Thursday, March 28, 2019

Update 28th March

Father Peyton..'The Rosary Priest’              blog march 28th

While I get very little ‘mail’ response to these blogs I did get three relating to my reference to the T.V. programme on Father Peyton titled ‘Guns and Rosaries’.

I mentioned his possible connection with Croghan but I had mixed him up with Bishop Fulton Sheen who had connections to Croghan/Elphin as J.K. clarified for me with; “  Bishop Fulton Sheen who also had huge Media popularity was a descendant of Croghan parents. He is on way to being sanctified. His American relatives were in Croghan late last year meeting up with their local cousins, Whitneys and Kellys. Bishop Sheen used to visit Elphin when he came to Ireland in the ‘50s and ‘60s. I actually met him as he stayed with my aunt and uncle- in- law Mick Kelly who was his cousin. Mick Kelly was the principal of Knockvicar NS for many years.” Tom Mullaney was also in touch regarding Bishop Sheen as I felt he would know his Croghan background.

Christy Wynne remembered Father Peyton being in Boyle in the mid ‘80s on a Sunday in June as follows;

“Hi Tony,
               Reading your Blog re the television programme “Guns and Rosaries” shown a few nights ago brought back memories of the visit of Fr. Patrick Peyton (the central figure) to Boyle back in the mid-eighties. It happened on a Sunday in June when Roscommon were playing either Mayo or Galway in the first round of the championships. Clearly a clash of interests that day but nevertheless a huge turnout of families and admirers gathered in what was the old soccer pitch or Roe’s Field (as we called it then). The then Bishop, the late Dr Dominick Conway, was there in person. I happened to be a member of the choir that day singing our hearts out under the sure baton of (Mrs.) May Conroy. The gallery or stage that day was (as always) Sean Mc Quaid’s large trailer.  The weather was sunny and Fr. Peyton spoke in his beautiful soft humble voice for a good half an hour and was given a rapturous reception.  Bishop Dominick spoke for an hour about the monumental work the man was doing for God and the practice of the family Rosary in every home. The whole event from beginning to end lasted about three hours with the members of the choir having the honour of shaking hands personally with the great and humble man. Crowds gathered around afterwards hoping to get close up to him hopefully to shake his hand. A day to remember! I regret to say I cannot recall if The Rossies won that day”.

Thanks Christy.

After reading the above  a faint recollection emerged with me of passing over the railway bridge and almost wondering what was going on in that area on that day. I was on my way to the match so Father Peyton’s drawing power had waned a good deal from the fifties. Looking up GAA records the best bet I have is that, that was Sunday June 16, 1985. Roscommon played Galway in Hyde Park with the result being a draw. Someone should confirm that or correct the record. I imagine there was a programme of the Father Peyton occasion. I have one for the match!

Brexit Update

Updating Brexit is almost a daily challenge. Last night, Wednesday, there were eight votes on a variety of options. None of them got a majority. These are called ‘INDICATIVE’ votes. That means that they can give indications as to the feeling/opinions of the members of The House of Commons but they are NOT binding…..a kind of debating forum. However three came up close to the winning post;

1.        A  proposal by Ken Clarke re. the Customs Union Defeated by 272 votes to 264, majority 8.

2.        Confirmatory public vote Defeated by 295 votes to 268, majority 27 proposed by Margaret Beckett. (That is the REMAIN horse and it is getting traction but just slowly trotting down to the start as of yet).

3.        Labour’s alternative plan Defeated by 307 votes to 237, majority 70

These may return on Monday in some guise.

The running order of the day was taken over from the Government by the generality of M.P.s’  led by a proposal of Sir Oliver Letwin. His amendment called for the indicative votes.

The chaos of the Commons was best illustrated by the moment Anna Soubry M.P. (former Conservative now Independent) was shouted down by MPs amid more chaotic Brexit scenes in the Commons despite her suggestion that “the country is watching”. Indeed M.P.s’ seem not to care about the country watching such a circus.

Prime Minister, Theresa May, continued on the carousel of HER DEAL which looks like returning to the chamber possibly Friday but probably Monday. The fact that the DUP still oppose this sees its possibility of success being minimal. This is despite Jacob Rees –Mogg and Boris Johnson now grudgingly supporting her. This is after months of castigating HER PLAN as being x, y, z terrible. Poor Jacob seemed ghostly as he talked to T.V. reporters in the foyer of the House relaying this while Boris was smirking, probably feeling his time was nigh for the Premiership.

