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Frankly Speaking

Frankly Speaking

Days of Olympian innocence are gone!

Last Wednesday night week ago for the first time since the start of the Rio Olympics, I actually watched something from the games when I stayed up to see Moate boxer, Joe Ward, as he made an unsuccessful effort to get on the road to a prized gold medal. Sadly in a most disappointing encounter with Ecuadorian boxer, Carlos Mina, who was a very awkward customer, despite giving all he had, the Irishman just failed to get the verdict and lost out on a split decision to the more flamboyant South American fighter.

            Ward understandably was very upset at losing the fight, putting paid for at least another four years to his Olympic dream and after working so hard for the last four years to get there it makes it all the more remarkable that another Irish boxing hopeful, Michael O’Reilly, who failed a drugs test just before flying out to Rio, would accidentally or not take any substance that might cause him to miss out on his chance of Olympic glory.

            Every athlete, from our county footballers and hurlers to top professional athletes are aware of what substances they can take and there is absolutely no excuse whatsoever to take something that is on the banned list. O’Reilly will say it was an accident, but accident or not he will forever be tarnished as the Irish boxer who failed a drugs test and by inference, be always regarded as a drugs cheat.

  I can honestly say that I have never been as immersed in the Olympics as others, including my brother Billy who used to know everything about every games and probably still does and yet when we were young I can still remember staging our own Olympics in Pat Cunningham’s hayfield across the road from our home house on a few beautiful sunny days, (what are they?) when we were meant to be saving Mr. Cunningham’s hay. As far as I can remember there were only three competitors in our Milford Olympics, Jack the Higher, The Rasher and myself, but I can tell you the quest for glory was every bit as competitive as the real thing and any of the events was hard won. Some Mauritian athlete was the star of the particular games that we were inspired by probably the ‘64 ones and I adopted his identity for the entire summer.

            Looking back now it seems that things were a lot simpler and the Olympics movement was as yet untainted with the many scandals that have sullied it’s reputation in the intervening years.

  The almost universal use of drugs, by not only Russian athletes but also those from many other nations, means that we are inclined to view every outstanding performance in whatever event with suspicion and I think the whole package has been very badly effected and yet despite all the doubts it was amazing to see the American swimmer, Michael Phelps, at the age of 31, win his 23rd gold medal of an incredible career becoming the most decorated Olympian of all time.

            By the time you read this a lot more of these games will have taken place and all I can hope is that whoever wins anything will do so fairly and squarely, without the aid of any performance enhancing drugs. As for the Milford Olympics, I was (as far as I can remember) the undisputed overall champion and my victory was untainted by the use of any forbidden substances except maybe Tommy Healy’s Black Jack sweets, which were strong enough to cause a fair amount of internal combustion, which was very useful in both the long and high jump events. I hope neither Jack the Higher or the Rasher read this, as I don’t want to be stripped of my titles after all this time. I can always say I only took them by accident and was unaware of their special powers!

Bolt of lightning in the middle of the night

Writing this on Monday morning I can tell you that I got up in the middle of last night, for a change not to go to the loo but to watch a man who must have special powers, Usain Bolt, make Olympic history by winning the 100 metres final in three consecutive games; Beijing 2008, London 2012 and now Rio 2016. It was a strange final with the crowd booing runner-up American Justin Gatlin, who has twice been banned for drug abuse on his introduction and when the US runner led half-way through for a fleeting moment it looked as if a sporting disaster might be looming. Bolt, however, hit the turbo over the last half of the race, and from then on there was only one winner.

  However it’s not only his talent that makes the Jamaican so special, it’s more his unique personality that endears him to millions of fans (me included), and the selfie he took, with the three lady heptathlon medal winners, in the middle of his victory lap of honour, was so typical of the man, and, as I headed back to my bed sometime after 3 am I felt privileged to have seen such a remarkable, historic moment. I hope he keeps to his retirement plans in the next year or so as it would be sad to see him try to keep going until the next games in Japan - his legacy is already written in stone, and I don’t think he should risk a defeat that might, in any way, tarnish his outrageously successful career.

  Before I leave the Olympics, there is nothing I can say about our silver medal winners, the O’Donovan brothers from Skibbereen, that hasn’t already been said, but they are our Usain Bolt, except we have two of them. They are funny, natural fellows, who love what they do, enjoy life, say whatever comes into their heads without worrying how it comes out and they have brightened up this miserable summer for all of us with their exploits. I would think there will be the mother of all parties in the west Cork town when they finally make it home - well done lads, congrats, and here’s to Japanese gold in four years time.

Kilbegnet Mass restores faith

Yesterday evening, following Galway’s heartbreaking defeat to Tipperary in the senior hurling semi-final, I found myself at the Parish open air mass in Kilbegnet graveyard, and in trying times for the Catholic religion, it was both amazing and heartwarming to see the hundreds of people who turned up. I saw many people who had travelled long distances to pray at the graves of their loved ones, and, among the crowd were several people, who have long since left our parish, to live in different areas all over the country and who we only see on these type of rare occasions.  

  Thankfully, the rain kept away, although I can’t say the same about the midges; all round me I could see people scratching and trying to beat away the little mites but, midges or not, as I went home I felt a little bit uplifted by my hour or so in Kilbegnet graveyard.

Fundraising dance in Dowd’s!

Finally, for this week, the year has fairly flown by, and believe it or not, it’s almost time for our annual fundraising dance in aid of Cancer Care West and the Lourdes Invalid fund.

  This year, once again, we are in Dowd’s of Glinsk on Saturday night the 1st of October with music by the wonderful ‘Lancers’ and we will, on this the 10th year of the dance, be relying on you all for your unfailing support. We hope to have our tickets available very soon, so, the bad news for ye all is that in the very near future, some of us will be knocking at your door and we look forward to seeing you.

Till next week, bye for now

Shop ‘alive with the sound of music’ last week

Every week, for five out of the seven days, you will find me at work (although a good few people wouldn’t agree with that description) in the shop in Athlone and most of the time I spend going from one channel to the next, looking for what I would call ‘nice’ music on the radio.

  Now I must make it clear that I listen to the two Joes, Finnegan and Duffy, fairly regularly and I actually enjoy their shows most days and occasionally I tune in to presenters like Johnny O’Keefe on Shannonside and Ronan Collins on RTE One. However, being of a certain advanced age a lot of the music that is being played nowadays does nothing for me and I would long for the days of the old sponsored programmes and the sounds of the showbands and the brilliant groups of the sixties.

