Friday, April 28, 2017

Update April 28th

Who lived Where in Boyle in the 30's - 40's
 ‘Someone should write it down’’ is the earnest phrase which often attends a conversation with knowledgeable people on the subject of Old Boyle from decades back. There are a number of people who are in the premier division in terms of traversing the streets of Boyle in their memories and nominating who ‘lived there’ and what they did. My ‘go to ‘ people in that respect are Frankie Tarpey and Christy Wynne. I know there are a number more also like Frank Tivnan, Mick Harrington, Paddy Daly, Hal Cawley, Barry Feely, John Mcloughlin, Paddy Toolan and more. There have to be a number of ladies also. And one can be surprised by some people who have a deep knowledge of the town.
It is difficult for me, ‘a blow in’, to grasp the generational sequence and context of those times. The native who has grown up with all that is king in that respect.  Anyway I’ll make a shot at trying committing to paper the information that I have received. The template which I will use is a map of Boyle from circa the late forties carefully drawn by Paraic Beisty formerly of Ledfordspark Carrick Road who has been in the United States for a considerable time. Paraic’s house-numbered map goes from street to street nominating those living there and what they did circa 1950. As I would not know any of this I act as the scribe. There will be mistakes I’m sure and omissions and hopefully this will be just the beginning and that people will add, subtract and forward corrections to enhance  Boyle Town Project to give it a working title. It may not work at all of course but we’ll try it and see.

So….for no particular reason I start with
ELPHIN St. West Side from the current Health Centre. Paraic Beisty had each street numbered so

1.    The Gate House to the Workhouse Grounds occupied by a ‘Spud’ Murphy’ of then. (The present Plunkett Home was the site of the Old- historic- Workhouse an insightful article on which can be accessed in the invaluable Moylurg Writers Vol. 1 1988 page 78 written by Sr. Patricia Kelly.
2.    Workhouse, later a hospital, now The Plunkett Home. (There is a whole history there of its own).
3.    Pump House For water pressure booster. Doctor Collins built a house there whose son Peter is a Solicitor in Carrick-on-Shannon. Doctor Fallon and family were there until recently and it is now a food outlet.
4.    Richard Murray –carpenter later moved to Marian Rd. His brother Johnny a painter and family lived there then. Josie lived in Felton. Phil Murray was caretaker of King House for the period of the 30s’ when the Free State army vacated and then returned to King House during The Emergency.  Members of the Murray family were prominent in the town in the Republican movement of the time. 
5.    Randal Rice & Mary Anne (Coen) & family. Carpenter & Masonry. Also a sweet shop and provided food on fair days. Randal had a brother Robert who had a forge behind Paddy Daly’s; involved with horses and lived near ‘the Quarry’.
6.    Paddy Kennedy N.T. & School Principal and All-Ireland handballer & family, after some time living on the Crescent,.
7.    Tom McCabe a former member of the R.I.C. police. There were a number of former R.I.C. men living on this street such as Gillen/McCabe/Griffin. Tom is referenced as associated with a glove factory behind where Wynnes' Solrs. are now.  One of my sources say he had a son a judge in Dublin. (Mrs. Nicholson former Roscommon Herald employee and Comhaltas & Fleadh Committee member). 
8.    Pat Spellman, originally from Keash, builder and fire brigade officer. Prior to him Mr. Turbett from Ballinamore.
9.    Kilfeather’s one of whom joined the Christian Brothers. A number of houses here, it is suggested, were known collectively as ‘Drury Terrace’. Paraic  Beisty has Guard Vaughan nominated here also.
10.                       John and Mrs. Dwyer. A busy and popular lodging house. Some of the people who stayed there settled in Boyle subsequently such as Paddy Purcell and Martin Mc Loughlin who were initially employed as lorry drivers during The Lime Campaign’ of the early 50s’. Later John McGowan a stalwart of Boyle GAA in the 60s’ and 70s’.
11.                         Miko Finneran from Ballinagare a builder who had returned from New York acquired Griffins and then Moran’s sweet shop. (Reference to Roger Gray here) 
12.                         Mrs. Griffin married to a member of the R.I.C. kept boarders also. Dr. Gibbons who was working in the hospital stayed there for a time. A member of the Griffin family was an officer in the army and a second son Christy, after a time as a barman in Dublin, established a bar in Woodquay in Galway City.  
13.                       Mister Christy Callan had a house here.
14.                       James Turbett a noted Old IRA person. A sister Cassie a dedicated gaelgoir and Irish dance teacher. Another sister married to a publican and Co. Clr. in Fuerty outside Roscommon. 

