Thursday, December 19, 2019

Update 19th December

Greetings to (apologies for errors):

Australia (A hot place right now)
Ciaran Conlon and family/ Paraic Sweeney & Sarah/ Conor Nangle/ Enda, Jacquie and Emer O’Callaghan/ Seamie Gallagher/ Damien Keenehan/ Ciaran Keenehan/Clodagh Egan from Green St. in Sydney/Ger. O’Gara and clan including Joan and honorary Boyle man, Sean Casey/ Joseph Moran in Sydney/ Jenny Jessop (O'Dowd) from Abbeytown/ Dr. Timothy O'Dowd/ Benny Sheerin, Sydney.

The U.S.
Damien Dooley/ Frankie Flaherty/ Marcus Kennedy/ Joseph Mahon/ Brendan O’Callaghan/ Chris O’Dowd & family/ Doirbhle O'Dowd/ Austin and Paraic Beisty & family/ The Spellman family x Forest View/ Pat and Margaret Lavin also x Forest View now/ Niall Mc Crann  /Pat and Peter Nicholson/ Arnold Gaffney, Boston/ Hillary and Kenneth Beirne.  (I’m sure there are many more but….)

Tadgh Egan/ Sean Mullaney/ Miss Compton/ Dearbhaile Mac Namara in Toronto/ Dr.Patrick Nicholson, formerly Sheegora now in Toronto.

John Harrington/ Gary Tiernan/ Nicky Emmett/Sarah Mullaney/ John O'Dowd from Abbeytown/ Niall Greenan/ Christy and Jim Toolan, London/ Paddy Conlon & family

Rory Nangle/ Lorraine & Oran and family. 

James Candon in Brussels

Germany and Belgrade
The Gannon family Belgrade/ Michael and Maria Kelly and family in Munich.

Sean Young & family/ John & Joan Gallagher and family/ Gavin, Declan and Anthony in various places.

Mattie Scott in sunny Portugal.

Darren Dockery, the Gulf!

South Africa
Carmel Finneran.

Fr. Tony Conry.

Tadhg Lowe.
Catriona Moran and family.

New Zealand
Elisabeth Hemi Taute (Sweeney) husband and son Cian in N.Z.
Christina Marnell daughter of Marie Paul also in New Zealand.

(Above is just a guesstimate as to Boyle people in far-flung places. Apologies for errors).

Cionlinte na Nuacht

The Annual GAA Quiz takes place in St. Joseph’s Hall on Saturday December 28th at 8 p.m.

These quizzes have been going now for 11 years or so. It started with a World Rally fundraiser in The Moving Stairs on Dec. 30 ’08 in Barry Lowe’s ‘The Moving Stairs’. The Stairs was a fine bar then with many illustrious musicians, traditional and otherwise performing there. The Quiz returned to the venue in both ’09 and ’10. In 2010 a sound system linked into the upstairs restaurant from the ground floor. It was jammed that night. So the following year the venue became the Town Hall where it has rested since. In 2012 a Frances Candon Disco added volume and chaos to the occasion. In 2015 Chris O’Dowd graced the event and was generous when being requested to do varied presentations. For 2016 I noted ‘a very good atmosphere’ so that was fine. In 2017 I did a raw survey asking participants if we’d go again the following year or ‘get away with it again’. The survey got a positive response and so ’18 was fine and we are at that time again on Sat. the 29th. The Quiz is also used to make presentations to various players, club activists and teams. These will be smaller this year as the Dinner Dance took some of them. A positive of the Quiz in the Hall is that there is room for people home from x,y and z to meet up and chat with people they have not seen for some time. This can be done in some of the hostelries also but sometimes in trying to do this it is difficult in those crowded environs.  So it a decent social event and if you are in Boyle on that Saturday evening you will be most welcome and hopefully you will enjoy and meet many friends in a Christmas atmosphere in uncrowded environs. There will be time afterwards to visit the night clubs of Boyle if that is your desire!

The GAA is also involved in a charity football game in the Abbey Park on St. Stephen’s Day.

The Club’s AGM will take place at 7.30 pm on Friday the 3rd of January. All Club members are invited to this very important meeting to reflect on 2019 and plan for 2020.

