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Paul Healy's Week

Paul Healy's Week

Leeds United fans 0 Rest of the World 1

 

 

 

 

If you happened to see a few middle-aged men wandering around aimlessly last Thursday – as though worn down by the stresses of the world – their sad demeanour may have had nothing to do with Brexit or bills; quite possibly they were ‘just’ deeply distraught Leeds United fans.

  I got home from work that fateful and now forever damned Wednesday evening, having succeeded in avoiding social media and any update on how THAT match was going. (Leeds were at home to Derby County in the second leg of their Championship play-off semi-final, and leading 1-0 from the first game).

  In the normal world, that would be a good thing.

  Anyways, I closed the curtains and opened my heart to the possibilities, sitting down to watch this monumentally big match which I had recorded, and the result of which I had avoided. 

  They say it is the hope that kills you, but when it comes to Leeds United in Championship play-offs – this supposed route back into the Premier League – I never allow actual hope to get in the way of the inevitable sense of foreboding. To be honest, it’s the qualifying for the play-offs, rather than gaining automatic promotion, that ‘kills’ Leeds fans. 

  Because Leeds, irrespective of how brilliant they’ve been all season, invariably flounder in these wretched play-offs.

  Some things in life are inevitable, they just keep happening. Our dog, it seems, will always act surprised and bark when the postman’s van arrives in the morning, as it does every weekday morning. Ryan Tubridy will always try to be cool and funny when he’s interviewing a comedian (why does he do this? It’s not as if he produces a lavish meal that he ‘prepared earlier’ whenever he’s interviewing a celebrity chef). I digress…

  Anyways, Leeds, it seems, will always blow it when they get to the Championship play-offs.

  It’s not enough to lose; they have to torture us in the process. In that second leg mayhem the other night, Leeds went 1-0 up against Derby, making it 2-0 on aggregate. An incredible atmosphere at Elland Road…thousands of fans chanting, singing and waving scarves. The Sky commentator musing about it being all over, Leeds marching on. It was, of course, madness. Drama had to reveal itself. And it did. Leeds imploded, Derby won 4-2 on the night, 4-3 overall. At least we were spared getting to the play-off final, and the delusion of escape.

  There is only one way for Leeds to return to the Premier League, and that’s by finishing first or second in the Championship, thus gaining automatic promotion, avoiding this play-off tightrope.

  Next season, I’m hoping Leeds can go straight up, that they can imperiously soar above this play-off torture. It is the only way, the only chance of escape. There is too much at stake…too much at stake for Leeds United, for their huge fan base, indeed for haunted middle-aged men throughout Roscommon…(to be continued, no doubt).

 Musings on First Holy Communion Day…

 

It was such a happy day, a joyful occasion…as it always is.

  Our son Matthew was one of a large number of children receiving their First Holy Communion in Roscommon Town last Saturday. The sun shone brightly, and a little unexpectedly.

  This is always a happy, inspirational ceremony. It’s one that many local families throughout the region have already experienced this year.

  It’s an occasion that glows…the children at the centre of it…sharing their day with siblings, parents, grandparents, further relations, a community’s embrace. 

  In these busy times, there aren’t that many communal events that can create such a calmness, such positivity. Maybe it’s because innocence is at the heart of it. And also, of course, because it’s sacred.

  Sacred. The First Holy Communion ceremony is after all a religious ceremony, and a powerful one too.

  By 10.40 am last Saturday, there were hundreds of people outside the Sacred Heart Church. The excited children…in their beautiful dresses and their dashing suits. There was a little giddiness, and lots of nervous energy…not just on the part of the kids, for the parents too. Pockets of people here and there, everyone dressed to the nines. Mostly they exchanged compliments about the kids, savoured the occasion, but, being honest, some drifted into other important snippets of small talk.

 

Musings on First Holy Communion Day…

 

But always it drifted – quickly – back to the children. The children were in their element. Their big day. When the local teachers (also stars of the day) called the children to order, they  quickly formed a queue, clasping their hands in prayer, preparing for this milestone step in their young lives.

  The ceremony was very special. It was much more inclusive than it used to be (many years ago). There was a lovely touch when three of the First Holy Communicants stood behind the altar and sang. Others read from the altar – superbly. The children received the Eucharist with reverence and were a credit to their parents and their schools.

  Walking up the aisle, they had been paired off, a boy and a girl at a time. As their parents beamed with pride, they completed this opening part of the ceremony with great formality, some of the boys careful not to make too much eye contact with their ‘partner’, as if unsure about this close encounter. (Thinking: Did we really agree to this?).   

  Fr. John Cullen celebrated a lovely Mass, which featured beautiful music from the Choir. A sense of happiness prevailed. And of sacredness. A fast-moving world slowed, for now at least. When the ceremony ended, the cameras and phones came out. The sun was still shining. The children had been great. It was, and is, one of the special days.

 

Finally, some election atmosphere…

 

 

 

Eight days to go, and while you couldn’t say there’s election fever, there’s finally some momentum to Election 2019. Just about!

  Election candidates have relished the excellent weather recently and are out in force, canvassing away. The recent Lamb Festival, the Roscommon v Leitrim match and Roscommon Races were all a bonus for candidates in that they presented an opportunity to meet large numbers of people in the one location.

  In relation to the local elections, the feeling throughout the county amongst people who are interested in this type of thing is that there are probably four to five very strongly fancied candidates in each of the three six-seaters…with one/two seats up for grabs in each area!

 

Thoughts on ‘Pool and Spurs

I was only six or seven years of age – yes, it’s so long ago, Eamon de Valera was probably our President, and the Bay City Rollers were probably in fashion.

  It’s my first memory of seeing, and being mesmerised by, soccer. There was a soccer match on the television – which was rare enough in those days. In black and white, of course. I was smitten by the style and panache of one of the two teams in action. Or were there three teams? I remember being confused. There was one team, and then there was Spurs…and Tottenham Hotspur. What was the commentator at? Eventually it dawned on me…Tottenham and Spurs were the same.

  I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for them, with their swashbuckling style, their sense of adventure. Many, many years later (but still a long time ago), I went to an Arsenal-Spurs game. Such excitement! The superstars I  daydreamt of in Rooskey were suddenly there in the flesh. I waited in wonder for Glenn Hoddle, Ossie Ardiles, Ricky Villa and Liam Brady to display their magic. When it ended 0-0, I felt suitably cheated!

  And now Spurs are in the Champions League Final, following an amazing victory over Ajax, another team with plenty of ‘swash’ and ‘buckle’. What Spurs have achieved is remarkable. I met a few still-stunned Spurs fans at the weekend (there are some out there, in Rossie-land) and yet…much as I like the club, my heart is with Liverpool on this one, in this unlikely football fantasy.

