Thursday, September 26, 2019

Update 27th September

Our Big Game on Sunday; Boyle v Padraig Pearses

Boyle return to the County Semi-Finals on Sunday next at Hyde Park at 2.45. Their opposition, Padraig Pearses, are possible favourites for the title. Boyle narrowly lost in their first round to Pearses so they too are in with a good chance of progressing on Sunday. This will be Boyle’s third semi-final in three years the other two being in ’16 and ’17 where they lost out to St. Brigid’s and Roscommon Gaels. I see a different atmosphere about the team this year though and this could be a breakthrough year. Boyle are a better side this year and there is a quiet resolve to maximise the window of opportunity that seems to be there this time. However having said all that while their first half performance against Michael Glavey’s in Castlerea last Saturday was scintillating their opening 20 minutes of the second half was puzzling dipping into a valley.  It was like an effort at Dutch football deserting  the defensive trenches to play in no man’s land. I’m confident though that all that is absorbed and that winning pragmatism will emerge on Sunday. So hopefully the town, which currently has hedged its bets in terms of flag-waving will, flower after Sunday. Tonight -Thursday- I drove home through the town and I am puzzled by a noticeable absence of the colours even in places where it would be thought a given.
Win or lose I applaud the huge effort that all of the panel members and management have put into this and previous campaigns. They are putting Boyle football on the map and hopefully a big and VOCAL support from Boyle will congregate in a not very hospitable environs of the large stadium that is Hyde Park.      

Two Weeks in the Life of…

All-Ireland Football Reflection 

Oscar Wilde said he always wanted to have something to read in his travels and that was the reason why he used to carry his diary with him. I keep a raw record also which is locked in being illegible to everyone else but myself!
Why I mention it here is that when I sat down to stay on track with a few paragraphs bi-weekly I wondered what will I ‘scribble’ this evening ? Also the evening is short as I am going to Roscommon …again …as I hear over my shoulder.  I left off last time preparing to go to the All-Ireland football final replay. That is nearly forgotten now! However it was a real contest between two gladiatorial giants. For quite a while it was a chess game with little to choose at half time. Dublin reenergised from an escape in the drawn game saw new heroes emerge with Mannion, O’Callaghan, Kilkenny,  Cluxton and a relatively unknown i.e. Murchan striding around Coke like antelopes in a safari park. The old aristocrats Kerry brought their warriors and great tradition to the table too with names we will hear for the next decade like Clifford, O’Shea, Murphy and Geaney but in the end the blues for a combination of reasons finally arrived at station number 5 and being cast into the folklore of Gaelic football for as long as it survives.
Last Sunday in the independent Sports Section there were two columns on the back page one by Colm O’Rourke and the other by Joe Brolly. I haven’t read Colm O’Rourke’s piece yet maybe on the train tomorrow but I have scanned Brolly’s. towards the end it deals with the Dublin football team in broadest terms and how they have reached out to Diarmuid Connolly as told by selector Declan Darcy. It is worthy of your attention. A telling end to his column is the following, and I quote " Long after the stadium was empty the stewards at Coke park went into the empty Dublin dressing- room, only to find Stephen Cluxton mopping the floor" !

Having returned to base I tuned in on Sunday to the ladies All-Ireland final. After a tough contest in terrible conditions they won their third title in a row. I had hoped Galway would win but they fell short. I expect that they will return

Sunday Morning Hurling Abbey Park on the 29th
I have been informed that the official launch of a hurling initiative will take place on Sunday morning next at the Abbey Park at 11m. I think that hurling is the supreme game and that it was never better. The skills which are on display in top games are mesmerising. And what’s more it’s getting better if that is possible. I played hurling as a boy since it was part of the heritage of Athleague with which club I played as I did in the CBS.
There have been a number of times that hurling has sparked as if into life in Boyle. I remember Richard McGee mentioning that it was around in the late forties. A legendary character called Bob Carr who came from Offaly and had a saw-mill at Ardcarne promoted the game through the later sixties. Army officer P.J.Keane, who played for Limerick and Munster, got a good young team together in the early seventies with T. P. Toolan and Martin Candon being on Roscommon under-age teams. The fire went out but a Mister O’Dowd originally from Galway but back in Boyle from England tried again to light the flame. I do not know why it died again.
Now I am told that a number of people are setting out on that journey again with the support of the County Hurling Board for Minors. From what I have heard there are enthusiasts from Cork and Wexford amongst those involved. I really hope it catches on. I see its sister game camogie beginning to be nurtured by a number of dedicated and excellent ladies in the park at the moment. Bringing a game like hurling to a new place is not a short project it is a ten year one and I wish it well because to me it is the Riverdance of sport.  

