Monday, August 2, 2021

 Sport and More Sport

The drama of sport continues like a roller coaster. After all the drama of the Euro Soccer Championships, which was compelling, comes the Olympics.

But first to more localised thrills in familiar arenas. This involves inter-county championships. After the disappointment of the Roscommon senior defeat to Galway in a drab and uninspiring Connacht championship game, some of us thought that Roscommon’s future looked bleak. But then came a number of major performances from the minors and U 20s’. Their victories have led to the U 20s’ being in the All-Ireland semi-final on Saturday next v Down in Cavan and the U 17s’ being in the Connacht final v Sligo in the Hyde on Friday.

All this in a way started with a defeat in an All-Ireland Semi-Final to Kerry -which was a residue of last year’s incomplete minor competition- on July 11th on the score of Kerry 3.21 Roscommon 2.13.   While that team lost to a very good Kerry team the attacking and competitive style of play was uplifting. Little did those of us on the margins realise that this was to be the pattern with the winning of the games since then.

Certainly it has endorsed my leaving the Roscommon flag flying high in front of the house.

While all of these four games have been great for Roscommon supporters to watch last week-end’s U 17 win over Galway was the real thriller. Behind by 11 points at one stage Roscommon through the second half stormed back to snatch the game near the death amid high drama in a nail-biting finale. Roscommon 1.16 Galway 2. 12. It is a rare day that a Roscommon team could achieve that against Galway. 

Since I write these notes for a basically Boyle constituency I will mention Boyle’s significant part in these games. Oisin Cregg had been a pivotal player in ‘last year’s’ U 17 team. His brother Daire is a key player in this year’s U 20 team which faces Down. Boyle had two players featuring on the team v Galway at U 17 who were Eden Kerins and Daniel Casey (nephew of David) with Niall O’Donnell coming on towards the end. Apart from those 3 there are other Boyle players, David Flanagan and Luke McGrath who are unlucky to be missing out due to injury and then there are Gavin O’Connor and Joseph Coyle on the panel also.

Versus Galway Eden Kerins gave a ‘Man of the Match’ performance as he drove forward, distributed the ball with deft accurate passing and using his soccer skills to effect a number of times. This is a pretty rare practise which I do not understand.

I have seen these players a good few times at the various under-age stages and they are a treat to watch especially when they take on an equally good Roscommon Gaels team.

So well done to all those young players. They have raised the spirits of Roscommon supporters again and thanks to their club coaches down the years and their management teams of now.

Boyle Ladies convincing win v St. Brigid’s in League Final

On Sunday last I was present in the Abbey Park for a senior ladies league final. I was hugely impressed by the quality of the performance of these ladies. Scores were pretty close at half time but in the second half Boyle gave an exhibition of point-scoring that I have rarely seen in the Abbey grounds. There was a sequence of around five points, with no wide, by Boyle. They have many fine players in this Ladies team. Since I am not in any way qualified to nominate star players I’ll add the Boyle ladies team as posted by the Club P.R.O. here;


R. Johnson; S. Keenahan, I. King, S. Kerins; C. Cregg, S. Moran, S. King; R. Cox, M. McKeon; G. Flanagan, S. Cull, M. Ward; H. Kerins, K. Harrington, N. Regan. (Some familiar names there!)

Add to this were the two Wynne ladies who came on and turned in a great shift.

In this week’s ‘The Roscommon Herald’ I came across a reference to Róisin Wynne by the Herald reporter Kevin Egan which is worthy of inserting here. At the end of his report on Roscommon’s defeat by Laois of the Roscommon team in the Intermediate Championship (Sport page 16) he nominated 9 Laois players who could have been nominated as ‘Player of the Day’. He continues;

However it would be unfair to put any one of them ahead of Roisin Wynne, who was nothing short of out-standing once she was handed the task of a marking- job on Mo Nerney (Laois’s constant star). Between her (Roisin’s)goal-line clearance, any number of superb tackles and factoring in how this was a task thrust upon her early in the game as opposed to something she could prepare for, it was an incredible showing from the Boyle player”.  