Ending the GAA theme The Rossies Fundraising Committee, with the generous backing of Sean Mulryan and Ballymore Properties, have advanced from their hugely successful ‘House Draw ‘of 2018 with a novel variation which is an apartment in a key area of LONDON town. This has enormous potential for providing the necessary monies to bring Hyde Park up to standard and developing the Dermot Earley Centre of Excellence. Roscommon is blessed with a mentor like Sean Mulryan and his company. So if you happen to read this spread the word in London and everywhere you can as this is a special innovation. You will be hearing much more about it after Christmas. 

Congratulations to Boyle Choir who featured on Lyric FM on Monday with Frankie Simon’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ composition. Frankie is a really class musician and composer and it was nice to hear his piece and the choir on the national airwaves classical outlet.

Boyle GAA Dinner Dance
Boyle GAA held a very successful and enjoyable celebration of the year gone and also Riverdance year of ’94 in remembering the winning Intermediate, Junior and U 21 teams of that year. They all received their tokens. First up though were this year’s winning County Junior ‘B’ winners led by their Manager, Steve Tonra. This would seem a modest competition to win but having accidentally observed how St. Joseph’s Kilteevan celebrated a similar win last year and the enjoyment gleaned from this win by Boyle the axiom that ‘everything is relative’ rang true. Their medals were presented by the County Board GAA Chairman Seamus Sweeney, himself from Boyle but domiciled in Croghan for a good number of years.

Special Guest, county player Enda Smith presented the panel of players from the three ’94 teams with their mementos. A special welcome was expressed for Michelle Corrigan who represented her brother Stephen R.I.P. of the ’94 teams. Stephen passed away suddenly during the summer.  Club Chairperson Kathleen Hanmore made presentations to Anne Young on behalf of the team manager Sean; to Eileen McGowan on behalf of John McGowan a selector then and to Michael Costello also a selector. Gary Wynne Capt. of the winning Intermediate team spoke of the team and of Sean Young as did Michael Costello.

Sean Purcell on behalf of this year’s senior team noted the contribution of Barry Lowe and David Kelly to Basil Mannion’s management team of 2019. While Kathleen Hanmore presented the four senior county players from the year Enda and Donie Smith, Cian McKeon and Evan McGrath with mementoes to remember their elevation to that level.

Enda Smith in conversation with the M.C. spoke of his GAA development, where it all began on Forest View Green, the under-age teams and transition through the various club, school and county teams, D.C. U. and Sigerson, his nomination for All-Star and being selected to travel to Australia with the Irish Gaelic ‘Compromise Rules’ team and of a recent trip to New York and meeting up with Finbar Furey. A year’s highlight was the family receiving the President’s Award in Coke Park last autumn. 

Other people to get mentioned were; coach Stephen Bohan, Mary Clifford as new President of the Northern Board, Sponsors of the diner,  Elis, Michael Kerins Construction, Purcell Print and Feelystone and regular sponsors Cooney- Nissan Motors and McGovern Engineering.  The band was the very well received Ultrasound with the venue Kilronan Castle also coming up trumps on all counts.

Well over 200 people attended and the overview expressed was that it was a great night with many veterans and a large number of young people enjoying the occasion.    

The U.K. Election and All That

While I expected the Conservative/Tory party to win the British election I would not have thought –like many- that they would get such a majority. I used the word ‘unbelievable’ numerous times last spring with the shenanigans in The House of Commons and in British politics generally. I cannot use it now as –sad as it may be-anything is possible.

 Why did the Tories win by such a margin? A big reason is an inept Jeremy Corbin. In one of the most important questions in the U.K. since WW2 he was not able to come down with any clarity on his Brexit position. The split Labour Party which once had the Conservative Party on the ropes in the early terms of Tony Blair but with the Iraq War intervention and the famous W.O.M.D. narrative he (a bright man) lost his credibility and the Labour Party have not recovered since. A large section the Corbynites wrap around a machine of young people which emerged as ‘Momentum’. The probable solutions are a divided Labour Party as the pro and anti EU are irreconcilable.

