It’s a beautiful sunny Monday morning and even though it’s pretty cold after starting off with a some severe early-morning frost, nonetheless it shows just what we’ve had to put up with over the last few weeks and months, in what seemed to be a never-ending series of wet, windy, wild and miserable days.
As it happens yesterday, being St. Valentine’s Day, dawned just as nice and as it was the first day of the new local football leagues, after a lovely Sunday morning full Irish, the most important item of which was a couple of slices of Kelly’s white pudding, (the rest was all Brideswell’s finest from Michael Waldron), I found myself heading off to the beautiful part of North Roscommon that is known as Kilglass.
Before you have a go at me and say that going to the game on my own and leaving Carol at home wasn’t very romantic, on the day that was in it, let me agree fully with you – but I promised her I would make up for it, so some time in the near future she can look forward to what I can only describe as an unexpected treat.
Just to give you an idea of how big of a romantic I am, a long time ago we went to Dublin to get engaged…on our way back, our celebration party was to have a couple of pints with Jamesie Murray in his Knockcroghery pub, but sadly I had to call a halt to that as I had to go training with Creggs Rugby club later that evening. So I suppose it’s fair to say that Carol wasn’t surprised either or put out at my decision to hit for Kilglass, even though it was a 12 noon throw-in.
Anyway, off I went and not for the first time I marvelled at the beauty of the scenery around the lakes of Kilglass and I wondered are the tourism powers-that-be doing enough to attract tourists to this lovely area. Although I was running a bit behind time, I took time out to have a short stop and look out over the beautiful lakes – and it truly is a spectacular sight.
On then to the pitch in Kilglass and as it’s been a few years since I’ve been down there, it was a very pleasant shock to see the enormous improvements that have taken place down there in the meantime. I remember them winning a huge national competition involving I think, Kellogg’s Cornflakes, and whether that was the catalyst or not I don’t know, but I have to say that the whole set-up is an enormous credit to what after all is a small rural club and well done to my old friend Aidan Tully and everyone else involved in the club.
On the field of play the home team prevailed in what I thought was a hugely enjoyable game, although the margin of victory certainly didn’t reflect the closeness of the exchanges – and one of the great things was to see the ageless Dermot Washington play so well for the Gaels.
It’s a long time since he was the golden boy of Roscommon football and on Sunday’s evidence he remains as good as ever! I won’t guess what age he is but he must be close to a big birthday – well done Dermot!
It’s unwelcome – but not unexpected, the news that Robbie Henshaw will be leaving Connacht at the end of this season for Leo Cullen’s Leinster. Now it is natural to want him to stay where he is, but in my opinion it was never going to happen.
Even though Leinster are having a poor season, they still have the aura and reputation of a huge club and, with three European Cup trophies, they are one of the biggest names in European rugby!
For someone like Henshaw, who has the ability to make an amazing international career for himself, it was a no-brainer and he just has to go to a club which will give him a higher profile in the game.
It’s a pity for all who support the Connacht set-up, but it’s simply a by-product of the professional era and just as in soccer, the top players will go to the big clubs who also have the bigger paying power.
For Connacht and all the other smaller clubs, the challenge is to find the next Robbie Henshaw, develop him, bring him through the system, get as much as you can out of him and then send him on to bigger and better things at national and international level.
As for Robbie, his rise from a schoolboy rugby player to being a fully-fledged top international player in a couple of short years has been nothing short of miraculous and, as he prepares to head to pastures new, all Connacht supporters will thank him for his great service and wish him well in the future – at least until the wearers of the green jerseys welcome him back to the Sportsground, when the fans should and will give him a warm welcome – but hopefully the team will make it a little warmer!
My Rose of Tralee dream is over
On my way to work this morning, I was excited to hear that the Rose of Tralee committee was looking for applications for escorts for this year’s contest, and I thought to myself that I would make an ideal candidate and I could hardly wait to fill up the form. Sadly, it’s not going to happen as I fall down on two of the requirements – to be an escort I would have to be single, so I’m out on that count, and what’s worse, I would have to be aged between 21 and 31. Now I don’t know if that’s ageist or what you’d call it, but anyway that’s it and my dream of being a Rose of Tralee escort may be over! The pale moon may be rising in August again this year, but it looks like it won’t be rising for me.
Hat’s off to Tom
On Sunday evening I had a few quiet pints in Pat Martin’s Bar na d’Taoisigh in Ballygar. I met Tom Kinsley, who was sporting a lovely hat, complete with feather! As we left, the debate was raging as to whether or not it was a Philip Treacy creation! Either way, it was very elegant and if I didn’t have such an unruly head of hair I might get myself one!
Til next week, Bye for now