Saturday DECEMBER 11, 2021
tributes have been paid to one of football’s most amiable characters in the
region, Hal Cawley, who has gone to his eternal reward.
Celtic confirmed on Thursday that the club’s “father” Hal Cawley had passed
away and the tributes poured to Celtic’s Facebook page. The word ‘gentleman’
was appended to many of those tributes.
club described him as “a gentleman to one and all”, and although he was
“quietly spoken, when Hal spoke it was always something worth hearing.”
a statement, Boyle Celtic added that the club wouldn’t exist without Hal’s
contribution, highlighting how Hal and a group of local friends brought Boyle
Celtic back to life in 1966.
“Through the 70s’, 80s’ and 90s’ when
the club literally had nothing, great men like Hal Cawley, John Cryan, Seán
Daly, Mick Gilmartin, and a few others kept us open, behind the scenes, and it
will never be possible to thank them enough for what they did,” reflected the club.
Celtic went on to say that Hal took great pride in the success of the club’s
youth teams in the knowledge that the future would be bright for his beloved
club who are currently top of the Roscommon and District League Premier
“Hal Cawley always had a touch of class
about him,” the club continued.
February 2019, the Roscommon Herald and SUPERVALU honoured Hal with a Hall of
Fame award, an accolade he was very proud to receive from Republic of Ireland
soccer international and special guest Ray Houghton.
spoke that night, many from outside the club got a flavour for his vast
knowledge of the game, the incredible history of it that he had and names of
local area players who had played at the highest level in England, that most
had never heard of. Those of us involved in the club have been lucky enough to
hear some of the great stories he had, stockpiled in that sharp mind,” Boyle Celtic recalled.
proud moment for Hal was seeing the club reach the FAI Junior Cup semi-final
against Evergreen FC in April 2017 at the Showgrounds, Sligo. He was very close
friends with the club’s secretary Richard Kennedy, and indeed all Boyle Celtic
members and players who had the height of respect for him.
“Hal had many, many friends around
the town, in football and outside of football. I know we will all miss him.
Rest in peace, old friend,” Boyle Celtic’s statement concluded.
Hal as a Gaelic footballer.
Hal was presented with the Roscommon Herald/SUPERVALU ‘Hall of Fame’ award at a
presentation in The Abbey Hotel Roscommon last year I congratulated him here in
a blog. Then I went on to bring attention to his place in Boyle GAA as I wish
to do now. Hal was a regular GAA player with Boyle in the latter fifties and on
the winning Junior team in ’64 when there were only Junior and Senior grades.
The team won six games before defeating Rahara in the final. The manager of the
team was Bob Carr. Another member of that team panel who died recently was
Seamus Scally who died in Dublin and was a close friend of Hal. Another great
friend of Hal’s was paddy McDermott who passed away some years ago.
worked for Stewarts when they were supplying electricity to the town as they
did from the early 1900s’. When the ESB took over the provision of electricity
Hal transferred to the ESB.
was a very visible individual as he cycled around Boyle going into Daly’s or
Boyle Celtic Park. I accompanied him to Bellmullet, Mayo for a Celtic game once
with Gerry Emmett and Johnny Greenan and it was a memorable outing. So many
people have their own memories of Hal and a lot of these are ‘up online’ on the
forums of now. All good. These
background icons in clubs give a sense of security and continuity within a
club. Hal was a thinker and his opinions were sincere and thought out. He will
be missed at Celtic Park.
I alert you to the sports event of the week-end which is the last Formula One
(F1) Car Race of the season in Abu Dhabi. This is Ali V Frazier territory. The
two protagonists are Lewis Hamilton of England going for a record eighth World
Title versus the new kid on the block, Max Verstappen of Netherlands going for
his first win. A few races back Verstappen was well ahead in the points table and
the series looked almost over. But Hamilton has won the last three (?) and they
are now level on points. While I have been aware of motor racing for years I
never tuned into it like this since I happened on the Brazilian Grand Prix. It
has traditionally been broadcast on Sky but Channel Four have wrangled this
Sunday’s event for viewing with them also, with a preliminary position on the
grid trials on Friday and Saturday. You won’t be on your own as the viewing
audience worldwide will be huge and the drama could be electric and possibly
GAA Season still in progress.
