Toe in the water:
Perhaps some of you will be aware of the situation where you want to get started on something slightly intimidating. I feel that way now as I dip my toe back into the pool by returning to the ‘Oblique View’ again after some time otherwise engaged. I’ve been walking around it, getting diverted, having tea, bringing ‘in’ turf, had a walk and so on but if I’m to do it I have to take the plunge. The Bard with Macbeth; "If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well It were done quickly".
It is not a bad time to do that as there are a number of things I wish to refer to especially with another busy week-end of sport just two days away.
Saturday next at Boyle GAA’s Abbey Park.
Boyle GAA will honour its most decorated player in dedicating the stand at the Abbey Park to John Joe Nerney at 11am on Saturday next. In the stand they will unveil a mural based on a significant picture of John Joe in action in the 1946 Final v Kerry. The picture clearly shows the determination of John Joe in his competing for the ball with opposite number Dinny Lyne of Kerry. The mural has been presented by local artist Sian Costello.
Following this in the GAA Common Room a frame with a representative number of pictures of John Joe’s football life will also be unveiled as will ten frames of Boyle GAA related photographs. These are part of a ‘Boyle GAA History in Pictures’ Permanent Exhibition which will be displayed in the spacious club rooms. These include pictures from the early 30s’ up to recent times at the moment and have been sponsored by various individuals. Of particular interest is a frame dedicated to another famous Boyle sportsman Paddy Perry and Boyle’s handball’s tradition. Paddy is best remembered as a handballer but was in fact an all-round sportsman playing Gaelic football and hurling, soccer under the name of Mickey Rooney for Sligo Rovers and badminton. He played for Dublin for a number of years. He was a member of the Garda inducted by the then Commissioner Eoin O’Duffy who enlisted many star sportsmen into the force. Paddy Perry has a unique distinguishing achievement in that he won three Dublin Senior Championship medals on the one day, they being senior hurling and football with the Garda Club and an individual senior handball medal though injured. It is for these reasons that I would regard Paddy Perry as probably Roscommon’s finest ever sportsman.
At 1 o’clock on Saturday the Garda Final takes place. Regrettably Boyle do not contest the final this year and it is between Shannon Gaels and Castlerea.
At 4 0’clock Boyle Seniors play St. Faithleach's in the Intermediate League Final i.e. O’Gara Cup. This should be an entertaining game as their previous game some time ago in the Senior Championship was a close and very fine game.
From 12.30 into the mix there is also a cake bring & buy sale in support of a most worthy local cause i.e. Niamh’s Journey.
I must also commend Boyle GAA committee hard core on all the work that has been going on in terms of revamping the fine dressing room complex that obtains there designed by Chris O’Dowd. I’m sure it will look at its best this Saturday. Also Gerard Tivnan and his team have done great work also in preparation for the day. It reminds me of the preparation involved in ‘the house stations’ especially in rural areas down the decades. (‘House Stations’ for those not now in the know were when a mass was said in a house in a townland area with all the neighbouring houses being represented there. There was also, inevitably, a collection. After mass a bountiful breakfast or ‘high tea’ was provided where the priest and other local aristocracy were treated first in the ‘parlour’.
There is no mass in the GAA rooms on Saturday but it looks like there will be most everything else.
(I might also add that on Sunday at 11 in the said Abbey Park, Boyle play Clann na nGael in the Quarter Final of the ‘17/’18 Feile).
Fuerty v Michael Glavey’s Intermediate Final
‘The savage loves his native shore
Though rude the soil and chill the air”
James Orr (Irish Poet 1770-1816).
Thus I keep an eye on Fuerty who are in the Intermediate Final on Sunday at Hyde Park. I was there at the re -establishment of the club in the early seventies. The issue with the club is that there are four clubs pulling from the area. These are the two hurling clubs, Tremane and Athleague and the St. Ciaran’s Club which caters for under-age and includes Creggs. Fuerty were a force back decades ago at senior level and were a strong club until the mid-fifties. Emigration decimated that and it struggled for a couple of decades but has been on the up in recent times. A great shot in the arm for the club came in a huge act of generosity by a man called Brian Mulhern who had returned to the area from New York. Fuerty officers looking for a site for a field of their own went to Brian and asked him if he would agree to sell them a field they had identified as a possibility for developing into a decent grounds. He replied that he would NOT sell them the field……but that …he would GIVE them the field free gratis provided they attached his recently deceased young wife’s name to it which of course they were happy to do. Since then Mulhern Park has been developed into a very good facility and the fortunes of a club, wandering for decades from field to field, improved immeasurably. They got to the All-Ireland Junior Final at Croke Park in February 2014 and to the Intermediate final also against Ml. Glavey’s in 2015 which they lost narrowly at Strokes town. The Croke Park day was just very special. Their top player is Tremane man Niall Kilroy while Boyle connections other than myself are National School teacher Sean Melia and Abbey Community College teacher John Fitzmaurice.
Amongst the well-known people from there are Senator Terry Leyden and his daughter Council Chairperson Orla as well as Cllr. Dominick Connolly and The Roscommon columnist Liam Devine. Talking of Fuerty, which I enjoy taking the opportunity of doing, the county’s winner in the Tidy Towns competition in Castlecoote my own place. It will continue to be a real contender for top national honours for the foreseeable future. The recent ‘big event’ there was the holding of the Roscommon County Fleadh last Easter Monday. An against the odds win on Sunday and promotion to senior ranks would be something very special to see.