Theresa threw in her final card to get support for HER PLAN. The card was that if she got the support to get it through she would resign before the next phase of negotiations! Now I ask you about the logic of that. Bring it home. The Chairperson of Boyle GAA wants to build a one million euro whatever and it is opposed by a large majority. The Chairperson suggests that if the proposal is supported that she/he will then resign. Where is the logic in all that?

The reality for Theresa is that she is on the political plank in any event and suggesting her departure ensures that, in the short-term, now.

THEN THERE IS THE PROSPECT OF BORIS JOHNSON AS PRIME  MINISTER. What a prospect!! And it is suggested, rarely now, that things in that HOUSE could not get any worse!! It all reminds me of one of my favourite films, the classic ‘One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest’. I don’t think Mrs. May is ideal for the role of Nurse Ratched though. Now Mrs. Thatcher that would be different.

P.S. it was interesting to see Donald Tusk send a message of support to REMAIN CAMPAIGN though the E.U. mandarins need to be careful in their support being a red rag to John Bull.   
E.R.G. = Eur. Research Group.

Television Programme Reflection
Like most people I enjoy watching television. News, documentaries, politics (Brexit!), quizzes, some films and of course sport. The soaps and those ‘reality’ programmes are not for me. Why are they called soaps? Because when they first emerged in the U.S. they were mainly sponsored by soap and detergent companies…Procter & Gamble etc. The soaps are a politics free zone. Never a reference to the trials and tribulations of the Universe as their universe navigates around a square or a pub. Their lives are intertwined like a Christmas lights cord.  Still a Brexit free zone though.

Looking at today’s- Thursday- T.V. Guide there is the following toxic zone for me; ‘Celebrity Globetrotters’ as David Norris and company flail around in North Africa. Terrible. ‘First Dates Ireland’. ‘Say yes to the Dress’ with a possible sequel being ‘Say Yes to the Suit’.  Then there is very popular Mrs. Browne’s Boys in all its variations. I shake my head.
 Plenty of cookery programmes with Nevin McGuire in danger of becoming the Daniel O’Donnell of T.V. Daniel and his wife Majella are out meeting friends in the U.S. Marty Morrissey is coming closer to being Wee Daniel as he and another male called Bernard O’Shea (I never heard of him) ‘Star’ in a two hander called “Marty and Bernard’s Big Adventure” . The T.V. promos for this encourage distance, like, Lough Key Park. Marty take care, you could become the Ann Widecombe of Strictly Come Dancing. That programme became so famous that its title could be referred to by just ‘Strictly’. (There is a word for that which escapes me just now or even longer) like Messi or Ronaldo. Spurs footballer Dele Alli wants to achieve that honour of being known as just ‘Dele’. I presume because the name Alli had been taken already. 

Soap of the Week, says my guide, is EastEnders…..”Tiffany has returned…..”   

(That paragraph is a kind of ‘stream of consciousness’ text a bit like its subject. Needs work). 

Roscommon Lift Down
Roscommon dropped to Division Two on Sunday when they were outclassed by an emerging Kerry side at Hyde Park. As in previous games Roscommon came through with a good first half performance with the half time score being Kerry 1. 8 Roscommon 0. 8. However the quality of the Kerry players shone through in the second half and they were very comfortable winners. The final score was Kerry 2.17 Roscommon 0.13. The damage to Roscommon’s opportunities to stay in the top division was done in earlier rounds. Even in the first round against Mayo during a cyclone there was a decent chance to get point(s). Whatever happened in Cavan Roscommon in the second half did not perform. Perhaps the goal just before the break there was a telling score. I will not dwell on the obvious in the Tyrone game. It is a pity. I don’t subscribe to the idea that Division Two is where we are at level wise. There is a buzz about playing the top teams such as Dublin, Kerry, Mayo Tyrone and so on. The crowds seemed to me to be greater by a good deal this year also.

Annoyance; Kerry showed scant respect to the supporters with the team they obviously forwarded to those who prepared the match programme. There were 5 changes to the starting programme line out. I can understand a couple but five! Then further confusion of a kind. David Clifford started wearing no. 22. The name on the programme  after number 22 was Adrian Spillane. Why the change from the number he had on the programme which was number 27?  
Odd; There was considerable comment on the fact that team captain Enda Smith did not start on Sunday. It was puzzling. One would have thought that starting a top player and taking it from there would have been a more logical approach.

