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Frankly Speaking

Frankly Speaking

Football, and the game of life: A tale of two legendary managers

 

 

 

Sometimes, in my deeper moments (not too many of them) I have a look at myself and I wonder if sport plays too big a part in my life, because, in truth, almost all of my interests involve some kind of sporting activity.

  For example, nowadays I rely on a bit of walking, and even less golfing, (although I intend to change that this year) for my physical exercise, but the truth is that I have a ridiculous interest in every sport, from GAA to rugby to soccer – which isn’t too bad – but tennis, snooker, golf, athletics, boxing, horseracing and showjumping also feature in my ‘sporting repertoire’.

  I try to keep myself updated at all times on what is going on in the sporting world. And so this week, we have had some amazing moments to savour, from Leitrim’s great escape in New York to Tony Bellew’s destruction of the legend that once was David Haye (in the world of boxing), to the wonderfully entertaining World Snooker Final, in which 42-year-old Mark Williams beat his old rival John Higgins by 18 frames to 16 – and, finally, we had a moment of magic from Simon Zebo to help Munster make it over the line in their Top 14 quarter-final tie against Edinburgh in Thomond Park on Saturday afternoon.

  On the subject of Leitrim’s win in New York, on Monday morning I was up early, having had an alcohol-free Sunday night, and I heard some fellow on one of the early-morning TV shows waxing eloquently about the wonderful commentary on Shannonside Radio by the one and only Willie Hegarty. There is no doubt that Willie is a one-off and a celebrated local treasure.

  However, amongst all the sporting activity on the actual fields of play that took place last weekend, it was the fortunes (or misfortunes) of two football managers that made the biggest impact on me. Obviously the sudden illness that struck down former Man. Utd. manager Sir Alex Ferguson was a massive shock, as all the football world viewed him as indestructible, and the outpouring of good wishes since then has shown, despite his hard man image, that he is really highly thought of and well loved by everyone involved in the beautiful game.

  However, for me the man of the week was the Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, who, in the emotion of his last game at home as the Gunners manager, still had time to mention his arch-rival, Fergie, in his final speech. His dignity in bidding farewell to a club that effectively fired him was just fabulous.

  In my opinion there is no doubt that Wenger’s teams, all through his tenure, played the most attractive football of all, and, even if the Premiership title only came their way three times in his 22 years there, he did win seven FA Cups and –more importantly – his teams played football as it should be played.

  I wonder does Jose Mourinho get the Roscommon People? It might inspire him to get Utd. to play a bit of attractive, attacking football. I expect to see Wenger back in management again, and as for Sir Alex, as a United fan, I can only hope he makes a full and complete recovery.

Why I’m with the Healy-Raes on this one…

On to other matters, and I see where Shane Ross is setting up a pilot ‘drink-link’ bus service in some parts of the country which would bring people to and from rural pubs. 

  The Healy Raes think it’s only nonsense, and for once I think they are absolutely right. An occasional bus service in a rural area will not solve anything, and I still believe the only way to go is to give special taxi or hackney licences to someone in a local area, at a reduced cost (insurance, tax, and any other hidden charges) if such a person is prepared to provide a good service to his or her community.

  The country pubs are still dying on their feet, but you would have to wonder if there is any political will out there to try to help a very grave situation. Surely there should be enough brain power in the corridors of power to come up with a workable solution.

  Not too many years ago, we were lucky enough to have an unofficial hackney man in this area, and he brought people safely to their homes after a night out. Something along those lines might still be the answer now.

A big night for Creggs RFC

More than 40 years ago a little rugby club was formed out here in our little village, and today it is still going strong and is now about to embark on one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken by a club of its size.

  To go back to our early days, we played at first in a field given to us by our parish priest – at the back of the local Church in Kilbegnet – while later on we had a pitch in Kilmore which had a heavy electricity wire crossing the middle which diverted many a ball from its original flight path, and caused quite a bit of controversy. Later on, the club acquired land in the village itself, and The Green has been the home of Creggs RFC for a number of years now.

  However, as the time has gone on, numbers at underage have greatly increased, and to keep up with the enormous growth at both underage and senior levels, in September the club hopes to unveil the first 3/4 G pitch in Connacht, along with two new sand-based pitches, a development that will of course cost an enormous amount of money.

  To this end, Creggs RFC are holding a massive draw, with a total of 26 prizes, which takes place on Saturday night next in the Rugby Club. So if you have a tenner to spare, buy a ticket and support a club that has greatly exceeded its original expectations.

  Funny enough, the season just ending has been one of the most successful on the playing pitches in the 44-year history, with great success at every level, resulting in us being nominated as the Connacht club of the year, along with Ballina (winners) and Sligo. So, the future look bright in every way, and as I say, all support is very welcome. Here’s to Saturday night, and hopefully you will take home one of the wonderful prizes on offer (but leave one for me).

And finally…

Finally for this week, I’ve been asked to remind everyone out there who raised any money for the Barrie Harris Walk that the committee wants to get the matter sorted out as soon as possible, and ask you to get your cards and money back to any committee member as quickly as you can.

  The Barrie Harris Walk is still one of the biggest charity fundraiser efforts in this area and each year many local charities benefit from the funds raised so please get the money in and continue to make this a vitally important and successful community fundraising effort.

Till next week, Bye for now!

 

Winds of change in (still) sunny Spain!

 

 

 

It’s Saturday night of last week, and Carol and myself are on the 2.30 Citylink bus to Dublin Airport, from where we are heading to Alicante – hopefully leaving the horrible Irish weather behind us for ten days or so.

  For some reason the bus goes into the city centre before going back out to the Airport, which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, but nonetheless we are deposited at the departure area with plenty of time to spare for our 6.30 am flight.  

  We check in and have the full Irish breakfast, which – remarkably – is good value (for an airport) and we then make our way to the security area. The chaos that greeted us there had to be seen to be believed. There were hundreds of people queuing up to get through, as every flight in the place must have been going out at 6.30, and for some reason the security people seemed to be checking most of the hand luggage bags. Of course they decided to go through Carol’s, and it took us ages before we eventually got our clearance to go ahead.

  By now it was 6.20 am, and I was strolling along with not a bother on me (although Carol was telling me to hurry up) – when all of a sudden the news came over the loudspeaker that flight whatever-it-was to Alicante was now closed.

  My leisurely stroll turned into a full sprint (not really, but a little bit more than a walk) and after flying down a seemingly never-ending walkway, and a few flights of stairs, we found ourselves at the Ryanair gate, where, thankfully there was one girl still on duty. She was kind enough to allow us through. We were the last ones to get on – by the skin of our teeth – but off we went and three hours later we were enjoying some of the beautiful Spanish sunshine.