  However, I wasn’t too bothered but last week my niece, Aoife Bracken, (she’s my niece on Carol’s side) arrived up to my house with a load of CDs and cassette tapes which she no longer had any use for and I gladly accepted them, but really had no idea what to do with them. There were more than 60 cassette tapes and a number of CDs but it was when I had a look at what they were and who they were by that I realised I had the answer to my music problem. I can’t tell you all the artists but among them were Declan Nerney, Big Tom, Garth Brooks, Joe Dolan, Athlone stars, Donna and Joe, the Showband Show and probably a collector’s item; a CD from the very short-lived Louis Walsh creation, ‘Six’. All week people coming in have commented favorably on my selection of background music!

  The remarkable thing was that I actually had a cassette player for sale in the shop, (it’s off the market now) and until Aoife’s kind intervention, it had never uttered a sound of any kind since it arrived. This week it’s flat out, so if you happen to call to me in the future, bring along your jiving shoes and we might just hit the floor to Stop The World and Let Me Off or Sweet Little Rock and Roller! Anyway, thanks a million Aoife, you have brightened up my working life considerably and I will always be in your debt.

Great Irish summer rolls on!

From early in the week the good people in the meteorological service (that’s the weather people) were telling us that Saturday was going to be one of the best days of the year and Sunday would be nice and dry but a little bit windy.

  So with this in mind I got up early on Saturday morning to go to work, and without looking out the window, put on my sandals, no socks, - one of my pet hates is lads wearing socks with sandals - had a quick breakfast and headed out to the promised, scorching sunshine. Unfortunately it was freezing cold, spilling rain, wild and windy and I had to make a quick change, take out the aforementioned socks, put on my shoes and head off to Athlone while wondering to myself how the weather people could have got it so wrong! Pretty much all day it stayed that way, wind and rain, but I wasn’t too put out because it was Sunday that I wanted the fine weather as our local football team had a championship match in Ballyforan at 2 pm against St. Brigid’s.

  So once again I got up bright and early Sunday morning, alas the wind and rain was still there. However, we are made of stern stuff and we went off to Ballyforan where the good folks of St. Aidan’s had their pitch and surroundings in pristine shape and where Creggs were to have a good win in the junior championship by a few points. I like to watch matches on my own so I went to the side of the pitch away from the stand and by the time the final whistle came if anyone was looking for a drowned rat, I would have done.

  However, we won and all was well but if I could have met Gerard Fleming or Nuala Carey I would have asked them what happened to the glorious weekend we had been promised. The good news is, as I am writing this on Monday, the pneumonia or at least the ‘flu hasn’t arrived yet so it looks like the soaking I got was truly only skin deep!

Leo: Defender of the self-employed

As you know by now; I am a very lukewarm political person and in truth apart from supporting our own local independent TD, Michael Fitzmaurice, - mainly because he’s local and because he appears to have a mind of his own - I wouldn’t have a lot of time for anyone else, but if I was to be impressed by any of the main party people, it would have to be the Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar.

  One of my biggest gripes over the years and particularly after the demise of the Celtic Tiger is the fact that self-employed people have no entitlements to unemployment benefits (dole to me and you) if their businesses fail. Their employees can get some payment, including statutory redundancy from the state, yet the person that paid all the wages and kept many workers in employment is effectively left high and dry with nothing to fall back on. The Minister has now indicated that he plans major changes in the system for the self-employed and while it’s still in its infancy and subject to a massive survey of self-employed people to assess what changes they want, it’s a very positive move by a man who seems to have his finger on the social welfare pulse.

  I have met many self-employed people whose businesses went to the wall in recent years and I have heard many sad and distressing tales of financial hardship, and while access to the dole wouldn’t solve everything it would be of some help or at least buy some time (and groceries) until things improved again. I certainly welcome this move by Minister Varadkar and I hope something good comes out of it.

Gardaí can’t stomach ‘Doughnuts’!

Finally for this week, and to follow up on my ‘doughnuts’ story of last week; our local Garda, Brian Neilan, tells me he’s hot on the heels of the perpetrators (or should that be hot on the wheels) so my advice to them would be to give up the doughnuts, find a new hobby or as they say; the long arm of the law will catch up with you!

Till next week, bye for now.

 

Marooned in the big city

It’s Sunday morning of the Bank Holiday weekend and after my usual bout of will I, won’t I, I find myself on the nine o’clock bus from Athlone heading to Croke Park in the company of my two sons, Paul and Mark.

  The media had been telling us all week about the road works that would be disrupting the traffic in the city centre but in fairness there didn’t seem to be any major problems and it certainly had little impact on the different forms of public transport that we used over the weekend. Anyway, we made it into the city well before eleven, left the gear in Mark’s apartment, put on my Galway jersey and cap and headed off for the big breakfast in Eddie Rockets - sometimes I think that’s the main reason I go to Dublin at all and as always it didn’t disappoint. I know they have recently opened in Athlone but eating the breakfast there wouldn’t have the same impact.

            Anyway, with Eddie’s done and dusted, we started off on a leisurely stroll to Croker, ticketless as of yet but on the way we met the living Galway legend that is Gerry Rushe from Mountbellew and he showed us where to go to get them. As it turned out we might have been better off if we never got them - but we didn’t know that at the time!

  Gerry was staying in accommodation close to the pitch and to educate some of the locals he had brought a sod of turf with him, which he strategically placed outside the front of his hotel. It was strange to see it sitting proudly on the footpath, in the middle of our capital city. On we went and we met one of Galway’s most loyal supporters, Larry Donoghue, and took our very good seats in the lower Hogan Stand well in time for the start of the Kerry-Clare encounter. In fairness the attendance was so small we could nearly have sat anywhere we wanted. Just below us was Glinsk native, Micky Lundy, a top footballer in his own right and whose son, Michael, was one of Galway’s top performers last year but who is presently away in America.

  The two games were most disappointing; Clare, after their win over the Rossies last weekend, just never got going and the less said about Galway’s performance the better. What happened them is a mystery but then again when we look at their record in Croke Park since 2001 maybe it’s not so surprising. Tipperary played a fabulous brand of football that the Connacht champions couldn’t live with and I hope they do themselves justice in the semi-final in a few weeks time. The big question it posed really was; how good or bad was the Connacht Championship? As for us, we are good losers being well used to it and we went off for a few around the city pubs. If you met us later in the night you wouldn’t be able to tell whether we won or lost - come to think of it, we mightn’t have been too sure ourselves!