Boyle v St. Brigid’s Sunday.
This week-end it is back to the Division One County League when Boyle play St. Brigid’s at the Abbey Park on Sunday at 2. The ground looks in great shape at the moment and with the extension of the lighting on the ‘training’ pitch the facilities continue to improve.  

Boyle minors play St. Aidan’s on Saturday at 4.30 in Boyle.

Boyle Celtic v Manulla on Sunday at 2.
Celtic were pipped by St. Peter’s in the Roscommon District league. St. Peter’s defeated Ballymoe to take the title for the second year in a row. For Celtic an earlier loss to Kilkerrin and home defeats to Ballymoe and Castlerea proved costly. A number of injuries also told against Celtic throughout the season. 
On Sunday next they play Mayo club Manulla in the Connacht Cup which Boyle have challenged well for in recent years just failing in the closing stages.
Speaking of soccer what about John Delaney then? A bit of pressure, move over and create a new high profile job….reincarnation of a type. ‘Chameleon’ would be the word there…but if you do not know what that means you’ll just have to google it.

‘May your Gods go with you’.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Update 20th March

‘Guns and Rosaries’…. Father Peyton of Mayo and the U.S.  RTE 1 Thursday 10.15.
 Senior people will remember the year 1954 as Marian Year. (Marian’s of Boyle) Many ladies carry that name as a result of a special  Catholic emphasis on Our lady during that year. Most of the shrines you see in Boyle, Fuerty and so on resulted from then along with other symbols. One of the great advocates of veneration to Our lady was the priest Father Patrick John Peyton through the praying of the Rosary. He was born in 1909 in Attymass, East Mayo and died in California in ’92 aged 83.

On Thursday night on RTE there is a programme on Father Peyton titled ‘Guns and Rosaries’. The Irish Priest who became an unlikely Hollywood celebrity recruiting other celebrities to a global prayer campaign-crusade- that reached millions. It is currently being advertised on television with images of Grace Kelly , Vice-President (then) Richard Nixon and so on. In the background are Fidel Castro, Nikita Khrushchev of Russia and images from the Russian invasion of Hungary in 1956. Peyton was a precursor of Billy Graham. Older people will remember the very strong tradition of families gathering each night before bedtime and saying the rosary. I would not know if that still survives today.
Father Peyton became known as ‘The Rosary Priest’ and  traversed the world with his Rosary Crusade and coined the phrase of ‘The family that prays together stays together’.  I have some recollection of him having a connection to Croghan. Tom Mullaney may advise on that. He is apparently near the end of the process of being canonised a saint. He was a really influential figure in the 1950s of a very dogmatic Catholic ethos more based on a fear of hell than anything else. I remember shards of it.

Brexit Keeps on Giving
 I should have gone, with my three vote forecast regarding Brexit of last week, to the Bookies as it was also Cheltenham. The 3 were; 1. Theresa May’s proposal being shot down again; 2. Taking a No Deal off the table and 3. Looking for an extension. The No Deal had an interesting amendment in that they added a ‘Never’ to No Deal which when it gets cemented in with legal cement (like you use in fire stoves etc.) It is pretty strong stuff.

There were a number of other division 2 votes. One concerned another Referendum. Now that had a nuanced twist to it in that The House of Commons first had to vote if they would allow such a vote. The vote was allowed by a decent majority but when the vote was taken it was shot down by a ‘decenter’ (sic) majority. Play with that for a while. ‘Would you get a decent pub quiz team from the front benches of both Conservatives and labour?’  After that Jeremy mentioned something about backing a Referendum. There is a sense of Boda Berg about it …..but…..I’m….hooked. Box set for next Christmas please.

I took leave of Brexit for some days then and joined the high jinks at Cheltenham. While I am aware of gambling addiction and cruelty to horses (four died during the meeting) it was a theatre of a very different hue.

