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Frankly Speaking

Frankly Speaking

Forget work…I’m applying to join Love Island!

 

 

 

It’s another Monday morning and even though I don’t watch it and have no interest in it, I am well aware that tonight is the last night of Love Island, and that Ballymahon girl, Maura Higgins, is still there and in line for the first prize of £50,000.

  The amazing thing is that some people are predicting that the prize-money would only have been the tip of the iceberg for Maura, and that she has untold riches waiting around the corner as a result of her Love Island adventure.

  In fairness to her, I really hope all the good things that we are told are coming her way do so. It seems, however, that reality TV is the key to unlocking doors, with many former reality stars now multi-millionaires and celebrities in their own right. Love Island has made me realise how fortunes can even be made without having to actually work at all!

  In all the papers this week we can read about Maura and her romantic interest, dancer Curtis Pritchard, but there is also a fair bit of coverage for a 15-year-old lad called Jaden Ashman, a teenager from Essex in England, who scooped €1,000,000 by finishing second in an online ‘Fortnite’ gaming competition, where the first prize, a mindboggling €3,000,000, was won by 16-year-old American Kyle Giersdorf.

  Sadly, I don’t have a clue how to play this game as Super Mario is the only game I ever saw close up, but apparently 40 million people worldwide took part in the 10 weeks while the competition was on, and in total there was a prize fund of $30,000,000!

  At one time, young Jaden’s mother threw out his Xbox and even broke his headset, because she was so anxious that the young lad would do some homework. However, earlier this week she admitted that even though she thought he was “wasting his life”, she now realised there was some point to spending so much time glued to his computer!

  Anyhow, as someone who has worked all my life but never figured out how to make money, maybe there’s hope for me yet – I don’t  think I’ll ever figure out how to play online games, so I’d better get the application form for Love Island! I’m told all the men have six packs so I’m off to the off-license and I’ll post off my form in the next few days. If my application is successful I’ll keep you posted!

 

A great day out in Donamon

 

Finally for this week, I made it to the 25th Annual Open Day in Donamon Castle last Sunday, and even though I couldn’t stay for the full day, I was there long enough to enjoy some great music and a lovely bun and cup of tea. I met lots of happy people who were thoroughly enjoying themselves and managed to see plenty of the attractions on offer including having my picture taken with the most beautiful bird – the fact that it was an owl was only incidental – and she, or he, was really a sight to behold!

  It was later that evening when I heard that Fr. Pat Hogan is taking leave of Donamon, as his nine-year appointment is up, and I can only say I was very sorry to hear the news.

  Fr. Pat is a true gentleman, a lovely priest, and a great supporter of this area, and, while I wish him well in all he does in the future, we will miss him greatly, and hope that some day he may find himself back amongst us. We wait in hope!

 

Summer Cabaret Show next Wednesday

My good friend Annette Griffin tells me that the renowned Summer Cabaret Show, in association with Western Care, returns for one night only to the McWilliam Park Hotel, Claremorris, on Wednesday, August 7th, with doors opening at 8 pm and the wonderful show starting at 9 pm sharp.

  This year’s unmissable show is produced by Annette and John Staunton, and features some of Ireland’s top talent including Gerry Guthrie, Brendan Shine, comedian Shaun Connors, fiddler Billy Condon, the Turley Duggan dancers, the beautiful voice of Annette Griffin herself, along with the McWilliam Park House Band. Tickets are only €25, and they are available from the hotel itself, from Western Care, and from Crann Mór Centre Ballinrobe. I highly recommend it.

  Sticking with entertainment and Julie Healy tells me she is organising a Big Tom tribute night in The Oaklands Hotel, Glenamaddy, on Friday, September 27th, featuring a huge line-up of Irish musical talent, topped off with special guest, John Rex Reeves, nephew of the late great American singer, Jim.

  I will tell you more as the time approaches but now you have two great nights to look forward to, so keep both dates free!

 

Tag fundraiser scores with the locals!

 

Now that I have finally figured out how to secure my financial future, I can reflect on the weekend just past, which saw two unbelievable senior hurling All-Ireland semi-finals, but which also saw a very enjoyable tag rugby event, which took place in Creggs Rugby Club on Friday evening. The proceeds of the event (€1,500) went to the Sunshine Room in Creggs National School.

  Sometimes it is easy to take for granted the amazing developments that have taken place at our local school which have turned it into one of the most talked about schools in the west of Ireland. Creggs now has something we are all so proud of complete with a hydro pool, an AstroTurf pitch, and the Sunshine Room, which caters for students with special needs from as far away as Ballaghaderreen and Athlone.

  It was great to see so many enthusiasts turn up on Friday evening, helped in no small way by the beautiful weather. After a terrific tournament the winning team was Brian Diffley’s ‘Pink Ladies’, who collected fabulous trophies, sponsored by our new Club President, Aidan Farrell.

  My lad, Paul, had cobbled a team together and they acquitted themselves well considering most of them had little experience of tag or indeed any rugby, weren’t too fit, and one or two of them were coming to the end of whatever you come to if you hadn’t had a rugby career! But whatever they may have lacked in skill, they more than made up for in commitment and effort.

  I have to say it was terrific fun and everyone really enjoyed it, so well done to Ger Dowd and his organising committee. The overwhelming reaction was that everyone would love to see it repeated, and maybe even become a regular feature during the summer. Like my probable appearance on Love Island, if there are any developments I will keep you informed, but for now it was great craic and a very worthwhile fundraiser for a very worthy cause.

Shane lifts nation’s spirits…and Gaelic Football at its best

 

 

It’s a fresh, fairly windy Tuesday morning, and even though it’s a couple of days since his momentous win in golf’s Open Championship, the feelgood factor brought about by Shane Lowry’s amazing victory is still being felt all around the country. It is doubtful if there has ever been a more popular winner of anything, be it sporting or otherwise!

  Now I have never met the lovable Offaly man, but over the years I have had umpteen Clara people come into the shop where I work in Athlone, and I can truthfully tell you that I have never heard a bad word about him. The overwhelming verdict is that, despite his fame and wealth, Shane has never changed and is still the same humble lad that he has always been, and has never lost touch with his Offaly roots.

  The numerous online videos which are doing the rounds, showing clips of the celebrations since Sunday, also seem to confirm that he is a normal 32-year old midlander (apart from the Claret Jug, and the millions of euro that he already has), and the homecoming this evening (Tuesday) in his home town will be a never to be forgotten special occasion.