 A Scottish Story of Appreciation
I will just paste to here a nice heroic story as told by Neil Francis rugby columnist of the Sunday Independent of Sept. 15th  

“A TRANQUIL gathering in the Scottish highlands is disturbed as a small boy falls into the icy waters of a nearby river. There are shrieks as the boy is carried away towards a waterfall and certain death. Before anyone can even think, a young man dives in and swims heroically for the toddler. Just as it seems that the waterfall is about to take him, the hero lunges and grabs the child by the scruff of the neck. He scrambles for an outlying rock right on the edge of the waterfall. Against all odds, he holds on until they can both be pulled to safety. Once back on land, the hero returns the child to his grandfather. The old man turns to the rescuer and points to the child's head:

"He had a hat..."

(I got interrupted when doing up this blog which I send to post late Thursday night ... well actually very early Friday am.  Perhaps I can get back to the second half on Saturday!)


Thursday, September 12, 2019

Update 12th September

It has been brought to my attention that;
 At the car charging point, outside the Garda station, cars are parking and denying reasonable access to the charging facility. It is a pretty thoughtless practise but ... Perhaps there should be a marked/coloured rectangle to highlight the charging parking area. It is not as if there is not reasonable parking near that space on either side of the road. While there are occasional breaches of the disability spaces reasonable people do respect them. My reporter was pretty annoyed at the practise which I have to admit did not catch my attention. It will now of course!

Boyle GAA Senior Team in County Championship Quarter Finals.

Consider flyin' the flag.
Following a creditable draw against a good Western Gaels side at Frenchpark on Sunday Boyle have advanced to the quarter-finals of the senior championship. They have been here and beyond a couple of years ago but I sense the feeling is more optimistic this year.
Boyle were defeated in their first game against Padraig, gave a dazzling display against Clann na nGael and came back from a 7 point deficit to draw with Western Gaels. (in coaching I had a few mantras, one of which was; ‘If you are 7 points ahead you haven’t won the game and if you are 7 points down you haven’t lost the game. Another was ‘fisted points count hi’…Mickey Linden) Western Gaels weren’t aware of that manta, replaced a couple of important players, took the foot off the pedal and were thus consigned to a difficult ‘play-off’ against an improving St. Brigid’s. Boyle’s second half performance was top class with a number of significant moments. These included three big catches by Evan McGrath; a good tactical foul by Sean Purcell!, a strong shoulder charge by Colin Goldrick and a magnificent period by Cian McKeon which included a second goal and 3 mighty pointed free kicks from difficult positions especially the one to tie the game at the death.
For a more extended report you can tune into Ronan Flanagan’s account in this week’s The Roscommon Herald, Sport’s section.

In any event this is one of those years where the window of opportunity beckons, I know it is the correct managerial policy that the focus is always  on the NEXT game. As the Jockey answered when asked; ‘Which fence in the Grand National circuit do you fear the most?’ He responded; ‘Always the next one!’

Still Boyle town could begin some polite encouragement and recognition of what is going on with a bit of flag waving and display of same.  

This year, incredibly, I have two sporting teams in the race they being Boyle of course and my native parish of Fuerty. A few years ago Fuerty was a humble junior team but they have climbed the ladder incrementally in the last five years and are now in with the big boys. Great to see.  

Boyle Celtic’s Michael Corrigan
I wish to heartily congratulate Michael Corrigan of Boyle Celtic who has been called into the Irish National Junior soccer team. It is a recognition of his consistent high quality performances for Boyle Celtic over recent years and his goal-scoring prowess to boot. So well done Michael and I hope you enjoy the experience. Fair play to you.

Eoin Kennedy’s 10th All-Ireland
In reading realboyle in the last week you will have been alerted to the achievements of Eoin Kennedy son of Eugene and nephew of Pat and Joe of Elphin Street. Eoin, at the age of 40 years captured his 10th All-Ireland senior title in the final versus the favourite Robbie McGrath from Westmeath. It was also special in that it was the last such final to be played in this particular complex at Croke Park as it is being replaced. Maybe footballers Donie and Enda smith might remember dabbling in the game against the national School alley walls with Eoin close to 15 years ago when Eoin was involved in a Setanta t.v. programme.  

