It’s another beautiful Monday evening, and four of us have had a couple of very enjoyable hours playing golf in the gloriously peaceful surrounds of Castlerea Golf Club. However, because of the unusual rules that we play by, (nothing criminal, only unusual), myself and my partner find that, even though we won a few holes, drew a few, and only lost one (critically the last one), we are going home as the runners-up in our mini-tournament. And for some reason – maybe the lovely weather was also a factor – I found myself transported back in time to the days when the late Mattie McDonagh – still and probably for ever more the most decorated Connacht footballer of all time with his four All-Ireland medals – used to host a regular soccer get-together at the back of his own house, outside Ballygar. In that mini-tournament, the ‘winners’ also only had to be ahead at the final whistle.
I encountered the great Mattie at a number of sports…including golf, racquetball, tennis, rugby, hurling, football and soccer (both indoor and outdoor). His will to win was renowned, and in our soccer outings, at a certain stage, it always went to whoever “gets the next goal wins”, no matter what the score was at the time. We all knew that the game would carry on until Mattie’s team won. Many a Sunday evening saw the concession of a soft goal to ensure that Mattie won and we could go home.
As Roscommon and Galway head off to the Super 8s and Croke Park this weekend, I just wondered is there anyone amongst them as focused on winning as Big Matt used to be. I really hope both western teams have a right go at it. Remarkably, I know the Rossies will attack the men from Tyrone – I just hope Kevin Walsh lets the Tribesmen off the leash and they take the battle to The Kingdom. I might be in the minority, but the Dubs showed last year how to play against the blanket defence, and I am sure Kevin McStay and his merry men don’t need me to tell them how to play, although if they want to call me I will gladly help. I believe the Rossies can spring an almighty shock on Saturday evening, and pour more pressure on Mickey Harte.
As for Galway, last year they made no effort to take on Kerry, and let what at the time was a poor enough team beat them well. For us supporters, it was almost an embarrassment. This Galway team is well capable of winning as well, and, if both were to do so, wouldn’t it be great for the West?
I don’t know anything about the politics of the GAA (some of ye would say I know nothing about anything). A simple mind, that’s mine, but it looks to me as if it would make sense to have both Western teams in Croke Park on Sunday. However, it is not to be, although I imagine a lot of people, me included, would like to make it to both games.
We’ll be calling!
It’s amazing how quickly the time is going, and how the years are passing, and so today I rang my friend Dave in Cancer Care West to organise the printing of posters and tickets for our Annual Dance in aid of Cancer Care West and the Lourdes Invalid Fund. It takes place this year on Saturday night, 15th of September, in Dowd’s, Glinsk, with music once again by the very popular Lancers.
As usual we will be taking to the highways and the byways with the tickets, starting in two or three weeks’ time, so this is just a preliminary notice to let you know we will be calling, and we know you will support two very worthy causes.
Gearoid McInerney and Neymar…
The hurling last Sunday between Galway and Kilkenny was such a wonderful exciting contest that there can be no argument that hurling is one of the best, if not the best, field game of all.
The effort put in by both sets of players was bordering on the heroic. When you compare that to the behaviour, particularly of Neymar, in the World Cup, you really have to wonder. Before I leave the World Cup – and obviously by the time this newspaper arrives in your door you will know if England have made it through to the World Cup final on Sunday, but on my way home from Castlerea on Monday night, and as I recovered from the disappointment of not being a champion golfer, I was amazed to realise that I could name the England starting eleven in 1966, without having to think twice.
Banks, Wilson, Moore, etc…their names rolled off my tongue, and it nearly frightened me to think that as they get ready for this year’s semi-final, I would hardly know half their present team. Maybe I’m older (no maybe about it), but I think it’s also a reflection on how, personally, I have got fed up with the diving, moaning and cheating of the soccer multi-millionaires.
Wouldn’t it be great to put one of them out in the middle of a serious intercounty hurling match, and see how they would get on – can you imagine Gearoid McInerney and Neymar going bald-headed for the sliothar! I’d say for a change the Brazilian superstar would have good reason to do a bit of rolling on the ground.
Anyway, I’ve said all along that our neighbours can win it, and I certainly feel they will be in the final. After that, anything can happen.
Finally for this week, we had an unusual treble in Mikeen’s, when three local people – Bobby Jennings, Michael Griffin and Sylvia Lynch – all celebrated their 7th of July birthdays.
I received a photo entitled the 7th July babies, but you will agree the two lads are a long way removed from their baby days, (you could say they are fairly hairy babies), and despite extensive enquiries I couldn’t get their exact ages.
The only thing I’m sure of is that none of them were born in the same year, and the nearest I got was an admission from Mike Griffin that there was quite a bit of VAT to be added to the 21 that he admitted to. Sylvia’s mother said (note pun) nothing, and the best DJ in the west (Bobby) sang dumb.
Anyway, congrats to all three, but if they think they are special, the 14th April gang one year had four people celebrating their birthdays in Mikeen’s, so the 7th July crew need one more for next year.
However, well done, and here’s to many more.
Till next week, Bye for now!