  Why? Because Liverpool have been wonderful this season, a relentless, thrilling, honest leave-everything-on-the-pitch football force. I didn’t much like their manager, Klopp, when he first arrived in England. Now I’ve warmed to him. His team has been superb. As has he.

  Liverpool’s extraordinary win over an admittedly defensively pitiful Barcelona gave us one of the great soccer nights in decades. And there really is something very special about big European football nights at Anfield. When the fans sing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ there, it is pure hair-standing-on-back-of-neck stuff. Even when I was a teenager, a passionate Leeds fans then as now, there was something special about Anfield on European football nights.

  I like and admire Spurs, but Liverpool have been a joyous rolling pleasure this season. After running Manchester City so close in the Premier League, few would begrudge them victory in the Champions League Final.

    

The Late Late: A-pealing as ever

So in this dream, two top TV executives fly in from the US (where else, for the purposes of this sarcastic piece?).

  They got down to business pretty quickly.

  “So, like we said in our email, you guys have the longest running chat show in the world! You guys are sitting on a phenomenon! Like we said, we gotta check this out! Thanks for meeting us!”

  Being some sort of an Independent guru in the television industry (in this dream), I spluttered: “Eh…you’re going to love it. Are you absolutely sure it’s this Friday night’s show you want to see?”

  The American guests were sure, they had flown in especially.

  The older guy reasoned: “We’ve had Carson, we’ve had Letterman, we’ve had Jimmy Kimmel, we’ve had Stephen Colbert, we’ve had James Corden…we need something new!”

  Sadly, there was time in my dream – just before I woke up – to proceed. And so it came to pass. The two American TV agents, with their big budgets and their desire to find out what was the secret behind the success of the world’s longest running chat show, sat in the Late Late Show studio.

  It was last Friday night. There was nothing I could do. It was too late.

  The executives watched, open-mouthed, when Ryan featured some ladies from the ICA demonstrating how to peel potatoes. 

  They steadied themselves a little when the ‘entertainment’ show then diversified into a discussion with a group of teenagers about exam pressures and such issues.

  I pretended to be asleep (well, I suppose I was) when the pregnant mannequin/robot was brought on to the set, and Ryan and two ‘midwives’ proceeded to deliver a ‘baby’.

  The American TV executives were more bewildered than angry. We had a drink afterwards.  

  “Exam students, old ladies peeling potatoes, a robot giving birth, I can’t understand it” the older guy said, shaking his head while enjoying his Guinness. “I don’t get this Late Late Show thing, I don’t know if we could possibly work with that template…”

  I did some thinking on the spot…I had just started to tell him about Daniel and Majella’s B&B roadshow when I woke up…

  

 

 

Front row view of CJ and Tony

 

 

 

The usher in the Backstage Theatre in Longford checked our tickets, and then started walking. And kept walking. I was about to ask if it was a sponsored walk, when he finally stopped…at the very front row.

  And so it was that Fiona and I found ourselves sitting in the front row last Friday night. The only people in the front row, too. If it was a comedian that was due on stage, I think I’d have done a runner.

  In fact we had received tickets (as a present) for the Fishamble production of ‘Haughey/Gregory’, currently on a nationwide tour.

  Written by Colin Murphy and directed by Conall Morrison, Haughey/Gregory is based on the famous deal made between Independent TD Tony Gregory and Charles Haughey in 1982, when Gregory surprisingly won a Dáil seat – and found himself holding the balance of power.

  The play was very entertaining…a terrific and original production. The excellent five-strong cast played multiple roles, including as Haughey, Gregory, Garret Fitzgerald, Bertie Ahern, George Colley, Des O’Malley, PJ Mara and Des Traynor.

  Morgan C Jones was superb as Haughey, and there were fine performances from Ruairí Heading, Janet Moran, Michael Glenn Murphy and Jonathan White.

  The audience was taken on a nostalgic trip back into the 1980s for a political drama which was laced with lots of humour (and a great soundtrack of hit songs from that era).

  The cast received a deserved standing ovation. I think many readers would enjoy this play.  (Haughey/Gregory is actually on stage in the Town Hall Theatre, Galway tonight, Thursday, May 9th at 8 pm, and in Limerick on Friday night; details from www.fishamble.com).  

  And we survived the front row – bar the odd stare from Haughey.

 

Nice walk, pity about the litter louts

Being a paid-up member of the ‘Fair Weather Walkers’ Club, I only resumed walking last weekend, now that the sun was making a welcome visit.

  Reports that the ‘old bog road’ behind our house had been given a great facelift by the Council proved to be accurate. There was a time when taking a walk there was like re-enacting a scene from an old Tarzan movie – but now the briars and bushes and overhanging branches have all been cleared.

  It’s a lovely walk and a reminder of the beauty of nature…every few steps I took were to the backdrop of creatures rustling in hedges or drains, and birds singing from above. Four cows stared at the human invader of the afternoon’s tranquillity. 

  The only negative aspect of an enjoyable excursion by this fair weather walker came when I emerged on to the main Athlone-Roscommon. I noticed two black bags full of rubbish, abandoned in a drain (on the main road). I have often come across illegal dumping on our local ‘side roads’…this was even more audacious.

  Sunday was a beautiful day. The birds were singing, lambs were playing in the field, our beautiful rural county was looking its finest. What a pity that there are still idiots in our midst who continue to deface the countryside with their shameful activity.

Everyone loves Trump

So finally, a man called Trump who, while strutting across the world stage, does it by uniting instead of dividing. Playing some mesmerising snooker as he defeated the great John Higgins in the final at the Crucible, Judd Trump is a truly worthy world snooker champion… an Alex Higgins for the 21st century!

 

It was easy to be in awe of Eugene…

 

They will lay a great man to rest in Longford today.

  He was a man of many talents. I knew him as a newspaper man…and had a special fondness for him because he gave me my ‘start’ in journalism. 

  As long-time Editor of the Longford Leader, and contributor to numerous national publications, Eugene McGee was a true newspaper man – and a great one.

  He was fiercely loyal to the great traditions of local papers. He knew what this business was all about and cared passionately for it. He had the skills to realise his vision, to see things done as he felt they should be done.

  How McGee wanted things done was…the right way. Done in a way that was true to truth, true to rural Ireland, true to ordinary people and proper values, true to his paper’s readers…while being suitably suspicious of any individual or group not having such a sense of fairness as their primary motivation. McGee was a proper newspaper man, not like many of the imposters who bought their way into the newspaper industry in latter years.

  I’m one of many journalists around Ireland who are thinking this week…‘I’m indebted to McGee’. In 1986, I was the Longford Leader’s humble Rooskey notes correspondent. From behind the bar counter (where I worked) I persistently dispatched sample articles and letters to Eugene McGee, hoping for a break.

