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The Harvest Festival, Ronaldo and Westlife…they’re all back!



It’s Wednesday morning…and I am writing this at my kitchen table, slightly depressed after watching another poor Manchester United performance, this time last night against a very good Juventus team, (of course now featuring our one-time hero, Cristiano Ronaldo), and I am wondering how I have managed to so far totally ignore the Presidential election.

  By the time you read this it will be almost polling day, and while I have every intention of using my vote, the truth is that I have had no interest whatsoever in the credentials or otherwise of the candidates. Maybe I am guilty of keeping a closed mind on the whole affair, but I have known which person I will vote for for a very long time, and none of the other candidates were ever going to be impressive enough to make me change my mind.

  And so, out here in Creggs I am more concerned with the upcoming Harvest Festival  than I am with the Presidential election, but I have to admit that having been away for a little break for a few days, I am not fully up to date with all that is happening over the weekend. However, I’m sure the advertising department of this newspaper will be full of the many events that will be taking place, and I am looking forward to a weekend of fun, craic and entertainment. (Editor’s note: Yes Frank, full details on pages 22-24).

  This festival has been running now for more than thirty years, and year in, year out, the crowds flock to the village. It has become a very welcome fixture in the life of the local community. I’m sure this week will be no different, and I expect I’ll meet you some time and somewhere along the way.

  The weather plays a big part in the success or otherwise of all local festivals, and ours is no different, so if you have an inside line to any of the Gods up there, but especially the weather one, give him a shout and ask him to look favourably on our little border village for the few days, and give us a weekend of beautiful autumn sunshine.  

  Talking of entertainment, and this morning I am delighted, but not a bit surprised, to hear about the return of the brilliant Westlife. Apparently this news has been out there for a week or two now, but somehow I managed to avoid hearing it. Well, I have heard it now, and I for one am delighted.

  Westlife have always been one of our biggest international acts, probably second (amongst Irish groups) only to U2 in worldwide popularity, and in my opinion they have produced some of the best songs of recent years.

  And while I won’t go to see their July comeback (although if tickets came my way I might), I am genuinely glad to see the lads back, and I have no doubt they will once again become global superstars. It is heartening to hear that they are not just going to wheel out the old hits, but they have new music on the way, and we are going to see a new version of the old band. I can’t wait.

  Still staying with entertainment, and I missed out on the Intermediate Football Final featuring our two neighbouring local clubs, Fuerty and Oran, but I’m told it was a wonderful game of football. As it ended in a draw, maybe I will make it to the replay…not sure when it’s on, but either way, it was good to hear that the standard was so high and the entertainment value equally so. Well done to both teams, and good luck for the next meeting.


Musings on Munster  – and Manchester United


Last Saturday was one of the few Saturdays that I was free from working duties, and so I treated myself to a visit to a public house (drinking Lucozade), where I was going to watch the Heineken Cup rugby game between Munster and Gloucester. I was really looking forward to it. Sadly, the game was marred by a couple of refereeing decisions which went the way of the home side (they usually do), and –helped by a very poor Munster performance – the whole thing was eminently forgettable.

  A lot of the post-match debate was about a decision to give Gloucester out-half, Danny Cipriani, a straight red card. Unfortunate as it was, it was the correct decision. Nowadays, any blow to the head is totally out, and Cipriani definitely led with the elbow/shoulder and made contact with a Munster player’s head – and paid the price.

  It amazes me how well-paid professional players forget that television cameras pick up even the slightest indiscretions, and that every action is dissected and pored over…yet they still commit the most stupid acts of aggression and thuggery – and then are amazed when they get caught out.

  I would say Cipriani was just guilty of a reckless tackle, but when it involves a belt to the head it won’t be tolerated, and, with all the discussion about concussion and its effects, that’s only proper order. Anyway, it was a disappointing affair, and no matter what they think, Munster, although going in the right direction, are still a long way off the standards being set by Leinster (even though they lost a thriller in France to Toulouse on Sunday).  

  As it happened, the pub I was in was also showing the Chelsea-Man. Utd game and Jose Mourinho’s reaction to being baited by a Chelsea coach – when the Londoners got a late equaliser – was the highlight of the day. Like him or hate him, he is never dull, even if his team is!

Finally for this week, comes the news that there are 80,000 less smokers in Ireland now than three years ago. Research shows that the new packaging with health warnings plays a big part in the motivation to quit, but the cynic in me is inclined to think that the cost of €12.70 a packet of twenty could be just as big a factor.

  The simple fact that a twenty-a-day habit is costing close on a hundred euro a week is enough to make even the most dedicated smoker think twice – but whatever is driving it, the reduction in smokers is a good thing –  and long may it continue.


Till next week, Bye for now!

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