Saturday, December 1, 2018

Update 1st December 2018

Oblique View
It is a grey Saturday December 1st and like someone who has not swam for some time I am tentatively beginning to place my toe back into the writing pool. What distance, if any, it swims we’ll see but if you are reading this then I’ve stayed in, splashing at the keyboard with all thumbs for fingers.  ‘Tread softly for you tread on my dreams’.  

Books, Books and more Books

I love books and I especially like those which touch on sport and local history. There are always subjects to be written about and luckily there are people who will do that.

We Are the Survivors’ Barry Feely.
On Friday November 16th  I attended the launch by Dr. Jason King of the Irish heritage Trust of Barry Feely’s important book ‘We Are The Survivors’ Boyle Workhouse and Emigration in Famine Times’. The book while focussing on the regional experience of the greatest trauma in Irish History gives a focussed view of a national disaster. While there was a population decline of nearly two million people in a very short time from 1845 to 1852 through emigration and death by starvation, up to six million people actually survived employing  a considerable range of initiatives which Barry explores.  ‘We are the Survivors’ of the survivors who were our grandparents and great-grandparents. Boyle Workhouse the remains of which existed from 1842 to the late sixties played a central role in all that. A rare unanswerable question that I have is; while the Workhouses are stigmatised as locations of horror and death what would have happened if they had not been there as an infrastructure of assistance during the high Famine years?
Probably the most poignant story in Barry’s book is the journey of two groups of young girls to Australia under The Early Grey Scheme and their subsequent lives in that then very distant country. Barry used all possible sources to unearth relevant material for his work from Workhouse Minute Books, local newspapers, Australian records to his brother Joe in tracing long deserted homesteads. Dr. King a native of Canada was a very appropriate individual in launching the book as Canada was one of the great recipient countries of those fleeing from the horror and his launch address captured to essence of the book and its significance clearly.
So congratulations to Barry on a huge achievement and it has been enthusiastically received by general and academic readers alike.

‘The Landed Estates of County Roscommon’ by Paul Connolly from Mount Talbot near Ballygar.
This was launched in Gleeson’s in Roscommon on November 3rd and I recommend it also. Its central focus lies with the four Big Houses that have survived in the county, Strokestown Park House, Clanalis House of the O’Connors in Castlerea; King House and Castlecoote House with which I am familiar. It is a beautifully illustrated book with a myriad of photographs old and new. These include a large number on what may be referred to as the lesser houses such as the Conmee House in Kingsland. While the big houses are secure a number of the 'lesser houses' are an endangered species. In photographing these for the record Paul has done a historians duty. I believe Paul will be in Boyle soon and again next summer so there will an opportunity to share his enthusiasm and be prompted to look again at the ‘lesser houses’ with a necessary curiosity.

Ballintober Old Graveyard & The Grave Memorials of County Roscommon by Mary B. Timoney
Mary and her husband archaeologist Martin live in Keash and are pretty visible around Boyle. Martin was a classmate of mine in UCG and we involved in the founding there of an Archaeology Club. This book has a confusing title but the reason for it being that Mary began with a project on Ballintober and it expanded over the years to include all Roscommon. It is a major work (for the ages as it were) on headstone decoration and meaning going back to the 1600s. Graveyards/Churchyards are a source of multiple artistic displays. When we go to a graveyard we invariably look at the names but there too are represented the skills of generations of craftsmen and this continues. We should be well aware of this in Boyle. Headstones are statements and memorials now. In famine times simple rough stones were the humble markers. Perhaps my own might have the caption ‘could have done better’. Anyway one has to commend Mary Timoney on this majestic niche book.

‘Through the eyes of Margaret Cousins…Irish & Indian Suffragette by Dr. Keith Munroe (a relation of hers). (Tuesday Dec. 4th at 7 in King House)
This book is well flagged here on the homepage of realboyle (scroll down). We have become more aware of this remarkable woman from our town through the plaque on The Crescent and Marie Paul Egan’s championing of her with various talks at the Arts Festival et al. It is well for us to be aware of her particularly this December the Centenary of the eventual access of women to ‘THE VOTE’ in 1918 which elected the first lady to Westminster Countess Markievicz in December 1918. Margaret Cousins was there in the early days being at the forefront in Suffragette campaigns to achieve such rights.  

Roscommon History and Society…  Launch Wed. Dec. 12th @ Roscommon County Council Office @ 6.30
This book will be launched on Wednesday December 12th at 6.30 in the County Council H.Q Roscommon town. It is a very substantial volume covering as it does from Archaeological times to the present - a once off - an important book of reference for Roscommon with Keadue resident and academic Kieran O’Connor as one of the Editors.  There is a bevy -75% I'd guess, of top academic writers with essays on their specialist subjects and some peasants like myself. My contribution is a twenty page summary of Roscommon GAA’s great years of the forties including photographs.  
I was going to let a few people know about the launch but after I enquired as to the price I shied away from that. It comes in at the challenging price of circa €60!
So I assume that it will be a library or college book and is part of a national series of county histories. I am looking forward to seeing how it turns out - 1000 words.

A very good place to get local history books including all of the above is in the Una Bhan shop at the entrance to King House.

(I thought I might refer to the An Post Book Awards which was transmitted in RTE on Thursday night but you have enough to be considering in above for now. Suffice to say that women writers shone through and that there is a multitude of books to choose from. There is an ongoing vote there for ‘The Irish book of the Year. I was very pleased to see that there was a Mayo winner for the Sports Book of the Year and it was that legend of a footballer Cora Staunton with her book ‘Game Changer’. I may get back to those awards anon.)



I was thinking of what I might write about and jotted down a few ideas on the wall beside the phone. I suppose every year has so much happening that one needs to keep on top of it all. The newspapers and television will ‘reel’ all that in the end of December editions.

Brexit of course is top of the charts with ‘Don’t keep breaking my heart’.  

Sports Highlights
The commemorations of the end of World War 1. The vandalism of the ‘Haunting Soldier’ sculpture in St. Stephen’s Green.
Sports, the World Cup/ The Ryder Cup/ Limerick winning the hurling/ Dublin’s football brilliance/ Ireland’s rugby team reaching for the stars/ Boyle girls minors and under 16s big wins/Boys minor and under 14s/ the march of FUERTY to the county intermediate title and contesting the Connacht final.

So many deaths including great musicians;
Alec Finn the Yorkshire man who became a unique part of a great Irish band De Dannan. Alec lived in Oranmore in Galway and was ‘knocking around Galway city when I was there studying!
Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin founder of Irish World Academy of Music and one of Ireland’s best-known composers. A pioneering musician and composer and brought traditional music in from the cold to be a part of the university music curriculum at The University of Limerick
Liam O Flynn brilliant uilleann piper and member of many groups including Plantxy which was managed back in the day, if I remember correctly, by  Boyle resident Kevin Flynn. Liam also collaborated with the poet Seamus Heaney. 