Oddly the Trade Unions which were once so powerful seem to be on the side-lines in this and Wales sleeps on.

Another really sad disclosure when looking at the results of the elections is the minimal showing of The Green Party. It shows how little consideration the electorate have for the huge question of the moment and the future i.e. Global Warming’.

A future very interesting scene to keep watch on is Scotland and the Scottish Nationalist Party. Their call now will be for another Independence Referendum. There is an emerging labelling of what is happening politically referred to as ‘English Nationalism’.

What’s happening in Scotland is replicated in Northern Ireland. The DUP paid for its strident pro Brexit policy which is resisted by a certain percentage of its traditional vote.

It was good to see the SDLP come back on stage again as well as the Alliance party. The incredible political stagnation and suspension of a Stormont Parliament for 3 years has got the Northern electorate up in arms and they have given the established parties a kick up the transom and said ‘get on with it now or else’.

A disappointment for me was the very poor showing of the Lib Dems as well as The Greens. About a year ago things looked good for them and their leader Jo Swinson. But a real issue for them particularly is the voting system.

A real issue in the U.K. election was/is their ‘First Past the Post’ voting system. In this small parties have little or no chance of making an impression. Under this system with say 3 candidates a winning candidate needs circa 35% while the remaining pair may get 65% of the vote if evenly divided. So 65% do not get the candidate they voted for. This is a simplistic picture but valid. Of course with a large number of candidates it could be even worse. It suits strong parties of course and de Valera tried a couple of times to introduce the system in Ireland historically.                  

Watching T.V.

‘The Pacific War in Colour’

I have mentioned before that I have watched a lot of war films and series. I am watching one now on Sunday nights on RTE 2 called ‘The Pacific War in Colour’. All the film is taken from actual footage taken by various participants in that horrific experience.  It covered the various ‘battles’ of the period from December 1941 to late summer 1945. The Japanese expansion in the Pacific had extended through South East Asia with invasion of huge tracts of territory including the Philippines and stretching to New Guinea when Australia seemed likely to be invaded also. When the Americans and Australians finally halted the advance and began a push back with a policy called ‘Island Hopping’. Battles for these islands, some very small, were fought with a savagery and intensity that is unimaginable. These island included Guam, Palaua, Saipan and Okinawa. Another island Iowa Jima gave the iconic picture (a recreation of an actual earlier flag raising ceremony there) of the flag being raised on its mountain, Mt. Suribachi.  The Japanese ‘fight to the death culture’ with ‘no surrender’ resulted in suicidal battles. Eventually the power of the United States industrial complex overarched everything. One occasion that is rarely mentioned is the fire- bombing that destroyed Tokyo, by around two hundred bombers.

From their experience and loss of life in the island- hopping campaigns the United States feared that the number of casualties they would suffer in an actual invasion of the Japan proper would be enormous. The final solution of the dropping of the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki resulted from this fear. Why they felt they needed the destruction of the second city I do not know.

The campaigns were directed on land by a larger than life General Douglas McArthur while the overwhelmingly powerful (eventually) U.S. navy’s chief was Admiral Chester Nimitz.

One of the final episodes I presume will air on Sunday night next at 8 with the invasion of an actual Japanese island Okinawa with which the ‘the fight to the death’ for the homeland is again to the fore. (Perhaps this is not the time to be writing about such things… I kinda drifted into it)

A Programme Missed…Seamus Heaney: The Music of What Matters;

For some reason I actually missed this programme which was on BBC 2 on Saturday November 30th. I had been hoping for a repeat. Now if that was TG4 that would a given but BBC 2 no. The advance note on its transmission went; “The life and work of poet Seamus Heaney is explored in this documentary with the help of his widow Marie and children Michael, Christopher, and Catherine, who read some of the poems he wrote for them. “ The post transmission reviews commended the programme so maybe it will return. There is a fine centre in his memory in his native place in Bellaghy, Derry which I hope to visit soon. I did meet him briefly, some years ago at Boyle Arts Festival, when he gave a talk in The Church of Ireland. Seamus died on Friday, August 30th 2013. I regret not following my instinct and attending his funeral removal as I was in Dublin on Sunday Sept. 1st for All-Ireland Semi-Finals Dublin v Kerry in senior and Roscommon v Tyrone in minor.  

