Friday, September 3, 2021

Update 4th September

 Blog Friday September 3rd.


Where to today?

Thoughts on Tyrone v Kerry.

I have asked a friend to get me a copy of ‘The Kerryman’ newspaper so that I can read their take on Kerry’s surprise defeat by Tyrone in the All-Ireland Semi-Final. That is part of my holistic approach to getting a grip on what happened.  

I have to hand this week’s ‘The Roscommon Herald’ and Father Liam Devine’s short take on it also. As you may know there was a certain amount about Covid and the Tyrone team for the last few weeks. Liam too has a few mentions of that issue and I will quote one nice one as follows;

 “The rapid recovery and the rude good health of the Tyrone players must be a great boost and consolation to people who have tested positive with Covid 19”.

It was the Kerry players who seemed to be struggling with cramps and so on as the game went through injury time. I presume that will be addressed in their post- match analysis.

Anyway Tyrone won because they played with a ferocity that may have been taken from Limerick's playbook. Their determination, motivation, and drive and their taking of the goal chances were key.

Their win now sets up a totally new challenge for Mayo in the final. There is no calling of it with any degree of certainty. Maybe Mayo will be less overawed by Tyrone than they would be by Kerry? Will Mayo be able to cope with the total war of the Tyrone team and substitutes? While the Mayo management will have been preparing, for the most part, to face Kerry they will now have to re-gig their mindset to face a very different challenge. Maybe this fresh challenge will present Mayo with (as is being said) a better chance of getting the Holy Grail of Gaelic football. It is intriguing, interesting, fresh, novel and only God knows how it is going to pan out.    


Father Devine’s Column

This is one of the features that I always go to when I start reading the Sports Section of, ‘The Roscommon Herald’. This week he referenced four different items The game as above and also that the Meath minor midfielder Jack Kinlough had Roscommon connections which he has. His father Oliver (Ollie) Kinlough and his grandfather -Frankie-who was the great forward with the Roscommon team of the forties. ‘Kinlough of the Golden goals’ as he has been referred to from time to time. Ollie played for a time with Padraig Pearse’s and also had some game with Roscommon a good few years ago now.

Gerry O’Reilly R.I.P.

Liam also referred to the death of Gerry O’Reilly of Rooskey. Gerry played wing back for Roscommon in the All-Ireland of 1962 v Kerry. He was a Garda and lived in Templemore the Garda training town in Tipp.   

Liam also paid a tribute to Liam ‘Chunky’ O’ Brien who was one of the star players in the Kilkenny team of the seventies. His club was ‘The Village’ one of the three great Kilkenny City clubs. It is also the club of Brian Cody.

I remember being at a senior hurling final in Nolan Park a decent few years ago and they honoured a club team from Bennetsbridge at half time which had won several county titles in the sixties. Even I was aware of the great players of that club team as the announcer called out their names.

I have suggested to Father Liam that he put together a book with material he has already had published in his columns in ‘The Herald’.

He is from the same townland as myself in Castlecoote, Fuerty and he went for a time to Roscommon C.B.S. and then to Summerhill and then Maynooth. He was in Sligo for a long time and during that time was P.R.O for Sligo GAA County Board a position he took with Roscommon when he transferred for a time to Athlone. He currently serves in Loughglynn area.


P.S. If you are reading through ‘the Herald’ of August 31st you might read a very interesting essay titled;

 ‘Athleague man cares deeply about his local environment’.

The man in question is James Moran who I know pretty well and he touches on many elements of living in past and present times and highlights the grave challenges that are ahead for the next generation.      


Some Boyle GAA Notes

The Boyle Senior team play Michael Glavey’s on Saturday in the Hyde Park at 6.30. After their fine performance and win against Roscommon Gaels last time they will be hoping to copper-fasten their grip on the knock-out stages with a win…but you never can tell!

Two members of Boyle GAA were featured in the national papers recently with Cian Smith the Boyle team manager talking to reporter Arlene Harris. Cian talked initially of how fate and coincidence probably saved his life from cancer.

He talked about his cancer from diagnosis in 2007, intervention, the period of treatment to where he is now. It is a very telling and clear account of his experience. I do not know if you can access it online but it was published in the Health and Living section of the Irish Independent of Monday, August 23rd. Cian a member of the Roscommon All-Ireland minor winning team of 2006. His dad Mike Jnr. is Chairperson of the Mayo Roscommon Hospice Foundation.

