Human nature being what it is, it’s only normal and natural that on occasion we feel a little bit sorry for ourselves and there are times when we fully believe the whole world and its mother are against us. Nothing but bills seem to come through the postbox, and nowadays the banks and building societies and several other financial institutions can ring people on both their mobile and house phones, at all hours during the day, and you’d be at your wit’s end wondering where to turn.
Everything seems to be getting more expensive, while private sector wages are showing no sign of even a modest increase and all in all it’s fully understandable when, like the weather, a modest depression settles in and then you see or hear something that makes you realise that you really have no problems at all.
In the last seven days or so, the story of four-year-old Sebastian from Killaloe, Co. Clare, has shown me (and thousands more like me) that in truth we don’t have it too bad at all. Last Tuesday, Sebastian’s uncle, Kieran, contacted the Ray D’arcy Show on Radio One (RTE Radio), as he wanted help to recreate Christmas for his nephew, who had received the worst possible news after having an MRI scan a week or two ago.
As a result, because the young lad loved Christmas so much, his parents decided to bring the feast forward by six months and hold it on Saturday 31st May. There were a few things required to make the special day possible, and the reaction as always of the Irish people was just amazing. Eleven helicopters to bring Santa to Killaloe (being out of season, he had to be brought from Finland), fire engines, Garda cars, minions to beat the band and all kind of everything were offered and one seven-year-old even offered their communion money.
Nothing has ever got such a reaction in the history of RTE Radio and it says a lot for the generosity of the people of Ireland and in fairness to the people of Killaloe, they too entered into the spirit of the whole thing and all put up their Christmas tree lights, to make sure that young Sebastian’s day was the most special day possible. As I say, we may think we have problems, but something like this puts it all into perspective.
Dancing to Denver
Changing subjects entirely (thank God says you), and lightening up the mood, on Saturday night, I found myself at St. Croan’s GAA Club (Ballintubber and Ballymoe), fundraising dance in the Hub in Castlerea, where my favourite band of all time, the Mike Denver Band, were putting on their usual, wonderful musical performance.
Before I hit the Hub, I called into Mulvihill’s Lounge in Castlerea, where I met up with the legend that is Danny Burke and in the course of a couple of quite pints, he brought me back to my days many years ago in the local branch of the Bank of Ireland. Thirty-six years ago, Johnny O’Hara retired from his job as porter in the aforementioned bank and I can still remember him being replaced by the young fresh-faced, Seamie Moran.
Seamie is still as fresh-faced and as young looking as he was in 1979 and this week he retired after putting in all those years’ service with the bank. A big retirement do was held for him, also in Mulvihill’s on Friday night, and I’m told a large number of past and present Bank of Ireland officials turned up. Best wishes in the future Seamie and well done on such a long career in the bank. As it happens, the Creggs connection is still as strong as ever (well, maybe a bit stronger) as the present manager in the branch in the Square is our own neighbour, and long-time friend, Sean Beirne – and he tells me he’s mad to throw out a few euro.
Anyway, back to the Hub and of course the drummer on Mike’s band is none other than Seamie’s first cousin, Castlerea’s one and only Sean (Bozo) Moran and it must have been great for him to play to such a huge crowd in his own home town. For a change I didn’t get to have a word with Bozo but I won’t have to wait too long as I see they’re playing at the Race Dance in Roscommon in The Abbey Hotel on next Monday, June 8th. If you’re free, go along, it will certainly be worth your while. Tell Joe Finnegan I sent you! I met many familiar faces in The Hub on Saturday night, including Johan Hayden, a long-time follower of the karaoke king, Michael Holland senior and junior, Mike Smyth (formerly of the Don Arms) and his wife Majella and many more whom I won’t embarrass by mentioning.
It’s an amazing GAA club, who were only recently playing in the All-Ireland Intermediate Club final, and to put on such a big event takes an enormous community effort. Well done to all concerned and I thoroughly enjoyed my visit. I didn’t win the best jiver award on the night, but maybe I was gone before the winner was announced (I’m only joking! There was no such competition!)
The price isn’t right
It’s now Monday evening, and today I was at the Creggs versus Pearses Junior A Championship game, which was played in the most appalling conditions that I have ever seen. Why it had to be played on a Bank Holiday Monday I don’t know, but it didn’t make a lot of sense as everyone had to go back to work straight away after the game and I also have to say that €10 into a single junior football game is a bit excessive.
A neighbour of mine told me during the game that, for €20, he has a stand ticket at the upcoming World Cup soccer qualifier against Scotland in the Aviva Stadium and his young son has a schoolboys ticket for €10. I know I’ll be accused of being anti-GAA, but nothing could be further from the truth. I have always been a GAA man and have been involved both as a player and a supporter since I was a child! I just think €10 is a bit pricey for a Junior football game.
The problem of the Leaving Cert exam is also a big one, particularly for small rural clubs, and I just wonder could some of these fixtures not be put back till the Leaving Cert is over. As manager of last year’s Creggs team, I can tell you we had any amount of summer weekends where we had no game at all.
Finally for this week, I wish to congratulate my own daughter, Tara, who had a very successful weekend jumping Crosswell Blue, at Mullingar International Show, which is one of the best and biggest equestrian facilities in the country and where Tara and Blue did us proud. Well done to both. ‘Til next week, Bye for now