It’s Saturday night in Mikeen’s and Creggs GAA Club are holding an ‘Up for the Match’ fundraiser, where the club had a draw for two stand tickets for the big game, and also got the views of a couple of well-known local personalities, namely Roscommon County Secretary Brian Carroll, local Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice, Karol Keane (recently returned from the U.S.) and – for some unknown reason – me.
Karol and myself were first on, and he went for a Rossie win (by three) naturally enough. I went for Galway by four, (pure genius) but the real insight was to come from the other pairing.
Brian had to go for a home victory as well, but he did say that if Galway played to their full potential, it would be a tough task for the incoming Connacht champions. However, it was Fitz who made what was to prove the most correct assessment of all when the M.C. Paul Brown asked him who would make the biggest impact for Galway, and, surprisingly, he went for Shane Walsh ahead of Damien Comer.
Today, Monday, his words could not have been more prophetic, because Walsh took the game by the scruff of the neck and almost singlehandedly dragged Galway across the winning line.
The story of the game will be well covered in the sports columns, so I am not going to add my assessment, but the suitability of the Hyde as the venue should never again be questioned as it was absolutely top class. It’s so accessible from everywhere. There are no major traffic jams, and it’s only a couple of minutes walk from the town centre. As far as I’m concerned it’s miles better than any of the other Connacht venues, and all steps should be taken to make sure it gets its fair share of big matches.
The truth about the result is it doesn’t really matter, (as long as Galway won) so there was a slow boat back to Creggs, and the banter and the craic was good, and, for both teams the Super 8s beckon. Galway are there already, but one more win will see the Rossies back in the mix. It could be a very interesting summer.
Staying with sport, and one of the big talking points is the introduction of non-competitive games right across the board for our very young children. I for one think it’s a great idea. It’s terribly sad to see kids at 6, 8 or 10 years of age being heartbroken when they lose a final, and it’s way too young to have a ‘win at all costs’ mindset already in place.
Enjoyment is what sport should be all about, but of course parents must shoulder some of the responsibility as well, because we have all seen daddies and mammies roaring abuse at their own team, at the opposition team and at the referees. In my opinion there is nothing more shameful.
There should be no trophies in any sport, at least till U-12 level. Everyone should be allowed to play and enjoy games without the pressure of having to win, and maybe that way children might actually play longer and more, because there is no doubt that many of them give up due to the pressure they are put under by parents/managers. There seems to be a movement afoot to tackle the problem. I hope there is – and let’s see what happens.
Is Ryanair right on banning drink in the mornings?
Today’s newspapers are full of the story of a Ryanair flight from Dublin to Ibiza that had to be diverted to Paris because of the unruly antics of up to 20 drunken passengers, three of whom were removed from the aircraft by French police.
Ryanair have called for the ban of early morning drink sales in airports, and while some commentators are labelling such a ban as draconian, I have to admit that one of my biggest nightmares has to be the thought of a large group causing trouble on any flight, with absolutely no way to escape.
I’m not a prude, particularly when it comes to alcohol, and I’m not always a Ryanair fan, but this time I think they are right, and groups with too much drink taken should not be allowed on board.
Just the tonic! Gin is so in…
It’s amazing how ideas change through the years, and depending on where you look you find that, in some people’s opinion, nearly everything we eat is bad for us. In truth if we were to believe all we read we’d give up on all foods and eat nothing at all.
However, on this Monday morning, as I recover from the exertions of yesterday’s Connacht Final, it’s the extraordinary turnaround in the fortunes of the drink of gin that is occupying my mind. Gin has suddenly become such a popular drink that only last Saturday week we had the World Gin Day, a day that is described as “a global celebration of all things gin”. Celebratory events took place all over the world.
When I was a young lad, gin was a drink that was frowned upon by the establishment, and we were told that, among other things, it brought on massive bouts of depression! Today, it is, in my opinion, the most popular short drink, and in even the humblest of public houses you now have a selection of a minimum of six different brands, a long cry from the days when the only ones available were Cork Dry Gin and Gordon’s.
Now I am a committed Guinness man, but even I can tell you about Gunpowder, Dingle, Bombay, Hendrick’s and Concullen, among at least 31 brands that are available in Ireland.
Everywhere you go there are punters drinking their gins out of exotic looking fishbowl glasses, topped off with some of the new tonics which have also cropped up, like Elderberry and Fever Tree’s Indian tonic water. I’m even told there are pubs and hotels, that serve nothing but gin, so as a popular drink it certainly seems to have thrown off its depression label.
For me, the major source of depression is the price, as I’m told the cost of a Gunpowder gin and a Fever Tree tonic is about €8; think I’ll stick to the porter.
Finally for this week
Finally, for this week, on a midday radio show I happened to hear Knockcroghery shopkeeper Brendan Ward telling the story of how he was robbed for the ninth time in eighteen years recently, and how the theft of money and cigarettes may ultimately put him out of business, how he could not afford the enormous premiums required by insurance companies to cover cigarette theft, and how he was driven to despair by the whole experience.
As I listened to his desperately sad tale, one point he made seemed to make a lot of sense, and that was to have a permanent Garda presence on the bridges over the Shannon, as by doing so, the escape route for any Dublin-based criminal gangs would be almost cut off, and, looking at the map of Ireland, they would have to go all the way to near Sligo to get back without crossing the Shannon.
Now I know we will be told about all the usual stuff, regarding lack of resources and personnel, but surely when these gangs are putting good, honest, hard-working people out of business, something has to be done. Come on all ye politicians and Gardai, put your heads together and put these scumbags out of business, behind bars, and finally let the residents of rural Ireland get some peaceful sleep!
Till next week, Bye for now!