  And that, funny enough, was another thing that has definitely changed over the years, because there is no doubt that this climate change thing is affecting every part of the world. Spain has had extremely windy weather for the last number of months, and in the ten days that we have been here, we have seen more wind (although they say you can’t see wind) and rain than we saw in the fifteen previous years of our visits. However, a lot of the positives are still in place; the cost of eating and drinking is way less than at home, there is still loads of warm sunshine, the craic is still ninety, and best of all, the postman can’t find you – so all the bills that are constantly flying in through the letterbox are forgotten about for a little while at least.

  The Irish pubs on the Strip, particularly the Bog Road and O’Riordans, are full of interesting people too. As I sat at the counter  in the Bog one night, I got talking to a fellow beside me. It turned out he was one Buster Carroll, a man I had played rugby with in Dundalk all of forty-four years ago. We had great craic reminiscing on some of the times we shared all those years ago, and I have promised to visit him in Dundalk in the near future. Knowing me and my ability (when I have a few pints) to make plans to go everywhere – which I never follow through on – the chances are that I’ll never make it to Dundalk, but it was great to meet him and catch up after so many years.

  My brother, The Rasher, was out here as well, as was my daughter Lisa, and her boyfriend Brian, and so we had a few nice family nights, the highlight of which was dancing the night away to our good friend Elvis (Greg Traynor), on a couple of nights in the Slievenamon and the Randy Leprauchan.

  Anyway, as I am writing this we have only one day left in the Costa Blanca, and by the time you get to read this, I will be trying to work my way through the bundle of lovely letters the postman, Michael Melia, has left for me – can’t wait to get home.

Wishing soccer violence victim Sean a full recovery

Even though I am a Manchester United supporter for a long time now, I have always had a liking for our great rivals (and almost enemies) Liverpool. To this day my two visits to Anfield rank amongst the greatest sporting occasions of my life. I have said it before – that the singing of You’ll Never Walk Alone just before kick-off is one of the most powerful, emotive things I have ever heard, and is a memory I will never ever forget.

  And so to see the new Liverpool totally dismantle a woeful Roma side last week in the Champions League semi-final, when the attacking display from the Reds was simply awesome, should have been another sporting memory. In reality, it was overshadowed by the appalling violence carried out by the Roma supporters which left Dunboyne man, Sean Cox, fighting for his life, and which, a week later, he is still doing. Now obviously it’s impossible to police every club’s followers, but the Roma thugs are well-known for their mindless violence. Surely the trouble should have been anticipated in advance and extra reinforcements should have been called in.

  I am writing this on Tuesday evening, with the second leg due to take place tomorrow, and I can only hope it goes ahead without any of the trouble that marred the Anfield clash. Why is it that soccer matches always seem to attract trouble makers and trouble, while you can have crowds of 80,000 and more at rugby and GAA games without a hint of violence?

  The Man. Utd. side of me says I should wish for a Roma comeback, but I can’t think like that and I hope the Liverpool men make the final, and, much more importantly I hope Sean Cox wins his battle and makes a total recovery.

And finally…

Finally for this week, it’s now Wednesday morning, and after all the years coming to the Spanish resort of Cabo Roig, last night I came across a late-night bar called The Caribbean, and we had the greatest bit of craic of all time dancing to the exclusively Latino music.

  I have always claimed to be one of the top jivers in the Creggs area, but after last night I realise I should have been from somewhere in South America. I don’t like boasting too much, but I am confident that there were dance moves produced in The Caribbean last night that have never been seen anywhere before. Can’t wait to go back there!

Till next week, Bye for now!

 

How my encounter with Big Tom revealed a kind gentle giant

 

 

As a young lad, back in the 1950s and into the ‘60s, I spent a lot of my school holidays on the large farm that my uncle, Michael, had in North Tipperary. It was there that I would start my (fairly good) social life – in my teens – in company with some of the local lads that lived in the local area.

  At the time, the Las Vegas ballroom in Templemore was the big local attraction and as often as we could, myself and Donal Kennedy (who lived next door) would hit for the weekend dances in the Reynolds’ owned dancehall. I told you before of a very scary night when Donal met a young lady and disappeared – and I had to walk the fourteen miles home. No problem there except that the very lonely road took me by the haunted house known as Heenan’s, and I don’t think I have ever run as fast (before or since) as I did that night…past the forbidding front of the two- storey house, with every hair on my neck standing with sheer fear and downright terror.

  Anyways, it goes without saying that Big Tom  and his band were often playing there (The Las Vegas, not Heenan’s) to full houses, but it was in the old Ormond Hotel in Nenagh in the very late ‘60s, or maybe even early ‘70s, that I had my one and only encounter with the country music legend.

  Now it wasn’t an especially memorable encounter, as it took place in the men’s toilet at the end of a Big Tom gig, but it left a permanent mark on me – because at the time I was a little bit of a cheeky lad and not really a fan of the big man. Fuelled by a little bit too much to drink, I tried to have a go at the Gentle Giant and his music, but all I got back was a completely relaxed, even kindly reaction, and, by the time I left that men’s loo  I realised that Big Tom was way above that type of petty and cheap criticism.

  And, as has been so evident this week, as the country and the world reacts to his death, he really was a humble, lovely man, who was at home with the lowest member of society (me, that night), as he was with the top stars – even royalty – that he would come to meet at later stages in his amazing career.

  Many times down the eleven years during which this column has been coming your way, we have talked about the magical days and nights of the local carnivals, and the huge part they played in the lives of so many communities. There can be no doubt that not only here, but across the Irish Sea too, Big Tom played as big a part as anyone. In fact, just as with the late Joe Dolan, the devotion of his fans is legendary, and the genuine shock and sadness at his death is a true reflection of his standing in the world of Irish entertainment.

  As for me, it took a long time for me to become a fan, but nowadays, if you ever visit me in the shop in Athlone, you could well have to listen to Gentle Mother or Four Roads to Glenamaddy, or one of the many other songs I have on some of Big Tom’s tapes. As he departs from this stage, I am glad to be able to say I spoke to him once and that I experienced – even in a small way – the humility and kindness that set Big Tom apart! May he rest in peace.

Great ‘Late Late’ tribute…but why was Ronan there?