Forgetting that Monday was not a Bank Holiday it was only late in the day that I heard rumblings of something else going awry at the Commons and poor Theresa being blindsided again. The Chair of the House i.e. The Speaker whose name is John Bercow threw a ‘spaniard’ in the works as I once heard a Dub. expounding on a building site. Bercow resurrected a law or directive from 1604 resisting a motion being brought before the House too many times without significant amendments. It would probably have been defeated anyway. While Bercow seems to be enjoying himself too much in this whole circus, considering how dammed serious it all is, he was probably right in this.
Now the question arises as to the length of the postponement. There are European Election which take place between the 23rd and 26th of May. The U.K. Prime Minister would like a short postponement but that now seems unlikely considering the amount of new thinking required. The danger with a long postponement is that BREXIT may just unravel and offers solace to REMAINERS such as former Tony Blair Secretary Alastair Campbell who we often see on RTE. There is a ‘spaniard’ which could emerge with the May Elections in the U.K. in that the reputational damage being shipped by the Conservatives and Labour is such that it will give Pro-Brexiteers big advantages in the first past the post elections.


The Rossies House Draw

There are a number of groups who deserve praise for their work in recent times. Before Christmas I waxed as lyrical as I could on the achievement of the Roscommon GAA Group who ran a hugely successful draw for a Sean Mulryan House and netted something near 1 million euro profit.

I’m a Celebrity Get me Out of Here…Organisers and Participants
Last Saturday night St. Joseph's, the Town Hall was packed and enjoyed a fun fund-raising event organised by a Boyle GAA ‘Young Turks’ Committee. They comprised of Brian Furey, Roch Hanmore, David Kelly, Karl Kennedy, Marc O’Connor, Mark O’Donohoe, Sean Purcell and Cian Smith. It took a great amount of organising and tying all the strings together and they were just great in doing all that. It is said that Barack Obama won his first U.S. Presidential election in the States on the foot of modern technology and communications platforms. I am not tuned into much of those but they are obviously the future and I’m sure they played a big role for Saturday night’s event as it had done for Roscommon last winter.
The competitors also deserve great credit. It was for a few a really nervy/tricky time dealing with the spider touch and snake familiarisation process. This was really evidenced with Michael Cawley during those two Trials. The panel here included; Barry Simon, Damien Butler, David McKenna, Derek Brady, Donal Connaughton, Enda Smith, Ian Cooney, Jacinta Callaghan, Joe Ryan, Karl Keenan, Laura Horan,  Mairead McKeon, Mark O’Connor, Mary Flynn, Niamh Beirne, Ray Hannon, Seamus Keane, Saoirse O’Flaherty, Seanie McDermott [Who grew up (a little) in Brooklyn N.Y. until he was 9], Sham Hanifa-‘I use fake tan a lot’; Shauna Moran, Sinead O’Donohoe and Vickie Lavin.  These represented a formidable cast with Donal Connaughton and Seamus Keane coming out tops.
The more senior members of the club were delighted to see the energy and innovation of these young guns and it is fair to say that the future of the club is in rude good health with this imaginative and linked in community. Fair play to you all.

St Patrick’s Day Organising  Committee
I may have only imagined hearing, some time ago of the possibility of there being no St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Boyle this year. Anyway a committee emerged comprising of Joe Ryan, Derek Dooley, Martin Downes, Lorcan Egan, Brian Kelly, A Kohler, D. Shannon, B. Simon and Keith Suffin. A successful parade emerged. The day was dry, the crowds were out and the atmosphere was fine and business was done. So hats off to the Committee and all who helped them; Gardai, sponsors, participants, helpers, M.C., platform  and the photographers who recorded and posted to their various media platforms.
I have pondered on mentioning this but since I did last week I had broken the ice. It emerged again at the parade. Standing for a while with a cup of tea outside Mattimoe’s I could not hear the introductions of the M.C. Jnr. Smith. I moved up to the bridge and it resulted in only minimal improvement. Not to be able to hear Jnr. at say 20 feet is something. At Boyle GAA grounds we use an old inadequate East European sound system. So maybe someone who would be qualified in the arts of sound systems for outdoor events might come on board with a system that would straddle the main line of Bridge St. to The Crescent next year.
Fair play to Danny Tiernan with his themed messaged entry. I was happy to see Richard Connolly Snr. back from Crufts. Who actually won? There is a very decent prize pot for the winners, plus the honour …not to be sneezed at!