  In my opinion, what Shane achieved at the weekend – and especially taking into consideration the appalling weather we saw at Royal Portrush on Sunday – ranks with the greatest Irish sporting achievements of all time, and has undoubtedly lifted the spirits of the entire nation.

  On a personal level, as a golfer who has yet to hand in a scorecard anywhere (apart from in the Creggs Rugby Club Classic), I feel certain that Shane’s win will inspire me to greater things, and  while it might be a bit late for a professional career, I now have great confidence in my future golfing life. Anyway, congrats Shane, well done…and thank you for the lift you gave us all!

  Before I leave the sporting events of last weekend, the Super 8s confirmed lots of stuff that we already knew, especially that the Dubs are almost frighteningly good, and most likely they will win the five-in-a-row. But for sheer entertainment and excitement, the match on Sunday between Kerry and Donegal would be hard to beat. It was an absolutely wonderfully enthralling game. I would go so far as to say that it restored our faith in Gaelic Football, and for all of us who have grown sick of turgid, defensive football, it was a joy to behold – and proved that if lads were let play the game without the fear of making mistakes it could still be the great game it used to be.

  On Sunday we saw no extra defenders…it was ‘one on one’ most of the time, there were loads of wonderful points scored (each team scoring one goal and twenty points), and while I know we will see lots more negative sideways play, at least this game was like a breath of fresh air. When next I see the Galway footballers going sideways and backways, I will close my eyes and imagine I am in Croke Park watching Kerry and Donegal – and life won’t seem so bad!

My immense pride in Creggs as community excels

It’s 5 pm on Tuesday evening, and I am just home from the Pride of Place event that took place this afternoon in the schoolhall in Creggs.

  I have to tell you that seldom in my life have I seen such an amazing turnout at anything anywhere, and seldom have I experienced such a sense of community spirit as was evident among the huge crowd that was present.

  Businesses, sporting clubs and other community-based organisations – up to thirty or more – had stands in the schoolhall, which the judges paid visits to, and the atmosphere all over was so positive it was just wonderful.

  After a marvellous speech by chairperson Sean Beirne, we were treated to a 35-minute video presentation highlighting the many benefits that living in Creggs has to offer. Practically everyone in the parish turned out for the occasion, with many more of our exiles making the journey home for the occasion, and there was more sandwiches, buns, cakes, teas and coffee on offer than would feed a hungry army. You could just feel the pride in our area that was clearly felt by everyone in attendance.

  I’ve lived here all my life, with the exception of a few years in my late teens and early twenties, and I have never hidden the pride or love that I have for my area, but today was something special, and I will never forget the 23rd of July 2019, when our little community put its best foot forward.

  TDs Michael Fitzmaurice and Eugene Murphy were in attendance along with newly-elected county councillor Declan Geraghty, while also there was the living legend and former councillor Danny Burke. From Lecarrow, Billy Kelly and his wife Carol came over to support us.

  Will we win the competition? I obviously don’t know, but win or not it makes no difference, as for the last month or so this little village surpassed itself – and today crowned it all. I am proud of Creggs, proud to be from here, and as I write this I am absolutely buzzing, and am now heading to Mikeen’s to meet with some of the many people who made the journey home.

And finally…

Finally for this week…another reminder of the big Open Day in Donamon Castle on this Sunday. After 12 noon Mass there is an amazing array of musical talent, fun and games to keep you entertained for the afternoon, with a new addition being the old-style kitchen and working forge. To make it even more attractive, parking is free.

  This is the 25th year of the Open Day, and it’s getting bigger and better. So get on your bike, hit for Donamon, and bring a few bob with you as the big raffle tickets will be on sale, along with books, and my favourites – currant buns and lovely cakes. If I eat any more of that stuff my cardiologist will surely be looking for me to check me out! I hope he doesn’t read the Roscommon People!

 

Til next week, Bye for now!

How music and rugby have helped the ‘process of peace’

 

 

 

On the 10th of April, 1998, the Northern Irish peace agreement was signed, bringing an end to a conflict that had spanned over thirty years, and which had brought untold grief, hardship, and sheer terror to thousands of people. This agreement heralded a new beginning for the divided communities of the war-torn region.

  Twenty years later, it’s easy to forget just how horrendous the events of that period were. However, in the last week or so, I watched two completely different documentaries which shed some light on the importance of both music and rugby in helping to keep some degree of normality alive for the suffering population during those dark days.

  The first one was a documentary by Ardal O’Hanlon about the extraordinary era of the Irish showbands. The film covered a lot of the different aspects of the showband story, also showing how the massacre of the Miami Showband in 1975 as they returned from a gig in Banbridge, Co. Down, changed the social landscape in the North for ever. Up until then, the showbands were playing week in, week out in dancehalls north of the border, despite the Troubles. The prevailing feeling was that, as entertainment providers, they were pretty much guaranteed safe passage. However, in the words of our Country Queen Margo, and perhaps echoing the lyrics of Don McLean’s huge hit, ‘American Pie’ – that was the ‘day the music died’. Immediately after the terrible Miami massacre, the bands all stopped going to the north. In the act of killing three members of that showband and injuring two others, the murdering gang also killed the entire live music industry.

  Up until this, rugby clubs from the south had continued to play up north. However, this incomprehensible atrocity brought that to an end as well. Yet remarkably, to this day – as Brian O’Driscoll’s riveting documentary showed – even the most Orange of Northern people support the Irish rugby team. Brian himself struggled to understand how Orangemen – who told him they were British citizens – could also say they would love Ireland to beat England, but that’s the way it is.

  Rugby alone (of all the major sports) seems to bridge the six-county divide. I suppose it’s because there is only the one team on the entire island, while soccer has both a Northern and Southern team, and of course Gaelic games are seen as a nationalist sport.

  Anyway, it all brought me back to my playing days in the late 1960s and early ‘70s when I was lining out with Dundalk. At least half our fixtures were up north, with a good lot in Belfast, and some in Portadown – the latter at that time was regarded as possibly the most anti-Irish place in the whole province.

  However, while they were aware that we were mostly from the south, the welcome we would receive in those clubs was unbelievable. You would never be allowed to put your hand in your pocket; food and drink was all on the house – which, for a young lad in his 20s, was very much appreciated. For at least a few hours every Saturday, sectarian hatred was put to one side, and peace reigned in those highly-charged areas.

  Sometimes when we played in Belfast, and had to go through known loyalist areas, a fleet of cars would pick us up from the train and we would be told to lie down on the back seat, covered with coats and blankets, so that nobody could see us. Looking back on it now, it should have been scary enough. I suppose we were young and carefree, and all we thought about was playing rugby, and eating and drinking as much as we could for free before ducking back in under the blankets and hoping for no drama on the way back to the train.