Sonny Knowles beloved of Dubliners.

Tommy Peoples great Donegal traditional musician domiciled in Clare.

**As I conclude for now, I send my congratulations to Kevin Tiernan who married Anne Lynch in Galway yesterday. I wish you both well. Not many people remember that Kevin played in Croke Park once. I forget if it was All-Ireland Final or Semi-final day. 

Boyle GAA AGM at 7 o’clock on Sunday Dec. 2nd.


P.S. This return is motivated by a recent communication from P.J. in Washington State plus some others especially some other friends in the U.S.  Feichimid le fheicmid !! 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Update 14th June

*Request; If anyone has a programme of the Roscommon v Cavan Div. 2 League Final in Croke Park on Easter Sunday I would like to get it for a Roscommon supporter who has requested same who is living in London.  

Summertime for three weeks and now Hector
On, Wednesday, it was gloomy as the grey clouds gather and the Met. Office warned us of a storm called Hector heading our way. What a turnaround from nearly three weeks of Costa weather. My costa was the bog where I advanced - hopefully- the turf drying process with some t.l.c. and tall ‘footings’ to help in that I hope Hector does not turn those mini skyscraper footings on their head. It is great in those sunny days to be able to start a remedial job and just abandon it in the late evening leaving everything in place for the early next day continuance. So much can be achieved and there is an energy about that sees things get done and the ‘to do list’ is whittled down. That is consoling. It has been a pretty busy time.  Still this gloomy weather might enable one to watch some early evening World Cup soccer without too much of a conscience.

I am loathe to dismiss the positives of living in this country but why do we have so many people and organisations who just cannot get it right. It is just  un-bel-ievable.

Category One:
 The Cervical Smear Screening and notification scandal….un-bel-ievable. But for the smarts of Vicky Phelan it would not have surfaced. Then the head of the H.S.E. Tony O’Brien seems to see a  big difference between ‘accountability’ and  ‘responsibility’.

Then there is the naming and adoption process which obtained back in the day and all that entails. The role of ‘Religious Orders’, priests, doctors, the State and his grey eminence, Archbishop McQuaid, casting his shadow on all that. Un-bel-ievable.

The Symphysiotomy Scandal.        The Hepatitis C scandal……the x, y, z scandal.

Category 2:
The ongoing Sgt. McCabe and Charleton Enquiry … a Garda Commissioner contradicting not just one but is it four or five people?  ‘I didn’t say that’ ‘I didn’t do that’ etc. Mobile phones gone  a.w.o.l. and the whole thing rumbles on as it gets into such a tangle that even as a casual observer one is inclined to say…’leave it so’ as a friend is wont to say. I just ‘Googled’ it to see that I had Mister Charleton’s name right and I felt I was in a domain from Orwell’s 1984 which is not for me. The last post there was;

12/06/2018 Take Notice - Copy Transcript DAY 90 held in Dublin Castle on Tuesday 12th June 2018     

Day 90 (possibly ‘working days’ as they say in the passport office)…….un-bel…..

2Then Mister David Kenneth Drumm is found guilty of spinning €7.2 Billion around from Anglo Irish Bank to x, y, z to show that their books were in rude good health…….Un….. (By the way don’t forget two of the stars of the CRASH of ’08 i.e. The Financial REGULATOR…Patrick Neary ….. who basically said at an enquiry   ‘It was the same system that was used in other European countries and it got a “ringing endorsement” from “objective” agencies like the IMF and the OECD. Patrick’s company had ‘Regulator’ or some such imprinted on his golf balls. I was tempted, just tempted, to leave out the word ‘golf’ there. What’s Patrick’s handicap now I wonder? (I don’t really) Un-bel…..
Then the name that goes with him is the Governor of the Central Bank of the time John Hurley who admits ‘mistakes were made’. Very sharp John……Un-bel-ievable.
Of course there is a slightly undercard of Michael Fingleton, Seanie Fitzpatrick (found not guilty), McAteer and  Whelan et al. 
I could go on and on….unbel….

I’ll move on or else I’ll have to delete the opening sentence.

Local History

Ranelagh Site One Km. from Roscommon on Boyle Road.
I’ve always had a keen interest in history in general and especially local history. On Tuesday night I attended a talk in Strokestown hosted by the Roscommon Historical & Archaeological Society. The speaker was Muireann Ní Cheallachain a supervising archaeologist on the road –alignment- project about a kilometre out of Roscommon on the Boyle Road.  Many of you will have come on it on that journey. The townland is called Ranelagh and there was no history of anything of historical significance being there. A requirement of any road works disturbing new ground is a geological and archaeological survey and the supervision by these personnel ongoing. For such an anonymous site it really gave up an amazing wealth of varied significance. There was a long term grave site there from the 5th to 12th centuries and it was something to see slides of the unearthed hundreds of human remains.
   After a year-long excavation that ended last October, including work by archaeologists through some of the worst storms in decades, a picture is emerging of the settlement that was probably occupied between the sixth and 11th centuries.
The remains of 793 people were found, about three quarters of them were intact and the others were not, for which the word ‘disarticulated’ is used. A huge amount of analysis has now to be done in the coming months which will give a much clearer picture. However, it is believed several of the 470 juveniles and infants whose remains were unearthed may have been placed there during the later use of the site as a children’s burial ground.
If you are interested you can find out more online by seeking ‘Ranelagh Archaeological Site Roscommon’ online.
The Roscommon Society publishes a Journal bi-annually which relates its many activities. I know that there are many such organisations through the country with Carrick-on-Shannon and Sligo also being very active.  

**In terms of Local History I am looking forward very much to doing 2 Walking Tours of  Boyle Town as part of Boyle Arts Festival which takes place from Friday July 20th to Saturday July 28th. The tours will take place on Wednesday the 25th from the King House at 3 and Saturday the 28th at 11am. The tours will take an hour and a half or so.      

Kim Jong Un trumps Trump
On a forensic analysis of the Singapore meeting of Kim and Donald I think that Donald came second which I suppose is good sometimes. It all has the potential of a future musical or circus with two characters Kim like the bad guy (?) out of a Bond film and Donald as some one of those characters from a Dell comic…..Spiderman/Batman/Superman or a new character altogether. One of my favourite episodes of ‘Only Fools and Horses was the mix up of the funeral and the fancy dress party where Del Boy and Rodney dress up as Batman and Robin. ‘I cannot believe it’ or some such, exclaimed the councillor being mugged by a thief as they approached.
I wonder what will President Trump make of the U.S./Mexico and his Canadian ‘friends’ getting the 2026 World Cup Finals…..ironic timing.
I’ll try and come back to earth now i.e. Hyde Park.

