Where does one begin?
Almost like the politicians I have been ‘away’ from here for some time, July the 11th being my last post! A good deal has happened since then. The turf campaign is over for this year with suggestions to self, going along the lines of ‘there must be a better way’.
Roscommon after the fine wins against Mayo and Galway in Connacht ran aground in the Super 8s’ with a somewhat missed opportunity against Tyrone, a predictable trouncing by Dublin and some credit restored with a feisty performance in winning against Cork. It seems that Roscommon’s All-Ireland is now the Connacht Final as one cannot see Dublin moving over and with Kerry emerging with a good side. We will learn more about that on Sunday. Gaelic football must be seen to be in a crisis with so many counties being so far behind the leaders.
Hurling is a in a different state. While this summer was not as thrilling as 2018 it was still pretty good and Tipp. in the end proved worthy winners. I felt particularly for Wexford as I would like to see them get an All-Ireland win. Tipp did so well after being blown away by Limerick but the said Limerick must have regrets too that the power they showed against Tipp melted subsequently.
I attended the All-Ireland hurling final and it was a disappointing event. The correct (in my view) sending off of Richie Hogan changed the dynamic of the game compounded by a peculiar Kilkenny long ball approach in the second half. This was the second time in the campaign that a questionable and very un- Kilkenny-like approach failed. Perhaps Brian Coady is getting stale in his approach.
Roscommon Senior Championship
The senior championship in Roscommon has begun with a number of twists and turn. Last year’s winners Clann na nGael have made an early exit at the hands of Western Gaels and Boyle. Boyle were unlucky in their first game against Padraig Pearse’s in the Abbey Park a couple of weeks ago. It was a very competitive and top class game. Pearse’s are one of the favourites to win out this summer. If they do that it will be their first senior title in the Club’s history. The club was founded in 1962. Due to the exit of Clann and with St. Brigid’s struggling somewhat, at the moment anyhow (returnees from the U.S etc., could turn their fortunes around from September) it opens up the title race to nearly half a dozen teams who would feel that they have a decent chance of going all the way this year.
Classic Boyle Display
Boyle 2.25 Clann 1.8
This was probably the finest performance by a Boyle senior team ever in the senior championship. While all members of the team excelled, on this day the performance of Donie Smith was just exceptional. His scoring of 1.15 from play and placed balls must be a record for an individual in the senior championship. His was a champagne performance. Last year Clann defeated Boyle in the same venue on the score of Clann 1.17 Boyle 1.4.So this was some turn-around. Sparkling as this win was it comes with a health warning and I’m sure all connected with the team are conscious of this. Clann were missing key personnel and just had a very bad day at the office.
Boyle will play Western Gaels in the final Group game on Sunday September 8th at 4.30 in Frenchpark. They have struggled with Western Gaels in recent times so Boyle will be under no illusions regarding the challenge ahead of them. In any campaign it is always the next game (battle) that counts. While statisticians might be able to predicate who will automatically go into the quarter- finals there is a real tangle to see who will end up in third position in the groups and have to play a play-off for the final quarter- final position. My presumption about is that one 3rd place in any group of A,B,C will get a bye and the two remaining 3rds will be in the play-off. It looks to me that the two teams certain of qualifying as it is are, Roscommon Gaels and Padraig Pearse's; Roscommon Gaels because being on 4 points cannot be harmed by 3rd placed Strokestown as is. Pearse's can only be equalled by Western Gaels and overcome by Boyle. In Group A all teams have something to play for. While Fuerty has 3 points they could be overcome by Elphin now on 2 and St. Croan’s also on 2. If St. Brigid’s defeat St. Croons they would equal Fuerty on 3 points. I do not know if points scoring difference will play a role. Perhaps it will. The week-end of Sept. 7th /8th will reveal all but it is intriguing and Boyle are in with as big a chance as anyone now of making a big challenge. (For me of course I have two teams in the pot as along with Boyle my home place of Fuerty who drew with St. Brigid’s last week and look like qualifying for the quarter finals at least. A Boyle v Fuerty game would be a little concerning for me. But we will let the Gods decide).
Brexit and Boris Johnson
He has had a hairstyle like an unmade bed (though it is improving) and now the political landscape of Westminster is like that ‘unmade bed’ also. What a mixed grill of antics and disastrous consequences obtain. Unbelievable is a word I echoed here perhaps last spring but perhaps the old Charlie Haughey associated chestnut GUBU is more appropriate. GUBU =Grotesque/Unbelievable/Bizarre/Unprecedented. Of course Johnson is not constructing all this himself but is the face of it with the genius (destructive) of his advisor Dominic Cummings who ‘masterminded’ the ‘Leave Campaign’ during the Brexit Referendum. So getting to know Cummings is to see where the machinations are coming from. History has always had its powers behind the thrones one I remember being a German/Austrian called Metternich who was central to European politics in the early decades of the 1800s’. I mentioned back in March a T.V. Doc/Drama called ‘Brexit-The Uncivil War’ with Benedict Cumberbatch giving an award-winning performance as Dominic Cummings. After Brexit there will be a lot of expressions of OMG. What a mess as Nigel Farage dips in and out, the hapless Corbyn floats around as if unperturbed like a medic on a hospital ward. Oddly in the few days I was in London in July it seemed as if BREXIT was happening on a different planet. The working classes were being force- fed a diet of Trivia by the Red Top newspapers as the importance of ‘Love Island’ or something called a ‘Bake Off’ anesthetized the populace. I’m shaking my head thinking of it all.