  I have to say that both programmes were absolutely riveting, and, while Ardal’s end product was much more fact-based, I found it no less interesting. Brian made a serious effort at trying to understand rugby’s place in Northern Ireland society, a difficult job indeed. If and when they are both shown again, try to have a look and I promise you will find both of them to be compulsive viewing. 

 

 Wimbledon wonders!

On Sunday, while there was an absolute bumper GAA programme in both hurling and football, it was the epic, amazing men’s singles final in the tennis at Wimbledon that provided drama the likes of which we are privileged to see only very few times in a lifetime.

  For more than five hours, two of the greatest players we have ever seen went head to head in this enthralling final, and at the end of it, Novak Djokovic had pipped 37-year-old Roger Federer to the title. In truth, both of them contributed equally to one of, if not the, greatest tennis matches of all time.

  As someone who was physically and emotionally drained after spending most of those five hours on the couch, hopping on the remote from one station to another, it is just mind-boggling to contemplate the physical and mental conditioning of those two warriors. I can only take off my hat to both of them – especially Federer, who, as he approaches 38 years of age, still remains at the top of his sport, and is an example and inspiration to so many. There is no doubt he will take a while to recover from Sunday’s massive disappointment, but he will be back, and as an avid sports lover (except maybe cricket), I look forward to more epic matches between the best players in the world.

  Rafa Nadal is the third member of the Super 3, who between them have claimed 51 of the last 59 Grand Slam titles. As of now, there seems to be no-one else about to challenge their dominance.

  Anyway, it was sport at its absolute best, and a pleasure to watch. I have no doubt that Sunday’s final will be talked about for many years to come.

 

Pride update!

Back home to our local village, Creggs, and as I told you last week, we are full steam ahead for the Pride of Place competition. Nothing I have ever seen before has sparked such a response from the local community, and if nothing else comes of it, the improvement in the village and its immediate surrounds is just remarkable.

  Last Wednesday night and the previous one, there were upwards of 60 locals out doing their bit to clean and tidy up the place, and if you had left Creggs on Wednesday morning and didn’t get back ‘till Thursday you would think you were in a different village, such was the transformation!

  It will be all over in a couple of weeks, but at a time when we are told rural Ireland is dying on its feet, the people of Creggs are showing that with the right leadership and community spirit, anything is possible. Creggs is certainly not showing any sign of a visit to the mortuary. 

And finally…

Finally for this week, just a reminder that the 25th Annual Donamon Open Day takes place on Sunday, July 28th, with Mass at 12 midday followed by an entertainment line-up that would do justice to a major festival.

  My good friends Annette Griffin and John Staunton are performing at the festival Mass, and I don’t have to tell you how talented they are. Among the impressive line-up of musical entertainers you have Jake Carter and his band, Mick Flavin, Carmel McLoughlin, the Ryan Turner Band, along with a number of top local talents.

  All the usual attractions will be there, including the bouncy castle, pony rides, book stall, the big raffle for great cash prizes, an auction, craft village and much, much more. It will all take place under the watchful eye of your MC, the one and only Danny Burke.

  All will be revealed in next week’s Roscommon People, but for now just pencil it into your diary, if you have one, and be in Donamon (where there’s also free parking!) on Sunday, July 28th for a wonderful day’s fun!

 

Till next week, Bye for now!

 

 

Pride of Place very evident in Creggs

 

 

 

It’s a swelteringly hot Monday afternoon, and out here in our little village it’s all systems go as we put the finishing touches to our efforts to win a most prestigious award – the Co. Galway Pride of Place.

  In the entire county of Galway there are only two places nominated – Creggs and Moycullen – and the challenge for our community is to showcase our area to the best of our ability and highlight the many positives there are in living and working here. For the last number of weeks, loads of local volunteers have been gathering information on everything good that is happening in the locality.

  Everything that is considered relevant will be put into both a booklet and video, and on Tuesday, 23rd of July, the judges will come to Creggs at 2.30 pm and take a walk around the village. The judges will have a look at the fantastic work that is going on at the rugby and GAA pitches and other areas, and be treated to a video presentation in another of our unbelievable assets – the local national school.

  Our many local organisations will have the opportunity to showcase all their various exceptional talents and achievements on that day in the school. After that it’s over to the judges – and maybe a few novenas and a prayer or two. The results will be announced at a big do in Lyrath House, in Kilkenny, sometime in November. Win or lose, everyone out here who has got involved will agree that it has been a most worthwhile and fulfilling journey.

  As someone who has really only been on the periphery of the huge community effort, the process has really opened my eyes to the amazing number of people who are involved in so many different organisations. All of these people do this work on a voluntary basis, often unheard of and unsung, but all contributing in so many ways to making Creggs a fantastic place to live in. This competition has brought out people of all ages, shapes and sizes – all anxious to help in any way they can. All I can say, having lived around here nearly all my life, is it really is great to see such an effort being made – and please God it will all be rewarded in November. However, even if the good people of Moycullen were to pip us, it will still have been a great experience, and one a lot of our friends and neighbours will never forget. Up Creggs every time!

 

Meanwhile, in Donamon…

By now you will know that one of my favourite places anywhere is Donamon Castle, which is only about five minutes down the road. Last Sunday week I went to Mass there, and was pleasantly surprised to find that, among the ten or so celebrants, were two very recently ordained priests: one from Germany, and one from China. In an era of so few vocations, it was nice to see two newly-ordained priests.

  Now I don’t think China in particular would be a Catholic country, but the Chinese priest’s parents had travelled all the way to be there for the occasion, and I can only imagine how proud they must have been of their son. Everyone was invited in for tea and buns and stuff, and to meet the new priests, but I had to go and didn’t get to talk to them – it was, however, really nice to have been there at one of their first Masses, and I just want to wish them the very best on their new road of life.

  Still in Donamon, and on Sunday July 28th, they are once again hosting the Annual family day, or the 25th year. Another great day’s entertainment is lined up for all. I will fill you in on everything next week, but just to whet your appetite I can tell you that amongst others, the great Mick Flavin, Carmel McLoughlin, and Jake Carter are definitely appearing. So don’t forget that on the 28th of July, Donamon Castle is the place to be.

 

St Stephen’s Day Walk

 

Back to Creggs, and Mikeen O’Roarke asks me to remind anyone who has money for the St. Stephen’s Day Walk to drop it into him as quickly as they can as it’s time to distribute the funds. So get cracking and bring all you have to Roarke’s.

