It’s Monday morning as I write, and as I look out the window at the rain that at the moment seems to be almost constantly falling, I am reflecting on an amazing sporting and social weekend that certainly puts paid to the theory that life in rural Ireland is dull and boring, and indeed to any theory that rural communities are as good as finished.
It all started on Friday night, when after spending the day at work in our other shop in Mullingar, we headed to Kiltoom where our Creggs footballers were playing the host club, St. Brigid’s, in the semi-final of the Tansey Cup. Despite coming out on the wrong side of the result, I have to say that we witnessed a really good game of football. We have come so far over the years that we take facilities like those at St. Brigid’s for granted, but it is to the credit of so many clubs all over our countryside that wonderful floodlights and good playing surfaces are now nearly the norm. It’s not only GAA clubs, but also soccer and rugby clubs that nowadays lead the way in providing such facilities for their members.
The big change from days gone by was that after the game it was straight home – with no ‘pit-stops’ – and favourite watering holes like Coffey’s in Lecarrow and Ned’s Bar in Knockcroghery (owned by Carol’s niece, Anouska, and her husband, Richard) had to be bypassed. Even so, it was still after 11 pm when we made it back to our own picturesque little village.
I had taken Saturday off in order to watch our massive Rugby World Cup match with Samoa, and while Ireland put in a strong professional performance and comfortably made it through to the quarter-finals, I was sorry for poor old Bundee Aki, who I believe was harshly sent off and whose Rugby World Cup may now be over.
As for Ireland, they are in a great place now, because nobody gives them a snowball’s chance in hell against the All Blacks, but if any team can use the underdog tag to their advantage, it’s Ireland, and despite all the evidence against them I would not rule out an Irish victory. I admit it’s a long shot and probably just wishful thinking, but sport sometimes throws up unusual and unexpected results, and just maybe we might have another one on Saturday next.
Anyway, having watched the rugby, I decided to continue my couch day by watching Ireland versus Georgia in the soccer, but you should never watch soccer after watching rugby, hurling or football, because it has now become almost like a game of chess…so boring that most games would put you to sleep.
Therefore, I headed outdoors to mow the lawn – hopefully for the last time this year – after about 20 minutes of the soccer. However, it took a good while to get the lawnmower started, and sadly with about three-quarters of the job done, it conked out, and the Lord himself would not get another ‘meg’ out of it, and so there’s still work to be done. It’s too wet today (Monday) and in any event the lawnmower may be going up to join all the other lawnmowers in the sky.
Saturday evening came, and at 7.30 it was off to Creggs to the rugby pitch where our second team defeated Corinthians in a junior league game that was thoroughly enjoyed by the enthusiastic followers. Our lads, with a mix of elder and younger lemons, were thrilled with a really good win which hopefully sets them up for a good run in the league.
Communal approach to going to the pub…
We are always being told that country pubs are dying on their feet – and I suppose there is no disputing the facts – but last Saturday night Dowd’s in Glinsk was well full (see separate item), and the people were out enjoying themselves.
I have always believed that country pubs can survive – with a lot of effort. One of the ways to do so is to provide transport so that the punters can get to and from the pub safely and (obviously) without drinking and driving.
I recently saw where down in the south of Ireland a group of 20 to 30 locals came together and drew up a roster so that between them they provide transport to their local village pub. As most people are only out over the weekend, I imagine it could and should be done in all our little towns.
If the project is done properly, a driver would only be ‘on’ every few weeks, and it just might mean an upsurge in fortunes for our rural communities. I’m not sure if publicans are involved in the southern scheme, but I would think they should be. While I am also aware that every new initiative has some challenges, my view is if it works somewhere else, then why not in Creggs? Maybe we could organise our own group.
Rugby thrills…in Japan and Creggs!
I rose quite early on Sunday morning to see the Scotland-Japan Rugby World Cup game, and it proved that maybe we had overreacted to our defeat at the hands of the Japanese. They are a top class rugby team, and their match with South Africa next weekend has me bristling with anticipation. The Japanese are well capable of turning over the Springboks.
The full Irish was belatedly devoured and then it was time to put on the coat and the woolly hat and head to The Green in Creggs, where our Firsts were doing battle with old foes, Monivea.
In a game full of scintillating rugby, we won on a 43 to 19 scoreline. What a game, what a setting! For all of us old Creggs folk, what’s happening in our village is just so positive.
I have all my words used up for this week, but next week I will tell you all about what is coming down the line in the near future. Bet you can’t wait!
And finally…fundraiser success
Last weekend our annual fundraising dance was held in Dowd’s of Glinsk. It was a fantastic night of fun and craic.
The dancers amongst us (not me) really kept the floor hopping. As ever, The Lancers were brilliant. We had a raffle with 23 prizes…there were four door prizes, including the Dinner for 2 (with a drop of wine thrown in) courtesy of the Abbey Hotel.
There was an auction for a few unusual items (which the one and only Tom Connolly conducted) and at the end of it all we have raised over €5,400, our best result so far, funds which will now be divided equally between Lourdes Invalid Fund and Cancer Care West.
It was great to see so many people coming out to support the dance. Eileen kept her promise to have the Guinness at its bubble-free best, and the craic was ninety.
So, on behalf of all who helped to organise it, some thank yous: to all who donated prizes, all who bought and sold tickets, to Tommy and Dolores Dowd, to the ever-popular Lancers, to everyone who made it to the dance, and indeed to anyone that helped in any way. Please God if we are all still here we will do it all again in a year’s time, and we look forward to seeing you all then.
Till next week, Bye for now!