On this Saturday morning I am still buzzing from the fantastic Late Late country music show that went out last night (Friday) on RTE television. If ever there was a fitting, timely tribute to any man (Big Tom), last night’s show was certainly a well-deserved tribute to the big man from Castleblaney.

  The cream of Irish country music were all there, and it was a show I would love to have been at. The outpouring of grief at Big Tom’s death, but also the joyful celebration of his life, was just lovely to see. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  The difference in generations was very evident in our house last night, because even though three of our four children were in the house, not one of them had any interest in joining us to watch the show, and they only came into the sitting room when Ryan Tubridy and his guests were gone off the air.

  One of the things that caught my attention was the relatively small number of women who make it in the world of country music, with only seven or eight featuring on the show. These included the newest kids on the block… Lisa McHugh (my favourite) and Cliodhna Hagan, along with old-time greats Gloria and Philomena Begley. Philomena is some craic  and a real trooper too.

  On the other hand, there were several male stars on stage. The highlight for me was the duet by Daniel O’Donnell and Michael English, which was really brilliant.

  The other big talking point – for me and Carol at least – was this: what in the name of God was Ronan Keating doing on a country music show? While he sang a duet with Lisa McHugh, I didn’t think he should have been there along with all the real country music stars who were on the show. I can think of loads of others – like Brendan Shine, Mick Flavin, Hugo Duncan and Brendan Quinn – who weren’t there, all of whom have contributed greatly to the rise and rise of country music, and all of whom would have deserved to be on the show a lot more than the Boyzone singer.

  However, I am probably being a bit picky now, so forgive me Ryan! It was a fantastic production, and if my hips and the gout and the blood pressure and the ticker and the diabetes had all been perfect, I would definitely have spent the night hopping around the sitting room. As it was, I sat quietly in my armchair, but I have to say it was one of the best shows I have seen in a long, long time. Roll on next year, and I will move Heaven and earth to get a ticket.

And finally…

Finally for this week, and it’s back to the world of professional football, where the stepping down of Arsene Wenger as manager of Arsenal shows once again that there is no room for loyalty or compassion in the harsh confines of the club boardrooms.

  It is apparent today that the French man went before he was pushed, which is a very sad way to end a wonderful career. Even as a Man. Utd. fan I am happy to say that his teams played the most delightful attacking football and were an absolute joy to watch. They were also pretty successful, with three Premiership titles and seven FA Cups going to the Arsenal under his leadership.

  I suppose after twenty-two years in charge it may be time to move on, but I think Wenger  deserved better than to be made feel he had to go, and I for one admired the way he had all his teams playing football as it should be played. There was no parking the bus – as defensive football is now described – under Wenger, and I applaud him for that and hope he stays in football for a few more years at least.

  Au revoir Arsene, bon voyage, et merci beaucoup (that’s a bit of French, Leaving Cert 1968).

Till next week, Bye for now!

Saluting the selfless people who brighten up our world

 

 

 

 

The older I get (by the way I clocked up another birthday last Saturday but it’s okay if you didn’t send the card) the more I realise that so many bad things are happening in the world, from domestic violence to cyber bullying to appalling acts of war.

  And so many people live their lives in a permanent state of fear, be it someone in mortal fear of his, or her, partner, or children who dread every day they have to go to school knowing they face another day of unrelenting bullying, or all the citizens of war-torn regions, where every day is a challenge just to stay alive.

  Of course the media will publicise all the bad things that happen, no matter what form they take, and so it was a great pleasure for me to see the People of the Year Awards on television on Sunday night and realise that there are also so many good decent selfless and caring human beings in this country.

  Now I am not one of those who are blinded by Grainne Seoige’s good looks or charming smile, and as a presenter I can take or leave her, but I have to say that she is brilliant at these type of shows, and I thought she was an excellent host, along with Aidan Power (who I had never heard of before last night). It restored my faith in humanity to see and hear of so many acts of bravery, kindness, and just natural goodness.

  I know I shouldn’t pick any recipients above the others, but I thought the joint young Person of the Year Harry and Molly Flynn from Kilkenny were just amazing, and the award for Catherine Corless and her fearless work in exposing the truth about the Tuam babies was very well deserved.

  Also among the award winners were the people of Ballaghaderreen, being recognised for their kindness in welcoming the Syrian refugees into their town, Colette Byrne, who set up a website Widow.ie to help grieving people come to terms with the death of a partner, Ifrah Ahmed, who campaigns to stop female genital mutilation, rugby referee Joy Neville, the Irish Coastguard – and several others.

  Each and every one was a deserving winner, and all of them were there because they put others’ welfare before their own.

Local heroes expose multimillionaires!

On Saturday evening I made it to Rockfield to see Oran pip our lads by a point in a tough, hard-fought derby game in the Intermediate Championship.

  Even though we lost, I enjoyed the competitive edge in a game that while maybe not the highest in quality terms  was interesting all the way through and one which could have gone either way.

  The pitch was very heavy, and it was difficult to hop the ball, but each of the players gave their all and left nothing behind them on the field of play.

  Then on Sunday afternoon I watched the multimillionaires of Manchester United go through the motions against bottom of the table West Brom – and lose 1-0 at home –  and I doubt if they even cared that by losing that game they gave the title to their neighbours, Manchester City, and will have made life miserable for at least a week for one half of Manchester.

  On Saturday evening our lads went back to Mikeen’s, had a few pints and a bite to eat – and a good bit of craic. I wondered where would the United millionaires go  after their pathetic display against managerless West Brom. They could hardly show their faces in the city, so I suppose they had to slink home and console themselves that they had earned thousands upon thousands of pounds since last week, and know that no matter how poorly they play they will continue to draw their immoral wages, at least until their contract runs out…

  Give me Rockfield or Creggs, or any other local club ground, in any sport, any time, and at least we will see lads give all they have – no matter how little it is – for the honour and glory of their little village.

I shouldn’t say this, but…

If ever a man should keep his mouth shut  and say nothing about medical stuff, then I am that man, because without modern medicine and the breakthroughs that have occurred down through the years in many different areas, there is no doubt that I would be a long-time permanent resident in Kilbegnet graveyard, and I would now, as they say, be pushing up the daisies.

  However I am still above the ground, not too far mind you, and at the moment suffering from a bad cold – maybe not a flu, but close enough – and it has me wondering about the benefits of the flu jab.

  Now I am not in any way suggesting that the jab does not work, and there are thousands upon thousands of our elderly people, of whom I am one, who benefit each year from getting it. But for some unknown reason on the two years that I have got the jab recently, each time I have got a slightly watered down version of the flu virus.