Pearses v Mountbellew –Moylough in the Connacht Club Championship will take
place on Saturday in Hyde Park. Knockmore of Mayo await the winners in the
final and the tournament is pretty wide open in my eyes so it is a real
opportunity to go all the way as St. Brigid’s did in 2013.
Boyle GAA Club’s AGM is being held virtually
on Sunday evening at 8 pm.
The Sunday Independent Tabloid Sports
(Which I am still reading)
The Legacy of Tiger Woods
Sunday’s edition of the above presented a number of articles that caught my
eye. Eamon Sweeney is consistently
interesting and last Sunday profiled the role of one of the greatest sportsmen
across all games i.e. the golfer Tiger Woods. He is only overshadowed slightly
in the golf statistics by the Golden Bear, Jack Nicklaus. Nicklaus has won 18
majors while Tiger Woods in an interrupted career has won 15. As a black man, he
broke through so many barriers as many in the game were jealous of his achievements
probably because he had one obvious difference which was the colour of his
skin. It must have been difficult for a ‘revered’ (!!) golf course like the Masters’
at Augusta was a reservoir of prejudice and discrimination. For golfers
especially this essay is very worthy of your reading time. Eamonn ends his
stellar piece with “Golf didn’t deserve him”.
Joe Brolly and Referees
had a rambling article in defence of referees. Soccer referees at schoolboy
level in Leinster went on strike because of the abusive treatment they were
victims of in their league. A Mayo T.D. and former footballer Alan Dillon
suggested that the treatment that referees got during GAA games was “no
different than that in soccer”.
referees have got a deal of criticism down the years their treatment especially
in Roscommon has been pretty good. I cannot remember any serious incident with
a referee in a Roscommon club game. Actually, I can …it was in the early
seventies Roscommon v Galway. You see how something like that sticks. Anyway, Joe inserted an incident from a game –I presume in Derry- when a referee got
abused and his report to the county committee went as follows;
“Given the notorious history of this
fixture I brought the two teams to the centre before the throw-in and exhorted
them to conduct themselves in the true spirit of eh Gael, whereupon I was
struck a strong blow from behind which rendered me unconscious. In the
circumstances I have nothing further to report” Signed P. Haughey (Referee) (page
Nadine Doherty’s Tribute to a GAA Backbencher (page 11)
This was a lovely story
of Nadine’s GAA connections as a star player for Donegal ladies team, watching
Michael Murphy raise the Sam Maguire Cup in 2012 and the being connected to a
man called David Mackay. His name would not be out front in the Croke Park
civil service but he was obviously proud of Nadine and his Donegal roots. He
ensured that on great days like those of 2012 that she and her mam were close
to the action on the big day by giving them his own tickets. David was Nadine’s
uncle and he passed away recently.
Dermot Gilleece on Golf (Page 20).
Dermot Gilleece is an
outstanding golf journalist. On Sunday he wrote a piece under the headline of;
“K Club strives for return to the top”.
As a sidebar was a piece
titled “The end of a long road towards equality”. It talks of the
breakthrough of ladies into the last bastions of ‘men only’ golf clubs.
Apparently Portmarnock and Royal Dublin have opened the gate to that great advance,
it smacks me as being like the delegate from Saudi Arabia at the U.N. when
women’s rights there were being discussed and the delegate declaring that moves
were afoot for women there being allowed to… drive! He declared it with such
self -satisfaction that he seemed a tad disappointed when he did not get a
round of applause for this great advance in women’s civil rights.
Now and I quote Dermot “As a club of ordinary members, all that
was required to bring women into the fold was a PROPOSER and a TWO SECONDS from
the existing membership…and nobody thought to do so since its
foundation in 1885”!