“History says; Don’t hope On this side of the grave.

But then, once in a lifetime

The longed-for tidal wave Of  justice can rise up

And hope and history rhyme”.   

One of my favourite Heaney poems is;
“When all the others were away at Mass”

Bridget & Eamon… From the Sublime to the Ridiculous:

I had seen fragments of this programme when channel- hopping for a time. Then I decided to watch through an episode of it for a half-hour just to see if my instincts were properly attuned. They were.  It was terrible and how it could be justified for broadcast is totally lost on me.

Garech Browne; Last Days at Luggala

I watched this last night –Wednesday. It dealt with a somewhat eccentric member of the Guinness family who lived in a beautiful location in Wicklow. Unusually for someone of his background he became immersed in traditional music and helped found Claddagh Records. With this he put on record a lot of Irish music and helped establish ‘The Chieftains’, Sean O Riada and piper Leo Rowsome amongst others. He also recorded a number of Irish poets reciting their own poems including Patrick Kavanagh.

 During the programme, after a reference by Garech to Ennis Fleadh, up popped a clear 30 seconds of an All-Ireland Fleadh in Boyle. Those took place in 1960 and 1966. Garech is also remembered in being the Ceili House Bar and asking the proprietor to join a developing session. When she replied that she had to tend to the bar he volunteered to do that for her. So the Guinness heir served his family’s brew while the proprietor enhanced the session. 

The Dáil in Recession Next election Issues
The Dáil took its Christmas break yesterday for Christmas. It has been an eventful year there. When they return it is not going to be any different. The first item on the agenda will be the timing of the coming election in say April or thereabouts. Fine Gael have been lucky in the political sense that Fianna Fáil were so helpful with their ‘confidence and supply’ co-operation. But the gloves will be off in the New Year.

Questions for Government party members in the coming year;

The whole health provision is pretty questionable with hospitals as if they were on the edge of war zones. The trolley scandals, the waiting lists and so on. Also the growing expenditure over the National Children’s Hospital.

Housing; They have never gotten to grips with it and never looked as if they would. They backed housing minister Eoghan Murphy when so many felt he was a duck.

There is a web of issues !!

The number of people homeless. The number of children in hotel rooms and unsuitable accommodation.  People sleeping on the streets.

During the week there was a radio interview with a Finnish Minister who expressed the sentiment that a home was an essential requirement for social rehabilitation and advancement. Occasionally we see a former homeless person/family getting access to their own place and the transformative effect this has.

[An aside. Finland has now the youngest Female Prime Minister in the world and the 5 main areas of Government also have 5 female ministers. Are the ways of these Nordic countries which are so far ahead in a whole range of social provision issues not studied and can we not learn from them?]

Accommodation Rental and Purchase:

Rentals now average up to €1700 per month in Dublin. These are so prohibitive for young couples wishing to ‘get on the property ladder’. 

Crèche and Insurance Provision:
These have emerged recently though the cost of a child’s crèche provision is like another mortgage. Currently, here are issues for those crèches with exorbitant insurance calls. Insurance costs are a general issue in health, motoring, small business, event provision etc.

So fine Gael canvassers get your act together on the pillar issues of the next election, Health, Housing, Insurance, Child Care and my old friends x,y,z.

Smokey Coal
The Minister for coal has decided on an incremental banning of ‘smokey’ coal. The large cities had it banned some years ago with a big health dividend. Now an extra number have been added to the list but there are a lot not included. This is out of fear of being involved in legal issues as a consequence. It’ll come to all of course. Sean O’Rourke asked Minister Bruton this am; ‘How many legal actions have been taken against the illegal use of ‘smokey’ coal in restricted areas over the years?’ The Minister made no answer to this because as Sean knew the number is probably zero.    