  The funny thing is I haven’t bothered with it for about five or six years because of how sick I got the last time…but this year I said I’d get it again, and lo and behold, I also got the flu, or at least a bad cold. Again, in none of the years in between had I even the slightest cold, so I just wonder was I unlucky or is it possible that the flu jab is not all it’s cracked up to be.

  I am a great believer in hot lemons, and a spoon or two of honey poured in, but this time, after two weeks or more, I am still coughing and spluttering, and my nose is so runny it could solve the Dublin water crisis. So therefore, I’m wondering what’s going on! Whatever it is, I will not be taking up my offer of next year’s flu jab.

A warm welcome to Tom and Jenny

In Creggs we have recently been delighted to welcome our own celebrity couple, nutritionist Tom Coleman, who has worked with (amongst others) rugby international Jamie Heaslip and ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor – and his wife, Venezuela-born Jeeny Maltese, who has a passion for food, health and beauty, and is called the ‘Latin Nigella Lawson’ by many.

  Recently Jeeny has become a television favourite with appearances on a number of prime time shows, and last Saturday night the duo hosted a very successful cookery demonstration in the School Hall, with all proceeds going to the renowned Sunshine Room. Sadly we were otherwise engaged in Rockfield, and couldn’t make it, but I am told there was a massive crowd and that everyone enjoyed it. Well done Tom and Jeeny, and a belated welcome to Creggs.

  I have always fancied myself as a bit of a chef (ask Kevin Gavin about my world-renowned peppered steak) so please God I’ll make the next one.

Fashion Show – for a great cause

Finally for this week, my good friend Sean Beirne has asked me to tell you all about a big Fashion Show which his sister, Anne Marie, is organising. In aid of the Roscommon/Mayo Hospice, it’s taking place in the Abbey Hotel on Thursday, 26th of April, starting at 7.30 pm.

  Mary Claire Grealy and Niall Canning are the comperes, it’s a great cause, tickets are only €10 and are available at local Bank of Ireland branches in Co. Roscommon. I’m sure you can also pay on the door.

  All I can do is tell you all to go and make it a night to remember. Anne Marie asked me to model the swimwear, but sadly for you, I have another engagement on the night, so you’re out of luck!

 

Till next week, Bye for now!

 

Is ‘the painful truth’ that McGregor is bigger than his sport?

 

It’s a nice, warm Monday morning and, believe it or not, it’s actually dry. I nearly started this column with a little fib (nothing new there says you), because I almost said that I had never seen a Conor McGregor fight – something which would certainly put me in the minority of Irish people – but that would have been incorrect.

  Sadly, I was amongst the millions that paid to see McGregor’s boxing match with Floyd Mayweather, thereby putting hundreds of more millions of euro into his already bulging bank accounts, but thankfully I can tell you that I have never looked at the so-called sport that he partakes in.

  In this ‘sport’, almost anything goes in the ring and it seems that you can literally assault another person in the most brutal way possible. I’m told that a lot of the stuff that goes on would certainly result in an arrest if it occurred out in the open, but as it’s all done under the UFC rules, everything is totally above board, and there seems to be no restriction on the amount of pain and brutality one human being can inflict on another.

  However, despite my disgust at the totally unedifying sport, I am man enough to admit that I would have had a certain amount of admiration for his achievement in turning himself into one of the most recognisable, wealthiest, and (hate to say it) popular Irish people in the world, so in a way I’m not too unhappy at his most recent fall from grace.

  This time, while I have no doubt that it was a publicity stunt that went too far, his violent actions in the United States could cost him a fair few dollars in lawsuits, and if it was anyone else it’s fair to say that he would probably do a good bit of jail-time. However, on the assumption that fame and wealth can have a bearing in these situations, and also because of the huge following he has stateside, I believe he will stay out of prison. Still, the episode as a whole could be a very costly one.

  Recently, in a slightly different type of cage fighting (Mixed Martial Arts), a young Portuguese fighter, Joao Carvalho, died as a result of blunt force trauma received in a fight in Dublin when he was struck by 41 blows to the head – with the last nine unanswered ones – before the ref stopped the fight in the third round. Those figures are beyond belief, and how anyone could see sport in such wanton violence beats me.

  However, McGregor will continue to make many more millions, and this episode will soon be confined to his glorious(?) history, and if he does still have a golden future, he will certainly confine to the dustbin the line we often hear about all sport – that ‘no one man is bigger than the sport itself’. In McGregor’s case that is blatantly untrue.

 

Forget Pep and José, we had our own big derby!

Last Saturday was known as Derby Day in The Premiership across the water, with both the Liverpool and Manchester derbies taking place (how ‘United’ won against Manchester City is one of the great mysteries), but out here in our neck of the woods the big derby was our O’Gara Cup game against our neighbours Fuerty in Mulhern Park.

  It was a 6 pm start. Early-evening matches are the bane of my working life, as they mean I always have to finish a bit early (very hard on me). But, with a little bit of time juggling, I arrived at the venue with a bit to spare, and even though it was a little bit one-sided in favour of our neighbours, I enjoyed the evening – and as usual the banter on the sideline was good fun.

  We concluded that Fuerty are definitely the best team in the Intermediate Championship, that we need to do a bit (a good bit) more training, and that if we can get fit and restore all our injury victims to action, all might not be lost.

  We have another derby match this coming Saturday, this time against Oran in the championship. I will have to close early again that evening. I can’t wait. There is no better craic than having a rattle at your neighbours in a big game, and, win or lose, heading for the pub for the postmortem.

Suffering in Syria

I must confess that I am poorly informed about the ongoing war in Syria, but the horrific images on the television at the weekend of innocent children and women (and indeed men) who were suffering from the effects of chemical gas poisoning were enough to make any normal person wonder how human beings could inflict such suffering on their fellow humans.

  To see children trying to catch their breath, while others were being hosed down in an effort to get rid of the effect of the gas, with other images showing many lifeless bodies with foam coming from their mouths was shocking and upsetting, and surely the civilized world cannot still sit back and allow these atrocities to continue.

  I am no politician, but isn’t that what the Trumps and the Mays and the Putins of this world are supposed to be doing? With all their wealth and power, they should be helping the weak and putting an end to all this stuff – stopping this horrible type of unforgiveable cruelty.

And finally…

Finally for this week, the price for playing with your local football team can come in many different ways…

  This week I met a former Creggs player, much younger than I am, who told me that one Sunday evening after a game he joined myself and a few experienced drinkers (can’t name them for legal reasons) for a few (good few) post-match pints.

