the early minutes of the All-Ireland Final the outcome could be foreseen. The
hot favourites Limerick dominated the game with a performance of power, skill,
authority and confidence. Many times the final winners are posted as a great
side, which will be around for a number of years, this does not always happen.
But this Limerick side has the quality of being one of the truly great sides.
With the power and physique distributed across a large panel comes all the
skills as they regularly rack up magic numbers in terms of points scored quite
a few being 30 or more which is classic scoring. They won the 2018 final after
a long hiatus and came back this year to take a second championship and look
like they will be around for some time to come.
feels for Waterford which most neutral followers would have wished to win. They
can have few regrets about losing on Sunday in terms of being beaten by a
better side. While they kept in touch for a significant period of time they
were doing so in the shadows of a superior team who in the final segment moved
comfortably towards their victory.
was a historic final because of its timeline and the prevailing health dilemma
In GAA history a small number of finals have been tagged with special titles.
The most famous to date has been the 1947 football final played in New York and
referred to after the name of the stadium it was played in there. It is
recalled as the Polo Grounds final. In 1939
there was ‘the thunder and lightning final’ and today’s final will
forever be tagged as the Corona Pandemic or a variant of that name.
summer when it was proposed that the two finals would played on Sunday December
13 and Saturday December 19 there was a lot of scepticism and we could hardly
picture it happening. But it did come to pass and hopefully the Limerick
celebrations will be mooted and dignified and do not come at a high price.
sometime next year, many of the victories, anniversaries and postponed
celebrations will be possible and what a crowded diary of events that could
next Saturday we move to the All-Ireland Football Final Dublin v Mayo. The odds
are stacked against Mayo as they face the greatest collective team in history
in terms of winning now going for their sixth All-Ireland in a row. I do not
know if young GAA followers of today will be able to rhyme off the members of
that Dublin team as many youngsters of past decades could run off the names of
the great teams such as Mayo in the early fifties, the Down team of 60/61, the
Galway 3 –in-a-row of the sixties, Kerry and Dublin in the seventies Tyrone and
the breakthrough teams and of course Roscommon in the 40s’! This Dublin is
always adopting a small number of new players. Still it has three maybe four
players who would stand out in the history of the game.
me they are; Brian Fenton, my favourite player; Ciarán Kilkenny with massive
contributions on a number of levels; the goalkeeper, Stephen Cluxton who has redefined
the role of the keeper; and the ever-improving Dean Rock.
best of luck to Mayo. Their resilience and heart is of a noble nature and it
would be the ironies of ironies were they win next Saturday. A few Mayo flags
would not go amiss in this season of goodwill and community spirit!
BREXIT ‘The End is Nigh’
it goes on and on. I could go on. The poker game of negotiations with deadlines
falling by the wayside but…I assume December 31st is the final,
final day of reckoning. It seems as if there is this nightmare beneath the Coved
nightmare and the future of Global warming suggested as more dangerous than all
we refer to the Brexiteers as British they are for the most part English with
some misguided constituency from Northern Ireland.
personage in the British establishment played one of its favourite historic
cards with the news this week that the Royal Navy was gearing up a number of
its navy ships to be ready for immediate action to protect its fishing rights
as they saw it. This was an echo of Maggie Thatcher launching her ‘Task Force’
to go thousands of miles to put manners on a minor power in the South Atlantic.
The Belgrano and all that. It won her an election which was its role!
week’s announcement re its ships getting ready for action was classic timing…mistiming.
rattling’ or ‘Gunboat Diplomacy’ is a thing in dusty history books. I wonder what
the Germans thought of it?
is a huge economic issue and the consequences for all involved are seismic.
Again for us the ‘dammed border’ raises its ugly head in terms of entanglement.