F.A.I. Turmoil
Isn’t it incredible the way things have emerged with this organisation? They really deserve a minister like Sean Ross. First it is the peoples’ (well some peoples) favourite John Delaney the songster, beer buying C.E.O. of soccer being so generous giving loans to his employer and then it turns out that the organisation is a ‘basket case’. Classic Ireland the debts start off at X and incrementally increase to multiples of X. At last ‘Audit’, today say, it is over 60 million in debt. Then they take the hump because Sean Ross goes and tells a Dáil committee the truth something FAI hierarchy is not familiar with.  Unbelievable.

Like the Dáil I’ll adjourn at that.


And may your gods go with you at this special time of year. t.c.


Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Update 11th December

The Silver Anniversary of Boyle GAA’s Riverdance Year of 1994.

I am regularly asked by a friend, ‘What are you at now? I suppose you are still stuck in the GAA?’ My double-edged answer to that is; ‘I am busy and with regard to the GAA I just do a bit of consultancy there now, from the backbenches’. If there was a house of lords (lack of capitals –deliberate) I would be in that red- seated room (blue carpet). A quiz question there!
One of the big occasions for a club’s GAA year is the irregular Dinner Dance which Boyle are having on Saturday night next celebrating a former victorious year. On Saturday night, in Kilronan Castle, Boyle GAA Club’s guests are members of teams that won championships in 1994. So it is the 25th or Silver Anniversary of the winning of the Intermediate championship in late and the O’Gara Cup also, the final of which went deep into ’95.  The Juniors and U 21s’ also won their respective competitions that year as did the U 14s! The Club’s P.R. O. was also regarded as a county winner with the club getting the best picture award i.e.  ‘Club of the Year’ in the county. All this was celebrated at the Club’s Dinner in the much-missed Forest Park Hotel early in January ‘95 where Roscommon legend Gerry O’Malley was ‘Guest of Honour’ with Frank Dennehy representing the County Board. One of the picture frames in the clubhouse is dedicated to a fine collection of photographs from that night. The most iconic picture in that is of the club Chairman then, Liam Kerins, festooned with cups as he made his way to where the photographs on the night were taken. The picture made its way onto the front page of The Roscommon Herald. Liam’s picture is being displayed currently on the publicity for the event on Boyle GAA’s Facebook. It would have been a winning entry in any photographic competition for Christy Regan. 