Connacht Finals
Wouldn’t it be nice had the sun shone until next Monday at least, as Roscommon contest two finals on Sunday. They have been surprise packets to many in reaching the U 20 final having beaten a highly regarded Galway (at a cost in terms of injuries etc.). They now meet Mayo on Sunday at 1. So it going to be a long day in Dr. Hyde Park  with the senior Final starting at 4.  
    It is great to see Boyle so ably represented by Cian McKeon at U 20 and the possibilities on Sunday are hugely interesting. Galway are favourites in the senior contest  but Roscommon have improved this year and are probably just not ‘there yet’ but it could be a cracker. So the very best of luck to all involved and particularly Boyle reps. Enda and Donie Smith.
It is very big day for Roscommon, Roscommon town and the GAA community in the county. But it was a close run thing as Wellington said of Waterloo. Still I found the terms and conditions as outlined on the back outside page of the Roscommon People pretty humiliating. If you have not read them I suggest you might, if you get an opportunity. Perhaps we have contributed to that with the lack of investment in Hyde Park and the state of the infrastructure there.
I hope it is a ‘good’ game of football as I cannot say I’ve seen one decent football game so far in this year’s championship. Indeed I have seen many awful games. Compare that with the drama and thrills of the hurling championships especially the Munster Championships though the sequence of games has to be amended to give teams and amateur players a time for recovery.
The Dublin V Longford game was surreal. As everyone sees Dublin are a Barcelona/Real Madrid of the game presently. What was David McGivney at when he charged into Cluxton in such a manner? Does anyone have a decent idea as to what is going on with Diarmuid Connolly who is now reported as going to Boston for the summer to play with Donegal there. Connolly would be mindful to take on board the thoughts of Kevin Cassidy who was dumped from the Donegal squad by Jim McGuinness after talking to a reporter called Bogue about the inside workings of Donegal. The Connolly rift must entail Jim Gavin and Diarmuid feeling hard done by in the past by Gavin.   

Boyle Juniors Continue to Progress
While I have not seen a decent intercounty football game this summer I have seen a number of very enjoyable games involving Boyle Junior team. A few weeks ago our car load headed to Padraig Parse’s on a balmy evening for a Junior Championship game. Perhaps it is Division 4/5/6/X. It doesn’t matter.  Pearse's got an early start with a couple of goals but Boyle left it until the last minutes of the game with a couple themselves to register a pretty dramatic win. One of the goals was a sizzler too from Shane Battles. The emerging star of these games is Reese Conroy. ‘Ye stole it ‘ a Pearse’s supporter suggested as we Boyle supporters left like Cheshire cats.
Last Sunday after doing my bog Purgatory for a couple of hours I headed for Kilmore for a Junior League encounter. There are a few players eligible for this who are not eligible for championship. So the first challenge for the Management team of Stephen Tonra/ Kevin Mullen and Ml. Bermingham is to have a team and back up which they have been readily doing. It was an earnest game in Kilmore and it swayed from time to time as close games do. But, in the end Boyle just got their side in front at the telling moment. The final score was Boyle 1.11 Kilmore 0.13. They were to play St. Brigid’s side in Boyle on Saturday next but St. Brigid’s have conceded. Read into that what you like.

Our (GAA)  Man in Madrid
(Left to Right back)
J.Vicente (Madrid), C..St.John (Galway), Conor Tivnan (Boyle, Roscommon), K.Farrell (Kilteevan, Roscommon), J.Mallon (Derry), K.Cawley (Riverstown, Sligo), S.Flynn (Dublin) N.Murphy (Antrim), D.Murphy (Antrim), A.Brandón (Madrid), J.San Blas (Madrid), J.Meighan (Antrim).
 Front Row (Left to Right)
R.Sloan (Antrim), E.Quinlan (Limerick), E.Kincaid (Westmeath – C
aptain), A.Hodnett (Cork), P. Sherry (Armagh), B.Cullen (Dublin), M.Kirwan (Carlow), S.Slattery (Laois), D.Langan (Mayo)

On Saturday the 26th of May Madrid Harps  contested the 2018 Iberian Championship Finals in La Coruña, Galacia in the North of Spain an area where there are 16 clubs and a real interest in GAA.

In the midst of the Madrid team was Boyle’s Conor Tivnan. Another local J.J. Keaney from Corrigeenroe is also active with the club.

Conor told me about the team being made up primarily of Irish players who are working in Madrid, mainly as English Teachers.

“They come from all corners of Ireland and we have a few from here in Spain and even Argentina.

We have had a very good campaign this year, remaining unbeaten and winning the regional championship tournaments in Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia.

The club was founded in 2003 and as the club grew, their first championship arrived in 2014 and this year we will be looking for a fifth in a row.

The club will also be represented by the Madrid Harps Ladies team who have made the finals for a second consecutive time and will be looking for their first title”.

Epilogue; Both Madrid teams won their finals and we congratulate them and Madrid will now contest the European finals on October 20th in Maastricht. Last year they lost that against Warsaw!
One of the fine things about the GAA is the wide dispersal of clubs internationally in England, North America, Australia, Europe and the Middle and Far East. They provide a network for the far-flung diaspora, a camaraderie and support which has to be reassuring. I know that Tadgh Egan has been involved in Western Canada and Ciaran Conlon in Brisbane.
Conor Tivnan is now back in Boyle and I expect that he will link up quickly with Stephen Tonra’s squad and be a big asset there.

The World Cup in Russia & Remembering Italia 90
Back: Enda Commins/ Jonathan Murray/ Paula Brady/ Sinead O’Donohoe/ Fabian Madden/ Lochlainn Conboy/ Cianan Conboy/ Felim O’Donnell/ Lorcan Murray/ covered with scarf ? ?
Middle: Rory O’Donohoe/ Mark O’Donohoe/…. ? …./ Sinead O’Donnell/ Ruth O’Connor/… ?... James Moran says it is not him…..David Byrne perhaps?/ girl with cardigan Aoifa Commins perhaps?
Front:  Ml. McHale/ Gary Tiernan/ Cillian Conboy/ Mark O’Connor/ Derek Madden/ Aaron O’Connor/ Damien Murray/ Chris O’Dowd.
Pic taken by Christy Regan.  