  I’ve said it before, but the once or twice a year that I socialise in Dublin makes me realise that it’s a totally different world to the one that we inhabit and I can definitely confirm that if the recession hit Dublin at all, it’s well disappeared by now. Lisa, our daughter, joined us after the game so we had a most enjoyable few hours before I headed off for a relatively early night and the rest hit Copper’s; where I know they missed my renowned dancing skills! Anyway, that’s the first of the match-ups with Tipperary over and done with; we can only hope that the same fate is not awaiting the hurlers in a couple of weeks’ time.

Accommodation needs to be accepted

The most bizarre story to make the news last week was the story of the woman in Dublin who was living in an unsuitable one-room flat with her two children aged 16 and 10 and she was offered a new two-bedroom townhouse in Cabra. She refused the offer because she wanted to get a three-bedroomed house in a different area so that she could live near her mother. Now everywhere we look we are being told of homelessness and a lack of social housing and yet it seems that people all over the country are being offered sometimes brand new houses and are turning them down for all kinds of reasons. Some houses aren’t near enough to the shops, others are too far away from other family members, some are too big or too small and it all seems totally ridiculous to me - if you need a house, and are lucky enough to get offered one then it should be compulsory that you accept it! If you refuse, you should tumble way down the waiting list, and maybe, the next time you get an offer you just might take it.

  Sticking with housing, and a new survey out today has confirmed what a lot of us have thought all this time; that two thirds of tenants have difficulty getting back their deposits from landlords. It’s a few years now since my children went through third level education but I can remember the same difficulty cropping up every single time - no matter how good a state the place was in when it came to leaving, the landlord always found some reason to renege on repaying the deposit. There is a new service available now, called Deposify, which effectively is there to adjudicate on disputes between landlords and tenants and it seems a great idea to me. I don’t blame landlords because some tenants are a nightmare, and wreck their accommodation, but some tenants don’t cause any problems and now that there is a body to help both sides I think it is a good idea.

No more midnight ‘doughnuts’!

Last Friday night I had the good idea of having an early night and was just settled into a lovely deep sleep, shortly after midnight, when I suddenly thought I was in Mondello Park; the sound of what seemed like Formula One engines nearly had me jump clean out of the bed and I just made it to the window in time to see what I think were three cars doing what I’m told are doughnuts, right outside the house. They then roared off into the night before coming back for more at about 3 am and, on the evidence of the local roads, corners and junctions they spent a busy night drawing their doughnuts all around the area. It’s a practice that seemed to have died down over the last few years, which was no harm, so if you were the one who woke me from my slumber, maybe think twice about keeping up this dangerous practice and settle for a different type of thrill.

American Tea Party for senior citizens

Finally for this week, I’m asked to remind you all of the American Tea Party in aid of the senior citizen’s Annual Christmas Party, which will take place in Kilbegnet Hall on Friday, 12th August at 8.30 pm sharp. Music will be provided by our own local dub, Paul Browne, admission is only €10 and you are all invited to come along and have a great night’s craic. It’s all to help fund the Senior Citizen’s Christmas party, which is one of the great parties of each and every year and a way of saying thanks to the older generation for their lifelong contribution to the parish: don’t forget August 12th, come if you can at all, and if you can’t make it a little contribution would be gratefully accepted.

Till next week, bye for now

A great day for Galway – our jinx ends – and Roscommon can recover

I’m up early enough on Sunday morning, fully refreshed after an early non-alcoholic Saturday night, but even though I have the ticket for the match in Castlebar safely in my pocket, I have to admit that I am having doubts about whether or not I am actually going to travel.

  Everyone is telling me that it will be mental with all the traffic coming from the same direction, but after a breakfast that everyone (except my heart man) would be proud of – eggs, rashers, sausages, white pudding, fried mushrooms, tomatoes and spuds – myself and my son Paul headed off in the direction of the Mayo town.

  As we drove through our neighbouring village of Glinsk, the place was packed to the rafters as the massive charity truck and tractor drive was getting ready to roll. Over the weekend I was told that by then the amazing total of €35,000 had already been raised, with more to come in. Carlsberg say they are probably the best lager in the world, but when it comes to community spirit and supporting anything to do with charitable organisations, Glinsk, with some justification, could claim that they are probably the best local community in maybe not the world, but certainly in Ireland.

  Anyway we headed onwards and worryingly traffic through Castlerea was already building up, but thankfully apart from a bit of a hold-up in Claremorris, the journey was uneventful and indeed pleasant and we were parked up and in the grounds a good half hour before throw-in. The only hiccup on the way down was that as we were chatting, we realised that between hurling and football, every game myself and Paul had gone to together, Galway had lost. For a little while, we debated turning around and leaving our obvious jinx on the tribesmen at home, but after a short discussion we agreed to carry on, certainly more in hope than expectation.

  In the grounds of MacHale Park, I met the very popular Strokestown singer and Rossie supporter Frank Nelson and Creggs men Marty Conneran and Sligo-based James Gavin, while I also ran into a great Galway warrior, Thomas Heavey from Newbridge. He was one of the best and toughest backs ever to wear the maroon and white and on the many occasions I ran into him on the football pitch, I can honestly say I lost out every single time – and he was still looking as fit and well as ever.

  Anyway the craic and atmosphere was great and myself and Paul settled down to watch a game that went the way of the Galway men, in a way that no one, not even their most ardent supporter, could have predicted – and for us at least it proved we had left our jinx safely at home.

  A big talking point afterwards was the mass exodus of Roscommon supporters after only 15 minutes of the second half, which was a bit unfair I thought on the efforts of their players, who kept battling to the end. The even better news was that the predicted traffic mayhem didn’t materialise at all and I was sitting down to a badly-needed dinner in my own house just before seven o’clock.

  It was a great day for us, but on this Monday morning I hear Roscommon have drawn Clare in next weekend’s qualifiers and if they can clear their heads in the next few days, you would have to think they should win that one and, despite everything, find themselves in an All-Ireland quarter-final, where it is very possible we will have three Connacht teams, Galway, Mayo and Roscommon. As for Galway, they are definitely going the right way and, who knows, with a decent draw, how far they can progress in the remainder of the championship. Here’s to Croke Park in a few weeks’ time!

Cost of car insurance is scandalous

We are still reeling from the atrocities that have seen hundreds of people killed in Nice, Turkey, America and other parts of the world. Here in Ireland, while obviously not in the same league as those horrific happenings, the soaring cost of car insurance is causing an awful lot of problems for an awful lot of people. I keep telling you that I have little interest in politics, but surely it’s time that our politicians did something about an issue that affects nearly every person in the country and if we, the older community, are being hit with higher premiums, the figures quoted to the young drivers, male and female, are nothing short of scandalous.