Schools For Climate Change
Climate change is an accepted fact by most (excepting Donald Trump and similar geniuses). I open with the obvious by saying that I am no expert in any way in all this. Still in accepting the veracity of climate change it behoves us all to make our contribution to help turn the tide on this. It may not impact on senior people like myself but it certainly will on people I care greatly about. Last Friday thousands of school children throughout many different countries took to the streets to highlight the issue and bring pressure to bear on those in positions of power and influence to address the issue more aggressively. The EU has allotted certain fossil fuel emission quotas to its member countries to be reached by a certain year. Ireland apparently are falling way behind in their required targets. Its approach is lazy and deferential. Of course it needs courses of action that will not be popular especially with the farming community. Bord na Mona too with its power stations and the harvesting of peat on an industrial scale are in the cross hairs.
Anyway the young school people are a very important pressure group as they have most to lose. They also have time and many of them will become influencers and decision makers in the near future. Oddly some school managements adopted a negative attitude to their pupils involvement in last Friday’s protests. One would have thought it would have been a great and memorable ‘field trip’ for them and a chance to make a real difference to show leadership in a zone where it is obviously lacking with the political classes and vested interests. The Australian minister for education saying that the Friday strikes were illegal for example!
The original school protestor was a 16 year old Swedish girl called Greta Thunberg and she has spoken to the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Poland; to the super rich at Davos and the E.U. Friday was chosen as the day last week because it is the day Great was allowed/allocated for her protests in her home school. She will probably be nominated for a Nobel Prize.
She is following in the footsteps of Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan who won a Nobel Prize in 2014 in pursuit of education for female students in her country prohibited by extremist elements.
There is a young Cork lady with disability who I am a great admirer of Joanne O’Riordan who also addressed the U.N.  in 2012. Donald Walshe from Tralee I think who died of cancer in May 2013. A young lady with disability who I see at Roscommon GAA games regularly and is Wheelchair hurling All-Star i.e. Sarah Cregg. These are some of the young people who set major examples to us all. Let us work with them for as I applaud them and wish them well. There are many hurdles to negotiate.

Boyle Athletic Club Up and Running
Tonight Tuesday I came across a group of Boyle Athletes out for their run. On enquiry I was told that this a fairly recent club i.e. Boyle Athletic club and now they were up and running with a membership of 170 or so. That is a magnificent number for a young club. I believe they had a huge number participate in a Drumshambo Run recently and that they can travel to venues far and wide to participate. Again the leaders are as follows that I know of; Dean and Melissa Beirne, Noel Scally. Neil Conlon, John Brennan, Helen Beirne. A number of these people are involved in the very popular Lough key run on Saturday mornings  and have extended to this Athletic Club chrysalis.



Roscommon went down to Galway last Saturday in Salthill. I missed this one for a variety of reasons. Roscommon host Kerry on Sunday next and it would take a great performance to see Roscommon get a result that would retain them in the premier division. The points in this division are as follows; Kerry-10/ Galway-8/ Mayo-8/ Tyrone-7/ Dublin-6/ Monaghan-4/ Roscommon-3/ Cavan-2. Sunday’s games are as follows; Cavan v Dublin/ Mayo v Monaghan/ Roscommon v Kerry/ Tyrone v Galway.  The pity is that Kerry could still need a point I imagine since Mayo beat them last week and I am not sure could Galway overtake them? Tyrone have come a good way since we gifted them a point. They were impressive on Saturday v Dublin.
One thing I was not impressed with though was the ‘tackle’ of the Tyrone goalie on Paddy Andrews. It deserved a red card. Paddy Andrews got badly injured in this ‘tackle’. Another bad ‘shoulder- to- the- chest charge that got away lightly was that of the Rd. Croke's defender early in the first half v Corofin. Referees have a duty of care to players and there seems to be a season of aggression emerging.
A man who paid a big price, reputationally, for an incident he was involved in with Galway in the All-Ireland of ’83 was Kieran Duff of Dublin. I watched a poignant documentary on his life on Friday 15th on TG4 as part of the Laochra Gael series. Perhaps it will be repeated and I recommend it. I t follows a very good similar documentary on Jason Sherlock around Christmas. One I missed was ‘Players of the Faithful’ on the Offaly team which stopped Kerry’s drive for five in ’82.

In two weeks the County Senior League-O’Rourke Cup- begins with a game in Boyle v St. Brigid’s and then there are a series of games on a regular basis. This new process should be interesting as it segues into the championship nicely in the later summer. Boyle should be contenders this year so bring it on.
Boyle Celtic after some blips are still in with a chance of the Roscommon League but have a last away game against title champions and leaders St. Peter’s Athlone. They had a very good win in Connemara to qualify for the Connacht junior Cup Quarter finals when they meet Manuella of Mayo.

Sin e from this bridging blog.