The World (Soccer!) Cup vies with The Olympics as the biggest sporting event in every four cycle. This year it is being held in Russia. In 2022 it is going to the desert of Qatar! Ireland just failed to qualify after being well beaten by Denmark in the play-off games. The fact that Ireland are not there has led to a subdued approach to the tournament in this country but it revives memories of some great past tournaments. Chris O’Dowd tweeted a picture from the most memorable tournament for this country it being Italia 90  
It is a great pic. probably my favourite one of all. Nearly the full Forest View crew are all there. Including Chris O’Dowd at the lower end of the scarf. A great few weeks. We had a great time that World Cup here in Forest View as followers did country wide. Nearly all the kids there were from the estate-with a few guests- and would watch different matches in different houses and when Ireland won they would pour out onto the Green and play like Ireland did then being McGrath/Bonner/ whoever….
I am nearly certain the picture was taken by Christy Regan and published in The Roscommon Herald. Christy was really on the ball. How he happened on our estate and group I don’t know but he got a classic snap of the time with the scarf obscuring just two people whose names we just cannot tie down. I had/have car speakers and I think the day of the famous penalty shoot-out against Romania I put the speakers on the car and led a parade out of the estate with Tina Turner’s ‘Simply the Best’ at full throttle. It was such a great and memorable few weeks in blazing weather. As one person was quoted on national media as saying; ‘I missed the World Cup I was in Italy’. Thanks to Christy Regan and that pic its enjoyment is still visible in that picture
(Thanks Chris for giving it a universal exposure).

St. Michael’s GAA Club Organ Donor Event on Sat. night in the Bush Hotel with Joe Brolly
I see St. Michael’s GAA club are hosting a Connacht Final Preview in The Bush Hotel Carrick-on- Shannon on Saturday night at 8.30 in aid of the Organ Donor Awareness Campaign with Joe Brolly as the main guest. Also there will be Eamon O’Hara of Sligo; Emlyn Mulligan of Leitrim and Donie Shine of Roscommon with others.  I’m a Joe Brolly fan and he was great when Boyle GAA had him here last year. So it promises to be a fun event and very worthy of supporting especially if you are a GAA anorak.    

Monday, May 28, 2018

Update May 28th

Summer and the Turf Saving Campaign
These lovely sunny days remind me of times past and the various ‘campaigns’ that were part of the cycle of farming life. It all started in early spring with the lambing season. Then came the preparation of land for sowing of crops. We were a ‘mixed farm’, stock and tillage.  Spuds (potatoes came later!), turnips, oats, a little barley and a substantial cabbage garden and vegetable area. The first item was the ploughing. In the early days of the fifties this was done by a team of horses and the skill of the ploughman. The potatoes were set in three seed potatoes wide ridges for the most part and later in ‘drills’. The land for oats was first ploughed and then harrowed. There were two types of harrow that I remember a spring harrow and a solid ‘tooth’ model. The seed was hand spread which was also a skill. Then it was rolled into the receptive harrowed ground. This was easy work in terms of lack of precision. Later on the acquisition of a tractor, a lot changed, it was now an attached disc harrow.  I remember the arrival of the tractor on the farm around 1958. It was a Fordson Dexta with its number being DI 7249 which Tony Murphy from Casey’s garage in Roscommon delivered.  It is still parked in retirement in an old shed on the farm. The graph of its value has probably turned in recent years. When I first came to live in Forest View I could see out my back window some of the land on lower reaches of the Curlew Hills i.e. Deerpark, interrupted by tillage fields which produced oats and potatoes. There is not a single ploughed field to be seen there today.  In national school days there was a poem for nearly every season so I transfer to here the one I remember saluting the practise of ploughing;
I Will Go with My Father a-Ploughing
by Joseph Campbell

I will go with my Father a-ploughing
To the Green Field by the sea,
And the rooks and corbies and seagulls
Will come flocking after me.
I will sing to the patient horses
With the lark in the shine of the air,
And my Father will sing the Plough-Song
That blesses the cleaving share.

After the crop sowing the next campaign was that of the turf cutting, the bog. I participate in a relic of that now as I ‘save’ turf on Tonroe bog. Indeed before my trip to Carrick last Saturday it was an early trip to the bog first to ensure that the turf was lifted into ‘footings’ and got the benefit of the sun and wind i.e. good drying conditions, while I indulged in watching Roscommon stroll to victory in Pairc Sean.                                                                                                    

Roscommon Cruise Past Leitrim
It was a beautiful day to travel to Carrick-on-Shannon for Roscommon’s first outing in the Connacht championship but the game itself was a non-event as a contest. After the initial sparring for eight minutes or so the trend of the game became obvious and Roscommon cruised to a very comfortable win. The crowd of over 8 thousand was smaller than I expected as I felt that Roscommon supporters would travel in large numbers since it was a late entry to the championships for them. Perhaps it was because of the good weather and turf had to be dealt with and perhaps some felt that they could wait for the next game!
One has to admire, maybe even to feel for, Leitrim supporters as they follow a team that is very unlikely to rock the boats of the stronger counties in Connacht. I started following football as a ‘child’ in the late fifties and I first saw Leitrim in St. Coman’s Park, Roscommon in 1958 when the lost in a titanic struggle to Galway on the score of Galway 2.10 Leitrim 1.11. They had a great team then with players who became legends of the game in Leitrim and Connacht such as Packie McGarty, Cathal Flynn and Josie Murray. Leitrim contested four Connacht Finals in a row in that period losing all four to Galway. Through the sixties also they could challenge Roscommon and defeated them a number of times. The slide started in the seventies. Their highlight win came  with the great Connacht victory over Mayo, Leitrim 0.12 Mayo 2.4 in Roscommon with a very good team. The county has its dedicated core of supporters who will follow the county team to distant venues in the league encounters and New York and London for Championship games.
Leitrim’s population is 32 thousand but dipped to 25 in the 90s’. (Roscommon’s is 64 but had dipped to 52 in the 90s’).  There has always been significant  emigration from the county and there is a large Leitrim community in New York. (Of course there is a declining Irish community in New York with the bite of immigration controls taking effect). Leitrim people are resilient and like all communities are very proud of their county.  They resent the occasional references in media which suggests that the county is a kind of a lost soul which is only suited to forestry and fracking for gas and such like.
Anyway back to the game. I feel I have rarely seen a Leitrim team as weak as last Sunday’s and it was only when some substitutes came on that they got some impressive scores by which time the result was long decided. Roscommon will not have learned a lot from this encounter but by now the management will know their team. I was impressed by the goalkeeper Colm Lavin from Eire Og, the midfield did well with Cathal Compton having a very good game. Fintan Cregg did very well in negating any potential influence of Emlyn Mulligan while all the forwards did well with Cathal Cregg particularly impressive when he came on. However if Galway defeat Sligo as one would expect they will be a very different and more physical side. Still we are back where we were last year and who knows, perhaps we can emulate that again.             