  Eventually, an appointment. I sat on one side of his desk, and he sat on the other. He said very little, and I said less. He was himself, and I was intimidated. But then Eugene McGee – in his no frills, no-nonsense manner – offered me a job in the Leader newsroom.

  Not that he seemed entirely sure that he was making the right call. Having complimented my writing, and possibly fearing an unnecessary release of praise, he suddenly checked himself and returned to gruff mode: “Lots of people want to be writers, but nobody seems to want to be a reporter!”

  So, that was it. In my early 20s, I was moving into the world of journalism. I was in awe of Eugene McGee, and in truth I never stopped being in awe of him.

  Some people just command respect and loyalty, make you want to please them. That’s how it was with McGee. I saw him up close and personal for about three years. It was some experience, an education, watching this quite unique man quietly and brilliantly inspire those around him.

  After a period in Longford, I moved to the Cavan Leader, also run by McGee, and where Ciaran Mullooly was his Deputy Editor.

  McGee was as gruff or blunt or shy or non-communicative as people say, but we got used to it. And behind it all, he had a very good sense of humour, a mischevious and quick wit, and a humbling sense of fairness. And he was the consummate local newspaper journalist/editor. The best in the business. Most of what we now know, we learnt from him. That must be the case, because any journalist who worked for ‘McGee’ all those years ago still remembers, still traces so much back to him and his ways.

  Eugene, who sadly passed away last Sunday, leaves a truly remarkable legacy. Loving family man. Pioneering All-Ireland winning manager (with many more GAA achievements too). Brilliant journalist, editor and pundit. Champion of rural Ireland. Wonderfully passionate Longfordian. Honest man, dripping in integrity and decency. True one-off. 

  1982 and all that. The stuff of legend. He is part of GAA folklore. He will be remembered too as a real newspaperman, in the great tradition of real newspaper people. As a man who inspired a lot more than he probably realised. I was in awe of him then, and pretty much still am. May he rest in peace.

 

 

 

 

 

Ireland says 'Big Hello!' while Leeds wave goodbye to promotion!

 

 

Surely some mistake?

Of course I have no issue with the Government’s ‘Big Hello’ event this weekend, which will see local communities hosting gatherings with a view to strengthening community ties. In fact, I welcome the initiative.

  I have no issue with it at all, merely one query: Why didn’t they call it ‘The Big Howya’?

 

Is Mr Lawless Serious?

A Fianna Fáil TD has expressed concern about the possibility of the Chinese state spying on TDs and Senators in the future.

  Deputy James Lawless – an apt surname in the circumstances – has raised the issue following the installation of surveillance cameras manufactured by the Chinese state in Leinster House.

  Now we know that the Skibbereen Eagle newspaper famously warned the Czar of Russia that they were watching him.

  But surely the Chinese authorities aren’t planning to spy on Danny Healy-Rae & Co.?

 

Winner alright!

In a world that sometimes feels like it’s gone just a little mad, it’s reassuring to see that there’s still some normality…

  I’m referring of course to a poll in the esteemed ‘Radio Times’ on the greatest sit-coms of all time. I was pleased to see that reason prevailed in this increasingly mad world – and Fawlty Towers duly won out.

  Mind you, I was very surprised to see Father Ted taking second place. Father Ted was a great comedy, but it’s hardly worthy of such an elevated position. It’s certainly not fit to ‘lace the boots’ of Basil, Sybil, Manuel & Co.

  Meanwhile, Only Fools and Horses finished in sixth place, which was unfair on that classic and even more objectionable than Father Ted’s high placing.

 

Golf ball lands. Crowd goes crazy

Anyone who doubts if there is such a thing as a ‘herd mentality’ should really watch the golf on television.

  Time and time again it happens…a golfer hits a wayward shot and shouts ‘Fore!’…we all await the swish of the tree branches. TV camera zooms in. Someone spots golfer’s ball behind/near tree, perhaps fortuitously in a clearing. They point at it.

  Immediately, hundreds of spectators surge towards the ball. They stand around it, staring at the motionless ball, as though under some sort of a spell.

  It’s always a pretty bizarre sight. Maybe they just want to have a great vantage point for the next shot. Or maybe they all have ‘Late-Late-Show-audience-itis’, defined as ‘I want the folks at home to see me on the telly’.

 

Oops, they did it again…

Honestly, I had major misgivings about the appointment of Ole as Manchester United manager.

  Unless I’m missing something, this is what happened: Manchester United wisely parted company with Jose Mourinho, then appointed an unproven manager (undoubtedly a former playing hero) as interim boss.

  Unexpectedly, Solskjaer oversaw a great winning run. And, frankly, United fans lost the run of themselves! ‘Appoint the new Messiah’, they chanted, oblivious to his managerial track record, the poor quality of some of the opposition, and the reality that many new managers experience an immediate ‘bounce’.

  Next, results change…and suddenly it all goes downhill. Suddenly, Solskjaer looks out of his depth. Nice guy, probably not the right guy. The board acted rashly. I can’t see this one ending happily.

 

Meanwhile, back at Elland Road…

Pity any Leeds United fan who tuned into Sky Sports in the 77th minute of Sunday’s Championship game with Aston Villa…to see Villa’s Albert Adoma walk the ball into the net from the halfway line with the Leeds players standing like statues.

  If any such fan exists, that odd sight won’t have inspired them to believe that Leeds can gain promotion to the Premier League via the upcoming play-offs.

  Happily, there was an explanation for the bizarre ‘uncontested goal’, which is that Leeds gifted it to Villa because their opponents were fuming over the goal Leeds had scored a few minutes earlier. (Villa were unhappy that Leeds had played on after one of the Villa players went down injured).

  Personally, as a Leeds fan – and a sporting one at that – I think it was extremely generous of Leeds to gift Villa the goal.

  Anyways, it all reminded me of a soccer game (well, fixture) in the Rooskey area, more than forty years ago. The opposition didn’t turn up, and the referee asked the Rooskey-based team to kick off (and go through the formality of scoring a goal into the empty net).

  Sadly, after casually working the ball upfield, a Rooskey player carelessly kicked it wide! Unless my memory really is playing tricks with me, a national newspaper reported: ‘Red faces in Rooskey. No score against invisible rivals!’

 

 

Would it happen in a minister’s constituency?

 

 

 

 

 

No surprise here at the dismaying ‘news’ that the fate of the Rosalie Unit in Castlerea has been sealed. We’ve seen it all before. Our local politicians, of all hues, have failed on this one. The Government of the day has let local people down. As ever, they hide behind the coat-tails of faceless people.