That Intermediate Final Team
The Intermediate win was the first for eleven years with the initial win being in 1983. I have said that this was the best team and panel that I have seen since coming to Boyle in 1972. The team had strengths in all lines. While I do not intend a forensic analysis I’ll attempt a general picture. The goalie Jonathan Conroy was fronted by a powerful full-back line of team captain and county player Gary Wynne with Vinnie Flanagan and Mark McGovern. The half-line was also strong with Stephen Bohan, county player Gerry Cregg, and Fergal Costello. I’m diverting here now. With a good quiz team through the eighties if we had John Mac Nama with us we would be contenders in most quizzes. I felt similarly with Tom Ryan in the Boyle team at midfield. On Final day he was accompanied by another strong big man in Pat Carty. The half-forward line had Enda Cregg-Gerry’s brother-Jnr. Smith another veteran but wily campaigner and the whizz kid Niall O’ Donohoe who won the ‘Man of the Match’ award, that day and was to repeat it with an even more scintillating display ten years later in 2005 v Kilmore. At number 13 was Niall’s brother Owen nearly as fine a Gaelic player as he was at soccer and that says something. At no. 15 we had the hustling bustling Michael Tormey who couldn’t have been long out of county minor grade. Possibly the most understated player was the number 14, but a real gem of player that day was Sean Kerins. The switch of Kerins and Smith was hugely effective with them opening up a channel for the Lewis Hamilton that was Niall O’D. to do irreparable damage and as Adrian King suggested he gave the team’s cutting edge a ‘je-ne-sais-quoi’ i.e. for pure ‘class’. Within the extended panel, there were several very good players who would have maintained the levels I mention above if called on. Those panel members as per team picture were; Liam Conroy, Joe Sweeney, Brian Kennedy, Jason Beirne, Bernie Shannon, John O’Dowd, Ml. Kerins, Des McLoughlin, Donal Kelly, Aidan Lavin, Adrian King, and Noel Casey.
The Manager was Sean Young of course with selectors John McGowan and Michael Costello.
The team graduated to senior in ’95 but lost out to Kilmore in a rain-soaked Elphin in ’95 and to Clan na nGael in ’96 when a great late rocket from Tom Ryan rebounded off the woodwork.
In the campaign Boyle had two great battles with St. Ronan’s drawing one and losing one. Another game was a tight win against St. Croan’s . Boyle comfortably overcame Western Gaels in the Northern Final and gave an exhibition in comprehensively defeating St. Dominick’s by 1.15 to 0.5 in the county final. Boyle Band led the victorious team into the town on their return to the Royal Hotel.
The Junior Team and Two Goal Fests
In the Junior campaign, there were a number of incidents worthy of note. In a comprehensive defeat of St. Ronan’s Bernie Shannon bagged 3.3 of the team’s total of 4.10. Still, the game best remembered and which is now part of Boyle GAA folklore is the team’s win in Tulsk over Michael Glavey’s. Glavey’s were cruising to victory mid-way through the second half and leading by 12 points. Bernie Shannon had not started for whatever reason but he came on and I believe Owen Garvin suggested to him that what Boyle needed then were goals. Bernie duly obliged with an opening salvo. Game on. While folklore gives Bernie most of the following goals also, the scorers were as follows Liam Conroy (2.1) Jason Beirne (1.3) Bernie Shannon (1.1) Paul Flaherty (1.0). The final score was Boyle 5.5 Ml. Glavey’s 2.13.
The team; Ml. Kerins/Aidan Lavin, Capt./ Brian Kennedy/ Gerry McLoughlin/ Eddie Conroy/ Finbarr Feely/ Paul Beirne/ Gerard Sheeran/ James Bohan/ Liam Conroy/ Jason Beirne/ Gerry McCormack/ Donal Kelly/ Paul Flaherty/ Kevin Young with Bernie, Richie Walshe, Peter Flannery and Paraic Moran.
The senior managers were also in charge of this team if I am not mistaken.
P.S. It is said that the substituted player who was togging in, in the dressing room, could not (for a while) take on board the reasons for the euphoria of the Boyle players returning to the dressing rooms subsequently! 
Under 21s’ v Michael Glavey’s More Drama
The U 21 campaign too had its thrills and spills in a winter campaign.  After good wins over Eire Og in Tulsk and Elphin in Kilmore, they faced Ml. Glavey’s in the final also at Tulsk. Boyle seemed as if they were heading for a fairly comfortable win when a late surge by Glavey’s, with the aid of a controversial penalty, left the scores level and the temperatures rising, with Boyle 0.11 Ml. Glavey’s 2.5. In its Roscommon Herald report, the famous escapist’s name was headlined i.e. it was ‘A Houdini Escape for Glavey's.
Two weeks later Boyle made no mistake and became U 21 champions.
The team in the drawn first game was as follows;
J. Conroy/ P.McPadden/ M. McGovern/E. Conroy/ F.Feely/ Fergal Costello (0.1)/ D.Kelly/ P. Carty (0.4) / N. Casey/ L. Conroy/ M. Tormey/ A. King (0.1) / O. O’Donohoe (3)/ B. Kennedy/ J. Beirne (0.2)with P. Moran/ F. Kearns/ F. Woods/ P. O’Donnell / S. Corrigan.  Managers  Gary Wynne & Stephen Bohan.
 (I’m confused by the position of Niall O’Donohoe in relation to this team. Niall was in France at that time and was obviously home for the Intermediate final at the end of October. The R.H. had no report on the U 21 replay as it was Christmas time.  I believe Niall was home for that U 21 replay?)
There may be some errors in the above and I’m happy to take correction on those for the record.
P.S. The O’Gara Cup final v St. Aidan’s drifted into the spring of ’95. So that cup was absent from Liam’s collection!
The Junior team was defeated by Paraic Pearses at Ballyleague in late October but Boyle objected to some ineligible players. While part of the objection was upheld the consequence was that there was no Junior winner declared as a result.
Another competition needs clarification i.e. the Tansey Cup. How did that end?
Anyway it was a great year and I hope that the memories I’ve tried to get to grips with above will get full ventilation on Saturday night at our celebration of ’94 some 25 years later.