Round 1 of Qualifiers drawn this Monday morning are: Derry v Kildare/ Meath v Tyrone/London v Louth/ Wicklow v Cavan/ Offaly v Antrim/ Limerick v Mayo/ Westmeath v Armagh/Wexford v Waterford. The two heavyweights are Mayo and Tyrone while the other 6 fixtures are pretty even considering that the first drawn has home advantage. The Championship has thrown up a couple of surprises especially in Leinster with Carlow’s win over Kildare and Longford’s win over Meath. These two wins have not happened for decades for the respective counties. So the Leinster Semi-Finals see Carlow v Laois and Longford v Dublin. Three very unlikely semi-finalists there. But of course the juggernaut that is Dublin rolls on and for Longford it is an intimidating prospect. The heavy defeat yesterday of Tipp. by Cork was another surprise especially in the margin of the win. It illustrates the regular inconsistency (!) of Cork who can surface from time to time with a really good side.   Four teams from the above will qualify for Round 4 where they will be joined by the provincial runners up. The winners of these game will go into the ‘Super 8s’ as below:     

How does the GAA Super 8 work?

The GAA Super 8 will apply to the football championship at the quarter-final stage.

In 2018, the first year of a three-year trial period for the new format, the two groups, each comprised of four teams, will look as follows:

Group 1: Munster champions, Connacht champions, Ulster runner-up (or qualifier team that beats them in Round 4), Leinster runner-up (or qualifier team that beats them in round 4)

Group 2: Ulster champions, Leinster champions, Munster runner-up (or qualifier team that beats them in Round 4), Connacht runner-up (or qualifier team that beats them in round 4)

In the new format, each team will have a home game, an away game and a game at Croke Park. The semi-finals will be comprised of the top two teams from each group.

Hurling to the Fore
The senior hurling championship is providing some cracking games with yesterday’s Galway defeat of Kilkenny showing that a powerful Galway team looks strong enough to go all the way again this year. They certainly outmuscled and out-hurled Kilkenny yesterday and it will be another cracking game next week-end for them v Wexford in Wexford. Wexford too are looking like being contenders also but this will be sorely tested by Galway next week-end. Cork too are possible contenders as are Clare and Limerick. Waterford seem to have run out of resources with a long injury list plus a number of players going abroad. The toll of games 4/5 week-ends in a row is taking its toll and will have to be changed for next year.   

Boyle GAA
Boyle Junior ‘B’ 2.20 St. Barry’s 0. 12.
I have decided to make a decent effort to follow the fortunes of Boyle Juniors this summer. Last Friday night they had an impressive win over St. Barry’s. The first half had many of the elements of raw junior football and at half time Barry’s led by 9 points to 6. Boyle put in a much better performance in the second half and goals from James Bolger and David Kelly –a penalty- saw them run up an impressive total of 2.20 to Barry’s 0.12 thus scoring 2.14 to 0.3 in the second half.
If one could leave the first ragged half aside it was a good show by the team with Ml. Bermingham cool in goal; Furey and Finneran strong in backs, a welcome return for Jim Suffin at midfield. (Jim had been on overseas duty with the Irish Army/U.N mission in the Lebanon) Seamus Kane was prominent in various sectors with some very good frees and fielding and David Kelly with 1.4 also doing well. So hopefully they will maintain the momentum for the remainder of the season.  
The Boyle team was; Ml. Bermingham/Cathal Horan/ Cian Beirne/ Brian Furey/ Shane Battles/ Ryan Finneran/ Jonathan Regan/ Jim Suffin/ Tomas Halligan 0.3/ James Bolger 1.0 / Colin Goldrick 0.4/ Lochlainn Conboy 0.3/ Marc O’Connor/ Seamus Kane 0.5/ David Kelly 1.4 (?) with Donal Kelly and Sean Mullens.

I happened on a wee girls Camogie blitz on Wednesday of last week in the Abbey Park. It  was something to see the enthusiasm and enjoyment involved in it all. Fair play to the ladies who make it happen. Once there was a very limited palate for sports participation of girls and ladies in Boyle but that is changing thankfully. A regret I have is that I did not try to foster hurling (coming as I do from hurling country near Athleague) in this neck of the woods when I first came to Boyle in the early 70s’.   

Champions League More Drama
After the Roscommon v Leitrim fest I parked myself in a bustling Percey/Whelans Bar in Carrick to watch Liverpool v Real Madrid in the Champions League Final. This has provided plenty of drama for the past few months especially in the knock out stages. It was no different in this game. The Liverpool star Mo Salah, who had taken over the headlines, had to go off injured early in the game which distorted the possible progress of the game.  The villain of that incident was the Real Madrid captain Ramos with a cynical drag to ground of Salah. Still the sides went in at half time nil all. Then in the 51st minute in the second half of the game the Liverpool goalkeeper gifted Real Madrid a goal with a moment of mindless carelessness. This was cancelled by a Liverpool goal by their best player Mane to level matters five minutes later. Then substitute Gareth Bale provided an absolutely stunning goal on 64 minutes to leave Real in the driving seat. The same player-Bale- with a speculative shot, put the result to bed in the 83rd minute as the goalkeeper added to his earlier huge error with another of equal consequence.
Real Madrid were deserving winners being the better footballing side but the game will be remembered for the Loris Karius goalkeeping errors, which earned a 3 out of 10 assessment from one online pundit. Gareth  Bale’s stunning goal will also be a gem from the game.
As I said around Christmas the Champions League is probably my top television series of the winter.
   Sorry to end on a very different note but there was an interesting article in last week’s Indo by Ewan MacKenna: ‘Murky questions surround Spanish football's golden era - and people might not like the answers’.

P.S. After the soccer game a couple of us walked through Carrick-on-Shannon to link up with transport for home. It being a Saturday night Carrick was buzzing with vibrancy with throngs of people moving along the streets and large groups seated outside various hostelries. It was like the core of Galway City or Killarney and certainly a young person’s magnet.    

Friday, May 11, 2018

Update 11th May

Friday 11th Boyle Camera Club carry out their noble project ‘A Moment in Time’ in photographing Boyle people over a single long day. So if you can spare a little time present at the Crescent between 9am and 9pm on Friday. 

Maybe some of you, like me, think through the winter that you will achieve much more when the days lengthen, the temperature rises and the mood blossoms. Put it on the list I say. Then as the long days flit past it is seven/eight o’clock before you know it. Then you tell yourself that this is something that you might better use your time at during the long winter evenings/nights. But then the shades are down on the night and yourself and you reassure yourself that ‘I’ll, I’ll get to it in May’.  

Visitors from the U.S. of A.
We spent a deal of the May Bank Holiday with relations from New Jersey and what a treat it was for us. I know they enjoyed it but so did we, very much. Treating of Mister Trump, Northern Ireland and the international stories of the now showed how much we had in common. The enthusiastic exchange of photographs, the study and teasing out of family genealogy, the gelling of family links were all compressed into that short memorable time. Visiting the remains of an ancestral homestead was an emotional highlight in the ironic way that it is. So…. in the unlikely event that you read these few lines…. Terri and Jay it was a just lovely experience.        