Recently in a conversation with someone, we shared opinions on how long the
‘dammed border’ can survive/continue in being an anchor on our dreams. While he
optimistically felt 5 to 10 years my own view was circa 40/50 years.
vast economic consequences are hobbled by the narrow political dictates of
Westminster backbenches. As I see it, the front line of British political
decision-making is bereft of people of quality and imagination with the Labour
Party, though now having a reasonable leader, having been unable to rise from
the bogland of paralysis.
that cast of British politics are anathema to many in this country there is
another side to it all. When this country was on its knees especially in the
decade, which I witnessed, the 1950s’ England provided a safety valve for the
Irish ‘Free’ State as hundreds of thousands emigrated. So England is twisted
Mister Brian Stanley Sinn Féin T.D. Apologises.
a message posted in late November, on the centenary of the Kilmichael ambush in
1920, Mister Stanley wrote: “Kilmicheal (sic) (1920) and Narrow Water (1979)
the 2 IRA operations that taught the elective of (the) British army and the
establishment the cost of occupying Ireland. Pity for everyone they were such
second tweet which remerged in the discussion was from 2017.
The tweet was sent by Mr Stanley following Mr
Varadkar's election as leader of Fine Gael read "Yippee 4 d tory. it's
Leo. U can do what u like in bed but don't look 4 a pay rise the next
variation there. Mister Stanley is Chairman of the very important Dáil ‘Public
Accounts Committee’. He has decided to step down from tweeting.
The Power of Streaming
was a stream which ran down a hill to form a pool beside the road we walked going
to Castlecoote national school decades ago now. In our 1950s’ dialect of we used a wee
addition at the end of some nouns (grammatically called ‘suffix’ as opposed to
‘prefix’). We referred to it as the ‘streameen’.
Saturday I was propelled into modern-day streaming. A much-loved cousin, Nancy
Heavey, had died in Des Plains an outlier of Chicago. I tuned into her mass, which
was the first time I had done that for the U.S. The officiating priest had an
Irish name and the Irish connection was much in evidence. Nancy’s nephew Tim
Horn paid Nancy a glowing tribute. The essence of it was her commitment to her
extended family and how loyal they were to each other which was mentored by
Nancy. She was the glue in the Heavey clann’s togetherness.
dad, Matt Heavey, was my connection to the family. While he was born near
Ballygar the family moved to near Athleague when he was very young. That was as
part of land re-distribution. He worked for a short while in a shop in
Roscommon town but decided to ‘escape’ to England. He had no money for the boat
to Liverpool and cajoled the gatekeeper to get allow him on board the cattle
boat. He did not remain long in Liverpool which was more impoverished than
whence he came. His brother Paddy, a Chicago policeman, sent him the fare to
the United States to which he went in 1927.
is akin to the stories of maybe millions of Irish people and I’ll return to it
Nancy you were an exemplary lady amongst whose joys were ‘square dancing’ and
the Chicago Cubs.
Watching the Drama of the U.S.
so many in this country I tuned in with commitment to the drama of the
Presidential election in the United States. It seems a good while ago now! I
channel hopped between RTE and BBC and then CNN and for my sins Fox News. I
quickly got to know the ‘Anchor’ of ‘The Situation Room’ Wolf Blitzer, a
regular presenter Erin Burnett and a political specialist whose main prop was a
technology Wall which relayed the votes and counts as they emerged. He really
caught a lot of people’s attention and was quickly lined up for interview on
RTE as he too had Irish connections. His name was John King. The vote
projections on the night of the election held me for some time but were so
drawn out that I opted out for dreamland. Just as well as the counts went on
for weeks. I do not know if there are not counts still going on in some pockets
of P. A./ Arizona and especially Georgia where there were three counts. There
was of course the much heralded hue and cry about ‘a rigged election’ and
fraudulent votes and a litany of other sins to ensure that the sitting
President Donald Trump would be outed. There was a remarkable turn-out in which
Joe Biden got nearly 80 million votes and Trump got something around 75 million
votes. Those are staggering numbers. Each state has a certain number of votes
allocated to them I presume weighed on population. Yesterday Monday the 14th,
what is called and ‘Electoral College’, in each state endorses the electoral
votes. Why this is necessary I have not studied properly… yet. It has to join
results can be contested and have been by Trump supporters led by lawyer Rudy Giuliani,
on a multitude of issues. Nearly all of these have been denied by various
courts. The top U.S. court is The Supreme Court and last week it denied two
such appeals. One was rebuffed in a one sentence rebuttal that the appeal ‘had
no standing’ and a second major appeal got dismissed on Friday.
it still goes on and can go on until Congressional approval in January.