  The mantra of Junior Health Minister Jim Daly has become tiresome. Over the years, politicians have always been adept at hiding behind civil servants…in the case of health, they shamelessly hide behind the HSE or HIQA, or both. Daly excels at it.

  He is not the only one. If there’s a positive health story, the politicians are all over the place, smiling for the cameras and slapping themselves on the back. If it’s bad news, they tut-tut and say it’s all down to the civil servants. In the case of the Rosalie Unit, Minister Daly has bluntly said he has no intention of ‘going against clinicians’. He takes his advice, he says, not from local politicians, but from clinicians.

  So that’s it then. In Jim’s world, politicians who have responsibility for the Department of Health cannot intervene. It’s baloney. If the political will was there, Rosalie would remain open in its current guise. I somehow doubt that we would see a similar facility closing down in a minister’s constituency.

 

One to watch: Casey v Ming

 

He may be a divisive figure with controversial views, but I must say I found Peter Casey to be a very friendly interviewee on Monday.

  The Roscommon People was the only local media outlet to meet up with Mr. Casey, who spent Monday – the day on which nominations closed for the European elections – in Roscommon. He and his wife Helen stayed overnight in Gleeson’s in the county town.

  Initially seen as something of a joke candidate (and still derided by many), Casey clearly connected with a huge section of the electorate in last year’s Presidential election, securing 342,727 votes and finishing second to President Michael D. Higgins.

  One week after Marian Harkin’s departure boosted Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan’s re-election prospects, Casey’s entry into the European election race represents a real challenge to the Castlerea man (and others). 

   And there’s no love lost already between the controversial Casey and the sometimes controversial ‘Ming’. They met for the first time last week, when both were panellists on the Tonight Show with Matt Cooper and Ivan Yates. According to Casey, Ming initially ignored him in the ‘Green Room’ before the show began. Casey told the Roscommon People that during the break he had to ask Ming to stop shouting as it was giving him an earache! For his part, Ming says that Casey is “probably one of the least interesting candidates in the field”.

  After our interview on Monday, I believe Casey popped into a local pub, The Brewery, where he was greeted by surprised locals…who were not expecting the runner-up in the 2018 Presidential election to suddenly walk in and enliven their Monday evening!

 

Marching on together?

 

Of course the sporting comeback that makes what Mr. Woods has achieved look like a walk in the park…or fairway…is tentatively taking shape in Leeds.

  Ready (hopefully) to shake up the world are the mighty men of Leeds United, who might just possibly be about to return to the top flight of English football for the first time since 2004.

  There are numerous Leeds United fans in County Roscommon, some of them even willing to go public on it.

  Only recently, Seamus Comiskey put his head out the window as he was driving past me in Abbey Street, letting out a shout ‘We’re marching on together!’

  Yes, there are lots of Leeds fans in Co. Roscommon who are marching on together just now. You will probably find them hiding behind their sofas when Leeds are in action on Sky Sports, or maybe in their garden shed saying a prayer in front of a poster of the Don Revie team of the 1960s/’70s. All will be revealed in the next few weeks…(in other news, Liverpool are apparently facing off with Manchester City).

 

Tiger shakes up the world…

 

Oh, the magic of sport!

  Last Sunday, organisers brought forward the fourth round of the Masters Golf Tournament – because they feared storms were coming to Atlanta. In fact they got an earthquake.

  Just about everything Tiger Woods has done over the past decade or so could have been accompanied by that dramatic closing theme music on Eastenders. And that’s putting it mildly.

  It’s a crazy narrative. He was the superstar who fell into the gutter. He destroyed his marriage, his personal life unravelling in scandal in front of the entire world. Then came the golfing decline. Woods spent years’ battling severe back pain, plummeting to 1,199 in the world rankings. The Gods were vengeful. He even got the putting Yips. He was a pitiful sight on his arrest for reckless driving. A series of surgeries on his back seemed only to prolong the agony, Woods trapped in an increasingly hapless battle against physical and mental breakdown. A year or two ago, as he sought to scramble any hope of recovery from the wreckage of his career, it was unthinkable that Woods would ever be a force again.

  It was all so different in the beginning. He first shook up the world in 1997, winning his first major at the age of 21. He won 13 more majors in a 9-year spell. Then it all ended. Woods lost his auru on the course and his credibility off it, and was cast into a decade of humiliation, hurt, and justified shame.

  They said he couldn’t win again. They even said he couldn’t play again. Long ago, they even began to avert their gaze. Now he was pitied, the great Tiger dragged down by his own demons and fate.

  Then the miracle began to reveal itself…over the past 18 months or so. Tiger back, on the march again, but older and wiser and more mature now. By last weekend, we had begun to wonder if a sporting immortal might actually drag the glory days back through sheer will.

  ‘I shook up the world’. It’s Ali’s phrase. When Muhammad Ali (well, he was Cassius Clay at the time) sensationally defeated Sonny Liston in 1964, he stood on the ropes of the boxing ring and hollered aloud: ‘I shook up the world! I shook up the world!’  

  Ali defined more than one generation, perhaps he defined the entire 20th century. He transcended and partly shaped historic social change.

  Tiger Woods belongs to a different era, and will never be such a positive force as Ali was. So I am not making a direct comparison; Ali has an iconic status that Woods cannot match.

  Woods wasn’t a nice man in the past. He behaved shockingly in his private life. But this is arguably a story of epic redemption. It was very touching to see those emotional scenes on Sunday, moments after his triumph, as Woods embraced his children.

  Redemption or not, it’s certainly one of the most amazing sporting comebacks of all time. Tiger Woods has shook up the world.

 

 

 

 

Tiger Roll, GOT, CBS, Brexit u-turn

 

 

Tiger then…Tiger again?

 

To win one Grand National is a magnificent, career-defining achievement; to win back-to-back Grand Nationals is the stuff of legend. (Real legend, not the daft, chronically over-used version so often foisted on us these days).

  So, hats off and arms in the air to Tiger Roll and Davy Russell on the weekend’s other big sporting achievement (with Roscommon CBS).

  Tiger Roll just strode effortlessly into the history books. A historic weekend too as Michael O’Leary actually offered free drinks on a Ryanair flight, but let’s concentrate on the horse. Wonderful. I can (just) remember when Red Rum won his second Grand National, in 1974. Red Rum went on to win a third, in 1977. The fact that mere mention of Red Rum still lifts the heart over forty years on is a measure of what Tiger Roll has just achieved.

  And maybe it’s a good omen for the other legendary Tiger. If Tiger Woods happens to emerge from the pack in the Masters at Augusta this weekend, it too would be a triumph for the ages, the stuff of real legend, a sporting comeback and feat that would be spoken of long into the future.

 

Have you heard? It’s back!

 

The newspaper headline I’d like to have seen over the weekend (but didn’t).