‘And so to bed’.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Update 12th March


Crazy Fixture Alteration for Saturday.

Roscommon Senior football team had been fixed to play Galway in their vital league game on Saturday March 16th at 2 pm in Salthill. Galway City on any Saturday as I and many more of you may know has the potential for  grid-lock. This will be exacerbated considerably by the fact that this coming week-end is St. Patrick’s Day week-end. Roscommon people question going to Salthill for games at any time or day for these reasons.

NOW INTO THE EQUATION THE POWERS THAT BE HAVE ALTERED THIS AND FIXED THE GALWAY V WEXFORD HURLING QUARTER FINAL FOR 1.30 AND PUSHED THE ROSCOMMON V GALWAY GAME BACK TO 3.30. That is a double header. Have they any sense of the traffic and parking issues involved in all this? There are legendry tales of people being ‘stuck’ in traffic in Galway going to and coming home from games in Salthill and of arriving long into games even after allowing time for the venue location and traffic history. Saturday has the potential to produce a catalogue of those frustrations. Throw a few hailstone showers into the mix and you have a journey to remember for all the wrong reasons.  It is hard to credit  that this double header could have been countenanced for that venue on that day.
Supporters for the second game will be edging towards Salthill in crawling traffic. When they get within that area, if they do, there will be no parking as what might be there will be occupied by the traffic from the first game. Is Tuam not a viable option for the football game?

Football supporters will want to support their teams BUT it is being made almost impossible by this arrangement. (While it is not a fixtures committee consideration Boyle Club have their major fund-raiser on Saturday night with say Enda Smith involved in the game and the fund-raiser as is Roscommon Herald Sports Editor Ian Cooney).   

I think that this decision could accelerate meaningful resistance from Roscommon and other counties to having fixtures in Salthill long term. There is a pretty obvious way for supporters to kick-start that.

Roscommon v Dublin
Roscommon raised their game –from the Breffni performance-and for forty five minutes or so gave a very good account of themselves. The spirit and tenacity of the Monaghan and Tyrone games was back and there was plenty of good football played. Roscommon’s status is now in the melting pot and Saturday’s game v Galway is vital.
Regrettably it was a raw day playing and watching two earnest teams playing. The Dubs supporters had come in their numbers as evidenced by the line of cars out the Athlone Road by which route our car-load made tracks home for Boyle. I have become a fan of Dublin and in many games one might nominate a different player from their team as ‘Man of the Match’. My consistent favourite is Brian Fenton who could grace any era as a supreme, elegant midfielder.

I have nearly exhausted my griping with the Salthill issue above but I have one also from Hyde Park. I had taken up a position on the Athlone Road side near the graveyard end. I was with a friend of mine Tony Regan originally from Clover hill/ Oran but long domiciled in Galway. There was a minute’s silence in respect of the death on the Saturday of the great Roscommon midfielder of the forties, Liam Gilmartin. Frustratingly I could not make out a word from the totally inadequate speaker system. It isn’t the first time I have come across reference to this issue. On Sunday last the system –not the individual manning it- was a total non- performer. I remember doing a Credit Union quiz in the town hall once and using the resident speaker system. It seemed adequate for the performers on the lower deck. But afterwards a senior lady made a point of telling me “I could not hear ‘nare’ (phonetic spelling) a word ya said”. It was pretty late to inform me of same.
Fair play to Jim Gavin for his generous and knowledgeable tribute to Liam Gilmartin when addressing the media after the game.

Congratulations to Leitrim on their successful promotion from Division 4 to 3 with a series of wins. They still have two games to play as well. So Leitrim followers can look forward to a trip for the Div. 4 final in Croke Park. What’s rare can indeed be wonderful. Leitrim born Meath star Colm O’Rourke penned a fine tribute to Leitrim in the Sunday independent.  Similarly the performance of Carlow hurlers is also worthy of note with their defeat of Offaly. One has to feel sorry for Offaly whose status has plummeted in both hurling and football in recent times.  