15.                       Danny Cunnion (sold to Murphy’s later. Mister Murphy came from B’Shannon) from Leitrim a baker inherited from his uncle Mr. Sharkey. Provided lovely confectionary and such.  Martin Mc Loughlin later acquired a residence-St. Anne’s- there. Mrs. Mahon wife of Garda Mahon. ( A Mister Young ).

16.                       Bertie Devine worked in insurance. A brother of Agnes/Aggie Devine-Conlon of Devine Conlon’s St. Patrick’s Street. Father of Michael, Dermott, Willie, Sister Mary and Father Tom in New Jersey. They later moved to The Crescent. Bertie was the son of Tom J. Devine who was one of the three candidates in the famous 1917 bye-election won by Count Plunkett. So the Devine family are part of a very significant event in Irish History.
17.                       Ignatius Sullivan in the National Bank and the Bank of Ireland on amalgamation. Also referenced, a Mister Devane a civil servant

18.                       Detective Bill Doyle and wife Sophie. Very active in Boyle organisations. 
19.                       Coleman’s (Postmaster) where dentist Boland is now.
20.                       Mr. Mc Clean from Northern Ireland worked with F.X. Burke Sol. in Main St. (Mr. Burke was for a time owner of the Royal Hotel). There is also mention of the following in this area: 1. Barry Owens from Fermanagh and son Vincent Owens who was later domiciled in Birmingham and was a contact person for a lot of Boyle people going to that city. Their house was accessed to the rear of others. 2. Mr. Flanagan, Mr. Redmond and Andy Fee who was a manager in Sloan’s and later had a shop in a premises of Paddy Daly where Jackie Tighe was later.   
Corrections and submissions welcome. In 2 weeks’ time-hopefully- we will cross to the East Side of Elphin St. ! 

Gerry O’Malley
I have had some reaction to my Gerry O’Malley piece from last week. Christy Dolan remembers the day well having particular reason to do so. Christy was on the Mayo minor team that defeated Galway that day and so had a close view of proceedings and remembers it clearly. 

Christy later played for Roscommon and was a top player with Boyle, nearly always at centre back, in the early seventies. I intend to talk to Christy about all this in due course.
**As  I mentioned last week there are tickets available from the club proceeds going towards the Gerry O’Malley Commemoration Fund in his native place of Brideswell in the St. Brigid’s Club area.

Sports Discipline

Boyle Seniors v Creggs
I attended as Boyle defeated Creggs in the O’Gara Cup in the Abbey Park last Saturday evening. There was the usual mix of good and not so good football. Boyle have a good number of special players at the moment but perhaps the panel is not deep enough. I did come away very impressed by an aspect of the game however. That was the demeanour and calmness of the team managers involved. We in Boyle are well aware of those qualities in the Creggs manager, Boyle stalwart, Jonathan Conroy, always a gentleman. This was also very much in evidence in the Boyle manager Tom Morley. I watched as he passed on instructions to his players in a quiet, polite and unfussy manner while still confirming that he was in charge. And he did not react to mistakes by throwing the bottle out of or into the dug- out. The attitude of team managers is in the news at the moment with the o.t.t. actions of Davy Fitzgerald. Most quality managers recognise that self- discipline is a necessary quality if they are to have a similar response from their players. One sees this exemplified in current county managers of Dublin, Kerry, Tyrone and I cannot think of one sinner in this respect apart from Fitzgerald who is probably deliberately theatrical.
While it nice to see at adult level the pity is that down the years a small number of  managers of under-age teams have not shown the necessary self-discipline that should obtain when dealing with young people during close games. There is a short monologue which I tried to source there now about praising the child and he/she will prosper or words to that effect. I hope that my own record when I was involved was in line with the note I write now. We can hardly teach our kids to be respectful by treating them with disrespect. Kids rarely do not try hard. They make mistakes but hardly do so deliberately. They are as good as they are. Encouragement is key in improving ‘weaker’ players.
I know of a parent of a young county player who found going to inter-county games very stressful due to the criticism hurled at his son. A parent hearing his/her boy/girl being overly criticised, feels it just as much as the young person or perhaps more. So wouldn’t it be nice if the example of Messrs Conroy and Morley became the norm as of best practise. 

The Boyle Celtic Journey
It does not shorten, this Boyle Celtic journey. Next Saturday, yes Saturday not Sunday, the team play in Killarney in the preliminary round of the FAI Senior Cup. The game was understood by all on this side of the equation (and earlier on the other side) as being down for decision on Sunday but apparently it was ‘inconvenient’ for the Killarney Club for whatever reasons. To change, arrange and advertise the game for late on a Saturday without appropriate consultation with the club having to travel such a long journey, shows how little consideration that the host club, Killarney, has shown for Boyle. To expect a team to travel the 4/5 hour trip to Kerry and then play an important/historic match demonstrates an arrogance and lack of consideration of some magnitude. With the game at 7 it would be over in normal time at near 9, with extra time this would extend to 9.30 or later. Then whatever supporters travel have to face the 4/5 hour journey back to Boyle. Allowing for a burger stop it would be 3am before one would arrive in Boyle. I haven’t been this late coming home from a match for a very long time.