  ‘No more headlines about the return of Game of Thrones’.

  The Game of Thrones phenomenon seems to be commanding more newspaper space than Brexit these days – even though the cast of characters in the latter is much scarier.

 

What Kate said next…

 

The Sunday Independent interviewed prominent Fine Gael TD Kate O’Connell, who helpfully posed for a delightful photograph by siting in long and lush grass.

  Journalist Donal Lynch asked Kate about her colleague, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy. Is he still the right man for the job?

  As Eoghan was reading this over breakfast, he will undoubtedly have expected a version of ‘Political Stock Answer A’.

  E.G. “Absolutely. I have seen first-hand how passionate Eoghan is about housing. He is absolutely the right man for the job. The opposition are just playing politics. I have full confidence in Eoghan”.

  But that’s not what Kate said. Instead, what she actually said was: “I don’t know”.

  Oops (and sharp intake of breath at the Murphy kitchen table).

  Kate, no longer posing in the lush grass, did elaborate a little, but it didn’t get that much better.

  “He was given the job by the Taoiseach so I guess you could say it’s above my pay scale to say that. He got into politics to make a difference and I can’t doubt his work ethic”.

  Now, as a long-time observer of ‘political-speak’, I can assure you that is not an endorsement. She’s ain’t no fan of the embattled Housing Minister.

  Maybe she’s waiting in the long grass?

 

 

Weekend to remember

 

You have to hand it to the ‘young people’ these days.

  Not content with winning an All-Ireland football title on Saturday, the stunningly successful Roscommon CBS only went and broke a world record the same weekend (as part of Autism Awareness Month).

  What will our all-conquering youth take on next? Saving the planet? Oh sorry, they’ve already started that, with their Climate Change campaigning!

  Joking aside, what a truly great achievement by Roscommon CBS. The manner of the All-Ireland victory was a superb finale to a great campaign. And what a great credit the entire panel have been to their parents, the school, their town and county. Take a bow too the rest of the pupils in the school, and teachers, all of whom have been so supportive of a historic All-Ireland campaign.

 

This is what he said…

 

On Newsnight on Friday night, a slightly embarrassed but philosophical columnist with a leading right-wing UK newspaper was in the process of admitting that, having argued the merits of leaving the EU before and after the referendum, he had now changed his mind and was in favour of remaining.

  While trying to explain his u-turn, he entirely reasonably pointed out that the public had not been fully aware of all that was involved in leaving, or of all the possible implications.

  Then there was the Irish situation, he said, adding: “…Ireland, which has haunted Great Britain for 500 years”.

  They were his exact words. He didn’t explain any further.

Bernard and Marty, Gooch and Picasso

 

Surviving Marty & Bernard

First, we closed the curtains…in solemn acknowledgement of the enormity of what was about to unfold.

  Then, in order to spare them, we asked the children to move to another room.

  In a final act of generosity, we covered the dog’s eyes with a copy of a pets’ magazine. 

  Only for the dodgy broadband, we’d have streamed some of that music the state broadcaster in the Soviet Union used to play when one of their leaders had died.

  The fateful moment arrived, and we were braced for it. There was no turning back now. And so, with heavy but stoic hearts, we watched Marty and Bernard’s Big Adventure.

  This is a two-part television series in which Mary Morrissey and Bernard O’Shea set out to see what is the most ludicrous way in which taxpayers’ money can be squandered, or, as the RTE blurb prefers to describe it, ‘an investigation into modern male masculinity’.

  Nothing could have adequately prepared us for the horrors that unfolded over that hour. Still, we bravely stuck with it, even as our dog Coco walked out in protest.

  Those of you who missed it are to be envied for eternity, while any of our readers who experienced trauma which watching Marty and Bernard’s Big Adventure are advised that a Helpline has been set up. Daniel & Majella have been recalled from the US.

  Furthermore, a vigil will be held outside RTE HQ where sufferers can share their stories and protest ahead of the second episode. A collection will be held for distraught TV licence holders. John Delaney’s accountant has been cordially invited.

Finian’s foot in mouth…

Ah Finian, and we had missed you so much…

  Sorry, but we have a bit of a thing about Finian here. Finian McGrath. Decent chap, certainly. Good ould skin. But we’ve watched his ‘playing it both ways’ approach for many years…with a combination of reluctant admiration and near-disdain.

  Finian, now an Independent Government Minister, has been quiet lately. But all that changed at the weekend. Bristling with pride and doubtlessly ever so slightly swayed by the trappings of office, Finian was on a roll. Never that well acquainted with modesty, Finian was revelling in the presence of the reporter and photographer from the Sunday Independent.

  And so, even though he is a Government Minister, Finian went into full ‘Man of the people’ mode, perhaps with an eye or two on the next General Election.

  When it came to the drink-driving laws, he sort of lost the run of himself. The Gardaí, the bould Finian suggested, don’t approve of the latest drink-driving laws. Some within An Garda Síochána, he suggested, want to and do blame the Government (“and I don’t like that”). He then went further, and it was naughty stuff from a member of Government. Finian inferred that our police force actually has a political agenda…to damage the government of the day.

  Great copy for the journalist. The Sunday Independent made hay with it. Front page treatment. A big outcry followed on Sunday. Finian was in danger of spoiling Mother’s Day. Finian had to fire-fight.

  Finian withdrew his comments, but being loyal to the tradition of so many Irish politicians before him, he was careful to not actually apologise. In fact he had the cheek to include the following self-important guff: “Nobody is more supportive of the work An Garda Síochána does – often in tough circumstances – than I am”.

  Not true, Finian – every one of us who hasn’t accused the Gardaí of mounting a campaign against the Government has arguably been more supportive of An Garda Síochána than you (at least until you clarified your comments). 

  Anyways, I don’t think it was a resigning matter. Decent man. Big ego.

  As the pressure grew, our hero did what he should have done early on Sunday – he actually apologised. 

On the top of the Times…

At the top of the front page of the Irish Times on Saturday, two of the feature stories in the ‘Weekend Review’ were prominently highlighted…tempting readers to turn inside. There were two names and two faces.

  One of those people was Fintan O’Toole. While certainly a divisive figure, O’Toole is a journalist/commentator who is widely respected, even by those who hold staunchly opposing views.

  He belongs on the top of ‘Weekend Review’, or indeed on the front page.

  The other person helping to promote ‘Weekend Review’ was some geezer called Liam Byrne, described by the esteemed ‘paper of record’ as ‘Christy Kinahan’s lieutenant in Ireland’. The article on Byrne was accompanied by an artist’s drawing of the ‘trusted associate of the Kinahan cartel’…the graphic adding mystique to the subject.

