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‘Lightning’ can strike twice…in my not so trusty Volvo

 

 

 

One of the things I remember from my childhood is the saying ‘Lightning doesn’t strike twice’. I never had any reason to either believe or disbelieve it – it was just one of those sayings. Back then there were loads of those types of sayings that I never really thought about.

  However, last week, as myself and the occasionally trusty old Volvo were making our way home from work in Athlone, metaphorically at least, the good old lightning did strike a second time!

  Just about a year ago, as I approached the major roundabout heading towards Monksland, the computer went bananas, and after giving me all kinds of messages, the car just switched itself off, and I broke down in the busiest lane of traffic that anyone could imagine. That particular evening an off-duty Garda came to my assistance and managed to get me off the road and into a nearby gateway.

  Then last week, in exactly the same spot, the same thing happened…a multitude of lights started flashing on the dash, messages about anti-skid and total brake failure appeared, and before I knew it I was broken down in the very same place and millions of cars were trying to get by me. This time it was an official Garda car that came to my aid (I wonder have they some magic eye in the sky that tells them I’m broken down again), and I found myself back in the same gate, stranded, but thankfully still alive.

  Anyway, the good news is that this time, I remembered that I had ‘Breakdown assistance’ included in my insurance policy, and I cannot praise Axa enough – I had a breakdown man out to me in no time, my car was taken away, and the following morning it was delivered to my own garage man, who has the unenviable task of sorting out the computer and getting it to tell my car it can go again. God be with the days when everything was manual, and computers were only used in high finance/busy offices, and if the car broke down it did so because it was banjaxed, and not because some microchip went haywire and told your car to stop. I have to find a trusty old Volvo, with the emphasis on old, somewhere. Just realised my 06 model is too young…

 

‘Visiting Gardai said they’d be back… hopefully not in uniform!’

 

Last Saturday was one of those days when, right from the early morning, there was an air of expectation around – and it was nothing to do with Theresa May or Arlene Foster or Leo or Brexit – but rather to do with the fact that the All Blacks were in town. Everyone was anticipating a massive battle later in the evening, when they were due to face our Irish lads in an eagerly-awaited international in the new headquarters of Irish rugby, the Aviva Stadium.

  By the time it came to pull the doors of the shop behind me, a little earlier than normal, I was literally at fever pitch, and as the minutes to kick-off passed slowly by, I was more excited than I have ever been before any game, be it rugby, football, hurling, or (God forbid) soccer, and I couldn’t wait for the action to get underway.

  By now, everyone knows that Ireland won a match that was every bit as good as I had hoped for, and for commitment, skill, bravery and heart it has to be the best victory ever.

  It’s obvious that Joe Schmidt learnt a lot from the last World Cup, principally that you have to have cover in every position. Against Argentina three years ago, when we lost four or five of our main men we had no-one (of similar quality) to replace them. Now we can put lads in who are every bit as good as the first choice players (with maybe one or two exceptions), and that is why we can look forward to a decent crack at next year’s competition.

  After the game I headed to an absolutely packed Mikeen’s, where I encountered a bus-load of Gardai who were staying in Hannon’s Hotel for the night, but who had headed to Creggs – because of its rugby heritage – to watch the game. They were from every corner of the island of Ireland, and they couldn’t get over the atmosphere in Mikeen’s during the game. It was great to hear how much they enjoyed themselves, and they vowed to come back again; hope they’re not in uniform!

  As luck would have it, one of the touring party had a connection with the Limerick hurling team, and they had the McCarthy Cup with them, and our own Limerick lady, Nora Connelly, was more than delighted to welcome the cup to Creggs, and she even allowed them to take a picture of her with the cup. We had it here last year with Galway – and hopefully we will take it back again in 2019.

 

Memories of Sonny

 

Last week the great Sonny Knowles passed away, and Joe Duffy’s entire Liveline programme on Thursday was devoted to stories and tales about the popular entertainer. There can be no doubt that he appears to have been a true gentleman, and a very genuine guy.

  As people said, he appeared in all the major venues around Ireland – and further afield – but what no-one mentioned was that he performed, not once but twice, in our little village of Creggs. The first time he was here was with the Pacific showband in the mid-1960s, at a time when the then lead singer Sean Fagan was number one in the charts with the Jim Reeves hit, Distant Drums, and my big memory is that the two stars, Fagan and Knowles, refused to eat in Ma Kennedy’s with the rest of the band, and the Carnival Committee had to hire (and pay for) Paddy Cuddy’s taxi to take them into the Abbey Hotel for a feed!

  Later, in the late 1970s, at which stage he was Ireland’s King of Cabaret, Sonny was the first major artist to appear in Bradley’s here in Creggs, and even though it’s almost forty years ago, I can still remember the huge excitement when the ‘window cleaner’ came to town. He had a great career in the music business, and his many fans will miss him dearly. May he rest in peace.

 

Till next week, Bye for now!

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