Obviously sportsmanship is a spare commodity with this Killarney club. One would have expected that a town which prospers on the philosophy of friendliness and welcome would not be the practitioners of such low standards as in this case.         

Friday, April 21, 2017

Update 21st April

Some Sports Fixtures for this coming weekend and beyond.

Boyle GAA Senior team will hope to continue their good run of wins in the O’Gara Cup on Saturday with a game v Creggs in the Abbey Park at 6.30.(Not Sunday as advertised).

Soccer. Sunday April 23rd Southern Hotel Super League 11am Ballisodare United v Boyle Celtic Ballisodare.

Celtic, after another extra time win on Sunday over Carbury in a very competitive game, have a number of big games coming up. Apart from trying to get up-to-date on the regular Sligo/Leitrim league fixtures they play  v Killarney in the F.A.I. Cup proper, preliminary round, on Sunday Apr. 30th in Killarney. Their biggest game is the Connacht Cup Semi-Final v West Utd. of Galway in Galway on Sunday May 7th. This is a competition they would really love to win.      

Roscommon GAA hero Gerry O’Malley being Remembered
While many of the younger generation will not remember Gerry O’Malley or may not even have heard of him, to me and my generation he was our hero.  Today there are the options of playing a diversity of sports but for us growing up in the late fifties and sixties Gaelic games were predominant. For me coming from Fuerty/Athleague it was hurling and Gaelic football. Roscommon had been a power in the forties and early fifties until it was eclipsed by Mayo or more so Galway as the fifties progressed. O’Malley from Brideswell, Curraghaboy in the St. Brigid’s area emerged as the dominant player in Roscommon from 1950 until he retired in the mid- sixties. He was a Cuchalainn like figure who was known and admired the length and breadth of the GAA country. This was reinforced by his participation of the inter-provincial competition The Railway Cup which had huge support in the fifties and early sixties in both hurling and football. This was the regular showground for great players from lesser counties to show their skills to the wider audience. O’Malley was lucky also in the sense that it was a time when Connacht teams had arguably their greatest ever players. In Galway there was Sean Purcell and Frank Stockwell (referred to as ‘the terrible twins’ for the destruction they could dispense as supreme forwards). Leitrim had Packie Mc Garty and Cathal Flynn. Mc Garty had the heart of a lion and the skill of a Messi and is rightly revered in Leitrim. He played on a very good Leitrim team which lost 5 Connacht finals to Galway. Sligo’s regular representative initially was the great Nace O’Dowd at full back and in the early sixties the coming Mickie Kearins. Mayo had marvellous players like Tom Langan, Willie Casey, Paddy Prendergast and Paraic Carney and Ned Moriarty from Boyle. With Roscommon it was always O’Malley in the forefront.

The Broken–Crossbar Connacht Final of ’62 A Highpoint in the Folklore of the Game.
Amongst the performances that will live in the folklore of the game is the 1962 Connacht Final against Galway at Castlebar.
One report of the game began as follows;
“Roscommon have down the years, won and lost many memorable games but this victory over Galway in the Connacht Senior Football Final will never be forgotten by the thousands of joyous supporters of the blue and gold, if only for the concluding fantastic eight minute of an epic and pulsating finish”.

The inspiration for those fantastic eight minutes was Gerry O’Malley. The sports reporters did their best but realised that even their superlatives fell short.      

Donal O’Carroll (Irish Independent)  “The unsurpassable Gerry O’Malley has done it again. His was a masterly exhibition ….” “The lion-hearted O’Malley” Jack Mahon.
Michael O’Callaghan in The Roscommon Herald, “Then incomparable Gerry O’Malley”.

It was his finest hour.

The pivotal incident in the game and one that is part of the folklore of O’Malley happened with Galway comfortably coasting towards victory leading by 2.6 to 1.4 when Aidan Brady, the Roscommon goalkeeper, swung off and broke the crossbar. After it was repaired and O’Malley now at midfield was involved in a quick Roscommon goal. Eventually with time almost up the scores were level Galway 2.9 Roscommon 3.6. Then O’Malley gets the ball and powers his way up-field past bewildered rivals and team-mates alike, the crowd now in a frenzy. An amazed Roscommon support willing him on, an amazed Galway support fearing the worst. A painters picture. Finally the release from O’Malley as he passes to Don Feely who calmly makes an angle and  drops the ball neatly between the uprights. The kick out and the game is over. Roscommon have won, a pandemonium of celebration by Roscommon supporters, stunned disbelief by Galway. No mad rush to the exits as people try to absorb it all. I was lucky. I was there.  