Brexit Update
I said, a good while ago, that I felt a postponement was a real possibility and it gets realer (sic) by the day. This week there is a series of votes in the British Parliament. On Tuesday there will be another vote on the formula/agreement which the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, presented on January 15th . It was defeated by 432 to 202 votes then. I don’t think I’m stretching myself in thinking that defeat on Tuesday is another strong possibility. On Wednesday there will probably be another vote which is ‘against a NO DEAL exit’. That will get a favourable vote. Then on Thursday there may be a vote to seek and extension on the time for a British Exit. This could be for 3 months or 6 months. The longer it is, the greater the possibility is that the whole EXIT strategy will continue to unravel. At the end of last week I heard Theresa utter the unthinkable when she referred to “not leaving the EU at all” (paraphrase). So a little like a cricket match we will have at least three innings of this played out in the British House of Commons. More theatre, more drama, more uncertainty….’The wheels on the bus go round and round…’
**P.S. (late Monday night…there seems to be some movement which gives the British P.M. some kind of puzzling concessions which may help her in Tuesday’s vote. So watching the vote count in the British House of Commons on Tuesday night is a date not to be missed).

Last week we had the British Attorney General, Jeffrey Cox in giving some legal stuff regarding the ‘Backstop’ referring to it as Cox’s ‘codpiece’. This was ‘gallows humour’ which was indulged by the Speaker (Ceann Comhairle) of the House of Commons, John Bercow.  This was absurd Eton schoolboy humour. It just demonstrates the capacity of the House of Commons and its residents to think that it is all a game. This Brexit which is a decision on the level of Chamberlain’s Declaration of War  with Germany in 1939. I will not lower the tone here to explain what that ‘codpiece’ nonsense is about.

Smith Family Do Boyle Proud with the GAA Presidents Awards
I was part of a proud Boyle representation who attended the above awards ceremony in Croke Park on Friday night last. There were around 400 people in attendance at what was a very enjoyable event. The awards ceremony was televised ‘live’ by TG4 and the Master of Ceremonies was the very pleasant sports commentator Mícheál Ó Domhnaill who is originally from the Ring Gaeltacht in Waterford but now lives in Sligo. TG4 had done some preliminary filming in Boyle early last week when they visited the Smith family home and the Abbey Park. All members of the family spoke to camera with Mary being particularly generous in her recognition of the GAA’s merit when a family member went through a serious illness. Some years ago.  Jnr. and Enda spoke on receiving the President’s Award titled after the Dermot and Mary Earley family. The Smith family represented themselves, their Boyle club and Roscommon county most impressively and received a standing ovation on reception of the award from GAA President, John Horan.
Another Roscommon person Noreen Corcoran, representing Kilglass Gaels club, was also very, very, impressive as she extolled the ethos and contribution of the GAA to her life and to the local community. She emphasised the scope of the GAA and its inclusiveness for all volunteers. Indeed the whole event was a recognition of ‘lifers’ in their involvement with the GAA clubs and communities countrywide. It was a real and impressive recognition by the top brass of the ‘grass roots’ of the organisation.
As an aside and as a lifelong activist I am always proud on visiting the magnificent stadium that is Croke Park which has been put in situ by an amateur organisation.
It was a great night, a night in which Boyle in its totality could take pride in its representation.   

WALES…. It’s Quiet in the Valleys.

Next week is another big week of sports. What with Cheltenham for a greater part of the week and, on Saturday, the revived Ireland playing Wales at 2.45 at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff. A thing that puzzles me a tiny bit is that there has not been a bleat from the Principality (of Wales) on the whole Brexit deal. We’ve heard the leader of Scottish National Party in the House of Commons, Ian Blackford, defend the Good Friday position. Of course Sinn Fein don’t go there and the DUP are in such an unlikely position as power brokers. But we have heard no discernible squeak from Welsh M.Ps’. Wales was long a bastion of Labour politics but then Labour politics with Bevan and Co. is not what it used to be. You can sing that.  

C.I.E. Map of Ireland Where Northern Ireland Does Not Exist
While waiting to exit the train from Dublin last week I was drawn to a curious map of Ireland’s rail network. All the usual lines were there, Dublin to x, y, z.  However when it came to Northern Ireland the train track crossed the border into a nothing land. It managed to call at Newry and Portadown almost as if it was a journey by hovercraft train. There was no indicator showing the coastlines of Down, Antrim and Derry….a desert north of the border. I know the geography etc. I thought we were past the time when Northern Ireland T.V. didn’t show weather forecasts for the south or northern Ireland people did not watch southern television programmes. This map with the Northern Ireland counties amputated must give Northern Nationalists a pretty negative message. It is, to my mind, petty in the extreme. Even An Post saw fit to put a new sign on Gurteen Post Office in the week before they closed the office for good!