  This was undoubtedly an impressive piece of journalism by Conor Lally. I’m full of admiration for the research that went into it, but Liam Byrne is not anyone’s ‘lieutenant’, and arguably not Irish Times’ feature material. I’m not sure that attaching some kind of celebrity status to alleged criminals is what the media should be doing.

  It’s giving underworld figures an elevated status in society. Instead of glorifying them with feature articles and illustrations – not to mention the nicknames much loved by the Sunday World and other tabloids – we should read about their ‘life and crimes’ in the newspapers’ court reports.

Gooch & Picasso…

Mayo’s victory in the Allianz Division One League Final was important in its own right – silverware at Croker and all that – it could also be very significant from a psychological perspective.

  The game was unusually (and refreshingly) free-flowing, and Mayo were deserving winners. They left Croke Park with the trophy – and left Kerry with a good deal to think about.

  Mayo are certainly in good shape, a view shared by League Sunday pundits Ciaran Whelan and Colm Cooper. The latter, by the way, remains an earnest but fairly average addition to RTE’s lengthy list of expert former players. Genius in front of goal, so-so in studio.

  Still, we’ll surely forgive the great ‘Gooch’ his clichéd punditry. After all, if Picasso was around today, we probably wouldn’t complain if he was only an average contributor on the Arts Show.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Relegation, financial advice and two Martys...

 

 

Oh well, now for the championship!

The Hyde looked great on Sunday. Unfortunately, so did Kerry. I was a little late; on the positive side, that meant I got parking directly outside the gates. Does this happen every time (if you turn up a little late)?

  Roscommon were buzzing. In truth, they never gave up, they left everything on the pitch, but Kerry absolutely oozed quality.

  It was a beautiful day, but very, very windy, as I’m sure Roscommon goalkeeper Colm Lavin will agree. Kick-outs were some challenge on Sunday, the ball actually spinning back like a frisbee more than once. 

  Our fate sealed long before the end, the atmosphere in the stand became subdued. So Roscommon kind of stuttered out of Division One, lamenting that unproductive trip to Cavan, what might have been against Tyrone. 

  Still, roll on the championship…and there is much to look forward to!

 

Free financial advice to FAI

I’m not great with the ould finances, but I still think I could possibly – just possibly – help the FAI out.

  We are constantly hearing that the Football Association of Ireland is ‘cash-strapped’.

  Now it turns out that they have been paying their (now former) CEO John Delaney an annual salary of €360k.

  This, we knew. What we didn’t know was that the FAI has also been paying rent of €3k a month on a house so that Mr. Delaney could rest his head at night and dream of his bulging bank account. 

  So, here’s my advice. When the FAI hires a new CEO (Mr. Delaney has moved to a new role within the organisation) why not just pay that person €360k a year and tentatively suggest that they pay their own rent/mortgage?

  That way, the FAI would save €36k a year. Another point, and I appreciate the horse has bolted on this one…if the FAI had declined to pay Mr. Delaney’s rent over the last three years, they would have saved €108k and therefore would not have had to look for a €100k ‘bridging loan’…which they got from Mr. Delaney.

  My financial advice to the FAI is free, although I am available to discuss them paying our mortgage…

 

Dubs and the cattle: More revelations!

 

I received this email from Roscommon fan Eddie Morley, in relation to my recent articles on the ‘night of mayhem’ when a small number of Dublin fans rampaged in Roscommon town (probably in 1975)…

 

Dear Paul,

 

I’ve enjoyed your recent articles which have revived great memories from the 1970s. I was 13 on that day, when the Dubs came to town. In those days I was brought from Loughglynn to every match with my older brother by Tom Mahon, a diehard Rossie supporter from the village (Feigh), who sadly passed away a few years back.

  My abiding memory is of the field on the right-hand side before the Hyde on the Athlone Road…I think it still is a low, waterlogged field. Cows were peacefully grazing in that field up ‘till early afternoon on that Sunday.

  I vividly remember a group of Dubs with long banners wrapped around them chasing a bewildered cow who had a ‘Jackeen’ (Dublin supporter) on her back…we thought it was hilarious at the time. Pity the poor cow however…the more supporters cheered from the road, the faster the poor cow went. I can’t recall everything of what happened next, but the Dub went flying at some stage and we continued on our way to the Hyde.

  I can’t recall memories of the match but I think Tony Hanahoe and David Hickey were on the Dublin team. I would love to see if anyone still has the line-outs.

  As for the night before (when fights broke out in Castle Street and Dublin fans rode some cattle in a nearby field/in the street) I wasn’t old enough to be on Castle Street the night before – maybe just as well!

 

Yours sincerely,

Eddie Morley

 

* Thanks Eddie for more great memories of that weekend…and I will welcome any more contributions, to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

There’s more than one Marty…

 

I hardly ever watch Winning Streak, partly because Marty, giant of broadcasting though he is, has developed a very irritating folksy-gone-mad style.

  It’s all terribly excitable and frantic, and dare I say it, prone to being a touch patronising towards the ‘Up-from-the-country-for-a-bit-of-dosh’ brigade.

  There are times when I feel sympathy for the contestants as the incredibly enthusiastic Marty Maestro emerges before them, rubbing his hands together, his head bobbing with excitement, a flurry of words startling the poor player. Some of these Saturdays I’m expecting a contestant to pull earplugs out of nowhere and communicate with Marty through hand signals only.

  (Now don’t get me wrong, I’m still a fan of Marty’s, he’s one of our most versatile presenters, and a lovely man. I spent a few hours in his company when he presented the Roscommon People of the Year Awards many years ago, and he could not have been nicer).

  Anyways, it just ‘came on’ on Saturday night, and before I could take drastic action, there was a fine, friendly Roscommon man in front of us. And I had no idea of the current (they keep changing the ‘games’) format, but within a minute of kick-off the Roscommon man had won a new car!

  So well done to Roscommon Hospital employee Brendan Leech, winner of that new car (and €5K). And while we’d really like Marty to tone it all down a little, we’ll stay loyal to the silver-tongued national treasure.

 

Is this really happening?

 

Speaking of well-known ‘RTE Martys’…I see on the cover of the Sunday Independent’s Life magazine that Marty Morrissey is posing in the spot normally occupied by Miriam O’Callaghan.

  There’s Marty and comedian Bernard O’Shea, both in dress suits, complete with bow ties, staring dreamily from the front cover, under the headline ‘A fine bromance: When Marty met Bernard’.

  I was going to say ‘there are no words’ but unfortunately there are thousands of them inside, in a four-page special.

  It seems that the bizarre and relentless process of transforming the GAA commentator, decent man Marty, into some sort of all-round celebrity, is being cranked up.

  From what I can gather from this er…cover story, the latest development is: GAA commentator and journeyman comedian make a two-part television series about male grooming. Yep, coming soon. That’s it.