It was always the hope that Gerry would win an All-Ireland senior football medal but the closest he came to that was when he captained Roscommon in the 1962 All-Ireland final against Kerry which Kerry won comfortably with O’Malley having to retire injured. He did win an All-Ireland junior hurling medal with Roscommon in 1965 at St. Coman’s Park with a victory over Warwickshire.

I got to know Gerry well in recent decades and Boyle GAA people will remember him coming to GAA occasions in Boyle in 1995 where he attended a dinner after a hugely successful year for the club in ’94. He also participated in the opening of the new dressing rooms with John Joe Nerney in 2010 as remembered by the plaque there. He was a regular Roscommon supporter and a great St. Brigid’s one. This was the club he helped establish and was very proud the day they won the All-Ireland club title in 2013. He loved hurling which he played with great success with Four Roads Club, Roscommon and Connacht.
  He was a dedicated agricultural advisor and lived his last decades in Swords in North Dublin. He passed away in early January 2016 and is buried in Drum cemetery close to his Roscommon family home and the fields where he played as a boy.

*For Anyone Wishing to be Associated with the Gerry O’Malley Memorial
The community of Brideswell have initiated the process of remembering Gerry O’Malley appropriately in his native village and this is supported by extended community encompassed by the  St. Brigid’s club. They have extended their support appeal for their funding draw to the general Roscommon GAA community via the clubs. Boyle GAA Club Secretary Mary Clifford has received a number of books of those tickets costing €10 for a book of three. So anyone wishing to support the Gerry O’Malley Commemoration project can do so by contacting Mary or myself for that matter at 086 816 3399.  

Social Inequality
In a recent Vincent Browne T.V. programme there was a discussion on ‘social inequality’. There were varied responses on the subject.
Some time ago I was in University College Hospital Galway and witnessed the pretty chaotic and over-crowded casualty reception area there. It was disconcerting to say the least. I am in no way reflecting on the staff in this but on the environment in which they try and get best outcomes.
More recently I was in the Galway Clinic with its spacious reception arena. There was a grand piano centred in this with a lady playing her music from her music sheets.
Now if you wanted a pretty stark vista of social inequality the contrast between these two medical facilities would do the trick!
(Perhaps I am being a spoil-sport here but the pending wedding in Ashford Castle in Cong is gearing up for the Rory Mc Ilroy wedding to Erica Stoll tomorrow as I write. I remember weddings in The Royal Hotel in Boyle……social inequality is a fact of history but there are scales of it).  

Scannal T.V. programme on The Irish Hospitals Sweepstake
I was initially half-looking at this programme but got drawn into it. I got into it by seeing the scale of the irregularity of it and the degree of compliance and ‘nod and wink’  participation of the highest levels of Government and many sections of Irish society and its institutions. It was fronted by a particular family steeped in politics and was promoted and pushed in a number of countries though illegal in them. The presentation of the draws used/abused highly respected institutional groups such as the police and nurses. One very distasteful  draw involved two blind boys with their names labelled and pinned to their clothing. This was trying to reinforce the integrity to the draw while the reality was that it was rotten to the core. The reporter, Joe Mac Anthony, who broke the story initially had to leave the country to get gainful employment subsequently.  The hospitals which were to get the huge funding raised got minimal return. The Draw(!) ran from 1930 until 1987 when it went into liquation where the hundreds of employees –mostly women- got a raw deal in terms of redundancy. If it –the programme- is repeated I’ll study it better.
   Following in Joe Mac Anthony’s footsteps, Damian Corless has published a book called ‘The Greatest Bleeding Heart Racket in the World’.
Of course this could hardly happen her now!! Though the evidence of the recent ‘Console’ debacle or issues with Rehab might not be reassuring.
What about the current Irish National Lottery or the ridiculous T.V. questions at €2 a pop eg. Which of these is the capital of the U.K.? Tokyo, Ottawa or London?

We’ll leave it at that for this week.        
P.S. Best wishes to Boyle GAA girl club members playing on Roscommon teams next weekend. U-14: Aisling Feely. U-16: Kate Harrington, Megan McKeon and Saoirse Wynne. Minor: Sinead Glennon, Aine Mullins and Roisin Wynne.