Supreme Court of the United States is occasionally referred to by its acronym…
Trump has spent most of his time either on the golf course or crying about the
election being rigged. This is as Covid numbers in terms of deaths (300,000 as
of now) and people contracting the virus reaching incredible highs. Another
thing that is obviously very important to him is that he gets credit to the
development of the Covid Vaccines that have emerged. This programme has the
title ‘Warp Speed’ (incredible speed) which apparently comes from the T.V.
programme of the 60s’ ‘Star Trek’. (I Googled it!)
may have referred to this last time but the question now is; will Trump attend ‘The
Inauguration of President-Elect Biden in January. It will make intriguing
viewing whichever way that pans out.
to CNN I find those channels so dominated by advertisements many for health
care of one kind or another…one of which renewed my acquaintance with a
football hero of the late sixties in New York i.e. Broadway Joe Namath of the
New York Jets’ The ratio of ads to actual news segments seems to be near 50:50.
find that amount of advertising hard to take so the BEEB is the port of
see that Mitch McConnell who is the ‘Majority’ Republican ‘Leader’ in the
Senate has eventually seen the way to acknowledging the result of the November
3rd U.S. Presidential election. It is some 40 days since the
election of President-Elect Biden. It might be suggested that McConnell is more
intent on ‘leading’ from the rear, with the battle long over, which is hardly
leadership. There is a phrase somewhere which suggests that; ‘Something given
at first asking is twice given’. Mitch wouldn’t want to be playing a game with
the clock ticking.
The Retreat of Book Reading
do not read nearly as many books as I would like to do or indeed should do.
When I start a book I can stay and finish pretty quickly. That is if it appeals
to me of course. There is no need to torture oneself by staying with a book. When
I am offered a book by a friend I might politely decline saying that I have so
many books left to read that I’ll be in heaven a few decades before I have them
all read. Some assumptions there of course!
week, on RTE, there was the annual ‘An Post’ sponsored virtual Annual Book
list, in truncated fashion, most of the winners, in various categories, as
1. RTÉ Radio 1 Listeners’
Choice Award…A Light That Never Goes Out – Keelin Shanley (Gill Books)
Gáis Energy Sports Book of the Year…Champagne Football – Mark Tighe & Paul
Ireland Cookbook of the Year…Neven Maguire’s Midweek Meals in Minutes – Neven
Maguire (Gill Books)
A Ghost in the Throat – Doireann Ní Ghríofa (Tramp Press)
TheJournal.ie Best Irish-Published Book of the Year… Old Ireland in Colour –
John Breslin & Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley (Merrion Press)
Love Leabhar Gaeilge Irish Language Book of the Year…Cnámh – Eoghan Mac Giolla
Children’s Book of the Year – Senior
Break the Mould – Sinéad Burke, illustrated by Natalie Byrne (Hachette
Children's Books – Imprint: Wren & Rook)
Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year – Junior..The Great Irish Farm Book –
Darragh McCullough, illustrated by Sally Caulwell (Gill Books)
Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year…Diary of a Young Naturalist – Dara
McAnulty, illustrated by Barry Falls (Little Toller Books)
National Book Tokens Popular Fiction Book of the Year.. Home Stretch – Graham
Norton (Coronet, Hodder & Stoughton)
Ireland AM Popular Non-Fiction Book of the Year…Never Mind the Boll***s, Here’s
the Science – Luke O’Neill (Gill Books)
Eason Novel of the Year…Strange Flowers – Donal Ryan (Doubleday Ireland)
overall winner of the An Post Irish Book of the Year was number 4 above.
Shanley was a highly regarded and loved broadcaster who passed away from cancer
in February of this year.
Football has as its central character John Delaney of the FAI and this books
tells of his lifestyle and how ran the FAI as his fiefdom until his fall from
grace. I have not read it yet but I’m told that it is riveting reading. My
usual word ‘unbelievable’.