 

Off the Laois…

 

Finally for this week, what about the amazing performance from the Laois hurlers! On Sunday last, they dumped the highly fancied Dubs out of this year’s championship – a Dublin team that had beaten our own Galway side in the last round, and who were rightly regarded as a team who could have a big say in the destination of the McCarthy Cup.

  The previous Sunday, the Laois lads had won the Joe McDonagh Cup by beating Westmeath in the final, and it’s no secret that they had celebrated flat out for a few days. As someone who can see no logic in the alcohol bans that most managers impose on their players (sometimes even at club level), I was thrilled to see that Laois produced such a performance after their few days’ break.

  As their manager Eddie Brennan said, they went back training on Wednesday night, and by Friday night he could tell they were all fully tuned in, and ready for whatever the Dubs threw at them.

  Some bookies gave them so little chance in the game that they were quoting Dublin at 3/1 for the next match against Tipperary, thereby writing Laois totally out of the script – such a lack of respect was surely a motivating factor for the Midlanders, and regardless of what happens next Sunday against the Premier county, the hurlers of Laois have torn up the form book and been the story of the GAA summer, at least so far, and given hope and inspiration to every underdog everywhere. Will the Rossies follow suit against Tyrone on Saturday evening? Don’t rule it out!

Till next week, Bye for now!

Chilling cruelty in our greyhound industry exposed

 

I have to say that generally I am not a man who watches television programmes that expose different types of abuses and wrongdoings, although I am aware that over the years RTE’s investigative reporters have exposed all types of corruption…involving everything from dishonest politicians to unregulated ESB environmental damage, to health care standards, to the misuse of steroids, to the over-prescription of tablets and so on.

  However, the other night I had the misfortune to tune into a programme investigating the treatment of underperforming greyhounds, and I can honestly tell you I have seldom been as disturbed as I was by what that hour of television revealed. Up to 6,000 greyhounds are killed each year in Ireland, just because they are of no further use, racing-wise.

  Footage of a knackery in Co. Wexford where a poor dog was shot in the head, and could be seen writhing on the ground for a few seconds after the barbaric act, chilled me to the bone.

  That was bad enough, but later we saw a greyhound thrown into a barrel of boiling water in China and being boiled alive. Whether or not that particular poor creature came from Ireland I don’t know, but the programme alleged that Irish greyhounds are ending up in China, a country we are not allowed to send our animals to, and where there is apparently absolutely no consideration shown to the animals, and where unspeakable cruelty seems to be the norm.

  Now I am well aware that we have loads of perfectly genuine greyhound trainers and owners out there who care properly for the animals’ welfare, but there are also unscrupulous people involved in the industry (as in everything) who just couldn’t care less.

  For me, as I’m sure for lots of viewers, this programme was highly disturbing. It was one that I didn’t really want to watch, yet I just couldn’t stop doing so. It truly proved that when it comes to barbaric and inhuman acts, the human population is hard to beat.

There’s almost a sting in this tale…

It’s summertime and in my opinion one of the nicest things about this time of year is the great stretch in the evenings. For huge numbers of people, it’s an opportunity to spend some quality time in the garden, and at least for a while we become experts on flowers, plants, greenfly, slugs, moss, and compost, and all kinds of things that make up a gardener’s life.

  Everything is vibrant. The roses and shrubs are in full bloom, and the hedge needs to be trimmed to keep it (sort of) tidy. The birds are singing, and, as they say, everything in the garden is rosy, and life couldn’t be better.

  And so it was on Wednesday of last week, when I was slaving (a definite lie) away at work, that my good wife Carol decided to trim the aforementioned hedge, got to work on it, and inadvertently disturbed a wasps’ nest. She was immediately surrounded by (according to her) hundreds of angry hornets, but thankfully she took off like a scalded cat and managed to make the safety of the house without receiving any stings. She also got our little miniature Jack Russell safely inside.

  Now there can scarcely be anything more terrifying than being attacked by a swarm of angry wasps, so when things settled down, we decided to have a look, and lo and behold, we discovered another nest just a bit further down the hedge. By now alarm bells were ringing, and we decided it was time to call in the experts, so I rang former St. Joseph’s footballer (don’t hold that against him) Alan O’Keeffe, proprietor of AOK Pest Control, and asked him to sort out the wasps for us.

  It is now Friday morning, I am once again slaving at work (another lie), and the good news is that Alan came, saw, and conquered, and we are now a wasp-free zone again. I can’t thank him enough for getting rid of those dangerous visitors, and Carol can now finish trimming the hedge.

  Now it’s easy to trivialise these things, but even though these nests were the size of an average bird’s one, we hadn’t noticed either of them. Alan told us one of them was there for quite some time, and had a huge amount of eggs, and he reckoned by September we would have been completely overrun – not a nice thought.

  All I can say is, keep your eyes open – obviously hedges are places of interest to these little pests.  Above all, remember they are extremely dangerous and will attack in numbers, so take no chances, call in the experts and get rid of them once and for all –and enjoy your garden for the rest of what will hopefully be a long, hot (not too hot) summer.

 

Centenary celebrations as legend Eddie
Kehir to guest

 

It’s hard to believe it now – when teams like Clann na nGael, St. Brigid’s and others dominate the club football scene in County Roscommon – but give or take a century ago, down the road in Donamon we had a team that won the County Senior Championship in 1918/19/20 and ’25.

  Oran’s Mikey Monaghan tells me they are having a Centenary Celebration this weekend for the team that achieved all those wonderful victories.

  In 1925, Donamon defeated Boyle Army Barracks – which was called the 3rd Infantry Battalion. A Battalion that still exists, it’s based in Kilkenny City, and accordingly Oran are playing the 3rd Infantry Battalion football team in Rockfield on Sunday next, 7th July at 1.30 pm.

  Now Mikey sent me loads of stuff about Donamon and Oran, material which would nearly take up a full book (now there’s a thought for you, Mikey). There were loads of names involved with those Donamon teams that kept cropping up with Oran teams through the years. Among the players that played back then were Stephen Keher, father of the legendary Kilkenny hurler, Eddie, and Stephen’s brother Bertie. Stephen was subsequently transferred to Kilkenny, where his son made such a name for himself, and is still regarded as one of the all-time greats of hurling. The good news is that Eddie Keher will be the Guest of Honour at Sunday’s proceedings. I wonder if Stephen had stayed in this area would Eddie have had the hurling career that he had? I suppose we’ll never know.