Vótáil 100 Roscommon Commemoration Lecture Series of Wednesday April the 25th 
In my last blog here I wrote on a number of speakers from the Seminar in King House towards the end of April. They were the Chairperson of Roscommon County Council Orla Leyden who gave a very personal account of the challenges of women in politics. Ivana Bacik showed all her experience with an accomplished and humorous address on the Irish Suffragettes including Margaret Cousins. Margaret Cousins was dealt with in greater detail by Boyle’s Marie Paul Egan who has made a special study of her. This was supplemented by her relation Dr. James Cousins. One would recommend to Boyle people that they get to know an overview of this remarkable woman. 

*With a number of local people such as Joe Mahon, David Gillespie, Knockvicar –a relation of Margaret (Gillespie) Cousins- and Frank Geelan a plaque to her memory was placed on the border of two houses on the upper side of the Crescent , since, apparently they had once been one residence when Margaret lived there.
The plaque details reads; “Margaret Cousins (nee Gillespie) Born in this house 1878. Died in India 1954. Irish Suffragette. Wife of Irish Poet Dr. James Cousins. Founder, in 1921, of The Women’s India Association Madras. Co-founder in 1926 of the All India Women’s Conference. First woman magistrate in India (Madras 1923). Plaque unveiled by the President of the A.I.W. C. Smt. Shobhana Ranade 16th Sept. 1994”.   

Other speakers included Mary McAuliffe of UCD who focussed on Cumann na mBan and how active women were in the Revolution years and in the early years of the Free State. She referenced the ‘anti-women’ legislation and tone of succeeding Irish Free State Governments. Especially noted was the requirement –from 1933 to 73-of married women to terminate their state jobs on marriage. Claire McGing talked of the record of the very poor representation of women in the Dail saying that there were more women in the Dail in 1923 than in 1973. (This has currently led to the introduction of the quota system where parties are obliged to have a certain percentage of women on the ballot paper….that of course does not automatically lead to a large increase in their  numbers elected). There was a comment that the Irish Revolutionaries must have been most conservative revolutionaries to carry that label. (Indeed reactionaries might be a contending label). Claire note that of the 15 women elected between ’32 and ’73 nine were the wives of deceased male members and 3 the daughters. In the Labour Party their only T.D. in the early decades was Maureen O’Carroll in ’54. She was the mother of the present show business personality Brendan.   Again the cry of ‘A Lot Done More to Do’ closed Claire’s address.    

Ireland v Pakistan and My Cricket Journey 
On this Saturday I will be present on the second day of Ireland’s historic first five day test at Malahide. I believe that any game played well is worthy. I think that cricket is the game that is most easily dismissed by people generally. Yet during my time with this blog the paragraphs I wrote on cricket some years ago now drew the most comment. At least four people mentioned it. I think that was when Ireland  defeated Pakistan on St. Patrick’s Day 2007 in the West Indies in the World Cup. It was probably the greatest win by an Irish sporting team in any sport and was only rivalled when they defeated England in India in 2011 in the World Cup again. A number of years ago with some neighbouring cricket enthusiasts I went to Headingly in Leeds for a Test, England v Australia. Unfortunately by midway on the first day we could see the trend of the result while we still had maybe two if not three more days to go. 
I got to know cricket and its supposed unfathomable rules when I was a barman (barboy more like) in The Swan Bar on Hammersmith Broadway in London in the mid-sixties. The great West Indies side with Gary Sobers were touring England. During the day the Tests were broadcast by BBC and I ‘worked’ and watched with the bar flies and they taught me the rules and I kept an eye on it ever since. A year or so after  my Swan days I was working with Murphy’s, in London also, with a ‘search and find’ gang at Chadwell Heath. ‘Search and Find’ meant search for gas leaks, find them and repair same. That’s another story with some drama attached. It was the summer of another visiting touring team -perhaps Australia- in England with its Test Series of five matches.  Anyway there I was down in the trench, teasing my way delicately around a smelly gas pipe with the shovel. It was on some of those many sunny London days. The commuters passed on the sidewalk a number of pessimists with bowler hat and umbrella as they headed to and from ‘the city’. At certain times of the day I would accost one of them with the question; ‘What’s the score in the match?”. “What match Paddy?” was the usual response. “The Test match” I’d reply feigning agitation that it should have been pretty obvious. “You follow the cricket Paddy?” “Of course I do, do I not look like a cricket supporter?” “Not really Paddy, if you don’t mind me saying so. The Ozzies are looking strong but Truman is doing well for England”.  “Go raibh maith agat agus slán” added to his confusion. But perhaps I had given him a little anecdote to relate in the bar as he quaffed his glass of bitter with his hard cheese roll. 
So on Saturday I will journey back to the cricket field and writing (a bit of a strong word for me) of it reminds me of my favourite sport’s poem which deals with cricket and the autumn of life and I attach a verse from it here.

AT LORDS  by Francis Thompson   

 It is little I repair to the matches of the Southron folk,
Though my own red roses there may blow;
It is little I repair to the matches of the Southron folk,
Though the red roses crest the caps, I know.
For the field is full of shades as I near a shadowy coast,
And a ghostly batsman plays to the bowling of a ghost,
And I look through my tears on a soundless-clapping host
As the run stealers flicker to and fro,
To and fro:
O my Hornby and my Barlow long ago !              

Sports Review

Champions League Drama Continued in Semi-Finals.
If you read this blog ongoing you will know that I really tune in to Champions League and while it is ‘old’ news now what a week last week was. Real Madrid got through in a thriller with so much happening. The Bayern Munich goalkeeper gifted them a very odd goal which he will remember for a very long time. On the Wednesday Liverpool wen to Rome to finish off from the first leg where they won by 5 goals to 2. A Roma goal early in the second game put it  5 to 3 and the fat was in the fire. But a gifted goal to Liverpool meant them leading by 6 to 3. Still Roma pressed especially late in the game and actually won on the night by 4 goals to 2 but lost on aggregate 7 to 6. A Liverpool managerial mistake in taking off Mo Salah early in the first game plus a couple of bad refereeing decisions relating to hand ball and off-side told against Roma all contributed to the drama.  I am pleased that Liverpool have qualified for the Champions League final in Kiev on Sat. May 26th . My own view though is that the two better teams lost in the semi-finals but as John Joe Nerney used to say; “The best team always wins”.   So Saturday evening May 26th is going to be a big evening of sport with Roscommon versus Leitrim in Carrick-on-Shannon on as the undercard fo4 the Champions League Final.   