  The insurance companies keep telling us it’s all to do with the soaring costs of claims, but despite that, their profits are still on the rise. We, as a country, are still recovering from losing an entire generation of our youth to emigration. The outrageous premiums that are being quoted will, in my opinion, force more of our children to have to take the emigrant’s route.

  For a young boy or girl living in rural Ireland, the only escape is to be able to drive their own car. Without some form of independence, life can be pretty drab and a huge number of our young drivers will never be able to afford to have their own insurance policies.

  I know there is some type of protest movement being formed to put this matter out in the open, but I call on our elected representatives to do something to force the big companies to bring in realistic prices. 

Wonderful day’s craic at Donamon

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost time for the Open Day in Donamon Castle, but Sean Beirne tells me it’s all happening again on Sunday, July 31st. There is Mass at 12.30 pm, free parking, free admission and all the usual attractions, including bouncy castle, face-painting and much, much more.

  I will have details of the entire programme in next week’s column but for now, just put the date in your diary and make sure you’re free on the day.

  It’s one of the best free annual events in the entire local region and every year the huge attendance has a wonderful day’s craic and fun – and I look forward to seeing you all there on the day!

Till next week, bye for now

Border rivalry is kept alive!

It’s Monday morning and while the Connacht Final between ourselves and the Rossies heads for a replay, I have to say that after a number of years of Mayo dominance, which may have led to a certain degree of apathy and indifference there, there certainly was no sign of either of those in Creggs yesterday and it’s a long time since I’ve enjoyed the border rivalry like I did last night.

  Mikeen’s was like old times, absolutely wedged and while the Rossies were in a minority, they definitely weren’t a silent minority and despite in my opinion being lucky to get away with a draw, their confidence is unabated and as with the week before they are fully convinced they are going to take home the Nestor Cup on Sunday evening.

  It was a historic night in the village as some lads, whom we always took to be on our side, declared their allegiance to the primrose and blue (we are calling them plastic Rossies) and it was one of those nights that the insults and the banter made it a privilege to be from a border village.

  The match itself was eminently forgettable, although even as a Galway man I thought Joe Brolly was overboard with his criticism of Roscommon when he said they were “useless” and I think it’s wrong that lads who give everything to represent their county have to endure such harsh words from someone - even if he was a good footballer himself - sitting in the warmth and comfort of a television studio.

  I know football has become a very tactical game nowadays, but the big question I have - in common with a lot of other people - is why inter-county forwards are so reluctant to take a shot at the posts. I told you before that I had a short-term career with the Rossies in the seventies (which probably makes me a plastic tribesman) and I can remember Sean Young, the county manager at the time saying to us at our first training session, that if we were inter-county forwards, which obviously some of us weren’t, we should be able to put the ball over the bar from 50 yards while the club footballer should do it from 25 or 30 yards. At that time it was that simple - if you were in a position to shoot, you were expected to do so and I have no reason to think it’s any different nowadays. So why don’t they? Umpteen times yesterday, forwards from both sides had clear chances to have a go at scoring points and didn’t take them and knowing the quality of players that both sides had, it’s not that they aren’t good enough!

  So if I have one wish for not only the replay but for Gaelic football itself, it’s that the ultra defensive set-ups disappear and forwards stop being afraid to have a shot at goal! I also think it is crazy that so many inter-county teams rely on their goalie to take any long-range free! It’s time forwards stood up for themselves, after all the reason you are a forward is that you can score and long range frees should also come under your job description.

  As for the rematch, although I was warned not to say it, I think Galway may have left it behind them yesterday and reluctantly I think our noisy neighbours may be even noisier next weekend and they may be celebrating their first Connacht Final victory since 2010.

  Our club secretary, Gerry Keegan featured on the Star on Saturday as he hoisted Donie Shine in the air after that win over Sligo and he told me last night he’s all set to do it again next weekend. Let’s hope not, but win or lose, I hope both teams prove that they really can play good football!

Political world in turmoil

Leaving sport for now, I have never made a secret of the fact that I have very little knowledge of politics and up till now, the word Brexit has never crossed my little tablet’s lips (I know it hasn’t got lips but you know what I mean) but this morning everywhere I look, the political world is in turmoil.

  Here in Ireland the new government appears to be built on a foundation of jelly. Fine Gael are in turmoil, Enda Kenny is hanging on by the skin of his teeth, Fianna Fail are taking credit for every bit of good news that comes from the government with Willie O’Dea appearing all over the place like a little Jack in the Box and even to an uneducated eye like mine, it seems as if it won’t be long before we are heading back to the ballot box.

  Across the water, the Brexit vote has devastated all the leading political parties with the Prime Minister David Cameron stepping down, the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn facing a leadership challenge and both men who brought about the Brexit vote, Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson, now also effectively sidelined so no matter how you look at it, it’s an unholy mess.

  As for the United States and the upcoming Presidential Election, with two very flawed candidates and Donald Trump almost laughable if he wasn’t so popular, you’d have to say they too are facing a very unstable and uncertain future. I have no idea how the UK’s departure will effect us in the long term but certainly so far it seems to have caused more problems than it has solved.

The gift of song is best of all!

This morning I have decided that when God gave talents to some lucky people, of whom I am not one, the best one of all is the ability to sing. Sporting prowess is also a great gift but with nearly all sports there is a time limit on the longevity of the person’s ability! Singers can sing right in to old age and performers like Tom Jones, Neil Diamond, Kris Kristofferson and our own Big Tom seem to get better and better and ever more popular.

  Tom Jones is in the Marquee in Cork tomorrow night (Tuesday) and I heard two lady fans of his on the radio today and they were so excited at his appearance that I’d nearly go myself. Anyway, if you can sing, be very grateful because you have been given the best gift of all.

Summer Cabaret show in Claremorris

On the entertainment front, Annette Griffin, the wonderful singer and entertainer, from down the road in Ballymoe has asked me to let you know that the hugely successful Summer Cabaret show, which sold out every night last year is returning for one night only to the McWilliam Park Hotel, Claremorris on next Wednesday night (July 20th) with doors opening at 8 pm and the show starting at 9 pm sharp. The show features some of Ireland’s best entertainers, including Brendan Shine, Gerry Guthrie, Sean Costello and the fabulous comedian Frank Forde, and of course Annette herself and John Staunton.

  This year it’s in aid of Western Care Association’s local services for people with intellectual disabilities and their families in the South Mayo area.

  Last year I didn’t get to any of the performances but a number of friends of mine went to one of them and they still rave about it. An absolutely superb show and one not to be missed. I definitely won’t miss it this year, so I’ll see you all in Claremorris next Wednesday night. Don’t be late!