  Admission on Sunday is free, but a commemorative match programme will be on sale for only €5. After the game everyone is invited for a cup of tea and a chat, and from there on to Kenny’s in Rockfield, where a relation of my own, DJ Cush, will be providing the entertainment. Knowing some of the older Oran lads like I do, I can guarantee the craic will be ninety, so don’t forget, 1.30 pm on Sunday in Rockfield  – and I hope to see you all there.

Till next week, Bye for now!

Why we need minimum pricing to tackle alcohol woes

 

 

One of the regular readers of this column often gently chides me over my occasional mention of Mikeen’s pub in Creggs, and of the social happenings that take place there. This man feels that I am promoting the use and abuse of alcohol, an accusation that I of course totally deny.

  Now I make no secret of the fact that I like an odd pint of the black stuff, and certainly hold the belief that a quiet pint now and again can actually be a good thing – for a number of different reasons. But I have for a good while now been completely against the modern culture of drinking cheap alcohol at home, a practice that I believe can lead to all kinds of problems, including mental health illness and domestic abuse. The ridiculously low prices that supermarkets charge for slabs of lager or beer, or even bottles of wine, has led to this massive increase in home drinking, and successive governments here have done nothing to tackle the problem, probably because of the huge tax revenue such sales generate.

  Over in Scotland, where there are 22 alcohol-related deaths every single week, in May of last year they introduced minimum pricing, targeting cheap high strength ciders, spirits and fortified wines, and already there has been a 3% drop in alcohol sales. Now you might say 3% isn’t a lot, but in human terms that alone would save just under 80 precious lives a year.

  In Scotland, where there is an average of 683 alcohol-related hospital admissions per week, there are, obviously, families, friends and communities who are also indirectly affected by such alcohol abuse, and I say well done to the Scottish Government for taking action. They are the first country to do so, and as a result alcohol sales were the lowest for twenty-five years, so come on you Irish politicians, follow their example and do something about this scourge in our society.

  At least any responsible publican will stop serving someone who is obviously intoxicated and send them on their way. There is no such restriction at home where you can drink yourself into oblivion if you want and nobody, except your family, knows or cares. It’s time to tackle the problem – and minimum pricing would be a start.

 

Slings and sparrows

 

One of the unwritten rules of nature, human and otherwise, is that a mother will always protect her young.

  This morning, as I sat at the kitchen table trying to do justice to the full Irish (which by the way I did), I saw a perfect example of a mother doing exactly that.

  In the cavity blocks on my shed out the back, a family of little sparrows have set up home. The chicks are still in the nest, and daddy and mammy sparrow are in and out all day bringing food to the babies.

  This morning, for some reason, a group of bigger birds – about ten in all – seemed to be attacking the nest, but every time a big bird came to the opening in the wall, the much smaller mammy sparrow (maybe it could have been daddy) literally flew into the attacker and sent it on its way. When I realised what was going on, I took a hand myself and got rid of them, hopefully for good.

  So far today they have not come back, so let’s hope the little bird’s heroism paid off, and the chicks will make it safely into the big bad world. As long as they keep away from our adjacent clothes line they will have a good chance of survival, but if they dirty the clothes, they had better watch out. Just in case you think I mean that, I’m only kidding, and I hope that my intervention, along with that of their parents, may help them have a long happy life, flying round the countryside. Yes, I’m a real man for the birds!

 

Should society protect identity of young killers?

 

Occasionally, even in a world where we are accustomed to terrible, unmentionable deeds, something happens that is so extremely violent and debased that it shocks normal society to the core. There can be no doubt that the murder of 14-year-old Ana Kriegel in a derelict house in Lucan just over a year ago is one of those events.

  The two accused boys have been found guilty of the heinous crime.

  I have to say that I am concerned about the law which prevents identifying young offenders. I appreciate of course that it is the law, but I for one would be in favour of that law being changed.

  It baffles me as to why children who commit murder should be protected. Many people will feel that children who kill are capable of consciously planning what they do. We have seen in other cases where convicted killers (children) are, on release, given new identities, set up in jobs, arguably never publicly associated with their crimes, etc.

  Obviously the law is as it is, and a key aim is to protect the children in question, but I would argue that there should be some exceptions to the rule. Many people will question why murderers, whether aged 13 or 30, should be treated with kid gloves, indeed treated with more sympathy than their victim(s).

  I happen to believe that teenagers, because of the influence of social media and the Internet, are every bit as educated as adults are, and therefore they should pay for their crimes the same as the rest of us. Maybe the biggest revelation came after the trial, when we were made aware of the fact that Boy A had two mobile phones with thousands of images of violent pornographic acts. It would seem to me that the widespread accessibility of such material by a 13-year-old also needs to be addressed.

  In the meantime, nothing can bring back young Ana, so all I can say is how sorry I am to her parents and other family members, and may she rest in peace.

 

And finally…

Finally for this week, as a man who plays a little golf on Castlerea’s lovely course, I watched in wonder as a totally unknown Australian golfer, 22-year-old Hannah Green, won her first ever tournament – and a major at that – when she led the world’s top lady golfers from pillar to post.

  Even after three rounds nobody mentioned her anywhere as a potential winner, as everyone expected her to bow to the last-round pressure and wilt, but she held her nerve, played a flawless 18 holes and won the Major. I have to say it was a most uplifting win. Who knows, maybe there’s a Captain’s Prize in me yet.

 

Till next week, Bye for now!

Black weekend for maroon men…but congrats to Roscommon!

 

For as long as I can remember, Monday has always been regarded as the most depressing day of the week, and as I sit at the kitchen table on this cold, wet, miserable June morning, I have to admit that this Monday certainly lives up to that reputation.

  For all of us who have the maroon and white blood of Galway flowing through our veins, this weekend was as demoralising and disappointing as any in living memory, with the hurlers bowing out of the Leinster Championship on Saturday night – after going down to the Dubs – to be followed by a pathetic footballing performance when losing to the Rossies in Salthill on Sunday.

  In fairness to the hurlers they owe us nothing, and apparently they went down, as they say, with their boots on in a super game of hurling, but sadly the footballers seemed to totally lose their way when a really strong Roscommon team put them under pressure.

  Now it goes without saying that all players go out to do their best, and sometimes when things start to go wrong it can be very hard to rectify matters, but I make no apology for saying that for a long time now I have had no faith in the football philosophy of the management team.