The Success of Boyle Teams 
I have attended a number of Boyle games in the past two weeks and was heartened with some fine and very enjoyable games and results. Stephen Tonra , Michael Bermingham and Kevin Mullin the management team of the juniors have worked the oracle getting 27 players out for the game last Saturday night against Kilglass Gaels who had just 13, so it was played as a 13- a –side. This was a league and championship double fixture in Junior ‘B’. Boyle won on the score of 3.17 to Kilglass 0.10. The star turns for Boyle included Conor Boylan, Jack Moran and Niall O’Donohoe. The previous Saturday they had defeated Fuerty by 4.14 to 0.7. On Sunday the minors gave one of their best displays for some time in division 3 (where Boyle teams should not be) defeating Western Gaels on the score of Boyle 3.14 Western Gaels 1.12. The top players here included Tomas Regan, James Bolger, Cathal Feely, Kelvin Morris and David Battles. I am aware that his team has not had the best of times in earlier age groups but they looked pretty good on Sunday and there is room for optimism that some good players are around the corner age-wise. They now meet a strong Tulsk in the next round. Another game I got part of was a cracking U 14s game v Roscommon Gaels and there was quality a- plenty on show here from both sides. 
I’ll finish with the game of the coming week-end which has to be Galway v Mayo in a sold out Castlebar. They are two teams with possibilities and the questions to be partially answered on Sunday are; A, Is Galway an emerging force? And B, ‘Is Mayo on the way down?  There was a good book published last Autumn titled ‘Will Galway Beat Mayo?’ by James Laffey documenting this long term rivalry.  Feichimid le feichimid.     

( There were a few items I had intended to ‘treat of’ but the day wasn’t long enough).    

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Update April 28th

Vótáil 100 Roscommon Commemoration Lecture Series of Wednesday the 25th
I was very pleased that I attended the above on Wednesday last. As I sit down to write some notes on it I am a bit intimidated by the prospect of doing justice to it. By and large the day dealt with the struggle of women generally and Irish women in particular to achieve recognition as equal citizens in a male dominated society in the last 100 to 150 years. The slogan which emanated from a political party was echoed a number of times ‘A Lot Done More to Do’ which is certainly the case. The relegation of women to the background of Irish society has to have been amongst the many injustices perpetuated by the dominant faction in that society i.e. men. Women still encounter equality struggles in terms of many things such as equal pay, their role in political representation, their difficulty in progression to the top in many facets of society. This is popularly referred to as the ‘glass ceiling’.
The initial broad movement to agitate for women’s rights was through the Suffragette Movement mobilised by the Pankhurst family in England in the late 1800s’. This emerged in Ireland also in the early 1900s’ with people like Hannah Sheehy Skeffington, Margaret Cousins (from Boyle) , Constance Markievicz amongst others. The famous 1916 Proclamation is addressed to Irish Men and Irish Women and guarantees equal rights to both. Women played a significant role in the Rebellion with the now Countess Markievicz being the best known. However even with the establishment of the Free State women did not emerge into an equal state and their position in a sense regressed and it was only in the 1970s that a feminist movement began the second movement for equality of the sexes.
The Seminar dealt with many of the issues and struggles which women had to endure through the last hundred years in this country. The day was overseen by former librarian Richie Farrell. There was a  very personal and impressive opening address by the Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council Cllr Orla Leyden on her journey and life in a political family and the challenges of being a young mother while also being a Councillor herself. She also referred to the 5 Cs’ of challenges to a woman in politics as; culture, cash, confidence, candidate selection and child care. 
Ivana Bacik was a very impressive and confident speaker  who referenced Margaret Cousins and explained the restrictions imposed when some women got to vote for the first time in 1918. They had to be over 30 and ratepayers in terms of owing property or university graduates. There were a number of amusing anecdotes regarding the election voting in 1918 and the practise of ‘personations’. She outlined the initial small numbers of ladies who got elected and though Markievicz was nominated a Minister in the first Government in 1919 she was the last lady Minister until Maire Geoghegan Quinn in 1979. Amusingly she said that the Westminster authorities had agreed to hang a portrait (by Noel Murphy titled ‘A woman’s Place’) of the first lady elected to Westminster Constance Markievicz in 1918 with one condition that in the portrait she would not be in her iconic military uniform!     

*The term Suffragette was first used by an English newspaper in the mid-1800s’.  The Suffrage part refers to voting the ‘ette’ is a popular French ending of the time. (Farmerette!!!). In the 1860s’ there was a group seeking the vote called Suffragist. The difference between them was that the ‘ists’ were for getting  the vote by peaceful means while the ‘ettes’ were prepared -as they practised- to employ militant means.
There were 9 speakers including Boyle’s Marie Egan Paul on Margaret Cousins and I will ‘treat of them’ in future blogs as the subject is so relevant in this Centenary Year of women first getting the vote in 1918 and the fact that there is still, incredibly, ’A Lot Done More to Do ‘  
(Is that ok as a start D.?)

** Oddly there was little reference to the role of the Catholic Church and Archbishop John Charles Mc Quaid  who was so influential in a dour constricted social policy in Ireland for decades. One commentator gave me a brighter shivery comment on the venerable archbishop thus; “He had a smile like the moonlight glistening off a tombstone”. That took some imaginative construction!

Community Games
I return to the Community Games this Friday evening at 5.30 + in the Abbey College sports field. It was where I first started broadcasting some forty or so years ago. I am still using the East European equipment salvaged at that time! The Boyle regularly take place in wet conditions so hopefully this evening will be different!     holding your breath and all that…

Friday May 11th ‘ A Day in the Life of Boyle’ in pictures;
I see on the Home Page of realboyle that Boyle Camera Club will be out and about in Boyle town on Friday May 11th getting a record in pictures of the town and its people. I seem to remember a pretty famous photographer John Minihan doing a regular collective picture of a Kildare town perhaps Naas or Athy at intervals of years. I hope Boyle Camera Club’s project is a big success and that it will be the first of a regular series. 

Bob Carr a Boyle Icon of the Sixties
I asked here a while ago about a man called Bob Carr who had a sawmill out at Ardcarne through the sixties and was a highly regarded GAA promoter in the town for over a decade. I acknowledge some details from a number of people since I mentioned Bob. Austin Biesty in New York talked to me of Bob in glowing terms and of his knowledge and love of the game and addressing a proper structure to team-play and regime. He talked of visiting Bob in a home not too far from Dublin in Bob’s late years. 