Friday, April 14, 2017

Update 15th April

Some Week-End Fixtures:
The Boyle Celtic v Evergreen Utd. game from last Sunday will be shown fully- I am told - on Eir channel on Sunday next.
Boyle Celtic v Carbury in the prestigious Connacht Cup takes place in Boyle on Sunday next at 2pm.
Boyle GAA Senior team play Oran in the O’Gara Cup at Oran at 11am.
Roscommon Fleadh at Castlecoote this Easter Week-End.
Choices to be made!  

Boyle Celtic’s Special Day in The Showgrounds

While the result and the way of it was hugely disappointing on Sunday last, it was still a very special day for Boyle Celtic in a number of ways. I will not go into the detail of the game since all the local media have given it fantastic coverage again this week and have shown great empathy with the side’s understandable disappointment. So take a bow Martin Wynne, Ian Cooney and the Roscommon Herald and Seamus Duke and the Roscommon People and also John Lynch and Willie Hegarty of Shannonside.  
It was not just a game but a great occasion for Celtic, for the Boyle community and indeed for a regional community. The reports in all the media refer to the great support the team had and the atmosphere that obtained in The Showgrounds on the day. The support, aided by Donie’s and Kevin’s rousing song, tried as best they could to get the team over the line and when that did not happen the crowd expressed their acknowledgement of the teams total commitment and disappointment at its conclusion. The team and management recognised all that and for most of them it was their biggest stage before a most generous audience. While it tried to soothe their disappointment to a point, it also demonstrated what ‘might have been’ had they got to the final. A nice touch at the end was that of the Evergreen captain Holden coming to the Boyle support side at the end, when they were showing their support of the Boyle team, and he acknowledged  the crowd also. I imagine he recognised that the Boyle support had enhanced the atmosphere and made a real occasion of it for the participants of both sides.

This was the biggest support I have witnessed for a Boyle sports team in my time in Boyle and I imagine far beyond that. It was a total community involvement backed by regional goodwill. Many Boyle people now living elsewhere made the journey to Sligo and I met a few of them. Clive Slattery now living in London who with family members were in Belfast for the World(?) Irish Dancing Championships diverted to Sligo for the game. I did not see Darren Suffin but he said in Carrick-on-Suir that he would be back from Bolton for the Semi-Final. I talked to former Celtic players from the late sixties John and Tony Martin as they reflected on the Celtic team of then. Also there was Frankie Daly a former Boyle footballer now resident in the north of the country. Hillary Beirne key organiser of the St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York was there with my ‘comrade’ John McPhearson.  I imagine there were many more also. I am also aware of people listening to radio coverage from Shannonside, Ocean FM and KCR (i.e. Kilkenny/Carlow Radio) while Adam Daly’s streaming was received by many in Boyle and various areas. One person contacted me and in discussion of the game talked of marrying Adam’s stream with a radio commentary. So the game reached a wide constituency.      
For many it was a first time at Sligo Rovers ground ‘The Showgrounds’ and now that they have ‘found it’ perhaps a number will return. For Boyle Celtic too it has raised its profile and is a big boost to its standing in the local community and with the youth who were generously represented at the game. Celtic now have a  great opportunity, if they can get enough capable volunteers, to expand the reach of the club in terms of participation numbers and support. It may not happen overnight but it has certainly awakened an awareness and recognition.
Thanks also to the team and management. How much it meant to them was reflected in their disappointment at the end. I just mention one player who represented that commitment in spades being Dessie Carlos who drove from Dublin so many times while under pressure from his GAA club there, Castleknock, who were in the Dublin county Final last year.      

The Club are still involved in a number of other competitions and on Sunday next they play Carbury FC in the Connacht Cup Quarter Finals at Celtic Park at 2. Boyle have really felt that this is a prestigious competition that they could really win with some breaks. Sunday’s opposition Carbury are leading the Sligo/Leitrim League and they too will be eyeing success in the Connacht Cup so Sunday could be a cracking game between two top teams. 
Post Script
1.     I had thought of putting up the train schedule from Boyle to Sligo which would facilitate match goers as of yore but I heard ‘anecdotally’ afterwards that a number of the cars of match goers were actually clamped when they returned so I was pleased I do not do so.  The car park at Boyle Railway Station is not a P.R. plus for rail travel.
2.     Boyle Celtic through their sponsorship support are now much better equipped with sporting
gear than the Irish International women’s team.

Errata Current Issues

The Bus Strike
It seems as if the bus strike is nearly over as I write. On the basis that all wars and strikes end it is such a pity that the terms which saw the termination of the strike did not emerge before it was begun. But I guess that is human nature. I now hear of rumblings of Dublin City Bus going on strike. I imagine that such a strike in the capital will focus minds a bit quicker than the 3 week haze that lasted during the expressway one.