  ‘Negative’ and ‘defensive’ would be the two adjectives that I would use to describe the Galway set-up. Why they continually slow everything down and go backwards when in attack beats me, and on Sunday, even when down by two or three points towards the end, they still played to their so-called system, going sideways and back instead of going bald-headed for the scores they needed.

  The long ball which the Rossies used to great effect – although they too got loads of men behind the ball – could easily have yielded some dividends, although there can be no doubt that the better team won, and well done to Anthony Cunningham and his very committed men. I believe they will be very hard to beat in the Super 8s, and nobody will look forward to meeting them.

  As for Galway, they have a shot at redemption through the qualifiers, and I sincerely hope the management let them off the leash and encourage them to have a go. They have some decent footballers, although physically the wearers of the primrose and blue seemed to be much stronger and better built, and, maybe (although unlikely) they could still make it to the Super 8s.

  It is somewhat ironic also that the managers of the Dublin hurlers and Roscommon footballers are both highly regarded Galway men, but each of them has a job to do, and fair play to both of them for a job well done.  

  However, with all that being said, the real reason I’m depressed this morning is that I told everyone who would listen to me last week that Kilkenny and Wexford would draw, that Dublin would beat Galway and the Rossies would do the same – but I never put one cent on those results with the bookies.

  I am not a gambler as such, with a very occasional flutter only, but for some reason I never even thought of wagering a few bob and as a result I am thoroughly deflated this morning. It’s not often that I could beat the bookies, but this was a lost opportunity. The good (or bad) news is that I’m off to Kilbeggan Races later today, so maybe I’ll make up for missing out. I doubt it, but hope springs eternal.

 

On my tourism bucket list…

 

At the moment we are slap-bang in the middle of concert season, and acts like Elton John, Bon Jovi, Michael Buble, Metallica, and the Spice Girls, amongst others, have all performed in Ireland recently. One of our premier concert venues is Malahide Castle, where there are 270 acres of beautiful parkland, along of course with one of the oldest and most historic castles in the country.  

  A week or so ago I paid a visit to the castle, and just as with our own Forest Park, it really is a spectacular location, and a wonderful amenity to have in the area. The day I was there was one of the lovely summer days we had recently, and the park was packed with tourists…families having picnics, children, dogs, walkers, runners and cyclists, and the atmosphere was just so lovely and relaxing.

  The gardens are vast, and full of all kinds of exotic plants and flowers, and while I would be fairly lukewarm about such stuff, my wife Carol was totally immersed in all things horticultural, and I nearly had to call security to get her out of the gardens.

  The area where the concerts are held is really just a big open field with loads of room, and I’m told George Ezra is performing to a sold out crowd there on Friday night. Sadly I won’t be there, but I’m sure it will be a fantastic night in what is a fantastic venue. It’s funny how we can know so little about places. I was totally unaware that Malahide has an amazing beach, which sadly is not safe for swimmers, but great for walking or sun bathing, and that it’s a village full of interesting pubs and restaurants, as well as having the renowned Grand Hotel, where, while the pint of Guinness was €5.60, the opulent surroundings made it worth it.  Anyway, it made me realise that it’s no wonder this island gets so many tourists, as there are so many wonderful areas to visit, and so much beauty to see. In truth, even though we live here, a lot of us have never got to see most of our famous attractions.

  For me, the Giant’s Causeway remains on my bucket list, while closer to home I have never got to Clonmacnoise, The Hill of Tara, the Arigna Mine experience, or even Athlone Castle. Better get on my bike or time will pass me by, and I’ll leave this world with a lot still to see.

And finally…

Finally for this week, I have to admit that I have no interest whatsoever in the TV show Love Island, and have never watched it and never will. But I can’t avoid the major impact Longford girl Maura Higgins has made in her short time on the show.

  All the papers are reporting on complaints that the programme has received about her amorous advances towards Tommy, the brother of heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury, with hundreds of viewers unhappy with her allegedly predatory behaviour.

  Now correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that what this show -– and other such reality shows – are all about? Hasn’t this programme the express aim of, as they say, finding love – and if there’s a bit of how’s your father thrown in that’s all the better (and certainly better for the ratings). I also seem to remember that our Longford lady laid her cards clearly on the table when she joined the show, by saying that she would do whatever it took to get her man, so it seems to me she is simply doing what she said she would. So what’s all the fuss about?

  However, I can tell you that no matter what comes down the line, I will not be tuning in. Give me Blue Bloods and Magnum P.I. any time.

 

Till next week, Bye for now!

‘Pool earn their Spurs – and Katie rules the world

 

It’s Saturday evening, and I have decided to break with a long-standing tradition, and despite it being a bank holiday weekend I have made up my mind that I am not going to visit any pub, but am instead going to have a quiet night watching sport on the telly.

  Now with the Champions League final taking place, and with the massive support Liverpool have all over the country, I knew that the craic and the atmosphere in pubs everywhere would be brilliant, but once my decision was made there was no going back – and so I settled down and thoroughly enjoyed my peaceful evening.

  I missed the first twenty minutes or so of the Champions League game, and with apologies to supporters of both clubs (Spurs and Liverpool), I was sorry I didn’t miss it all, as in my opinion it was an awful game, with none of the good football that brought the two clubs as far as the final! However, as anyone will tell you, it’s all about winning, and the ‘Pool took the honours – and in the process confirmed their status as the most successful English club ever in Europe.

  The local members of the Liverpool Supporters Club that I met last night (Sunday) were understandably delighted with their victory, and in truth they couldn’t care less how the win was achieved. In my totally unimportant opinion, the referee was wrong with the penalty decision, but things like that always happen in football, and nothing can change the end result…so congratulations to Jurgen Klopp and his men.

  The unpalatable truth for those of us who follow other clubs in the Premier League is that Liverpool have now assembled a really good side, and, along with Man. City, are streets ahead of all the rest. It looks like a barren few – maybe a good few – years ahead for us poor folk who follow Man Utd. At least this year we know it in advance!

  Anyway, I had a few hours to kill before my next big sporting event of the night, so I watched yet another semi-final (the fifth of the week) of Britain’s Got Talent, and then I set my clock for half past one and headed off for a couple of hours’ sleep before rising again to watch Katie Taylor’s world unification fight against Belgium’s Delfine Persoon.

  Now there are lots of experts out there who claim the Belgian policewoman should have got the verdict – and maybe they are right – but the people that matter are the judges, and they gave it to the Bray woman. Leaving the result aside, the fight itself was one of the toughest, most physical, and compellingly brutal that I have ever seen. It was 10 rounds of unrelenting aggression, and it was  undoubtedly a result that could have gone either way (the draw might have been about right). One way or another, Katie dug in and ground out a victory, and in my opinion in that battle she copperfastened her position as one of our greatest ever sports persons.