Local wins at the races!

Finally for this week, on Tuesday evening last I found myself at the races in Roscommon and it was a great evening for two local racehorse owners - Kilcaragh Boy, owned by Castlecoote’s Gerry Duke, won his race and Angelica Yeats, owned by Mike Ward, from the mountain, came in second in another race. Both were at long odds and a good few bob was taken from the bookies and it was great to see a small trainer like John Neilan who has both horses put it up to the big guys. I’m told the celebrations went into the late hours and rightly so! Well done to all involved and here’s too much more success on the track. Hopefully I’ll have a bit more on the next time!

Till next week, bye for now

I doubt if Console chief will end up in a prison cell

Day after day, across the road from our shop, at the entrance to the new shopping centre here in Athlone, there are lads collecting for a number of different charities and while I can’t afford to make a contribution every time I cross the road, up to now I try to give what I can, as often as I can.

  Over the last couple of years I’ve got to know a couple of these lads, who are professional collectors who live in Galway but who are nearly always on the job by 9 o’clock in the morning. I don’t know how much they get paid, apart from the fact that they get a weekly wage, but I do know that their daily travel by train is paid for by their employers and they work for what appears to be an umbrella company which collects for a few different charities, principally The Hanley Centre for addiction and also for the homeless.

  Now I have no issue with lads getting paid for what they do, as standing for seven or eight hours in the wind, heat or cold (they only pack it in if the rain is too heavy), day after day is no joke and if they weren’t there, there might be no other means for getting financial support for their various organisations. To those lads, what they do is a job, the same as I come to work here every morning. It’s all about putting food on the table, paying a few of the many bills that come our way and, like a lot of us, I’m pretty certain that their remuneration is nothing to get excited about. And so, as the fallout from the Console affair continues and as it appears at least a million euros was misappropriated by the founder of the charity, Paul Kelly and members of his family, I just wonder what effect his actions will have on the ability of these lads to earn a living and also on their ability to collect for the charities involved.

  Today (Friday) in the Daily Mail, it is said that the regulator is investigating 300 complaints against 130 different charities and the feeling seems to be that we are only at the tip of the iceberg and there will be more and more damning revelations coming out. And yet, there are so many good people doing great and absolutely necessary work for so many charitable purposes all around the country that we have to still keep giving what we can, but the authorities have to ensure that the money goes to the proper places.

  It beggars belief that the scale of the deception at Console could escape detection and even when concerns were first raised in 2009, it took nearly seven more years before anything was done! As with everything, if the lad on the side of the road collecting fiddled a few euros for himself, he would face the full rigors of the law. However, people like Paul Kelly, who got several awards for his charitable work, seem to be beyond all reproach and we will wait and see if he pays for his crimes. He may in some small way but I doubt if he’ll end up in any of our prison cells!

Dubious lawsuits are a scandal

Every other day it seems that someone is suing someone for something. There’s hardly a day goes by that we don’t read about someone slipping on a banana skin or sticking a foot into a hole or tripping over something that shouldn’t be there. It all ends up in the compensation courts and lends the sceptic in me to believe that a lot of it is to do with getting some easy money.

  Now there is also no doubt that there are genuine claims out there, but they and their credibility are being damaged by cases like a recent one, where the claimant was suing for thousands for a damaged back when he was filmed doing cartwheels and handstands on a pub table in the early hours of the morning. He deserved nothing and anyway, he was then stupid enough to put the video up on facebook or YouTube or one of those ridiculous media websites.

  It is also very common nowadays to sue the HSE for all kinds of different things and again there are a lot of these cases that are totally justified. But I have to say that in a large number of visits to different hospitals, including one to the University Hospital in Galway only last Thursday, I have never had anything other than excellent treatment and care. I think it’s a pity that we have reached the stage that even small mistakes have to be paid for and lawsuits almost inevitably follow. Insurance premiums are going through the roof, so we are all paying in one way or another for every dubious claim that finds it’s way into the courtroom.

Farewell to Delia

Finally for this week, last weekend we bid farewell to a great lady, Delia Flynn from Farm, Williamstown, who departed this world at the ripe old age of 96 years. Now I have known her three sons – Tom, Bill and John – for many a year, and I in fact played rugby alongside Bill and John many times when they wore the Creggs rugby jersey, but it was for a different reason altogether that I had to go to say my final goodbyes to Delia.

  Thirty-six years ago this coming August, I was getting married, with the reception being held in the Abbey Hotel in Roscommon and the only job that was left to me was to organise the band. As the dinner came to a close Carol, my new wife, turned to me and asked me was there any sign of the musicians, which should have been Delia and her group, the Vienna. The penny dropped all of a sudden that I had never booked them and so I hurried out to reception to try and get in touch with Delia. Bear in mind that there were no mobile phones at that time and so I rang the Flynn home, where her husband, Tom, told me Delia was in the bog.

  I explained my predicament and he went to the bog and set the miracle in motion that eventually ended with Delia and the Vienna’s taking to the stage a little late, but nonetheless in such time that no one had noticed the music hadn’t started. Carol said a few words to Delia, concerning her late arrival and to this day I have not forgotten Delia for not letting the cat out of the bag. She never said that I hadn’t booked her at all and in saying nothing she saved me, probably my life and definitely my marriage!

  And so, over the last 36 years or so, I have always been indebted to Delia (I met John Connaughton at her funeral and he too played on the band that fateful day), and as she leaves this mortal world, I will never forget her. To her family, friends and relations, my sincerest sympathies, may she rest in peace.

‘Till next week, Bye for now

A day in the company of the country kings and queens

Once upon a time, in one of my many previous existences as the Karaoke King, Dympna as the Queen and myself, used to appear in the Airport bar in Kilkelly on St. Stephen’s Night. It was a very busy pub that was owned by the Finnegan family. We were there for a few years in a row and I can remember meeting a young Joe Finnegan, son of the proprietors, there a couple of times just before he headed off to ‘do’ a disco, in the neighbouring towns of either Knock or Kiltimagh. Joe was already an established presenter on Shannonside Radio, but you would never think then that not that many years on, he would become probably the top man in Irish country music.

 

  On Friday night we all saw him make an appearance on RTE’s Country Music Awards programme, as head of their association, but it was the remarkable show that he and other Shannonside members put on in the racecourse in Roscommon that showed exactly how high his standing is in the land of country music.

 

  Now there is no doubt that not everyone is a fan of this music, and on my way home in the evenings, I almost have to ask for permission to listen to Junior Walker on Shannonside, or later in the evening to Seamus Duke on Midwest, but, win or lose, (and I lose more often than I win), I make no secret of the fact that I love country music.