Car Insurance Hike
It is said that there are just two certainties in life those being taxes and death. I think that those numbers should be expanded to include now, car and health insurance upward spiral. And these are ‘no ordinary’ raises these are exorbitant increases. I saw a television discussion where an icy insurance industry representative debated the causation for these increases with representatives of the legal profession. It ended nil all.  

The 116 Helicopter Tragedy
The initial findings and suggestions surrounding the tragic rescue helicopter accident off the Mayo coast are disturbing. The suggested omission of the lighthouse island from the navigational technology and the failure of the personal bleepers for finding the crew members are just two of those. On today’s (Friday) Irish Times site there is a transcription of the crew’s final interaction conversation which is part of a preliminary report.  The final report could make for sad reading.     

The Water Debate Stumbles On
The Water Debate rolls on after what seemed a sort of agreement some time ago. The Water Non Payment Campaign was seen as a benchmark victory for those who saw it as simply a further taxation. It is incredible that so much money was expended before this bridge was arrived at and if this logic holds, water metres that were installed in such haste are now redundant. There is a Government policy campaign in progress to say that those who over- use water or abuse its availability should be charged but even this is being resisted.
Payment for water provision is a regular practise in advanced countries. And, as could be evidenced by the percentage of people who paid their water bills initially it had the support of a large percentage of the population. The opposition to Water Charges was well organised, had a concerted message and came at the end of a depressing period of the crash. It succeeded in derailing a legitimate process the tail of which the current Government seems to hold onto.
We often referred to the black hole of the spending on voting machines some time ago but the ‘water debacle’ is a multiple of that and with all its tendrils is an absolute disgrace of policy mis-management and waste.  

Housing Crisis in the Capital
It has been said during the week that Dublin is booming in terms of pubs, restaurants and consumer spending. One suggestion which I thought was sad was that young people in good jobs in the capital were spending their earnings because there was no way that they could EVER afford buying a house/home.  The contributors to this included huge rents and the racing inflation of house prices. There are several television programmes now dealing with aspects of this huge dilemma such as ‘The Irish Property Crisis’ on Monday and ‘Find me a Home’ on Wednesday. Thousands of houses are required in the proper locations and despite the parading of Simon Coveney and his repetition of the prospect of said provision there is no confidence that this will happen in Dublin. Building huge estates was possible by the state when the country was impoverished but the building of housing by the local authorities was abandoned and handed to the ‘private developers’ where profit was king. And so we are in a property crisis and will be there for quite a while to come.  

Sports national and International

Dublin’s Run Ends
Kerry finally ended Dublin’s unbeaten run at Croke Park on Sunday to win the Allianz National League. It was a very competitive game with a strain of ill-will permeating it as it did in their normal league encounter some time ago. The game was refereed by Roscommon’s Paddy Neilan and GAA players and followers would have recognised the umpires being regular on the Roscommon games officiating circuit. A clash in late summer or September between Dublin and Kerry in the championship will likely be a sweet and sour event.

Sunday Indo Columnists
Brolly and The Gooch

The retirement of Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper elicited glowing tributes from nearly all and sundry as was his due. The one voice that had reservations was, not unusually, Joe Brolly. He contested that while The Gooch was a sublime artist of a footballer he was not the braveheart that led his team when the chips were stacked against him. The alternate view is always worthy of reading. It is a Chinese or a Confucius spake that goes somewhat like this ‘where everybody thinks alike nobody thinks very much’. Not only does Brolly state his case but like the god lawyer he is he lays down his evidence. He gets plenty of criticism but that does not faze him and he is certainly a worthy voice.   

Hold the Back Page-Eamon Sweeney
Eamon Sweeney laid out clearly the elements of the disgraceful treatment of the Irish women’s soccer team in his ‘Hold the Back Page’ column.
The most telling sentences he reserves for the last paragraph;  “The Irish women fought their battle alone. Not one member of the men’s team saw fit to send so much as a tweet in support. Not one of them was man enough to do it. Not good enough lads.” I wonder why?     Eamon also referenced the Boyle Celtic game and his modest role with the club ‘back in the day’, as they say.

The Riveting Television Masters

If there was questionable sportsmanship at Croke Park, the final evening, on Sunday, of The Masters was exemplary in that respect. The final match of the contending pairing of Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose swayed from one to the other over the final round. There were shadows of threats from a small number of other players but both Garcia and Rose ended on 9 under par with the third place being 3 shots further back. Garcia won clearly on the first play-off hole. It is strange that a ESPN commentator actually attacked the degree of camaraderie between the two competing leaders. Garcia has been seen as the greatest golfer ‘never’ to have won a major having competed in 73 majors without a win, regularly coming in the top zone of competitors. There were a number of times when it seemed as if this was to continue as the game favoured Rose but in the end Garcia prevailed becoming the third Spanish winner of The Masters after Ballesteros and Olazabal  on Seve’s birthday. Rose was unable to add the title to his Olympic gold but will obviously be a contender in the years ahead. Rory McIlroy finished tied 7th . His challenge to win the fourth major continues.   

