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Calamity in Cardiff…guile and grit in Galway

 

 

I have often told you that one of the things that annoys me about myself is the tendency I have to make great plans to go to different places and events, and then, as the time approaches, begin to lose interest, and – using any excuse I can come up with – usually end up staying at home, going nowhere. And so it was on Wednesday afternoon of last week.

  Even though the trip was only to Galway, and I had been looking forward to it for almost a fortnight, as the time for me to head off approached, the old familiar ‘looking for a way out’ syndrome kicked in.

  All the usual excuses started to form in what I have that passes for a brain. The weather is too bad, the crowd will be too big, there will be no parking, and it will be a major challenge trying to get home after the game, the game being the CBS’ first ever schools senior rugby cup final (against Garbally).

  By 1.30 pm I had myself convinced to give it a miss, but then I had a chat with myself, told myself that this was history in the making, and that the CBS would never again be appearing in their first cup final. I decided that I should go to support their efforts, and so I changed my mind, put on the wet gear (a second pair of trousers and a jacket), and hit for the Western Capital.

  And never was I as happy at a decision! The atmosphere was just electric, with everyone I ever met from Roscommon seeming to be there, including the two Jacks (the higher and the lower). Even though the end result was a disappointing defeat, the effort, skill and commitment was just fantastic, and the Brothers should be justifiably proud of their efforts.

  As I cheered them on, it crossed my mind that although I had never set foot in the CBS, this was at least the fourth time I had been on the sideline at one of their major games…firstly following the football exploits of the team in the 1990s when they reached the All-Ireland final, and a couple of years back when the Junior rugby team made their own history by winning the Connacht Junior Cup.

  Even though I find it so hard to cheer on the county footballers, I had no problem shouting for the Brothers, and cheered them as enthusiastically as anyone else. And – miraculously – the traffic wasn’t terrible, and I got home in good time. It had turned out to be a hugely enjoyable experience.

 

And now…over to Creggs

 

As I drove home I reflected on the fact that we, Creggs RFC that is, will be back there this Sunday for the Connacht Junior Cup Final, our first in 26 years. I can only hope that we compete with the same pride and commitment as the CBS did, but hopefully with a different result.  

  After such a long time, it’s great to be back in the Sportsground again, and the fact that it’s against our old foes (yet, funny enough, our friends) the Connemara All Blacks, gives it an extra twist. Even though it’s only Monday evening as I write this, I have to admit that I am already getting a touch of the butterflies.

  Once upon a time we used to nearly think that we’d be in the cup final every year or so, but time has taught us differently and it’s actually very difficult to get to it. So we hope to make the most of this opportunity – and end the 26-year drought. If we do, there will be no drought in Creggs on Sunday night. The big game kicks off at 3 pm on Sunday so I appeal to anyone who can, to dig out any bit of maroon and white that you can find, and get to Galway – and with your support help the lads to cross the line. I can’t wait.

  I suppose I can’t leave rugby (although I’d love to) without mentioning Ireland’s no-show against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday. All I can say is it was one of the most error-ridden, leaderless, and spineless performances put in by Ireland for many a year, but nonetheless I don’t go along with some of the sports correspondents from the national papers who have effectively totally written us off before the World Cup.

  We certainly have a lot of work to do before November, but one of the quotes of the weekend came from Welsh captain Alun Wyn Jones, when he said, post-match, that the Welsh now have a target on their backs. In other words, they are now there to be shot at. I think all that has happened is that we have certainly fallen back a good bit, and all the others have upped their games, but I still believe that come November we will be very competitive.

  Whether we are good enough to even come out of our group – which includes the hosts Japan and a buoyant Scotland – only time will tell, but instead of having a go at our national team, we should realise they have punched hugely above their weight for a few years now. We should be grateful for the recent very good times. Sport is like that; every team can hit upon hard times.

  I for one believe that when we get some of our injured players, especially Athlone man Robbie Henshaw back, and with a few tweaks in personnel, we will still have a good World Cup, and who knows, we could still get to our first ever World Cup semi-final. Here’s hoping.

And finally…

Finally for this week, as we know, our Taoiseach Leo Varadker  was the guest of honour at a lavish reception in the White House last Thursday, when he presented President Trump with the traditional bowl of shamrock.

  About 300 specially invited guests were in attendance. Among that number was our own Creggs woman, Sinead Connaughton, who was honoured for her work as Vice-President of the Irish Association in Atlanta City. Sinead is the daughter of Sean and Josephine (the latter the former principal of the CBS in Roscommon), and has been in Atlanta for the last three years, where she has obviously become very involved in the huge Irish community.

  Well done Sinead. It’s a great achievement to have been one of such a small number invited to the Dinner, and we can always say we had a Creggs woman in the White House.

 

Till next week, Bye for now!

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