Brexit and Westminster House of Commons dis..ORDER
So Johnson has ‘prorogued’ (a quiz question there!) Parliament, a hugely unusual tactic. It is the tactic of many historical dictators Hitler being the most obvious. (There are considerable parallels between the period of the rise of Hitler and the collapse of the Weimar Republic in Germany in the late 20s’ and early 30s’…Hindenburg/The Queen of England etc.). It was an unseemly event. I occasionally used to attend college debates and raucous, disorderly events many of them were. The most respected stars were those who heckled and for a few people that was their vocation. Westminster was no better on Monday night. One regular veteran back bench Tory contributor referred to the ‘RABBLE over there’ i.e. on the Labour, Liberal and S.N.P. benches. He should have consulted his wing mirror to reflect on his own ‘rabble’. It is truly amazing to me to see people using their mobile phones, the smirking and shared jollity in the House of Commons as they sail like the crew of the Titanic towards the iceberg. The difference is that this crowd KNOW that there is a huge iceberg in their path!  Anyway Speaker Bercow had another difficult day in the chair and understandably has decided to retire at the end of October. Johnson blusters around with a cohort of believers while the majority wouldn’t believe the Lord’s prayer from him. The Commons passed a law preventing a No Deal exit but for Johnson & Co. that is for interpretation. He looked for a general election which would be like spraying the country’s present divisions with a generous covering of political propellant. A report has now emerged called ‘Operation Yellowhammer’ which lays out the stark consequences for a post No Deal Britain.
I must commend the Irish Taoiseach (which would not be a regular practise) for one enlightening analysis point during his press conference with Johnson while the British Prime Minister was in Dublin. Mister Varadkar stated that Deal or No Deal on October the 31st was only the BEGINNING of the divorce process and that the negotiations on so many levels would continue for years. BREXIT is just an early fence in the Grand National Aintree circuit. In no way can a withdrawal by Britain be just a case of pulling up the drawbridge at Dover and covering that country in a symbolic duvet. The mind boggles at it all. Books on this period will fill libraries in the decades to come.
Last Monday night I was impressed by two people. The leader of the emerging clearly REMAIN Liberal Democrats, Scottish lady Joe Swinson and the Commons leader of the S.N.P. i.e. Scottish Nationalist Party (who favour an Independent Scotland in appropriate circumstances) Ian Blackford. You would imagine that the Irish Sinn Féin party would learn something from the S.N.P. in terms of being in the right place at the right time. But as they say themselves their time will come! They are not readers of the Bard it seems…who wrote ‘There is a tide in the affairs of men etc…’  Scéal eile sé sin.  

Television Watch
De Valera in the States 1919/1920
I probably watch too much television which is allied to having to sit down! Anyway -which I should not use as much as I do- my favourite genre of programmes are probably documentaries. (I used to be indecisive but now I’m not so sure). I record some of them for future viewing but that does not always happen. Last night I watched De Valera in America in 1919-1920. He was going home in a reverse way. He got a huge reception from the millions of Irish or Irish decent there. It was not all happiness though and there were opposing views in certain media. The United States had been an ally of G.B. in WW1 which had just ended and certain swathes of the country did not see the justification for giving credibility to an upstart calling himself the ‘President’ of an as yet unestablished state i.e. Ireland. The relations between the primary Irish American leaders Devoy and Cohalan was not always sweetness and light either. De Valera during the tour got the appendage ‘Chief’ after visiting an Indian tribe which had, remarkably, supported Ireland during the Famine. $5 million was collected for the emerging Irish Republic. It is disparagingly suggested that some of this money was still in the control of the De Valera faction a decade later when Dev established the ‘Irish Press’ as a supporting organ of Fianna Fáil.
I learned a couple of things there which I may forget but that is how things go. Every day a learning day.

“Facing Ali”
This was a very different theme. It was based on a book by Stephen Brunt and the film was made in 2009. To be regarded highly by opponents and those you confront is a rare tribute. (I mentioned that in relation to         
Eugene McGee recently). In the film nine of the top fighters who fought Ali were the primary sources with films of the fights they were involved with Ali. I remember as a boy getting up in the middle of the night with my father to listen to radio commentary of a Cassius Clay fight with Sonny Liston. It was a short shift). While Ali seemed very hostile in the build up to his fights the boxers interviewed talked of him with great respect and emotion. There were incredible fights such as ‘The Thrilla in Manilla’ v Joe Frazier and ‘The Rumble in the Jungle’ with George Foreman. Ali missed out on some four of his best fighting years during a dispute where he refused to be enlisted into the U.S. army to go to Vietnam. He was born in 1942 and died in 2016. In his latter days he suffered from Parkinson’s disease. During that time he made a memorable appearance lighting the flame at the U.S. Olympics at Atlanta in ’96. He was also in Croke Park (for the second time) at The Special Olympics in Dublin in 2003. Frazier, Foreman, Cooper, Norton, Spinks and Holmes were all in this film and for a number there were tears in their eyes as they reflected on their old adversary ‘The Greatest’, Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali.

There are two other very worthy  documentaries running just now ‘Spotlight on the Troubles’ in Northern Ireland Tuesdays on BBC 1. The other is a forensic analysis of ‘The Rise of the Nazis’ and Saturday and Monday on BBC 2 at 9.       

Missing Dogs
Some of you might have seen a sign at Shilling Hill but not got the message if you were in a car. They are elsewhere also I’m told. Well in walking by it yesterday I got the full message as follows;

€,1000 (one thousand, true) Reward
 ‘Help get Holly and Bozo home, owners are distraught.
 Missing from Ballintogher …last seen in Ballyfarnon
 Call Gayle on 0877629396.

While this is a distance from Ballintogher or Ballyfarnon even the reward and sense of the sign demonstrate a real loss to the owners. Hopefully there may be a positive ending.

Sin é

‘And so to bed’.