The Grand National
While I am not a betting person. I have, like millions of my attitude, regularly tuned into the Grand National and made my annual contribution to the bookies fund. Last Saturday’s race was not as dramatic as many of the previous ones which have been serious contenders for animal cruelty.
The race was won by ‘One For Arthur’, only the second horse trained in Scotland to win the Grand National (the other being Rubstic in 1979). It had a near-local connection in that  One For Arthur was ridden by Sligo jockey Derek Fox.




Monday, April 10, 2017

Update 7th April

Boyle Celtic in The Showgrounds Sunday at 3. (Admission fee on Sunday is €10 for adults -set by the FAI- €5 for students and OAPs’ and please note U 16s are free)    

I contributed my paragraphs on Boyle Celtic’s journey here last week. The game has been highlighted generously in all the media in the intervening time with Ian Cooney, Sports Editor of The Roscommon Herald pushing the boat out with extensive coverage in the Herald’s sports section of last Tuesday. The other local papers such as the Roscommon People and Leitrim and Sligo papers have also done their bit as has Shannonside Radio. It may also feature on the Sunday independent’s ‘Hold the Back Page’ next Sunday i.e. match day. 
The launch of Donie O’Connor’s song is a further string to the bow of publicity and interest. This has been supplemented with the publication of colourful match programme which includes team member profiles, some short articles and sixteen pictures of Boyle Celtic youth teams both boys and girls. Also included are the words to the Boyle Celtic anthem which could get a Welsh style airing on Sunday evening in ‘The Showgrounds’ . 
Celtic have played three games in the last couple of weeks. They defeated Ballymoe in the Connacht Cup and followed this up with an impressive victory in the same competition in Bellmullet on Sunday last. Sandwiched in between was a hard-earned victory in the local league over Ballisodare.  

** Boyle Celtic Song CDs’ and match programmes now available in many shops and other outlets throughout the town and also on match day inside the grounds.  

Organ Donor Awareness Week 
Donor Awareness Week takes place between the 1st and 8th of April. Indeed awareness of organ Donation does not have time boundaries but the week is used to raise Awareness of the huge benefits and hopefully expand the number of donors.

My good friend John Mac Phearson, related to me, some time ago, his personal experience of receiving a life enhancing organ donation, the Gift of Life, in 2011 when he was diagnosed with liver cancer. He expressed his huge gratitude to those who participated in the scheme and urged people to become involved by having a donor card.  One of its great proponents is the former Derry footballer and TV analyst Joe Brolly.  Joe has himself donated a kidney to a friend.

It must be one of the most noble acts imaginable for someone to donate a life enriching bodily organ to another person. There are approximately 700 people in Ireland awaiting life-saving heart, lung, liver, kidney and pancreas transplants. Thanks to the gift of organ donation over 3000 people in Ireland are enjoying extended life. In 2015, 266 organs were transplanted, 233 were as a result of the generosity of the families of 81 deceased donors and the remaining 33 were from living kidney donors.

The focus of Organ Donor Awareness Week is also to raise awareness about the ongoing and ever increasing demand for organ transplantation which relies on the public for organ donation. Its key message is that families need to talk and keep accessible the reminders of their willingness to donate by carrying the organ donor card, downloading the Smartphone App and permitting Code 115 to be included on their driver’s license.

The Irish Kidney Association is the national organisation charged with the promotion and distribution of the organ donor card in Ireland, on behalf of Organ Donation Transplant Ireland.

Free information fact files, which accompany organ donor cards, are obtainable from the Irish Kidney Association and are available nationwide from pharmacies, GP surgeries and Citizen Information Offices etc.

Organ Donor Cards can also be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association  LoCall 1890 543639 or Freetext the word DONOR to 50050. Visit website It is now possible to store an organ donor card, the ‘ecard’ on Smart mobile phones.   Simply search for ‘Donor ECard’ at the IPhone Store or Android Market Place.

Boyle GAA O’Gara Cup Fixture;
The McGovern Directional Drilling sponsored seniors play Michael Glavey's in the O'Gara Cup on Saturday April 8th in Ballinlough at 5:30pm.

