It’s early Sunday morning and once again all my Saturday night plans have come unstuck. I had intended to get to PJ’s in Castlecoote to hear the Luke Kelly soundalike, Jim Gallagher, who I’m told played to a full house and was just brilliant, and then I was going to go to Nathan (like Elvis – no need to mention his surname) in Ballygar, but I ended up going nowhere.
Anyway, I’m up early on Sunday morning when I get a phone call from a friend of ours who is travelling on the motorway outside Athlone. She is actually heading south but she can’t get over the number of cars on the road that are flying Galway flags. She wants to know if Galway footballers are playing in the All-Ireland final in Croke Park (she is not that well up in sport), and I tell her that hell will have frozen over before that happens again, that Donald Trump will be Pope, and that Elvis will have made a comeback, and many other crazy things will have occurred, but that today the Galway hurlers are once again heading to the Capital hoping to get to the final and have another shot at ending the almost thirty-year wait for the McCarthy Cup.
During the week, Neymar, the Brazillian superstar footballer, moved from Barcelona to Paris St. Germain for €222 million, and after getting a paydeal worth more than €575,000 a week, told us that he didn’t move for money; that he felt he needed new challenges and that he felt a spell in Paris would provide those challenges. His arrival in the French Capital might also be to do with his reputation for partying, as rumour has it that he likes to burn the candle at both ends.
Also during the week, the hurlers of Tipperary and Galway were going about their ordinary daily chores in whatever jobs they have as they prepared for their All-Ireland semi-final meeting for the third year in a row.
It is now Monday afternoon, and almost twenty-four hours later, I am still buzzing at the unbelievable game of hurling that unfolded in Croke Park yesterday and while Galway’s victory makes the buzz even better, the fact remains that it took two teams, almost forty players, every one of whom left everything on the pitch, to serve up a contest that absolutely fizzled for the entire game. Sure, there were loads of mistakes, and the Galway first touch was not so good (as a player who once got to a Junior County Hurling Final with Creggs, I’m more than qualified to pass judgement), but the sheer intensity, the quality and power of the hits, the manliness of all the players, and of course, the outrageous score that Joe Canning produced to win the match, meant that this was an epic contest that will never be forgotten by this maroon and white scribe.
All of these players are amateurs who will be back on the day job this week and as I thought about Neymar’s more than half-a-million a week, I wondered what price Joe Canning or Seamus Callanan or Galway’s man mountain Gearoid McInerney. As all of us who followed the great team of the 1980s know his father Gerry was a member of one of the greatest half-back lines of all time – alongside Tony Keady and Pete Finnerty – and it’s some tribute to his son that he seems to be just as good as his father.
Anyway, I rang my friend after the game to tell her not to go on the motorway on the 3rd of September, as all Galway will be heading to Dublin that day.
Yet again last weekend we have seen two more knife deaths; a homeless Polish man was stabbed almost 40 times before his body was dumped, while in Kilkee, 25-year-old father-of-one Karl Haugh was fatally stabbed in what a senior Garda said appeared to be a fight that got out of hand. Now that latter fact alone is a very worrying state of affairs, as it seems now that protagonists have no hesitation in producing and using dangerous weapons. I have said before that in our young days, fists were used to settle differences that eventually moved on to kicking and uncontrolled use of the boot, and presently the use of the knife or the gun.
Whatever happened in Kilkee, neighbours say several young men went door to door looking for the eventual victim, so obviously there was something brewing. All I can say is I hope the thugs that murdered both men firstly get caught and secondly get the proper sentences their appalling crimes deserve.
McStay graceful after Rossie exit
I have no doubt the sports pages will dissect and analyse every aspect of the big Mayo win on Monday. For me the biggest thing was the realistic approach that Roscommon manager Kevin McStay took to the result. His interview immediately after such a disappointing defeat, was sensible, calm, realistic and graceful, and in my opinion, a credit to him in difficult circumstances.
As for the Rossies, while it was a sad end to a great year, the challenge for them is to build on their Connacht final win. The challenge for all counties is to close the gap on the big four (like Elvis and Nathan I don’t need to name them), and I have to say that it will take an enormous effort from those who make up the rest.
Finally for this week, Dowd’s in Glinsk is the place to be next Saturday night, when Caislean Oir are holding their big fundraising dance with the mega draw for the car or €10,000 taking place, so make sure you get your ticket because if you’re not in, you can’t win.
Till next week, Bye for now!