  Miriam must be fuming.

 

The Dublin fans, the mayhem, the cattle…

 

 

 

 

 

In this column last week, I wrote about the occasion in the 1970s when Dublin fans went on a bit of a rampage in Roscommon on the night before a match between the two counties.

  Not only did they fight, break windows and cause general mayhem, but according to folklore, they allegedly broke into the mart, released cattle and rode them down Castle Street.

  Last week, I invited readers with any recall of that night of mayhem to get in touch. My invitation was ‘half in jest’, but in fact I got a great response!

  A number of people that I’ve spoken to since last week have confirmed that the ‘night of mayhem’ most certainly happened. One man insisted ‘1976’. Needless to say, over four decades on, when it comes to recalling the detail there is a bit of ‘rustiness about the rustling’. But we are making progress on salvaging this night from the past, and if you read on, you will get the perspective of a Garda who was present that night…and we also find out more about the extraordinary story of the ‘stolen cattle’.

The Garda’s eyewitness account!

I received a detailed account of the ‘night of mayhem’ from a Garda who was on duty on the night.

  The now retired Garda contacted me during the week and confirmed that all the drama on the night happened in the Castle Street area.

  “I was a very young Garda in Roscommon at the time” he began. “On the Saturday night before the Roscommon/Dublin game, fans congregrated around the Royal Hotel. Fans always congregated there when there were matches on”.

  Yes, that I could vouch for myself!

  Back to our friendly ex-Garda, whom I must say recalled the night with some nostalgia.

  “So”, he continued, “on the Saturday night, the Dublin fans were outside the Royal, and after a while there was bedlam. Castle Street was blocked off. We arrived in the only squad car we had, two or three young Guards. It was mayhem, with Dublin fans breaking windows and throwing punches”.

  The Gardai made a number of arrests, which wasn’t easy in the madcap prevailing circumstances.

  “There were fellas hanging on to the squad car…batons were drawn. Peace was finally restored after several outbreaks of fighting”.

  But it was really only half-time…

  The Gardai brought whatever few offenders they had managed to arrest straight up to the cells in the Garda Station.  Suddenly it was “all calm” on Castle Street, with hundreds of Dublin and Roscommon fans drinking on the still impassable street. Then, out of the blue, a Co. Roscommon man upended a Dublin supporter and “all hell broke loose again”.  

  Back in the Garda Station, the apprehended Dublin fans – still the worse for wear – were having the craic with the local Gardai, not to mention insisting that they were innocent.

The cattle – revealed!

So, did some of that small number of rampaging Dubs break into Roscommon Mart and release cattle? It appears not, but instead they ‘borrowed’ the cattle from a very well-known business family!

  None other than well-known Roscommon businessman Declan Molloy (of Molloy’s Bakery) was able to help with my enquiries. “They were our cattle” Declan said with a smile when I called in for a coffee the other day.

  So I rang him back on Wednesday.

  “We had cattle at the back of our house in Castle Street” Declan revealed.  “The incident happened in the early hours of the morning, after whatever high jinks had gone on in Castle Street. We were all gone to bed in our house…then in the early hours, we got a phone call from a neighbour, who told us that Dublin fans were riding our cattle around in the field!”

  Seemingly about half a dozen Dublin fans had corralled the cattle into a pen and proceeded to ride them around the field.  

  Declan Molloy: “By the time we got down to check, they were just leaving. Cattle would have been fairly tame in those days. One of my brothers went down to check on them and he said the cattle were absolutely shattered”.

  I asked Declan if the cattle were traumatised.  

  “No, there was no harm done, but they were certainly tired! They were all sitting down!”

Another twist…

Larry! Of course, why didn’t I think of Larry before this! So, just before going to press, I rang Larry O’Gara, whose family ran the Royal Hotel, which was so frequented in that era by GAA fans.

  He remembered the night well. And he even ventured to ‘change’ the year! “I’m pretty sure it was 1975” Larry said, “because Dublin were All-Ireland champions at the time. They had won the All-Ireland in 1974”.

  So, a new twist! It was the All-Ireland champions who were in town, and it was 1975, not ’76!

  And, during our conversation, Larry even re-opened the theory that the Dubs DID ride the cattle down Castle Street!

  Larry O’Gara: “It was a great weekend! The Dublin fans stayed in the hotel Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. They brought accordions and tambourines and bodhrans…they played music all weekend”.

  Larry recalled the fighting in Castle Street on the Saturday night.

  “In fact there was a fight in the hotel itself, but it was harmless enough. Castle Street was full of people and yes, there were rows, but a lot of it was good-natured and harmless”.

  He recalled his late mother having quite a job accommodating Dublin fans. “In the end, they were asleep in the corridor, in the bar, anywhere they could get a lie-down!” 

  I asked if he recalled the episode with the cattle.

  “Oh yes, now I didn’t witness it myself, because I was busy in the hotel, but I am certain that some of the Dublin fans rode cows down Cattle Street. They got them from Molloy’s land, took them out, and rode them down the street”.

Back in the cells in the Garda Station…

Meanwhile, some Dublin fans were kept in the cells overnight, and throughout the game, only being released after Roscommon and the All-Ireland champions were finished in the Hyde.

  My Garda contact from this week: “We let some of them out after the match on Sunday…to get the train back to Dublin. I think it was leaving at 5 o’clock.

  “One fellow ran up the street to get to the train and away from the Garda Station… there was scaffolding up outside a building in Abbey Street. The poor fellow ran straight into it and knocked himself unconscious. We came to his aid, got him on the train and made sure he was looked after”.

  Now – I’m almost as exhausted as the Dubs, the Gardai and the cattle were!

  Ah, the good old days!

A sporting Saturday that just wasn’t funny…

I didn’t get to Salthill for Roscommon v Galway, but, a few screen breaks aside, I was able to commit to a long afternoon in front of the television.

  And that’s when those amongst the sporting Gods that wear primrose and blue duly punished me for not supporting the Rossies in the flesh…

  What a stinker of a sporting day! I sat in front of that television as an expectant Leeds, Roscommon and Ireland fan…little did I know what misery lay ahead.

  To paraphrase that great Norwegian soccer commentator from long ago (Norway 2 England 1, 1981), I took a hell of a beating.

  Leeds, so close to securing that long-awaited return to the Premier League, had a chance to go five points clear of promotion rivals Sheffield United. The sides met in Saturday’s ‘High Noon’ on Sky – Leeds dominated, but Sheffield won.

  Next, Wales v Ireland in the rugby, with radio and Twitter updates on Galway v Roscommon. More misery. Roscommon’s defeat leaves them staring relegation in the face. Still, while there’s life there’s hope. The Rossies face Kerry in a crunch game this Sunday.