 

  And so, despite the soccer match being on at 2 o’clock (Ireland and France, in case you’ve been underground for a while and didn’t know), myself and my other half, Carol, headed off along with, as it turned out, thousands of other fans for what I have to say was a most enjoyable day’s entertainment.

 

  Everyone that’s anyone in the Irish scene was there and one after the other they put on amazing performances, but if ever I needed proof, this Roscommon event showed us that despite the young, wonderfully talented up and coming stars, when it comes to country music, Big Tom is still the king. The reception he got was spine-tingling as he sang eight songs. I couldn’t help but feel guilty that when both he and I were young, I never went anywhere to see him. That excludes one night in Nenagh, about 40 years ago, when I somehow arrived to the Ormond Hotel, where himself and the Mainliners were in action, but I was only there by accident and had no idea what band, if any, was playing on the night. So that doesn’t count, but if I could turn back the clock I would have gone to see him a bit more often. However that’s how it is, but as Tom heads into his twilight years he must be delighted, firstly at his own continuing popularity, but also at the very healthy state the whole industry is in.

 

  As I said, everyone was there, including the poster boy and girl, Nathan Carter and Lisa McHugh, but I have always told you that my favourite is Mike Denver, and I was delighted to see him get the Entertainer of the Year Award on Friday night. Somehow I assumed Nathan would win that as well (he won at least two others) and I’m ashamed to tell you, I jumped up and cheered when the Galway man’s name was announced. Anyway, on Sunday, as always, he put on a great set to bring down the curtain on a wonderful show and the crowd, who came from every part of Ireland, went home very happy at what they had seen and heard.

 

  I’m told there was a great bit of craic around the town of Roscommon later on in the evening and I’m sure the tills in all the bars were ringing merrily. As I said, well done Joe and the Shannonside gang and here’s to next year.

 

Before I leave Sunday’s events, we told three of our four adult children to put on the Sunday roast so that it would be ready for us when we got home. We obviously did a bad job in rearing them, as they had to go to Google to find out how to roast it. Some of them thought they should boil it, but none of them had a clue! I’ve had Google to thank for many a thing over the years, but I never thought I would have to thank it for my Sunday dinner. The good news is that it turned out so well that I’ve given them the job for the foreseeable future!

Media to blame for hyping English team

 

 

It’s Tuesday afternoon as I write and myself and the rest of the sporting world are still taking in England’s extraordinary defeat by Iceland in the last 16 match of Euro 2016 on Monday evening in Nice.

 

  The fact that there are no professional soccer clubs in Iceland, that a number of their players are amateurs and that one of their joint managers is a part-time dentist, as well as a part-time football manager, puts the whole thing into perspective. No matter how they look at it, it has to be the most humiliating night in English football history. And of course, being Irish, most of us took almost ridiculous delight in seeing the English fail, which to their own amazement happens in nearly every major tournament.

 

  Today, on several radio shows, people were trying to figure out why we want players, a lot of whom we support at club level, to do so badly in an English shirt. Everyone has their own answer, from just plain republicanism to anti-imperialism, but I think it’s all to do with humility, or maybe a lack of it. If the media, in particular, didn’t build the team up to outrageous heights and if they realised that this current team had probably the easiest qualifying group of all to get to France, then maybe we would not be so happy to see them getting stuffed by the minnows from Iceland.

 

  It can’t be easy to carry such unfounded expectations into these tournaments, and while the other three countries from these islands all exceeded their own expectations, with the Welsh still going strong, I really pity the English players, who will return home as scapegoats and laughing stocks.

 

  Our own lads did us proud and with a bit more luck we too could still be flying the flag in France. Sadly it wasn’t to be, but at least, unlike the English, we came home with our heads held high.

 

One of the auld stock…

 

 

Finally for this week, at the weekend we bid farewell to what I like to call one of the auld stock, when Baby McGovern died after a short illness. Baby was the wife of well-known farmer and cattle dealer, Mickey, and she was also the mother of six proud Galway girls. The last time I met her she told me in no uncertain terms to get my hair cut, as I was way too old to have it as long as it was. She was probably right, but I haven’t got to the barber yet.

 

  Anyway, my deepest sympathies to the McGovern family, friends and relations. She will be sadly missed. May she rest in peace.

 

Till next week, bye for now

 

 

Creggs pundit couldn’t predict Galway ambush

Now I am well aware that I will never become a pundit on either hurling or Gaelic football matters, but nevertheless I have always thought that I am well clued in and would be close enough when it comes to predicting the results of most matches. However, as anyone who met me last week will tell you, I could not have been any more wrong about the result of the Galway v Mayo Connacht championship game in Castlebar on Saturday evening.

  I confidently predicted that the five-in-a-row Connacht champions would win by eight to ten points. I said we, Galway, wouldn’t keep the ball kicked out to them, and I said it would be a long, miserable, embarrassing evening for all the die-hard Galway supporters who turned up in the Mayo venue. As we all know by now, I was as far out as a lighthouse and a new look young Tribesmen outfit brought off a brilliant win and in doing so, restored some pride in the maroon and white jersey.

  Back in the days when I was a young lad growing up in Creggs, there was always intense rivalry between neighbouring counties when it came to championship time, but nothing compared to the rivalry between ourselves and the Rossies and judging by the craic in Mikeen’s (I just went up to have a few pints to celebrate Father’s Day) last night, I’d say we’ll have a lively few weeks, between now and the 10th of July. The Rossies, although well outnumbered last night, made no secret of the fact that they were delighted at the result from Castlebar and they are confident that they will pick up a handy Connacht title in a few weeks time and they may well be right. However, for us, it’s time to dig out the bunting and flags that we got for last year’s All-Ireland hurling final, and at least until the July date with our neighbours, we will nail our colours to the mast and paint our little village red, or even maroon!

  The lack of confidence shown by Galway supporters in their team on Saturday can be judged by the fact that it is estimated that only 1,500 out of the total attendance of 22,000 were from Galway, but at least here in Creggs, we had one brave punter who was confident enough to put €100 on them at odds of five to one. Fortune favours the brave, so well done to the lucky punter, who shall remain nameless.

Rugby team can rewrite history books

Sticking with sports, because it was an amazing weekend on the sporting front, I had the good fortune to be working on Saturday last and so I didn’t get to see any of either the rugby or soccer defeats, but while the rugby team went down after a battle royale and a top quality performance, it seems that the ‘Boys in Green’, i.e. the soccer team, were well and truly overrun by a very talented Belgian side.