The story emphasises the necessity for men to be more aware of health issues and not be dismissive of the warning signs.     

Daire Cregg turned up in the Farmer’s Journal talking of his farming exploits. Between education in UCD, football with Roscommon and Boyle and farming he certainly leads a very busy life. I have been detached from farming for quite a while now but Daire’s condensed story of heifers, bull calves, and ‘Friesian Jersey crosses’ told me I was well out of touch with Daire’s farming world. Still, he was able to insert the classic saying ‘every day is a learning day’. One that seems apt with Daire is ‘if you want something done ask a busy man’.      


Mention of Castlecoote

 R.T.E. will be transmitting a double documentary programme, on Monday and Tuesday nights the 6th and 7th of September on the tragic death of Father Niall Molloy in July 1985 aged 52. Father Molloy was then a curate of Athleague/Fuerty parish in Castlecoote. The death occurred around a wedding in Clara in Offaly and confused details surrounding his death have since then been contested by his family. His nephews Bill Maher and Henry McCourt have been trying steadfastly to uncover the truth of what happened to their uncle and who was really responsible. Perhaps this R.T.E. documentary might throw some light on it but I would not be in any way optimistic.


Seamus Heaney Nobel Laureate

On Wednesday night, on TG4, I watched a repeat of a programme paying tribute to the great Derry poet Seamus Heaney. I should have ‘taped it’ as it was a delight. It represented a kind and humble genius, a supporting and guiding wife that was Marie Devlin and family siblings who mirrored his humility. His life’s story flowed as if it was a stream. He came from Bellaghy, went to secondary school in St. Columb’s Derry then on to Queens University. There he met his wife Marie who was his soulmate. He lived first in Belfast until 1972 and then in Wicklow and later Dublin. He lectured a great deal abroad in Berkley University California, Oxford and Harvard. I remember getting a poetry book ‘Soundings’ autographed by him during Boyle Arts week when he gave reading in The Church of Ireland. He was awarded the Noble Prize for literature in 1995. He got a stroke in 2006 and died August 31st 2013. I was in Dublin on his funeral day and regret not attending outside the church at Sandymount then. I was in Croke Park for an All-Ireland Semi-Final Kerry v Dublin with friends. Before the game started his death and funeral were announced and a minute’s silence called. The crowd of 80, 000 stood and paid their respects and ended with a round of applause. It was a unique and remarkable gesture. His daughter mentioned it in the documentary and how shy Seamus would be if he could have known.

One of his book collections of poetry has the apt title of, ‘The Spirit Level’ which makes one think, especially in these testing times. I could go on a good bit about Seamus Heaney but maybe if I add the poem which was nominated as Ireland’s favourite it would be better;


  ‘When all the others were away at Mass’

I was all hers as we peeled potatoes.

They broke the silence, let fall one by one

Like solder weeping off the soldering iron:

Cold comforts set between us, things to share

Gleaming in a bucket of clean water.

And again let fall. Little pleasant splashes

From each other’s work would bring us to our senses.


So while the parish priest at her bedside

Went hammer and tongs at the prayers for the dying

And some were responding and some crying

I remembered her head bent towards my head,

Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives–

Never closer the whole rest of our lives.   

The family too talked about the inscription on his headstone and for whatever reason I looked at again later in my scribbled notes when Ronaldo had scored his two goals;

“Walk on air


Your Better


The Death of Pat Hume

 Another death, that is the death of Pat Hume on Thursday. Pat was the wife of the one of the greatest Irishmen in Irish history, John Hume. Like Marie Devlin, but in a very different environment, Pat was the rock on which John rested and relied on to get him through all the challenges and adversity of his times. The family were threatened, abused, mocked, but she held it all together. She was one of those heroic Irish women. She was married to John (another Nobel Prize recipient) for 59 years and in the announcement of her death yesterday the family began “We are heartbroken to announce the death of ……”  We owe these women like we owe so many mothers huge, unconditional, gratitude.


All this has chastened me and I will not now enter the arena of farce that is a thing called Merriongate. Get real as to the scales of significance.  




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