  He had to milk his neighbour’s cow in an unlit cowshed later on that evening. So he headed off, got the milking stool (one of the three-legged ones) and proceeded to do the job.

  All was going as planned until the cow’s owner, an elderly neighbour, called in to inspect the operation, and, with the light of his torch he was somewhat surprised to see that the stool was upside down, and our footballing friend was seated, somewhat uncomfortably, on the three legs.

  He explained it was dark when he got there –so he couldn’t see – and he claims he milked the cow perfectly, but he never again joined us for the after-match drinks…still can’t figure out why!

Till next week, Bye for now!

 

A Good Friday with a difference (and a great run for our rugby heroes)

 

 

It’s a mild enough Easter Saturday morning, and as I write this, I am reflecting on the most unusual Good Friday that I have ever experienced in the many years that I’ve spent upon this earth.

  It started off by being the first Good Friday that I ever had to work, as up to this year, even though other shops were open, we stayed closed. However, we finally gave in to modern commercial reality and reluctantly (at least for me) we opened and put in the normal Friday retail shift.

  In truth it was a busy enough day, but I pulled the plug short of 5 pm, hit for home  and the dinner, and shortly after 6.30 pm I was heading for Ballyhaunis where our rugby lads were due to play Corinthians in the final of the Curley Cup. I’m sure the story of the game is told elsewhere in the People, but after a very shaky start in which we conceded a try after only a couple of minutes, we put on a superb exhibition of running rugby and ran out very convincing winners.

  Many years ago when Ballyhaunis were a young club in their infancy, they played on a pitch near the Golf Club, which was pretty much on the side of a hill, with a slope on it that would nearly be good enough for an Olympic skiing competition. Fast-forward to the present day and their facilities are second to none, with two top class pitches, a huge clubhouse, incorporating dressing rooms and a function room, and it just shows how a small club can progress and develop with good leadership and management.

  The Six Nations trophy was on show at the clubhouse, and we all had opportunities to have our photos taken with it, before the presentation of our two trophies – the Curley Cup and the Junior League Cup – took place, and we headed back to a night of celebration and fun in the first ever Good Friday opening of Mikeen’s pub.

  Before I go from Ballyhaunis, full credit to their ladies committee, as they served up bowls of steaming hot soup, which were very welcome on what was a perishing cold evening. This was backed up with a great array of sandwiches, and all free of charge. Never were such refreshments so badly needed, or so much appreciated, and the whole event was a credit to the club and its officers.

  Anyway, I elected myself to the highly prestigious position of bonfire organiser, and so I hit for the village before the bus left the Mayo town, and when the victorious team arrived we had the fires blazing to welcome our heroes home.

  The rest of the night was as good a bit of craic as we had in many a year, and I can only say it was brilliant to have two rugby trophies in Creggs after many a long barren year.

  I was lucky enough to be at most of the games that Creggs played during the year, and while there were times when their running game almost gave some of us old-timers heart attacks and seizures, I have to say they were a lovely team to watch, and played some super rugby, which was a credit to themselves and their management team.

  Next season they have another step up to take, but I’m sure we’ll worry about that later. For the moment, we will enjoy this year’s success – and all I can say is well done lads, it’s been a great journey.

 

Timid boxing showdown, exciting day in Croker

 

Changing subjects entirely, but sticking with sport – of sorts – on Saturday night we had one of the most eagerly-awaited world heavyweight boxing title fights for a long time when Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker did battle for the right to hold four of the five different world championship belts.  

  Now why there are so many different champions in every weight category beats me, and I think back to the time when there was only one world champion, and the likes of Ali and Jack Dempsey and Mike Tyson were undisputed kings of the heavyweight boxing world.

  Anyway, back to the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, where on Saturday night 82,000 fans were present in a sold-out crowd. Along with millions around the world, they got a complete non-event. Scarcely a blow was struck in anger, and any time it looked as if it might get physical the referee stepped in and separated the two fighters.

  In the end, Joshua won the four belts by a convincing margin, and in fairness to him he is a magnificent physical specimen, and with a 20 million pounds sterling pay day he had a pretty productive Easter Saturday night. He is going to fight Deontay Wilder for the one remaining belt he hasn’t got, some time in the near future.

  As for the millions who signed up to watch Saturday’s so-called fight on Sky TV, and who paid well for the privilege, I am nearly sorry for them, but I suppose you take your chances. 

  Back in the days before knives and stabbing became commonplace in settling disagreements, we used to have many a pub fight take place, and in truth I saw loads of better contests at the back of carnival marquees or outside the local pubs. 

  Talking of contests, I didn’t get to see the Rossies’ wonderful win in a high-scoring game against Cavan, but fair play to them, while I saw a little bit of the Galway/Dublin match, but though the Tribesmen did reasonably well, I do believe they should have abandoned their defensive set-up and gone for the win after the Dubs were reduced to 14 men.

  However, the men in maroon showed enough to suggest their Connacht Championship match against Mayo in May could be one of the games of the year.

  The Rossies will definitely have another Connacht final to look forward to, and would be my (slight) favourites to retain their provincial crown.

And finally…

Finally for this week, the end of a very successful year for Creggs on the rugby field saw the seconds go down in the League final  on Sunday to a bigger, stronger Our Lady’s Boys Club team in Tuam, on what I think was the coldest day on which I have ever stood on the sideline of any pitch. The lads have had a very good innings, and I’m told the celebrations in Mikeen’s were every bit as good as if we had won the trophy.

  The big draw takes centre stage now, so I’m sure you’ll run into a ticket seller somewhere around the place in the next week or two, and if you do, try to support the club by buying a ticket. You could end up the winner of a prize Charolais cow, or any one of twenty-five other prizes. I’m told there may be a dinner dance in the offing later in the summer, to present our winners’ medals. I hope there is – it would be great craic and a great way to celebrate (again) the success of the season gone by.

 

Till next week, Bye for now! 

Hoping there’s a happy ending for UK telly’s ‘golden couple’

 

 

Back in the earlier days of television, all of us who were lucky enough to have BBC television grew up with some of the best comedy acts and shows that have ever been seen – which for a lot of people have never been emulated, never mind replaced.

  There were a number of really good comedians such as Bob Monkhouse, Jimmy Tarbuck, Dave Allen, and of course the brilliant, recently deceased Bruce Forsyth, who fronted their own light entertainment shows, but for a lot of us at the time it was the double acts that really captured the hearts and minds of the television viewing audience.