  The rugby lads, under the almost certainly departing Joe Schmidt still have a chance to make more history by winning a series in South Africa and I am pretty sure, hard as it may be, they are capable of doing so. As luck would have it, I have next Saturday off, to play in the rugby club’s annual golf outing in Roscommon Golf Club, so I am looking forward to seeing our lads rewrite the history books.

De-coding the Eircode

Changing subjects entirely and in today’s papers, I see that the Department of Communications claim that more than 90% of Irish people know their new Eircode, whereas a survey undertaken by the Irish Daily Mail would suggest that only 1.3% would know it.

  On a personal basis, I wouldn’t have a clue and as far as I know, in the length of time since we have had our code, I have never had occasion to use it, which would make you wonder why we have one at all. I never actually gave this matter any thought until these surveys came out, but I would have thought that a postcode would be used to help with postal deliveries, but that must be wrong as I’ve not seen any letter arrive at the house with the code on it. When you consider that we spent €38 million on the new system, the fact that 30% of the people interviewed by the Mail didn’t even know they had a postcode, would make you think that yet again we have simply thrown an enormous amount of public money down another big black hole.

Homeless problem continues to grow

Talking of enormous amounts of money, in Dublin this year we are going to spend more than €102 million on the homelessness crisis, with a projected payout to various hotels of more than €46 million. I don’t pretend that I have the answer to the homeless problem and I suppose I’m not getting paid to sort it out but when you see that type of figure for just one year, it makes you realise how big of a problem it is and how badly we need to fix it. An amazing number of 4,473 people, between adults and children, which is the population of a nice sized town, were in emergency accommodation in our capital city for the first quarter of this year. It really is hard to believe.

American Tea Party

On the local front, Mary Kelly asks me to remind you all that an American Tea Party will take place in Kilbegnet Hall on August 12th, a Friday night with all proceeds going to fund the Senior Citizen’s Christmas Party. It’s €10 per ticket and I’ll give you the time later on, but put the date in your diary and make sure you turn up and support it.

Sylvia a perm-anent fixture at Happy Scissors

Finally for this week, I’m told that Sylvia Lynch, one of our neighbours down the road in Glinsk has taken the reins in Happy Scissors hairdressers in Roscommon and I want to wish her all the best with her new venture. Creggs girl, Aoife Small is also on the staff, so if you need anything done to your hair, you know where to go. I might just pop in for a perm! Or do they still do them?

Till next week, bye for now

99 reasons to fondly remember those far-off summer days!

Down (or is it up?) there in Ballaghaderreen, the patrons of Duffy’s Supermarket are enjoying the recent wonderful weather, happy in the knowledge that when they want to cool off with a delicious 99 cone, they are eating by far the cheapest 99s in Ireland.

  Recently, the Daily Mail carried out a survey on the price of 99s all over Ireland and at 50 cent a time, Duffy’s were the cheapest by a country mile. The average around the country was €1.75, although a couple of outlets were charging €2 or more.

  The former TD, bookie, bankrupt and now – in my opinion – thoroughly annoying know-all radio presenter, Ivan Yates, reckoned that Duffy’s offering was not a proper 99 at all, (it must have a flake), but he was informed that it’s a full genuine model – and there are queues of lucky Ballagh’ people lining up for these great value ice creams.

  I’m sure the publicity did no harm at all to Duffy’s Supermarket and congratulations and well done to all down there (or up there!).  

  Anyway, it all made me think of the days when I was a child growing up in Creggs and when our summers seemed to comprise of day after day of never-ending sunshine, and when an ice cream would be an occasional and very welcome treat.

            Back in those days, we had a load of shops in the village, but for all of us young kids, our favourite was Lizzie’s, a shop which sold all kinds of bits and pieces and which became a sort of a meeting place for all the children, both from the village and the rest of the local area.

  Funny enough, even though the 1950s were supposed to be a time of economic hardship, most shops had people working in them, and a girl called Baby Boyle was the resident shop assistant in Lizzie’s, and I can assure you that if the Daily Mail had existed at the time and if they had carried out a survey on sixpenny ice creams in Ireland, Baby’s ice creams would have, just like Duffy’s, come out as the best value in the country.

  The sheer size of the sixpenny ones meant they were way too wide for our little hands and little mouths and by the time you’d have eaten them, your face would look just like it was made of ice cream. Sadly, Lizzie’s is no longer and Duffy’s is too far away, so I’m off to Mikeen’s and, for a change this time, it’s not for a pint, but to sample the best 99 in Creggs! I’ll tell you next week how it was!!

‘Flying visit’ to Enniscrone

Sticking with the summers past, but not as far back as the 1950s, when the children, that’s our ones, were young, we used to go to Enniscrone, now Inishcrone to some, in Sligo for an occasional week’s holiday and I have to say that we had some of the most memorable and enjoyable times of all time down there in that lovely seaside town.

            Anyway, the years have flown by, and after a long break, myself and Carol decided to head down to Inishcrone on a glorious day last week and once again have a look at and take a stroll on the beautiful sandy beach. In recent times the arrival of a recently-retired Russian Boeing 737 to the Co. Sligo town has been all over the news and has propelled the resort back into the public domain and it appears as if the holidaymakers are flocking into the town in huge numbers and that Inishcrone is on the crest of a wave (a horrible pun!)

            As for us, we lunched in a packed Ocean Sands Hotel, where the food was excellent, and after a nostalgic walk on the beach, (which was freezing due to the very strong, cold, breeze), we headed back home, vowing it won’t be as long again before we visit what we think is one of the nicest places around. The airplane is not up and running yet as high class accommodation, (the man behind it is also converting a double decker bus and a number of old London taxis), but it certainly has increased interest in the locality and will help the local tourist industry greatly.

Good start to Euro 2016

Staying down memory lane and sticking with the beautiful summers (although this one is not so long ago), back in 1988, we as a entire nation basked in the glorious sunshine as we drank, danced and sang our way through our (for us), first ever European soccer finals.

  Street parties were the order of the day, even in Creggs, where the little traffic that was passing through the village had to drive between pub tables and chairs and when we were all decked out in anything that had a bit of green, white or orange on it – and overall it was just a magic time in our history.Joxer going to Stuttgart is still one of the most iconic songs of all time and for a few weeks the whole place was on a complete holiday. Today is Tuesday, the day after our opening match against Sweden in this year’s tournament and I wonder was there the same excitement and joy around the country last night.

  For me, I have to confess that I watched the game, a very good one I thought, in my own front room and as I write this, I am in the whole of my health and not a headache in sight. Now I know it’s a sign of advancing years (even advanced ones), but I sincerely hope that I am in the minority and I hope the rest of the country had a big night and partied into the early hours.