Roscommon County Fleadh Castlecoote/Fuerty on Easter Sunday/Monday. 
I mentioned this recently but I imagine a reminder is no harm. This year’s Roscommon County Fleadh will take place over the Easter Sunday/Monday week-end the 16th/17th of April. It takes place for the first time in Castlecoote, Fuerty, five miles from Roscommon town. I have been ‘encouraged’ to publicise it as much as I can and since I come from Castlecoote that is not a burden. A lot of work has gone on there in recent years in terms of Tidy Towns and the village of Castlecoote is now traditionally vying with Keadue for the top place in County Roscommon. 
I presume that the Fleadh competitions will be divided between the Community Centre and the National School. The Community Centre was formerly the parish church and is adjacent to the ‘new’ church. Anyway apart from the competitions there is a small necklace of 3 bars in the area being overall about a kilometre between first and third. The first one is in Fuerty proper, the second is in the heart of Castlecoote village and is run now by P.J. Naughton who has featured on a number of bands down the years and hosts music sessions in his premises regularly. P.J. is Chairperson of the local Fleadh Committee. The third one is called ‘The Dail Bar’ with a political theme and is owned by Senator Terry Leyden and family. It is on what locals call the ‘new road’ to Donamon Castle.  
The Roscommon Fleadh is the first county Fleadh nationally and attracts a dedicated following from many parts of the country. When in Boyle, back in the day, it used to have quite a number of visitors from Northern Ireland.  So hopefully Boyle will be represented at the County Fleadh in Castlecoote and that I will not be the only Boyle person there! I had thought of hiring a 20 seater bus for the Sunday but perhaps that idea is a bit too ambitious.    

Irish Women’s Soccer Team
When the Irish Women’s Soccer team listed their grievances and conditions under which they played international football and represented their country most people were aghast. The standards in terms of track suits, changing venues, hotel accommodation, monetary payment and compensation for loss of earnings and general respect were met with disbelief by the sporting public.

I don’t know if it was by accident or design that the ‘women’ took their stand around the time the Chief FAI CEO, John Delaney who is said to ‘earn’ a salary of €400, 000 was in Helsinki being voted onto the Uefa's Executive (Soccer) Committee which will bring him a further €100,000. 

The women showed a true competitive spirit despite a veiled threat about damaging their future in the game and there seems to now be a resolution with most of their demands being met. The mind boggles that such basic demands have not been par for the course for some considerable time anyway.

In a press release by those involved in putting the women’s case the following  sentence summarised the women’s position;       

"The events of the past two days amount to a short, sharp and successful campaign to advance the rights of women in sport. They are also a reminder that, in any area of modern Irish society, women should never accept being treated as second-class citizens."

Some of the details of the confidential agreement are said to include;
“The Ireland women's football team will each receive the full €300 match fee they sought, a win bonus of €150 for competitive games and €75 for a draw, as outlined in the players' document during their press conference in Liberty Hall earlier this week. Players who have to take unpaid time off while representing their country will also be remunerated”. 
The talks took 9 hours and ended at 4am on Thursday morning. It is hard to believe that, since so much was just basic stuff, that it could have taken so long. 
There are early reports that the Irish women’s agitation has echoed internationally and is being taken up by other women’s international teams.
So well done to the group 

Frank (Monty) MONTGOMERY R.I.P.
The deaths of Frank Montgomery known to so many as ‘Monty’ and his daughter Michelle Keenan (nee Montgomery) has cast a deep sadness over the community in Boyle and beyond. Monty was part of the lives of the Boyle community for over four decades as he played his music at weddings, dinner dances, celebrations and a myriad of events through those years. I am sure there are people who know his musical track record better than I but in the Moylurg Writers first volume of essays on Boyle there is an essay on ‘Bands of Boyle’ by Veronica O’Connor and Monty of course features there. He is pictured with his great friend and long-time accompanist Frances Grehan with Brendan O’Dowd in a trio called ‘Spalpín’. On the following page Monty is listed under the band title ‘Freeeway’ with Brendan O’Dowd, Michael (George) Mullaney, Paul Emmett and Michael Harrington. The last entry has a group titled ‘Who Says What’ with Jackie Harvey and Monty’s colleague Sean Kenny. ‘Monty’ seamlessly became a large part of the great Boyle musical tradition which he enhanced. 
Quite a few years ago Frank brought his music to the United States and there was a little ‘going-away’ party with him in the Moylurg. Someone suggested a few words and I was nominated to do that. I expressed the surprising sentiment that I hoped he would get homesick…… on the basis that he would return quickly and we could all enjoy his music regularly once again. He did of course return and we all enjoyed his music and song for a considerable time afterwards. Monty was a musical backdrop of the lives of many of us and we are indebted and will long remember him for that. 
Our deepest sympathy goes to Andrea and Kian and the extended family and to Michelle’s husband Gary and their children Ronan and Roisin and family.