  Morecambe and Wise and the Two Ronnies, – Barker and Corbett – were by far the best of them, but for a while some very mediocre pairs, like Little and Large and Cannon and Ball, managed to build very successful careers on very little ability. Then they all faded away and light entertainment shows became exactly what they said on the tin – very light on entertainment.

  And then along came a pair of cheeky Geordies (that means they came from Newcastle), and for ages Ant and Dec took over the world of light entertainment. Year after year they carried off every award that was available to them in the world of television, and their Saturday Night Takeaway and I’m a Celebrity…get me out of here! Shows kept them right up at the top of the ratings year in year out, and of course right up at the top of the earnings ladder too.

  And so it would appear that the duo were on top of the world, and that life could not be any better for the pair of them, but as we now know, life isn’t always as it seems, and for the last couple of years at least, the demons were taking a big hold on Ant (Anthony McPartlin).  His private life went into freefall, with his addiction to prescription drugs leading eventually to the break-up of his marriage and a long sad spell in Rehab.

  However, when he emerged from that difficult time, he seemed to have put it all behind him, returned to work on the Saturday night show, and all looked to be well with his world. We now know it wasn’t – and following a car crash last weekend, the star has been charged with drink-driving, and once more his career is in jeopardy. Once again he’s gone to Rehab, but this time it may be more difficult to pick up the pieces of his multi-million pound career.   

  There’s lot of speculation in the media as to the future of the successful partnership, and at the moment there seem to be a lot of conflicting stories around. I have to say that I would never watch the ‘Celebrity’ rubbish, and it was only by accident that I have ever seen the Saturday Night Takeaway, but I do hope Ant gets his life back in order soon again, and that the two best friends, which they certainly are, can pick up the pieces and resume their very lucrative careers.

  As for me, give me Graham Norton any time.  His programme is pure entertainment, and how he never wins the award for best show is beyond me. 

 

Locals off to Croke Park – again

 

This weekend coming, for the second time in a matter of months, will see our neighbouring counties – Galway and Roscommon – head to GAA Headquarters, Croke Park, this time to play in their respective league finals.

  A few short months ago they were there for the All-Ireland quarter-finals, and while both failed to make it any further, it’s a great sign to see them back again this Easter Sunday.

  I hope the Tribesmen can do better against the Dubs than they did that day against the men from the Kingdom, but it’s a tall order, particularly in the All-Ireland champions’ back yard. Meanwhile, on all known recent history, the Rossies should be good enough to see off the challenge of the Cavan team.

  I make no secret of my admiration for Kevin McStay’s management team, and I am delighted to see them make their detractors eat their words (of last year), while I must admit that, as a proud Galway man, I had grave doubts about Kevin Walsh’s ability to bring his team to the next level. As of now it looks like I was wrong, but by next Sunday evening we will all have a fair idea as to where exactly Galway football is.

  The other big thing that has happened but has almost been ignored is that a few short years after all the experts were decrying the quality of Connacht football, and telling us that we were years behind the other three provinces, all of a sudden we have three of the eight Division One teams from the West. I know it’s a long shot, but maybe soon we will finally welcome Sam Maguire back across the Shannon, and, in truth, it is long overdue; whichever one brings it back is hard to call but please God it will happen before too long.

And finally…

Finally for this week, I am very conscious of the huge upsurge in cycling all around the country, and indeed the world, and I am well aware that for some motorists the cyclists are a continual source of annoyance as they cycle up to three or four abreast when they could just as easily go in single file. In so doing, they make it very hard for the motorist to pass.

  On the other hand, many cyclists have major issue with motorists who drive too close to them when overtaking, and who often cut across the cyclists at turns or junctions, thereby putting lives in danger. In truth, both parties have some right on their side.

  Now I am not anti-cyclist at all, apart from the fact that last week as I walked on the footpath near my work in Athlone a fellow whizzed past me – and there is no doubt that had I accidentally veered into his path I would have been seriously injured. He should not have been speeding or even cycling on a footpath, but if he wanted to do so, the least he could have done was sound his bell and give us a warning as to his proximity.  

  Thankfully there was no harm done, but it still unnerved me a little, so, if you have a bike, use the proper cycle lanes and leave the footpaths to those who have to walk. I am heading off to the peace and quiet of Lenamarla for my daily walk, so ‘till next week, have a nice Easter –and eat loads of eggs!

Till next week, Bye for now!

 

Great Grand Slam memories

 

It’s the 21st of March 2009, and along with thousands of green-clad Irish men and women, I am in the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff to witness what up to last weekend was the greatest sporting occasion – rugby-wise – of my life. I most certainly will never forget the nail-biting finale when Wales out-half Stephen Jones dropped a last-second penalty just under the bar. When Jordan Murphy booted the ball into the huge crowd, Ireland had won their second-ever Grand Slam, sparking some of the greatest celebrations of all time.

  I was high up in the seats behind the goal, and at the final whistle I hugged everyone within an ass’s roar of me – Welsh or Irish, male or female, it didn’t matter. We danced and sang as if there would be no tomorrow. Thankfully, despite an abundance of celebratory victory drinks, there was a tomorrow – and nine years later, when we won our third Grand Slam last Saturday, we were still standing, but this time in the newly-revamped Nancy’s (formerly Miss Ellie’s and Jack’s Live Venue) in the heart of Roscommon town.

  Now I have to say that I was a bit reluctant to go to town at all, but as Creggs Rugby Club were hosting a fundraising ‘do’ in Nancy’s, I decided I’d better toddle along, and in truth it was one of the best day’s craic I have had in years.

  The crowd was enormous, and if anything, the atmosphere was even better than at the 2009 game itself, and the singing and roaring as the game progressed was in danger of taking the roof off the re-opening venue.

  It helped that Creggs had won the league recently and that almost the entire panel were in attendance. If they are good rugby players (which they are), then I must say they are every bit as good at celebrating.

  Anyway, back to the Grand Slam game, and, while I’m sure Seamus Duke will have a good bit about it in his sporting round-up, it was in my opinion the best Irish performance of the year. They fairly put Eddie Jones’ men to the sword – it’s doubtful if his ‘scummy Irish’ remark played much of a part in our victory, but I’m sure the surly sourpuss (that’s Jones) was made to regret that he uttered those outrageously stupid and insulting words. He also had a ‘go’ at the Welsh, and if he’s still in his job next season, I’m sure he’ll be reminded of his words when the teams meet in Cardiff.

