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!       

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