Now that is as good a salute to a great performance as I think I have ever read. So well done Roisin and well done Kevin.  


Now to some important Club Errata;

The Boyle GAA and Boyle Celtic Major Draw takes place at the end of this month.

In the mean-time to get you there you could participate in Boyle GAA’s Club Lotto where the Jackpot prize has now reached the dizzy heights of 10,000 euro.   

Congrats to Boyle Celtic

Congratulations to Boyle Celtic who won a cup in the R.D.F. L. (Roscommon and District Football League) on Sunday by 1 to 0 over Ballymoe. One of the stars of the team was James Bolger from Corrigeenroe but alas James is returning to his college in the U.S. shortly. He will be sorely missed by the sports clubs in Boyle. Bon voyage James. Well done also to team manager Jake McCrann on this win. The cup was in memory of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Roscommon League. So that would have been 1971 which means I must have played in some very early games of that league. I remember playing in Glinsk, Galway, near O’Dowd’s Bar! I remember John Mc Guinn, Sean Daly, James Candon, Freddie Daly and John McPherson and maybe Hal Cawley. I could have been a contender!  

The Lions Tamed

After the delight of their win in the first test v the Springboks (South Africans) the British and Irish Lions were brought down to earth in all its morphisms on Saturday last. As a ‘sports’ game it should not be given that title as it was a ‘bear wrestle’ and they were banned close to two centuries ago. It is likely that in fifty years’ time people will look at recordings of this kind of ‘game’ in amazement that it was supposed to be regarded as a sport. The game stuttered on in a stop-start nature with score and dangerous play reviews by the new time.

The few real plays in the game came from the South Africans and that was why they won. I do not imagine the parents of the Lions members are looking forward to the third and last ‘test’ next Saturday afternoon. I’ll tune in to see if the Lions can make any headway against the Goliaths. 

The Death of Michael Fitzmaurice

One of Roscommon’s greatest ambassadors in the capital, Dublin, Michael Fitzmaurice, passed away in the past week. While he lived in Dublin his heart was always with Roscommon. He supported numerous initiatives in supporting things Roscommon. He was founder member of the active Roscommon Association in the capital. One of his legacies is the collection of Roscommon Association Year Books later Roscommon Life. That was for around 25 years. I met him first in Arnott’s Shop where he was dedicated employee for decades. 

He was a major supporter of Roscommon GAA and many teams and players were the recipients of his and the Roscommon Association’s hospitality down the years. He was one of the senior stalwarts who are now a vanishing race. May his gentle soul rest in peace.    


The Olympics;

The landscape of sport has been on show in Japan these weeks. I have tried to tune into a certain amount of it especially the input of the Irish. The rowers came through for the most part and were great with an attitude to match. Our own Niamh O’Rourke of course did her very best in a close middleweight fight but the veteran Chinese lady Li got the verdict. Still to get to the Olympics was some achievement. Boxer Aidan Walshe though getting a bronze lost his chance of going further after his Michael Carruth’s Barcelona ’92 gold-winning-celebration of jumping up and down resulted in an ankle injury that put him out for the silver medal fight.

(As an aside I think that coaches should coach their teams to celebrate safely. Often after a goal, in soccer especially, the scorer is buried under a pile of bodies and it surprising that there are not more injuries as a consequence).

One of the most enjoyable celebrations of a gold medal and an iconic moment of this Olympics was when the two leading high jumpers decided that they would not go into a jump-off. So Qatar’s jumper, Bashim, and his Italian opposing competitor but friend Tamberi agreed to share the medal. Bashim looked on in bemusement as Tamberi rolled around the ground in joy.

I’ve seen that shared impulse happen a couple of times. I doubt if it will catch on Saturday in South Africa!   

I will return to the Olympics next time and refer to Rory and Shane.

 I have a turf assignment to address right now so I will adjourn this wander through current sport and return to Tonroe.

P.S.    if you got this far! As part of the Arts Festival programme I will be giving an illustrated wander around Boyle with the aid of screened pictures if you feel comfortable in attending that. It takes place on Friday afternoon and booking is required!

Take Care.

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