  Now I know you will say that’s enough about the rugby, and it nearly is…but before I finish, I have to say that I hope that all of those pundits (and in particular, Matt Williams, whose dismal coaching record with Scotland – played 17 and won 3 against such rugby giants as Samoa, Japan and Italy – barely gives him the right to open his mouth) who criticised our play and the gameplan of a proper coach, Joe Schmidt, are hanging their heads in shame as this team celebrates their incredible achievement.

  Before I leave sport for this week, on Sunday night, purely by accident, I happened to tune in to the closing holes of the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament, and it was a pure delight to see Rory McIlroy – playing like the player of a few years ago – stride up the 18th fairway, hole a monster final putt, and secure a first win since 2016.

  Other golfers – like Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Justin Thomas – come and go as the world number one, but to my mind there is nothing quite as exciting as seeing McIlroy in full flow. Hopefully this win will be the push he requires to take his rightful position as the world’s best golfer.

Sad bereavements

In a weekend of great joy and celebrations, there were also a number of sad bereavements all around the county. Out here in Creggs, we bade farewell to a local GAA legend (a word I don’t use lightly), when the one and only Sean ‘Bags’ Keegan passed away after a brave battle against illness.

  The stories about the colourful goalie are numerous – and mostly true. For many years he was instrumental in keeping our local football club alive, but he will also be remembered for his amazing talent in giving recitations – and never forgetting a word.

  In truth, it would take a full book to fully remember the late Sean, so all I can say is he will never be forgotten while Creggs GAA Club exists, and I express my sincere sympathy to his wife Mary, his sons and daughters, all the extended family and a large number of relations and friends.

  On a personal level, we in the Brandon family said goodbye to our aunt-in-law, Bridie Brandon, formerly of Cloonkeen, Newbridge, but latterly of Cloverhill, and if ever a woman had a great outlook on life, Bridie certainly had. I never saw her in any kind of bad humour, and her love of both bingo and the Rosary were legendary, while her positive attitude made her an absolute joy to meet.

  She used to read this column whenever she got the chance, and indeed she was quick to tell me if and when I got it wrong, which was, and is, often enough.

  So, as I bid farewell to a great lady, and say how sorry I am to her family, I can definitely tell you that the world will be a poorer place without Bridie. May Bridie and Sean rest in peace. Heaven could be a bit livelier this week.

Oval and out? Surely not!

Finally for this week, the big question is has that great GAA stalwart from Ballintubber, Michael Holland, had a major conversion (pardon the terrible pun) to the oval ball?

  Last Sunday week, while his beloved Rossies were in league action against Clare in Ennis, Michael was supporting the Creggs rugby lads in Sligo, where, in fairness, his son Michael was playing very well.

  Then last weekend Michael and his wife Eileen were amongst the lucky Irish people who got tickets to the Grand Slam extravaganza. Somehow I think it may be only a temporary transformation, and I fully expect him to make the Hyde on Sunday when Roscommon will get promoted back to the top division of the Allianz Football League.

The Mother of all Sundays

 

It’s a beautiful Sunday morning, Mother’s Day for all the mammies, and I’m awake early. However, while the day that’s in it is a very important and well deserved recognition for all the mothers of the world, I have to admit that when I made my way out of the scratcher, my mind was also focused on the wonderful world of rugby.

  A good few hours earlier, the entire country, or most of it at least, had watched as our Irish heroes saw off the Scots in a doughty battle in the Aviva Stadium, and then our great Gallic friends, the French, did us a big favour by beating the English in another game that was not for the faint-hearted.

  And so, almost by default, there we were, Six Nations champions for the third time in five years, and all set to go to Twickenham and win the Grand Slam for only the third time in our history. And it was as I thought about the significance of this weekend’s match that I began to wonder if the French win was such a great thing after all. Sure there is nothing more enjoyable than watching the English being beaten (!) – even though it probably shouldn’t be so, that’s the way it is. We all get a great kick out of seeing them lose, but in a perverse way, it will also give them a massive incentive to stop us from getting the ‘Slam’. Last year the situation was the exact same, except in reverse, and history will show that we absolutely stuffed the English and their Grand Slam bid. I guarantee you nothing would give them greater pleasure than to get a very sweet revenge. I have to admit that I think it’s a 50-50 game, and I won’t be terribly surprised if there is very little in it, hopefully in our favour. 

  However, after all of that, the rugby game that was on my mind was not the Irish one at all, but rather the afternoon’s Connacht Junior Cup semi-final when our local lads were due to take on Sligo on their home patch in what we were well aware was going to be a difficult, if not downright impossible, task.

  So, after the traditional Sunday morning fry, we headed off to the capital of the North-West and made it to Strandhill – where the rugby club is located – all in time to grab a lovely cup of coffee and a sandwich, and in my case a couple of lovely currant-y buns – all kindly supplied with the compliments of the home club.

  On then to the match itself, and after handing over a fiver entrance fee (despite my pleas of being an old-age pensioner), I thanked God for giving us such a nice day, because if ever any place needs good weather it’s the lovely Sligo venue, which pretty much overlooks the Atlantic Ocean.

  Many years ago, in the course of our match with them, our No. 8, Jack the Higher, suffered from hypothermia, and had to be wrapped in tinfoil in an effort to get some life back into his frozen limbs. Thankfully he survived, and yesterday his son, Pat, was the coach of our team, which while losing by a two-point margin, more than did us proud, and were a credit to their club and coach.

  It was also great to see so many sons of past players involved forty years after the club took its first faltering steps. I won’t name all the second-generation players, as I would surely leave someone out, but a large number were out there representing us.

  At the final whistle, despite a wonderful performance, we still suffered the huge disappointment of losing a cup semi-final, a pain that everyone says is worse than actually losing a final itself.

  Anyway, I headed home fairly sharply after the game was over, and when we reached the town of Castlerea, we decided to head into Hester’s Golden Eagle restaurant for a bit of Mother’s Day grub. Now I have to admit that we were fully prepared to be turned away as we had no booking, but even though the place was absolutely thronged, they managed to fit us in, and I can only say the fare was simply fantastic. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and met loads of old friends and acquaintances. There was a great atmosphere, good craic and banter, and all I can say is if you are ever hungry going through Castlerea, call in and you will not be disappointed.

  It’s funny how sport can sometimes echo life, with its ups and downs, and Saturday was a perfect example, because as we struggled to come to terms with the heartbreaking nature of our very unlucky loss to Sligo, we got the word that we had been crowned league champions by virtue of Tuam beating a Castlebar team that were the only ones left who could have pipped us to the title.