I remember suggesting
this to a lady member of Boyle Golf club maybe 40 years ago when having a talk
on this issue. I suggest that she replied, ‘Oh no, don’t do that’
Rugby with Brendan Fanning
Connacht which at one
stage were going to be disbanded as a rugby entity has really emerged and for 15 minutes or so looked very good against a star-studded Leinster. In Sunday’s
Indo Brendan had articles on two Connacht players; that is if Robbie Henshaw of
Athlone is allowed. The other is Jack Carty and his exclusion from the Irish
team is a debateable question. Mentioning the absence of Carty from an Irish
panel another omission crashes into my mind from tonight –Friday. It comes from
the All-Star GAA awards.
The Hurling All-Stars
This has a hurling team
of 12 yes 12 Limerick players and one each from Waterford, Kilkenny and Clare.
This must be a record for one county to dominate to such a degree and it
illustrates how dominant Limerick are right now. Also, the beaten All-Ireland finalists and the
man not chosen Patrick Horgan who has been a consistent and major hurler for
Cork. Maybe the selectors thought that Horgan had enough in the four he has
already but that could hardly be the guideline.
In looking at this team
it brings to mind the famous Dublin team of the late fifties. There were
fourteen of the team from the one club it being St. Vincent’s. The odd one not
from that club was the goalkeeper. I wonder how the Vincent’s keeper felt about
This was the 50th
Anniversary of the All Stars. Roscommon’s first winner was Mickey Freyne in ’72
followed Dermot Earley in ’74 and ’79; Pat Lindsay in ’77; Harry Keegan ‘78/
‘80/ ’86; Tom Heneghan ’79; Gerry
Connellan ’80; Danny Murray ’79/ ’80; Paul Earley ’85; Tony McManus ’89; Enon
Gavin ’91; Francie Grehan ’02. One real deserving Roscommon All-Star by my
reckoning who was passed over was Frankie Dolan for 2013. Enda Smith was a nominee
a few years back.
As you can see I got a
lot out of that tight Sunday Independent Sport’s Supplement.
The An Post Books of the year were announced this week
I was going to list a few
of the books but changed my mind! Every year there are fine and lovely books
for all tastes. I’ve just highlighted three that interest me more than the
Eason Novel of the Year
Irish Independent Crime
Fiction Book of the Year
56 Days – Catherine Ryan
Newcomer of the Year
Snowflake – Louise Nealon
Non-Fiction Book of the Year
We Don't Know Ourselves: A Personal History of Ireland
Since 1958 – Fintan O’Toole.
This book was the overall winner.
Dubray Biography of the
Did Ye Hear Mammy Died? –
Cookbook of the Year
Everyday Cook – Donal
National Book Tokens
Popular Fiction Book of the Year
Aisling and the City –
Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen
Book of the Year
Décor Galore – Laura De
TheJournal.ie Best Irish
Published Book of the Year
The Coastal Atlas of
Ireland – Val Cummins, Robert Devoy Barry Brunt, Darius Bartlett, Sarah Kandrot
Book of the Year (Junior)
A Hug for You – David King, illustrated by Rhiannon
Book of the Year (Senior)
The Summer I Robbed a
Bank – David O’Doherty, illustrated by Chris Judge
Teen and Young Adult Book
of the Year
The New Girl – Sinead
RTÉ Audience Choice Award
Your One Wild And
Precious Life - Maureen Gaffney
Library Association of
Ireland Author of the Year
Writing.ie Short Story of
Little Lives – Deirdre
Listowel Writers’ Week
Irish Poem of the Year
Longboat at Portaferry –
The Love Leabhar Gaeilge
Irish Language Book of the Year
Madame Lazare – Tadgh Mac
The An Post Bookshop of
Kennys Bookshop and Art
I’ll adjourn with that
Take care of yourselves
and try and follow the golden rules. It’s difficult but despite life’s trials
and tribulations it’s still popular.