            The 1988 tournament had only eight teams in it, while this time we have 24, which means a lot more games and a lot longer of a competition. I still think we will find time for a knees-up and here’s hoping we can get a result on Saturday against Belgium – and if we do, the Italian game might just be the one to set us on our way to reliving the craic and the fun of 1988.

            It’s been a good enough tournament so far, judging by the little bit I’ve seen, but the trouble at a lot of games is a worry and I hope the French authorities are well enough organised to make sure nothing major happens. Anyway it’s a decent enough start and here’s hoping we can get to the next stage.

Solstice Choir on stage

As I told you in last week’s column, the highly acclaimed Roscommon Solstice Choir are performing in the Church at Donamon Castle on this Friday night at 8 pm, in a fundraiser for both Creggs and Cloverhill national schools. Tickets are only €10, so make sure you go along on Friday night for a great night’s entertainment and to support two local schools.

And finally…

Finally for this week, on the greatest ever week for Ireland on the rugby front (not a peep out of George Hook all week), on Saturday night last, the proceeds of the 21st Annual Barrie Harris Walk were presented to a large number of deserving charities, in Mikeen’s, (he of the Creggs 99s), and once again the walk was a great success.

  More than €12,500 was raised and distributed and it’s a credit to everyone involved, but of course, in particular to Bina and her family, friends and relations. On a personal note, my praising of Bina’s apple pie in last week’s column worked well, as she brought a special one for me, which I ate almost completely on the night! Thanks Bina, now I wonder if I told you that Mikeen has the best pint (of Guinness) in Ireland, what would happen!

Til next week, bye for now

 

Why Roy Keane was right to issue wake-up call

For a few years now l have made no secret of the fact that I think footballers, the soccer type, are vastly overpaid, pampered and spoilt, and in no instance do any of them deserve the obscene amount of money that they are paid. However it now seems that if you criticise them, even when they play badly, you are going to be accused of being unfair and – in the case of our Irish Euro team – of rocking the boat and contributing to what the media call unrest in the camp.

  Last Tuesday evening week, Ireland played Belarus in an international friendly in Cork and put on a performance that was absolutely appalling. From what I saw, (before I went back out to the garden), most of the Irish players looked as if they had no interest at all in being where they were. Now as it was the last game before the squad was announced for France and the Euro finals, you might have thought that some lads on the fringes might have really gone for it and knocked the socks off the Belarusians, but nothing could be further from the truth and we were lucky to only lose by 2 goals to 1.

  The referee, for some reason, blew up just as our visitors were bearing down on our goal, with two forwards through the defence and only goalie Shay Given to beat, to nearly make it a 3-1 loss for the home side.  

  Anyway, true to form, Roy Keane, who is the assistant manager, didn’t mince his words when discussing the performance. He said, (jokingly maybe), that he felt like killing some of the players, added that one or two of them thought they were better than they actually were and that all who made the squad should thank their lucky stars they were in it.

  Now anyone who knows anything about football would agree with him, but the words were barely out of his mouth when people like Kevin Kilbane, who should know better, waded in in defence of the team. He said it was wrong to be critical so close to the tournament, it might affect team morale and by affecting lads’ confidence it could cause this ‘unrest’ in the camp. Ask any junior football team, where lads get nothing except abuse, if they are let off scot-free when they play badly – and I can tell you they are not. Any self-respecting manager, especially when the team looks as if it couldn’t care less, will have a go at his players and if they can’t take a few home truths then maybe they are in the wrong place.

  However, we are off to France for next week’s big kick-off and, funny enough, if they do what they are good at and work their socks off, I will not be surprised if we shock one or two of the more fancied teams and have a really good tournament. In the meantime, let them swallow their pride and realise how lucky they are to be going there in the first place and thank God they can make huge money just by kicking a football.

O’Leary’s timely warning

One of my all-time heroes, Michael O’Leary, was spot-on when he had a go at the Luas drivers and their union during the week. He said anyone could learn to drive a tram in nanoseconds and that during the summer, we could have our holidaying students trained up to keep the Luas moving.

  In these times, to look for a 50% plus increase on wages of over €50,000, is crazy.  O’Leary basically said if they worked for Ryanair, they would all be sacked. They may well have listened to his words, as since he made his comments the drivers have settled for a little over 18% and peace seems to have been restored. What a pity we don’t have more leaders, who, instead of saying the popular thing, would bite the bullet, talk straight and say what they really mean. We would all be better off if they did.

The garden – then and now!

Up to a few years ago, I used to think that a garden should have a bit of grass and a couple of goalposts and that its main function was as a mini football pitch. When our kids were small, that is exactly the way our garden was, and many a footballing battle took place there over the years. I can tell you that if you were like the Irish lads against Belarus and you didn’t put your heart and soul into it, you wouldn’t last long.

  However, a few years ago, the garden underwent a makeover and now there’s roses and lupins and all kinds of lovely things growing there, (mind you, I miss the football pitch), and even I have noticed the great growth we’ve had in the last few days. There’s colour springing up all over the place and in fairness, with the lovely weather we’ve had recently, it’s been nice to sit out and relax and enjoy the surroundings, although without the excitement of an all-out 3-a-side.

Two big nights ahead…

Finally for this week, two big local nights to tell you about.

  First of all, on this Saturday night, 13th of June, one of the main local social nights of the year, the distribution of the funds from the Barrie Harris Walk to several local, national and international charities, will take place in Mikeen’s at 9.30 pm. As usual, Bina and her hard-working team will have a great array of goodies, (Bina’s own apple pie is not to be missed), including tea, sandwiches and lovely creamy buns, and of course there will be live music on the night, so please make the effort and get to Mikeen’s this Saturday night.

  I keep saying it, only because it’s true, but the importance of the Barrie Harris Walk, in helping so many less fortunate people, cannot be overstated and I’m sure, as always, the supporters of the event will have made sure that the walk of 2015 will have been another great success.

  Let’s all get to Mikeen’s this Saturday night, have a bit of craic and fun and start looking forward to St. Stephen’s Day 2016.

  Then on Friday night, 17th of June, the highly-acclaimed Roscommon Solstice Choir are performing in the Church at Donamon Castle at 8 pm, in a fundraiser for both Creggs and Cloverhill national schools.

  Hearing and seeing this choir is one of the great musical experiences, so to have a great night’s entertainment, while also helping two local schools, make sure you get to Donamon on Friday night, 17th of June and don’t be late, as the performance will start on time. Tickets are only €10.

Till next week, bye for now!

 

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