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Football, and the game of life: A tale of two legendary managers




Sometimes, in my deeper moments (not too many of them) I have a look at myself and I wonder if sport plays too big a part in my life, because, in truth, almost all of my interests involve some kind of sporting activity.

  For example, nowadays I rely on a bit of walking, and even less golfing, (although I intend to change that this year) for my physical exercise, but the truth is that I have a ridiculous interest in every sport, from GAA to rugby to soccer – which isn’t too bad – but tennis, snooker, golf, athletics, boxing, horseracing and showjumping also feature in my ‘sporting repertoire’.

  I try to keep myself updated at all times on what is going on in the sporting world. And so this week, we have had some amazing moments to savour, from Leitrim’s great escape in New York to Tony Bellew’s destruction of the legend that once was David Haye (in the world of boxing), to the wonderfully entertaining World Snooker Final, in which 42-year-old Mark Williams beat his old rival John Higgins by 18 frames to 16 – and, finally, we had a moment of magic from Simon Zebo to help Munster make it over the line in their Top 14 quarter-final tie against Edinburgh in Thomond Park on Saturday afternoon.

  On the subject of Leitrim’s win in New York, on Monday morning I was up early, having had an alcohol-free Sunday night, and I heard some fellow on one of the early-morning TV shows waxing eloquently about the wonderful commentary on Shannonside Radio by the one and only Willie Hegarty. There is no doubt that Willie is a one-off and a celebrated local treasure.

  However, amongst all the sporting activity on the actual fields of play that took place last weekend, it was the fortunes (or misfortunes) of two football managers that made the biggest impact on me. Obviously the sudden illness that struck down former Man. Utd. manager Sir Alex Ferguson was a massive shock, as all the football world viewed him as indestructible, and the outpouring of good wishes since then has shown, despite his hard man image, that he is really highly thought of and well loved by everyone involved in the beautiful game.

  However, for me the man of the week was the Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, who, in the emotion of his last game at home as the Gunners manager, still had time to mention his arch-rival, Fergie, in his final speech. His dignity in bidding farewell to a club that effectively fired him was just fabulous.

  In my opinion there is no doubt that Wenger’s teams, all through his tenure, played the most attractive football of all, and, even if the Premiership title only came their way three times in his 22 years there, he did win seven FA Cups and –more importantly – his teams played football as it should be played.

  I wonder does Jose Mourinho get the Roscommon People? It might inspire him to get Utd. to play a bit of attractive, attacking football. I expect to see Wenger back in management again, and as for Sir Alex, as a United fan, I can only hope he makes a full and complete recovery.

Why I’m with the Healy-Raes on this one…

On to other matters, and I see where Shane Ross is setting up a pilot ‘drink-link’ bus service in some parts of the country which would bring people to and from rural pubs. 

  The Healy Raes think it’s only nonsense, and for once I think they are absolutely right. An occasional bus service in a rural area will not solve anything, and I still believe the only way to go is to give special taxi or hackney licences to someone in a local area, at a reduced cost (insurance, tax, and any other hidden charges) if such a person is prepared to provide a good service to his or her community.

  The country pubs are still dying on their feet, but you would have to wonder if there is any political will out there to try to help a very grave situation. Surely there should be enough brain power in the corridors of power to come up with a workable solution.

  Not too many years ago, we were lucky enough to have an unofficial hackney man in this area, and he brought people safely to their homes after a night out. Something along those lines might still be the answer now.

A big night for Creggs RFC

More than 40 years ago a little rugby club was formed out here in our little village, and today it is still going strong and is now about to embark on one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken by a club of its size.

  To go back to our early days, we played at first in a field given to us by our parish priest – at the back of the local Church in Kilbegnet – while later on we had a pitch in Kilmore which had a heavy electricity wire crossing the middle which diverted many a ball from its original flight path, and caused quite a bit of controversy. Later on, the club acquired land in the village itself, and The Green has been the home of Creggs RFC for a number of years now.

  However, as the time has gone on, numbers at underage have greatly increased, and to keep up with the enormous growth at both underage and senior levels, in September the club hopes to unveil the first 3/4 G pitch in Connacht, along with two new sand-based pitches, a development that will of course cost an enormous amount of money.

  To this end, Creggs RFC are holding a massive draw, with a total of 26 prizes, which takes place on Saturday night next in the Rugby Club. So if you have a tenner to spare, buy a ticket and support a club that has greatly exceeded its original expectations.

  Funny enough, the season just ending has been one of the most successful on the playing pitches in the 44-year history, with great success at every level, resulting in us being nominated as the Connacht club of the year, along with Ballina (winners) and Sligo. So, the future look bright in every way, and as I say, all support is very welcome. Here’s to Saturday night, and hopefully you will take home one of the wonderful prizes on offer (but leave one for me).

And finally…

Finally for this week, I’ve been asked to remind everyone out there who raised any money for the Barrie Harris Walk that the committee wants to get the matter sorted out as soon as possible, and ask you to get your cards and money back to any committee member as quickly as you can.

  The Barrie Harris Walk is still one of the biggest charity fundraiser efforts in this area and each year many local charities benefit from the funds raised so please get the money in and continue to make this a vitally important and successful community fundraising effort.

Till next week, Bye for now!


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