Another danger for England in a post BREXIT apocalypse would be the rise of a Fascist juggernaut as happened under some similar circumstances in Germany in the late 20s early 30s’.
Meanwhile Back in Croke Park
It promises to be a great week-end in Dublin where the atmosphere should be special. It is an incredible achievement for the GAA in Dublin to have come to be the dominant sporting game in a city which could not be said to be a natural ground for its blossoming. Of course this team is special with a degree of cohesion that is mesmerising. My favourite player is Brian Fenton and I have been saying that for quite a while now. He is a classic midfielder and would have matched the great midfielders like Mick O’Connell of Kerry, Liam Gilmartin and Eamon Boland of Roscommon, Jim McKeever of Derry and Jack O' Shea of Kerry who I have rated as the greatest footballer I have seen.
I hope Dublin win their fifth in a row. The one team they would not have fancied meeting in the final hurdle was Kerry. Kerry is the one team that could prevent Dublin’s historic drive. I’m sure Kerry will try might and mane to sabotage that outcome. It is special week-end in Dublin. There is a race in Australia, the Melbourne Cup, with the label ‘The Race that stops the Nation’ surely Sunday’s game between Dublin and Kerry is a sporting occasion like that. I hope it doesn’t disappoint.
“And what about China?”
For a year or so I have been meaning to make reference to this heading. Nearly twenty years ago I made a courtesy visit to a former Roscommon C.B.S. history teacher of mine , Tom Geraghty, who lived near Athleague. His history classes were laced with current affairs, politics and general knowledge discussions which was fine with me. On my visit we revisited some of those subjects over a period of time. Then as I started to move to leave he declared; “ And what about China?” So I had to settle down again and we ‘treated of’ China for a time though I had only a general knowledge of China. Since then though I have kept an eye on China and I am certain many more important people than me are doing similarly. There have been a number of T.V. documentaries on China in recent times two of them last night Thursday August 29th. On T.G.4 in the very good Fiorsceal series a repeat of a programme on the rise of the present Chinese leader Xi Jinping. He has progressed from being a political prisoner and in re-education camps. On release he progressed through the communist party to its leadership. He was in Ireland over 5 years ago when he was on the cusp of being overall top man. The second programme on BBC 2 was title “China: A New World”. Its explanatory label went thus; “The story of China’s President, XI Jinping’s controversial six-year rule, and how he set about transforming China into a tightly-controlled state” with its industrial scale prison camp archipelago or “re-education camps” as they would like to term them.
China has inserted its influence widely in Africa with huge investment in Eastern Africa in a port facility allied to Chinese ‘garrison’ development there. I forget exactly where.
Some EU countries have borrowed heavily from China such as Greece, Portugal and Hungary. This has influenced their EU votes on issue relating to China.
The Silk Road and Hong Kong:
Then there is the legendary “Silk Road” and I copy a definition of it;
“For years, the corridor served as a high-speed transit route into the heart of Eurasia, rather than a bona-fide “Silk Road” which properly connects the east with the west. ... Dubbed the Meridian highway, Russia's long-awaited portion of the China-Western Europe transport corridor is now under active development”.
Last night’s programme also concentrated on a particular region in China which is ethnically and by religion not Chinese but through clampdown and various ‘security’ measures is being coerced into a Chinese way of life and thinking.
So today it understandable that Hong Kong residents are resisting measures increasing mainland Chinese powers in their area.
This week there is a Chinese delegation here visiting meat factories as potential sources of meat which the Irish suppliers would like to come on board as buyers. Maybe 6 months ago I remember a reference to a Chinese group visiting Lough Key Forest Park on Boyle Today. A number of years ago towards the end of the boom circa 2007 John Tiernan who had retired as Roscommon County Manager seemed to be involved in the development of a Chinese Business Hub in the Athlone area. I have not heard anything about that in quite a while.
The only fly in the ointment of Chinese expansion is a ‘Trade War’ with the U.S. There is also the issue of the technology company Huawei.
While economic activity is nearly always welcomed Chinese economic spread comes with the threat of ideological mutation in receptive nations. So for China it may be a policy of mid- term world economic dominance but this could also be twinned to political systems and communist dominance also. Heavy stuff. I must check my phone now.