  Ireland lost every key call against Wales, but it was still a poor performance. Wales were worthy winners.

  Anyways, the amazing Scotland comeback against England in a Twickenham classic, and a simply sensational Players’ Championship in the golf – won by Rory McIlroy – brought some welcome balance and brilliance to that mischevious sporting weekend.

Four ‘nuns’ on a truck…

This country is changing so rapidly, it’s mind-boggling. There we were on Sunday, my son and I, walking along the pavement in Ballyleague, minding our own business.

  Then four nuns waved at us from a transport box, or was it from the back of a truck?

  Oh yeah, just remembered…the Ballyleague/Lanesboro St. Patrick’s Day Parade had just ended. Lots of good floats, lots of fun, great crowds. Oh yeah again…thanks a million to the guys on the ‘Zombies’ float (representing Ballyboro Scouts, I think). They were firing water pistols and dancing to/singing Baby Shark – and I cannot get that sound out of my head since!

THE highlight of the Six Nations…

So, farewell then, to the 2019 Six Nations Championship…

  On Sunday night, the Virgin Media team did a review of the tournament, hosted by the sure-footed Joe Molloy. Despite Ireland’s drubbing by Wales on Saturday, it had a good-humoured end-of-term feel to it. Even Matt Williams smiled, although this may have been an unintentional lapse.

  They discussed the highlights of the 2019 Six Nations…and while it is true that Wales and England were impressive, I thought the pundits overlooked what for me was the obvious highlight of the campaign.

  Which was…that wonderful, evocative television advert (a true story) featuring the two Welsh brothers honouring their late mother’s will by attending Six Nations’ matches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Closed premises, ballboys and Lovely Leitrim...

 

 

The other day…

That little premises used to be open – but now it’s closed.

  I noticed it the other day, another quiet and silent and dignified addition to the ‘boarded up premises’ statistics.

  The life has ebbed from that small business outlet, at least until someone else ‘takes a punt’, if someone else ever does.

  The shelves are suddenly empty. The unopened post lies on the floor. The furniture is gone.

  Hopefully it wasn’t/isn’t too great a trauma for the entrepreneur who had to ‘call time’. We can only wonder. There may have been stressful nights, long debates, awkward conversations, tensions and torments. A dream, of whatever magnitude, has died, at least for now.

  The small premises’ where the shelves were stocked with hope are under serious attack. Online shopping has all the momentum, true…but next time we need to do some shopping/access some services, let’s remember the small man and woman with the scribbled projections on the kitchen table – and let’s think of those doors that are shutting in our midst.

 

They’ll have told us so!

Wondering what the Irish rugby media will say after Ireland’s crunch game with France this weekend? I can tell you…

  If we win: ‘Ship steadied. Calm leadership from Schmidt. Growing into the tournament. Strength in depth. Can look to World Cup with cautious confidence. We told you so’.

  If we lose: ‘Wheels have come off. Schmidt should never have said he was leaving. Team is over-rated. One-dimensional. No real strength in depth. 2007 all over again. Bah, humbug. We told you so!’

Gaffer Anthony

I was intrigued by the following reference to Roscommon manager Anthony Cunningham in a report in the Irish Sun on the weekend thriller in Hyde Park:…‘Gaffer Cunningham’.

  Gaffer?!! Could it be that the Irish Sun is being influenced (infiltrated?) by their UK colleagues?

  Coming next week: ‘The lad done well’?

 

Not Trumped yet

I know people across the world are thinking ‘something has to bring Trump down sooner or later’, but I’m not sure that Michael Cohen is the smoking gun.

  Cohen sought to rip asunder the credibility (yeah, I know, I know) of his former boss (President Trump) from the very beginning of his testimony to the House of Representatives Oversight Committee.

  But when I heard this direct quote from the bould Michael on day one, I reckoned Trump had little to worry about.

  Mr. Cohen: “I lied, but I’m not a liar”.

  With enemies like that Donald, you can continue to stay ahead of the posse…

 

Short(ish) memory!

It’s almost 21 years since Eastenders famously got into hot water over its depiction of Ireland when some episodes of the popular UK soap were based here (complete with tedious stereotyping).

  I don’t watch Eastenders, but under the ‘It was on in the corner’ rule, I noticed on Monday evening that Albert Square legend ‘Dot’ is going to spend some time in Ireland with relatives.

  Which prompted this response from some character I didn’t recognise:

  “Even Ireland’s got to be a better place than here, innit?”

  Even Ireland? Ouch.

  We’re suitably sensitive/indignant…and so it’s a yellow (green-tinted) card to the scriptwriter with the short(ish) memory!

 

Ballboy 1 Klopp 0

Can the owners of Liverpool arrange to have that charismatic but increasingly easy-to-wind-up Jurgen Klopp airlifted from the touchline at the final whistle of Liverpool’s remaining games?

  Example one: Recently Klopp furiously rounded on a referee when no-one in the stadium had a clue what the ‘Pool supremo’s gripe was.

  Example two: Last Sunday, there was that bizarre footage as Klopp left the field after a disappointing 0-0 draw in the Merseyside derby.

  Sarcastically applauded by a cheeky ballboy, Klopp initially looked set to explode, before responding with a less than convincing ‘smile’.

  To be fair, that Everton ballboy caused Jurgen Klopp more anguish than have most rival managers/teams this season.

  Mr. Mourinho, wherever you are, please note: There’s a new maestro of psychology in town. An Everton ballboy…

 

Fitz…again?!

I had some sort of a weird vision the other night…basically that our local TD Michael Fitzmaurice wasn’t a guest on the Tonight Show with Ivan Yates and Matt Cooper.

  I know, it’s crazy. I can only presume that it was a dream…

 

Poetry in motion 

It was a special weekend for Leitrim. We knew it was coming to this, such was the momentum. And so, with two games to spare, our neighbours march into Division 3 and into a league final at Croke Park.

  I remember their big day in Croke Park a quarter of a century ago. It’s hard to believe almost 25 years have passed since that memorable day. There was a wonderful atmosphere in Dorset Street before the game, as Leitrim folk from all over the world took over this part of the Capital, prior to their All-Ireland semi-final with Dublin.

  They were there, in that era before the ‘back door’ and quarter-finals, by virtue of winning only their second ever Connacht Final.

  Managed by John O’Mahoney, Leitrim defeated Mayo in Hyde Park. The scenes were epic, emotional, historic.

  And that’s when one Leitrim supporter was inspired to write this simple but memorable and apt poem.

 

The man from Leitrim (5.30 pm)

With chest expanding

He strides across Roscommon Town

A young son clutches his big hand and asks

‘Daddy, why are you crying?’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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