4 above won the overall book prize so it must be special.
7 was written by ‘a small lady’ who was very impressive in her promo which was
screened as part of the scene setting.
9 too had a very impressive c.v. A young man (aged 16) Dara McNulty from County
Down whose standing in nature studies and writing is wowing many towards his
outstanding nature book.
Norton, from county Cork…number 10… shows that he is not a one hit (or show)
wonder and this is book number four. He already has 5 BAFTAS but now this is
another major string to his bow.
11 Luke O’Neill is one of the medical professionals who grace our screens and radio
regularly with advice on Covid 19. Some are more serious than others and Mister
O’Neill comes across as a very personable person. Underneath he is obviously a
very bright man
12 Donal Ryan from Tipperary has a number of telling novels to date starting
with ‘The Spinning Heart’. Boyle’s Jarlath Tivnan adapted his book ‘The Thing
About December’ very tellingly for the stage a couple of years ago.
Edna O’Brien at 90
Yesterday was the 90th Birthday of one of Ireland’s most loved and
notable writers, Edna O’Brien. Edna comes from Clare but has lived in London
for a very long time. Her first and breakthrough novel was titled ‘The Country
Girls’. The novel tells of the ‘adventures’ of some country girls who have
arrived for employment in the big city Dublin in the late fifties. It was of
course banned under the strict moral censorship laws of the time. This
guaranteed significant interest in the book and sales and reputation despite
the legal restrictions. It was not on its own in this respect. It is many
decades since I read the book but it certainly was a benchmark publication.
Boyle GAA A.G.M. on Zoom December 5th
made a point of ‘attending’ Boyle GAA’s A.G.M. It may happen again in the
future but this was a historic in our local context. The meeting was moderated
most efficiently and effectively by the Club’s Chairman, David Kelly. GAA
club’s today have a huge workload and the Covid Pandemic has made this work
very difficult. The most encouraging thing I took from the meeting was the
large number of young people who are now at the helm. People like myself can
sit on the back, backbenches and feel very comfortable that the club is in
good, energetic and innovative hands.
primary officers are;
David Kelly: Secretary Jan Flanagan; Treasurer, Ray Hannon; Senior Team
Manager, Cian Smith; Junior Team Manager, Mark O’Connor; Team Rep. Marc
O’Connor; P.R.O. Roch Hanmore; Registrar
and Irish Officer Steve Tonry.
Clifford finally got to retreat from the front line and was commended for her
huge contribution for around two decades now.
I am delighted to see a Boyle person at the helm of the senior team once again
I must commend outgoing team manager. Basil Mannion, for his imaginative contribution
and particularly he always being a gentleman in the post over the last three
wish to sympathise with Ray (Hannon) on the death of his dad Michael. Michael
was one of the pillars in the emergence and progression of Eastern Harps Club
for the fifty years of its existence. How much he contributed and how he was
respected was evident in the many tributes which were paid to Michael, by so
many, on his passing.
A Season of Passing and Anniversaries
I write I read of the passing of the Country and Western singer Charley Pride. He
was highly regarded and was in their Country Hall of Fame.
captain of the fine Roscommon U 21 All-Ireland winning team of 1966, Colm
Shine. He was a brother of Brendan Shine. On that team were Pat Clarke, Pat
Nicholson, Ray Sheeran, John Kelly and Dermot Earley.
December 8th 1980 Beatle genius, John Lennon, was killed in New York.
past week was the Centenary of the ‘Burning of the centre of Cork City’ by
British irregular forces.
morning Dec. 7th 1941 saw the attack by the Japanese on Pearl
Harbour as President Roosevelt tagged it ‘a day of infamy’ which brought the
U.S. into WW2 alongside Britain and her allies.
gone on too long I imagine but there is so much swirling around to ‘scribble’
about that when I finally get to putting this together I push on. I must do
better…shorter may be a New Year’s resolution.
next week I’d like to send our best wishes to Boyle connections far and wide at
this particularly hazardous time.
your Gods go with you.