seamie Gallagher/ Damien Keenehan/ Ciaran Keenehan. Miss Egan from Green St./Ger. O’Gara and clan including Joan and honorary Boyle man, Sean Casey/ Joseph Moran in Sydney/Karl Keenan, Perth. I hear you met a Conboy there recently.

The U.S.---  Damien Dooley/ Frankie Flaherty/ Marcus Kennedy and friend who I had a nice talk with after the quiz/ Joseph Mahon/ Brendan O’Callaghan/ Chris O’Dowd/ Doirbhle O'Dowd/ Austin and Paraic Beisty/ The Spellman family x Forest View/ Pat and Margaret Lavin also x Forest View now/ Niall Mc Crann in the U.S.

Canada; Tadgh Egan/ Sean Mullaney/ Brian and Jake McCrann/ Miss Compton/ Dearbhaile Mac Namara.

England --- Caoimhin Young, Quiz winner/ Killian Egan/ John Harrington/ / Gary Tiernan/ Nicky Emmett in London/Sarah Mullaney/Liam Scott who I meant to get back to have a few more words with in Dodds/Peter Cryan and friend from Clarkes.

Scotland --- Liam Young & family / Rory Nangle.

Belgium --- James Candon in Brussels

Germany and Belgrade --- The Gannon family/ In Munich--Michael and Maria Kelly and their family of Mario, Olivia and baby three soon. Thanking Michael for his nice and recent post. 

Spain--- Conor Tivnan/ Sean Young & family/ John & Joan Gallagher and family/ Gavin, Declan and Anthony in various places.

Portugal----Mattie Scott in sunny Portugal.

Dubai --- Megan Morris, Aoife Brady/ Paddy Conlon stationed in The Gulf temporarily/ Darren Dockery, the Gulf!/ Neil Nangle in Bahrain.

South Africa --- Carmel Finneran.

Brazil---Fr. Tony Conry.

Japan ---Kate Gilmartin if still abroad at this time.

Singapore --- Catriona Moran and family.

New Zealand--Niamh Brennan and Kiwi partner Phil though I think they are in Boyle / Elisabeth Hemi Taute (Sweeney) husband and son Cian in N.Z. Christina Marnell daughter of Marie Paul also in New Zealand.