It’s another Monday morning, and I am once again sitting at the kitchen table writing away. The sun is splitting the stones outside, and you would be forgiven for thinking that I must still be in the beautiful sunshine of Spain’s Costa Blanca – but this time you would be wrong.
I am down in Crosswell, home for the last couple of days, and like everyone else I am lapping up the unexpected but very welcome burst of May sunshine.
Before I put our recent visit to Spain totally behind me, you might recall that last week I told you about the atmosphere all along the Strip, but especially in O’Riordan’s bar, for the Barcelona-Liverpool Champions League semi-final first leg, and how exciting it all was. Well, the return leg, when Liverpool produced one of the greatest comebacks ever – overturning a three-goal deficit – was even better, and the huge Liverpool support went stone mad.
I hadn’t realised that Niall, the proprietor of the bar, is a huge supporter of the Merseysiders, and he led the many renditions of You’ll Never Walk Alone. I can only say it was a night I will never forget.
Never one to run myself down, you might also remember that I was one of the few who predicted the outcome, and but for the fact that there is no gambling allowed in Spain, I would have had myself a little flutter, and a rare win. However, it was a mighty bit of craic, and when you factor in that on the following night we had Spurs’ own miracle when they brought off an even bigger comeback by scoring three away goals in a single half against Ajax, you really have to say that this made the two semi-finals probably the most exciting of all time. The all-English final should be very interesting and entertaining, and even though I am at best a lukewarm soccer supporter, I am looking forward to seeing another exciting battle.
Also in O’Riordan’s, on one of the nights there we had the pleasure of running into one of our top actresses, Aoibhinn McGinnitty, a young Monaghan lady who is best known for a starring role in Love/Hate, and who was holidaying for a few days with her parents in the Cabo Roig area. She played the role of Trish, wife to the notorious Nidge, in the wonderful Love/Hate series. We got photographs taken with her. She was a lovely, friendly, pleasant young woman. We were the first to recognise her in the pub, but straight away the word got out, and before she knew it she was inundated with requests for photos and selfies, etc.
Anyways, she seems to be still busy in what is a highly uncertain profession, but no matter what else she does, she will always be known for her performance as Trish, in what in my opinion was and is the best ever Irish-produced drama series. Why they didn’t knock another series or two out of it, I’ll never know!
Still on the famous person trail, we also spotted the former world class snooker player, Willie Thorne, over the weekend, and he too had his fans. From what we could see he was thoroughly enjoying his visit to the little Spanish resort.
Anyway, that’s it for another year (please God), and in truth it’s not that bad to be back, especially with the good weather, and the start of the hurling and football championships, and the return of The Sunday Game. It’s all to look forward to over the next few months.
Key role of local sports clubs
Looking back a little again, a couple of weeks ago I wrote about the importance of sport in the lives of our young people, and the way it can help to teach them the value of teamwork, sportsmanship and discipline, but I overlooked the hugely important roles that sports clubs play in the life – both economic and social – of our little towns and villages.
We have often touched on the decline of rural Ireland, and there can be no doubt that places outside of the cities have suffered a lot over the last number of years, but can you imagine how much worse it would be if it weren’t for the GAA, rugby, soccer and other clubs that are continuing to help to keep our villages alive.
All this came into my head on Saturday evening, when, if a visitor came to Creggs for the first time, he or she would think they were in a thriving, vibrant village – and certainly on Saturday last they would have been right.
Earlier in the day, the Connacht Junior rugby team had a superb win over Munster in the Interprovincial series on our new 4G pitch, and after the Heineken Cup Final in which Leinster lost out to Saracens – not in Creggs, but over in Newcastle – the eagerly-awaited Mountain versus The Valley football game took place, and for most of the evening the village was literally bursting at the seams.
Now I have to admit that I rarely miss out on the craic in Creggs, but my social exertions in Spain had taken their toll, and so I never got to Mikeen’s, where I’m told there was an almighty bit of fun, with a large number of rugby players and footballers mingling with each other and singing and dancing for hours on end.
It all made me realise how vital clubs are to the life of every village, because, in fairness, while not every village has a rugby club, most of them – thankfully – have a football, hurling or soccer club, and the next time one of them calls to the door looking for support for a raffle or a draw, dig deep, give them a few bob, and remember they are the lifeline of your own community. Without them, and the support of the players, mentors and supporters, we would be very much worse off in every way imaginable.
Finally for this week, the good people in Castlerea Golf Club, which as you know by now is one of my favourite places in the world, are holding a fundraising Golf Classic over this Friday and Saturday, the 17th and 18th of May. Teams of four, with food included, is only €160.
There will be prizes for the longest drive, nearest the pin, and €1,000 for a hole-in-one. If the prize was for dropping it into the river, I’d have a great chance. Prizes will be presented in the clubhouse at 9 pm on Saturday night. There will be music and craic, and everyone is invited.
There will be a timesheet in operation, so to book your place contact Catherine on 087-6182882 or Jimmy on 086-6071471. I have to work on both of those days, but with the long evenings in I should make it in time to try for the hole-in-one prize, and I hope to see you all there.