My good friend Paddy Conlon emailed me from the Home Counties (Outside London) with the following:

“Bob brought a new football dimension to the Boyle Club. He introduced, very quickly, a plan to get a structure to the 'senior team'. We had regular training sessions twice a week, something we did not have before his arrival.   There was discipline and a serious approach which everybody bought into.  Bob had a lovely persuasive attitude which got the best out of everybody.
He also read the individual players very well, for example, Paddy Mac RIP was always an outfield player and Bob selected him as our Full Back;   Des Kennedy RIP was always a back and Bob played him at full forward and Eamon Perry played off Des as did Eamon Mullen and that worked very well.   He picked  Barry Feely, Jamsie Clarke and Seamus Downs as probably the best line of the whole team (half backs). I remember them as a very solid group who held the line against all teams through the 1964 campaign. (They won the Junior Championship that year).
Noel Carroll RIP, was persuaded to return to the fold and what a great player he was, strong, a great fielder with a great engine, myself, Hal Cawley and John Mc Dermott combined pretty well in the half forward line. He was ahead of his time” Paddy concluded.
I have to talk to more people who knew Bob such as Donal Costello, Jim Clarke and Hal Cawley in the near future. If anyone has a picture of Bob they could scan and email it to me@    

‘Across the Border’ Linda Ronstadt
I suppose the term for it is browsing which I rarely do but a week ago I did  and was rewarded. I was playing some country songs by lady singers EmmyLou Harris, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins  and tuned into a song called ‘Across The Border’ being sung by Linda Ronstadt and EmmyLou.  I was smitten. Usually it would take a number of times of listening to a song before I would take to it but it resonated straight off. If I could ‘loop’ it in a car player it would shorten a long journey. The song was written by Bruce Springsteen and in this rendition Linda is accompanied by Neil Young on mouth organ. It has a haunting sadness and Linda Ronstadt is now on my list of favourites. It is from an album titled Western Wall.   

Thomas Kinsella ‘Mirror in February’
I have two copies of a book of poetry called ‘Soundings’. The title of the book may resonate with a number of you. It was the book which contained the Leaving Certificate syllabus poems of the seventies, eighties and into the nineties. There are two poems there by Thomas Kinsella, ‘Another September’ and ‘Mirror in February’.
Like many poems ‘Mirror in February’ gives me a favoured final pair of lines which I will place below. The theme is aging and revelation of that stage in the poet’s life as he studies his inner and outer self in the mirror;

I towel my shaven jaw and stop and stare,
Riveted by a dark exhausted eye,
A dry downturning mouth’
‘I read that I have looked my last on youth’. 

It ends with a kind of acceptance which is the best we can do with the condition in any event

I fold my towel with what grace I can
Not young and not renewable, but man’. 

It is best that you look up the poem in its totality as I do not wish to preach here but there is bigger story there.
Kinsella will feature on RTE Radio on Sunday Night next.

The Fuel Light is on Yellow.
Like the farmers running out of animal fodder my turf fuel store is almost cleared out. It has been that kind of winter. Long, wet, cold. I judge the fuel requirement fairly well usually having a small surplus but this time I was mistaken. I remember a former teaching colleague who was a year ahead. This was in the sense that the turf he used in 2017/’18 was that of 2016. He had the storage of course but it was way as well. I should have adopted the ‘spake’ in early winter which suggests; ‘Always spare the corn at the top of the bag’!   

                                                                                                                                             Sport’s Review

The Record’s Show
Since my last blog Boyle senior GAA team have played and lost their two opening games. The first game was against Strokestown in Strokestown and last Sunday’s game was in  the Abbey Park against Western Gaels. The senior grade in the county is, on any given day, pretty even. Having said that the reality is that the usual suspects come to the top and invariably take the spoils. St. Brigid’s are the dominant club now as Clann na nGael were in the 80s’. The winners since 1990 are St. Brigid’s with 11/Clann 6/ Ros. Gaels 5/ Castlerea 4/ Strokestown 2 and Kilbride 1.
Pearses have lost out in their 4 finals; Kilmore in 3; Western Gaels 2 / Kilbride and Ml. Glaveys in 1 each. 

The leading clubs overall have been Clann na nGael with 20; Roscommon Gaels with 19; St. Brigid’s with 16; Elphin 14; Tarmon/Castlerea with 13 and Strokestown with 10.
The few memorable breakthrough wins would be Kilbride in 2000, Strokestown in ’92 and particularly Kilmore in ’83 with Shannon Gaels, St. Faithleach’s and the only combination win United Stars (Oran-Creggs) in 1960.
The big surprise there is the fact that a town like Boyle has not won a senior since an army assisted win in the late 20s’. The other surprises are the demise of Tulsk once a powerhouse and St. Dominick’s/Knockcroghery and especially the dominant club of the fifties Elphin. The feeling in Western Gaels is that if they do not win a senior championship in the next year or two then they will slip back down the pack as contenders. The same might be said of Boyle. The current team is the best Boyle side since probably ‘94 and for decades before that. 
The two defeats leave them with three games towards the end of summer into the Autumn against St. Brigid’s, Clann nan Gael and Roscommon Gaels. There are no gimmes there!    
N.B. Boyle Juniors v Fuerty on Sat. at 6 in the Abbey Park.
A consistent effort has been made to field a Junior team down the years. This gives players on the fringe of the senior team game time and contributes to options there perhaps. The junior team also does not carry the commitment requirements that is de rigueur for senior teams. This year we have a new luck team with current manager Stephen Tonra assisted by Kevin Mullen and I am hearing that he has gone to great lengths in recruiting former stars and would-be stars thus providing this year’s juniors with a wealth of experience. Whether they still have the appetite for the rigours of slightly competitive play is to be seen. The team is sponsored by Cooney Motors and it seems as if considerable resources have been diverted in their direction.
So I look forward very much to seeing them on Saturday evening at 6 in the Abbey Park against my old club Fuerty. You would be welcome to join me in the Abbey Park then on Sat. at 6. 

Champions League More Drama
I have said that the T.V. series of the past winter has been The Champions League especially the knockout stages. Last Tuesday night was no different as Liverpool got to a 5 to nil scoreline against Roma and having the tie won and entry into the final 99% assured but 2 late goals by Roma sowed the seeds of doubt and the tie has yet to be resolved on Wednesday night next.
Unfortunately before the game a man with Boyle connections-Sean Cox- was seriously injured. Sean is the son of Martin Cox and grandson of John H. Cox who were in business on The Crescent up to circa the 1950s where Dodd’s is now. Sean and family live in Meath. I do not know if there are Cox connections to that family in Boyle still but there are first cousins in Roscommon town. We wish Sean well.
This incident sets a threatening tone for the second leg of the fixture in Rome on Wednesday of next week. Hopefully good sense and appropriate stewarding will prevail.  
The second semi-final between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid was a pretty boring and error ridden game by contrast with the Liverpool game. Madrid were the winners here by 2 goals to 1, in Munich.  

Boyle Celtic
Boyle Celtic play Dysart on Friday evening at 7.45 NOT Saturday in Boyle.