  The punters who paid in to see the two best female lightweight boxers on the planet gave them a standing ovation at the end of a gruelling contest. I have to say I was absolutely buzzing with the ferocity of it all.

  No doubt about it, Katie has put women’s boxing right out there, and she deserves every reward – sporting and financial – that comes her way.

  My plan was to retire for the night at that stage, and as it was now almost 3 am it would have been well time to do so, but I was on such a high that sleep just wouldn’t come, and so I stayed up to watch the Anthony Joshua heavyweight championship bout, a fight that the affable Englishman was expected to win in a canter. AJ (that’s how he is known) was twenty to one on (that means you had to put 20 on to win 1), but in what was a remarkable bout he was to lose on a technical knock-out to a Mexican fighter called Andy Ruiz Jnr, who produced the performance of a lifetime to knock Joshua down four times before eventually finishing him off in the seventh.

  Two things stood out for me about this fight, the first being the complete graciousness with which AJ took his defeat, the second being the unusual physical condition that the winner seemed to be in. In an age where all sportsmen, but particularly boxers, look as if they have been sculpted – and often have more six-packs than you would see in a busy off-license on a bank holiday weekend – it was heartening to see an athlete who looked as if he had trained on a diet of burgers and chips, and who might have been more suited to an ad for Supermac’s than for a world heavyweight championship fight.

  However, in this case at least, looks were totally deceiving and the Mexican underdog proved to be a very good boxer and a most deserving winner. I think both fights will result in rematches, and I may well have another long, late night watching the next instalment in what could end up being a long-running saga.

  For the moment however, despite Persoon claiming she is about to lodge an objection against the result, let’s all rejoice at the achievements of the extraordinary Katie Taylor. No matter what lies in her future, for a decade or more she has been a shining light in Irish sport, a role model for all women, and a genuine world superstar. Well done Katie, we’re so proud of you.

 

And finally…

Finally for this week, while we were away on holidays the racing world was shocked by the sudden retirement of champion jockey, Ruby Walsh, who announced he was quitting with immediate effect after winning the Punchestown Gold Cup (on Kemboy) for trainer Willie Mullins.

  The good news is that the former Personality of the Year out here in Creggs, Tom Connolly – even though he’s pushing on a bit now, having recently celebrated his 60th birthday – has decided he’s the man to fill the void created by Walsh’s retirement. Under the watchful eye of Mags Keane, Tom has gone into training, and was recently seen trotting around the village (on a horse).

  It may take a bit of time, but it is my prediction that Tom will be riding winners before too long. Watch this space.

 

Till next week, Bye for now!

Elections were better in the good old days!

 

 

 

 

Sometimes I wonder, as we look back at events that took place many years ago, whether the passage of time colours our memories and if subconsciously we dramatise or romanticise certain things when they were not nearly as dramatic or romantic as we would like to think.

  Was the weather as good as we older folk always claim it was? Were the never-ending sunshine filled summer days of the fifties and sixties, during which the farmers saved the hay and turf and later the corn, with the minimum of fuss, actually real or was it all just a figment of childish imagination?

  Were the local carnivals, which every village held for a week or a fortnight during the summer, really as exciting as our ageing minds like us to think? Or were the dances simply an excuse for filling up with a bucket of porter, and pushing and shoving for an hour or two in the hope (usually forlorn) of meeting a pretty girl before heading home in the early hours fortified by a cup of tea and a slice of cake, compliments of the ladies committee?

  All these thoughts came into my head last Friday evening when I headed off to my local polling booth, in Lisaniskey National School where there was some excitement missing. Once again, my mind drifted back to the scenes at Creggs NS on election day when I was a young lad. Back in those days it was pretty much a head to head between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, with an odd Labour candidate thrown in here and there.

  All the parties would mobilise on Election Day and cars would spend all day bringing people who had no transport into the village. Folk who wouldn’t be seen for the rest of the year would magically arrive into town courtesy of the local Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael driver. On occasion the driver would make a deliberate mistake, and pick up a voter who should be voting the other way but, of course, by giving them a lift in and out of town they would have a good chance of changing their mind! This practice often led to jostling and pushing and shoving at the door of the school, which to a young gasun was manna from Heaven!

  The other big difference was that most of the candidates would appear during the day, making a last ditch attempt to win over some undecided voters, whereas last Friday I saw no posters outside the school and, at least while I was there, not a candidate in sight. I did, however, run into a great Rossie, Padraic Whyte, and the next I saw him was on the front page of Monday’s Irish Independent as he celebrated Roscommon’s big win over Mayo in Castlebar on Saturday evening!

  Anyway, the elections are over and done with, congratulations to the winners and commiserations to the losers, but for me the excitement simply wasn’t there. No inter-party local row to report on, no pushing and shoving at the door, no punches thrown and not even a cross word spoken. Maybe, just maybe it’s a sign of a more mature Ireland. But I’d really have preferred to have had a good scrap outside Lisaniskey National School to tell you about…maybe next time!

 

Lough Key is a real gem!

 

Back in the days when our children were young, one of our favourite places to visit as a family was Lough Key Forest Park, outside Boyle. With its wide open spaces and beautiful walks and parks, it was the ideal place for kids to play football or do whatever young children do, in a completely safe and idyllic environment.

  Last Wednesday afternoon, my wife Carol and I decided to pay the park a visit for the first time in many years. I have to say we thoroughly enjoyed it and it is an absolute treasure to have it less than an hour away from us. The County of Roscommon should be so thankful that it has such a wonderful tourist attraction inside its boundaries.

  Since we were last there many big changes have taken place, with all kinds of activities available for both adults and children and there is also a fine new marina. All of these new attractions seemed to be busy on the Wednesday afternoon, which fortunately happened to be a lovely, bright, sunny one.

  However, the things that endeared the park to us all those years ago were still there and all around us kids were kicking ball, throwing Frisbees and generally enjoying themselves. We sat out on the balcony at the restaurant, over a cup of coffee and a bun and thought back to the days when it was our children that were playing out there. We wondered, not for the first time, where have all the years gone.

  Eventually it was time for us to head off home but not before buying a jar of the most beautiful homemade honey in the garden shop. All I can say is, if you want to experience total peace in wonderful, natural surroundings, then hop in the car and head for Lough Key Forest Park…you will not regret it!

 

I missed the social event of the year!