  And so, for the first time in nearly thirty years, Creggs are league champions! Back to the fathers and sons thing, and Liam Callaghan, a good Castlerea man, was and is one of the great stalwarts of Creggs RFC, and how fitting it is that his son (Tom) is the current captain of the club, while another son (Andrew) was lining out in my old position of scrum-half. On the other side of the coin, one of our all-time great players, James Gavin, now living in Sligo, had a son (Enda) playing against us, and when I rang Jimmy late last night after a few celebratory pints (for me, not Jimmy), he freely admitted he had found it to be a highly emotional experience. He was obviously delighted for his son, but sad for the Creggs club that he represented so well and so long. My own son Mark, Tom Fleming, and Kevin Brandon are three lads who have been involved with Creggs for a long time now, and it was great to see them finally get some tangible award for many years of service.

  Anyway, it was a great Mother’s Day, and I hope all you mothers out there were treated well and given the type of day you deserve. As for me, although I am not a mother, I will never forget Mother’s Day 2018.

Fleadh fun: Big launch on Friday night

I am advised by the one and only Terry Leyden, who once again came to my assistance in a little (not so little) matter this week, that the launch of Fleadh Cheoil Roscomain is taking place in Castlecoote Lodge Bar & Lounge this Friday night, 16th of March at 8 pm.

  The renowned Labhrás Ó Murchú is doing the launch, there will be young musicians performing from 7 o’clock, and a trad session will follow the big event. Terry tells me that all, even me, are welcome.

 

 

The Beast of times (well, for children anyway!) 

 

 

It’s Sunday evening, at the end of a very unusual week, and as I’m sitting at the kitchen table trying to write this column, it’s hard to accurately describe how I feel about the heavy falls of snow that more or less brought the majority of the country to a full stop for the last three or four days.

  Back to Wednesday night and the early hours of Thursday morning…and obviously, while most of us were in slumberland, snow was falling all around us. When I opened the front door, some time after 7 am, it was to a completely white, snow-covered garden. It didn’t take long to figure out that driving to work to Athlone was totally out of the question.

  For those of you who don’t know it (which would be most of you), I live at the bottom of a pretty steep hill…which leads to Kilbegnet Church. Many times over the last 30-odd years, it’s been a fairly accurate barometer as to the state of the roads. If you can’t make it up the hill, you probably won’t make it anywhere. Very early on Thursday morning I realised that the hill was almost impassable.

  In the space of about half an hour, I saw many cars have a go, and fail to get to the top, including one car which attempted to drive up towards the Church, only to reappear totally sideways, heading back the way it had come. At one stage it was uncomfortably close to my front wall, but eventually, after much huffing and puffing, the car got itself straightened out and took the slightly easier route to Creggs, via Milford Cross.

  And so I settled into a day of a total doss, but after a couple of hours I decided I should try to get to Creggs. Myself and the Volvo hit off the Milford Cross way, and despite a large covering of snow on the road, I made it safely to Mikeen’s shop, where I was amazed to find that there were many other like-minded souls, who were already suffering from cabin fever.

  Talking of cabin fever, and all the inconveniences that all of us adults had to put up with, a little part of me, maybe even a big part of me, was like a child – excited with all the snow around us. I could only envy all the children who had so much fun making snowmen, and snowdogs, and igloos, and all kinds of wonderful creations. 

  As a person who has great memories of snow-covered days from many years ago, I am well aware that many years from now, all of those children will always fondly remember the snows of 2018.

  And so we got through Friday…by  Saturday I had had enough, and went off to work in Athlone, which wasn’t exactly my most brilliant move of all time, as I only saw two people the whole day. However, mentally, it was great for me, as I realised the worst was over and normality was returning and the big thaw was almost here.

  Saturday night saw another big improvement, and myself and a very large crowd made it to Mikeen’s (this time the pub), where three of my neighbours –Jacinta Hanley, Bobby Jennings and Gerry Keegan – were co-hosting a table quiz.

  All the proceeds were going towards the development of Mulhern Park in Fuerty. It was very successful and a good bit of fun. I was the quizmaster, with the questions kindly compiled by Bert Curley, and despite a moment or two of controversy I luckily managed to escape without any serious injuries.

  The trio – that is Jacinta, Bobby and Gerry – were delighted with the response. Between the quiz and a well-supported raffle, they managed to reach their financial target.

  All that remains for them now is to carry off the OsKaRs, which I’m sure they are well capable of doing, and I look forward to their post-OsKaRs party.

 

Oscars: Saoirse’s day will come

 

Talking of Oscars, and as it’s now Monday morning, the world – and particularly the Irish side of it – is coming to terms with the fact that our Saoirse, which is of course Saoirse Ronan, didn’t manage to get her hands on one of the golden gongs.

  Unless I am living in cuckooland, it was no surprise, as it was widely flagged that Frances McDormand was nailed on to win it for her performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, a film that I thought London-Irish playwright Martin McDonagh would pick up an award for as well.

  As for the Wicklow woman, of whom I am a big fan – particularly the way she seems to have stayed so grounded, despite the huge glamour and pressure of her Hollywood lifestyle – I doubt if she will lose much sleep over missing out. Having already had three Academy Award nominations by the tender age of 23, her day will surely come and she will continue to be one of the biggest attractions on the silver screen.

  Anyway, back to the effects of the big snow, and one of the most likely unfortunate consequences could be that our trip to Twickenham falls by the wayside, as a result of our rugby match against Corrib being postponed on Sunday last.

  This almost certainly means it will be re-fixed for St. Patrick’s weekend, despite the obvious appeal of a possible Irish Grand Slam (although Scotland may have something to say about that this Saturday).

  For all of us, the chance of winning a league title for Creggs after very many years would far outweigh the joy of an Irish Grand Slam, and while we will know for sure in a few days, at the moment we look likely to lose out on the Twickenham trip.

  Let’s hope we win our own game and clinch that long-awaited league title.

 

And Finally…

 

Finally for this week, it’s amazing how emergency situations bring out the best  and the worst of people. The snow certainly showed us both sides of human nature.

  On the one hand we had great acts of kindness, where people helped each other out by clearing roads and looking out for the welfare of their own friends and neighbours, while on the other hand, we had the disgusting acts of arson in Tallaght, where at least six stranded snowbound cars were burned out by the worst kind of scumbags.

  Throw in the numerous acts of looting, along with the smash and grab destruction of the Lidl supermarket (also in Tallaght), and it shows that no matter what happens, there are always lowlifes out there who will try to take advantage of others’ misfortunes.

 

‘Til next week, Bye for now

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