Ireland v Wales- More Drama
Ireland are still in the World Cup lifeboat and for a few I knew who were present at the game in Cardiff it was one in which they can proudly say ‘I was there’. Most of my sentiments follow the line of Roscommon Herald Editor Paul Healy in his column on page 5 of the Roscommon People. The obsession with poor Wes Holohan. I can’t understand if he is such a player that he has not played for Real Madrid or such. Then there is a game kick off time at 7.45 but the T.V. build-up starts at 7 (I think they call this…. ‘the framing of the game’ with……talk and …ads..and..more talk .). Then when the game is over the talk machines are switched on again especially if there are highlights of another game you might like to see.
Anyway Ireland won due to some usual heroics by goalkeeper Randolph, defender Duffy and a cracking goal by James McClean…again. The ‘step-over’ by Arter was clever also. As they are wont to say -if this was done by a Barca player-there’s the difference, the class, why wouldn’t he paid a half a million a week? So now more drama early next week when we find out who Ireland play in the play-offs. When Paul Healy asked some people he was interviewing about matters in Roscommon pages 16/17 Cllr Kathleen Shanagher was sharply tuned in- assuming that they get to the finals- with; It’ll be “good for the credit unions”. The finals, by the way are down the road in…… Russia.
Postscript: One has to feel a bit for Wales who were big favourites going into the game but now miss out on their best chance. They have not qualified for the World Cup since 1958 in Sweden when they reached the quarter finals and Brazil won with a young fellow called Pele was at the start of his career. Northern Ireland were also there in ’58 and got to the semi-finals if my memory is on quiz key. Northern Ireland are also in the play-off hat next week. Who could they play in the play-offs? Italy/ Croatia/ Denmark/ Portugal or Switzerland.
Gerry O’Malley Remembered
Maybe it is the season of memorials but last Saturday the 7th I attended the unveiling of a memorial to, arguably, Roscommon’s greatest ever footballer, Gerry O’Malley. Gerry O’Malley played for Roscommon from 1947 to ’65 and captained the county’s senior team in the All-Ireland final of ’62 which Kerry won. Gerry got injured in that game and had to ‘retire’.
Gerry was part of the great Connacht Railway Cup teams of the fifties when they had some of the greatest players ever from the province’s counties. They were Packie McGarty from Leitrim; Naas O’Dowd from Sligo; Sean Purcell and Frank Stockwell from Galway; Carney, Langan, Casey from Mayo and O’Malley from Roscommon. That was when the Railway Cup attracted around 40,000 to the finals and St. Patrick’s Day. It also gave people a chance to see the great hurlers of the day Ring, Reddan, Rackard and O’Donnell in the hurling side of the Railway Cup.
Anyway returning to last Saturday a large crowd gathered at Gerry’s home townland of Brideswell in the St. Brigid’s Club catchment area. Many of the’62 team were present and while one was sure to miss out on some I met Seamus Keane of Creggs; Tony Kenny and P.J. Shine of Clann; Peter Watson and Tom Turley of Pearses; Christy Grogan of St. Croan’s; Brian Mitchell from Four Roads and Eamon Curley also from the Pearse’s club. Eamon was much thinner man last Saturday than the virtual prop-forward of a powerful player with Roscommon in the early 60s’ .
The Chairman of the Memorial Committee, Charlie Finneran, introduced proceedings and M.C. Frankie Donnelly ran the show after that. The speakers included Gerry’s son Niall; Michael Conroy from Tulsk a long-time work colleague; Eugene Cummins C.E.O. Roscommon county Council; Brian Carroll Secretary of Roscommon County Board GAA and R.T.E. Radio Brian Carthy from Strokestown another long term friend of Gerry’s. As the old accounts of these occasions used to go ‘they all spoke appropriately’.
There were some nuggets amid the mass of ‘thank yous’ and the plaudits to Gerry’s ability as a player. Apparently when asked why he left Castlerea to take up a position in North Dublin Gerry replied; ‘I like the farmers and the people around west Roscommon but with me all they want to do is talk football with the result that it was hard to get anything done. In North Dublin it was different!’ As I listened to Brian Carroll’s short but effective relating of his friendship with Gerry it struck me, a friend of Gerry’s also, how lucky we were in being able to say that. On one occasion Brian related while visiting Gerry he was asked to take a football sock out of drawer in the bed room which turned out to hold some football medals. Gerry took one of them -a county senior medal- and gave it to Brian with the guidance; ‘Brian I’m passing that onto you now but when your time comes you can pass it on again”.
The Gerry 0’Malley legacy will live long in Roscommon and the fine memorial at Brideswell will cement that so I commend them for their efforts.
· If anyone has a good coloured picture of the 1983 Intermediate team which won in Frenchpark v St. Ronan’s I’d appreciate same.
· An odd take away from the Abbey Park during the late summer months was a big green bench/table. It would have taken two people with a decent trailer to remove same. It was being used at the time with the construction of clubhouse lockers. That bench originated, I am nearly certain, in the old Catholic Club later GAA Social club and I may have been party to it arriving in the Abbey Park as I seem remember putting my mark on it. So if anyone has any knowledge of its whereabouts please let us know. It has the look of a Medieval table with its X legs etc.
· T. V. series of the moment on T.V. is ‘The Vietnam War’ RTE Mondays at 11.35 or BBC 4 Mondays at 10. There are a number of episodes transmitted at this stage.
That’s more than enough for this week so no mention of Catalonia; Trump, Boris Johnson, Theresa Maye, Weinstein, Che, Gooch et al
I hope this column to be a two-weekly one so the next should be showing around the end of October.