 

Finally for this week, last weekend I had to travel out of town for a medical appointment and as a result I missed one of the biggest social events held locally for quite a long time last Saturday: the sixtieth birthday celebrations of the former Personality of the Parish, Tom Connolly at Mikeen’s.

  I’m told it was one of the “best nights ever”, with a huge turnout, great music, food and craic, and as Tom is one of the great characters around the area, it is no wonder so many people turned out to join in the celebrations.

  The whole thing was a big surprise for the man himself, as he had no idea the party was taking place at all but one thing’s for sure, nothing fazes him and I’m certain he would not have been at a loss for words!

  I’m sorry I missed it, but heartiest congratulations to Tom and if I’m still around for your seventieth (doubtful, enough I’d say) I’ll make sure I’m there!

 

Till next week, Bye for now!

Living with a litigation culture

 

 

 

It’s Saturday morning, and I am at work in Athlone. One of the things I like to do (hope the boss doesn’t get the Roscommon People) before it gets busy is read the morning papers, and this morning I am struck by the number of reports there are on various (and totally different) types of lawsuits.

  ‘Solicitor to the Stars’ Gerald Kean won a libel case against The Star newspaper, and a payout of €160,000, in a case that (funnily enough) merited a big feature (including photos) in The Daily Mail, but doesn’t appear to have been covered in The Star itself!

  Meanwhile, a lady who sued after falling from her horse during a Hunt, lost her damages claim. As someone who has had minor involvement with Hunts people, I would have to question why this young lady was ever advised to go down the legal route, as to my untrained legal mind her case seemed to have very little chance of success.

  In a nutshell, she sued the Hunt and the landowner after she suffered severe injuries when she had a fall. However, the Field Master of the Hunt had inspected the obstacle and advised the riders not to jump it, deeming it to be too dangerous. Apparently the young lady had fallen too far behind and didn’t hear his instruction, but the Judge ruled she should have kept reasonably close to the Hunt Master (to be in a position to receive such advice).

  In other cases, a stores worker sued after bruising her eye, but she too lost her case as an award of more than €31,000 was overturned – the High Court Judge found it “was her own fault” – and a former amateur boxer who claimed €60,000 damages for injuries received in a car crash also had his claim dismissed. He had said the only sport he had taken part in since the accident was swimming, but social media had footage of him taking part in boxing, so he too lost his claim.

  The overall conclusion that I have come to is that we now live in a ‘sue environment’ but thankfully judges are at last showing some sense in dealing with these cases, and no longer dishing out ridiculous awards. My advice to you is, if you decide to follow someone for anything, stay off social media, or your every move will be documented and followed.

  Now it goes without saying that I am not in any way condoning this new culture, but like it or not it seems to be here to stay, and everyone and every organisation is fair game, so we all better be on our guard or someone will find a reason to make a claim.  

Is it time to call time on Eurovision?

I managed to miss the Eurovision Song Contest at the weekend, but I see on all the papers that Madonna’s appearance, and performance, was a complete disaster. One critic in the Daily Mail described it as a nightmare of a performance, while The Guardian simply said it was excruciating.

  Thankfully I missed it all, but it seems to me that it’s time to consign this contest to the scrapheap.

  Britain’s entrant, Michael Rice, who finished last with only 16 votes, said the vote was totally political, with everyone against Britain for leaving the EU, and there can be no doubt that by now the actual song is of very little consequence, and it’s all down to politics.

  However, the huge extravaganza generates so much money that there is no way it will ever come to an end. The Netherlands will host it next year, and  once again Ireland will fail to make the final, and Britain will come close to the bottom (they have been last four times in the last sixteen years), and the truth is even if we had the best song ever written, it would make no difference. We don’t have enough political pull.

  Despite putting big money into the contest each year, thereby keeping them out of the semi-finals, the UK has never been in the top 10 in the last decade. If things stay that way the day might yet come when ourselves and Britain simply say ‘what’s the point?’ – and we both pull the plug.

Two major golfing achievements…

This weekend the golfing world is celebrating two monumental achievements. The first one is I will refer to is probably the better-known one, and that is the history-making win for American Brooks Koepka, who became only the fourth man to win four majors in only eight attempts when he won the USA PGA title on Sunday.

  He joins three of the biggest names in golf – Woods, Nicklaus and Hogan – in doing that, and his name will forever be immortalised in golfing history.

  The second major feat may not be quite as well covered in the international media, but on Friday evening, in the Castlerea Golf Classic, a hitherto unknown player had the huge honour of getting a birdie at one of the two new holes that were in operation, competitively, for the very first time.

  That player was of course myself, and one of my playing partners, Alan Devine, (my brother Duff, and my publican Mikeen were the other two) took a photo of me as I celebrated my own history-making moment.

  I don’t know if it was the first ever birdie on this hole, but it doesn’t matter, as it was definitely on its first day of play. Anyway, Alan got it developed and framed, and on Saturday evening at the presentation of prizes in the clubhouse, I was presented with my own memento of my big moment, and in case you don’t believe me…the picture is printed right here for your pleasure.

  The Classic itself was a huge success, with more than forty teams competing over the two days. Liam and Valerie Callaghan, people with a very strong connection with Creggs Rugby Club, claimed the first prize along with two team-mates.

  The presentation night was really enjoyable. There was great music and craic, and all the speeches highlighted the huge effort put in by the club members, volunteers, and others to have the course in such pristine condition. The overwhelming feeling is that Castlerea Golf Club is in a good place and facing the future with confidence.

  As for me, I will never forget the day I made my own golfing history, and I thank Alan for recording the photographic evidence. I had intended to frame the ball I did it with, but unfortunately I sent it out of bounds at the next hole – and sadly I failed to find it. Such are the joys of golf at the highest level, but I can console myself with the thought that even Koepka had a few wobbles before he clinched his record-breaking win.

 

And finally…hurling heroics

Finally for this week, as the Roscommon footballers prepare for their big Connacht semi-final against Mayo in Castlebar on Saturday, what about the achievement of the hurlers, who, after two unexpected victories, over Kildare (home) and London (away), have made it through to the semi-final of the Christy Ring Cup.

  After the difficulties the hurlers had last year, it’s great to see them bounce back in such a positive way, and as hurling is confined to a relatively small area in the county, it must be a constant struggle to keep it alive.  

  As a result, any success is more than welcome, so very well done on their wins so far – and let’s hope they can keep up the momentum and maybe even win the Christy Ring. What a story that would be!

Till next week, Bye for now!

 

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