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The tradition continues – in style.

Saturday

Roscommon Agricultural & Industrial Show attracted a large crowd to Hannon’s Grounds on the Athlone Road.

Thursday had been a beautiful day, when, incidentally, all 32 contestants in the Rose of Tralee descended on Loughnaneane Park/Roscommon Castle, amidst great excitement.

After the lift caused by Thursday’s outbreak of real summer weather – with Roses blooming and lawnmowers finally purring – Friday was poor enough weather-wise, so it was a relief to see pleasant weather usher in another annual show.

It was a very successful event.

There was lots to see and do, with the Dog classes proving particularly popular. There was a ‘full house’ too for the various demonstrations by chef Frank Moynihan, while there was a keen interest amongst participants and spectators alike in classes featuring cattle, horses and various other animals, not to mention the always competitive categories involving farm and garden produce, bakery, arts and suchlike.

Children meanwhile enthusiastically availed of free amusements. All in all it was an excellent show and another great example of a community celebrating all that’s best about rural life.

Spending a few hours there on Saturday afternoon, I was struck by two things: the marvellous work of so many volunteers (who make this happen each year) and the importance of maintaining this tradition and indeed handing on the baton to new generations.

Well done to Christy Tully (chairperson), his committee colleagues and all the volunteers who staged another successful Roscommon Show.

The tradition lives on, and the presence of quite a few young people on Saturday – volunteers, participants and spectators – gives us confidence that this particular form of ‘showbiz’ will thankfully continue long into the future.

Sunday

What an absolutely sensational hurling match that was. From the first puck, it was terrific entertainment. I couldn’t take my eyes off it.

Often even the great matches – like some movies or some shows – will start slowly, before building momentum and growing into the greatness that is their destiny.

This one declared its intent from the very start, strutting its stuff and confidently staking claim to its place in the classics’ listings.

I thought Marty Morrissey was in the form of his life as commentator. Take a bow, Marty.

Also in the form of his life was Tipperary’s Seamus Callanan, who fired home his first goal after just forty seconds.

Forlornly trying to stop him, Padraig Mannion threw his hurley into the air; he might as well have thrown in a towel as well because Callanan was about to grace Croke Park with a magical individual performance.

What a game: the hits were ferocious; the skills on show magnificent; the effort of both teams almost beyond belief.

Tipperary edged the early stages but as the first half wore on Galway started to find space and the sliothar began to zoom towards the Tipp uprights. It never relented, this marvellous game.

The marauding Callanan scored three goals, but each time he struck, Galway remained nerveless and responded with calming points.

There was an emotional ovation for Noel McGrath when he came on as a sub for Tipperary with a few minutes to go; the youngster has recovered from a serious illness earlier this year.

When he split the posts to put his team ahead with normal time almost up, we wondered if a fairytale ending might complete this classic story.

It was Galway who edged it in the end however, and no one could begrudge them.

Remarkably, Seamus Callanan scored 3-9 but was on the losing team; indeed the game had several marvellous sub-plots, with gripping duels all over the pitch.

Watching Anthony Cunningham, well-known in these parts (he managed St. Brigid’s footballers up to a few seasons ago) would have been worth the admission price alone; this great Gael remonstrated with the referee in animated fashion throughout; fist-pumped with enthusiasm as his heroic side left the field at half-time; and finally, was typically dignified and sporting at the end, searching out for McGrath and offering him words of encouragement and praise and a heartfelt handshake.

Humanity merging with heroism.

The world has begun to discover hurling, but for anyone who hasn’t, they really should sit down in a quiet room and watch a recording of this from start to finish.

It was hurling from the Heavens, a classic shaped by giants.

Later on Sunday

Although I know now that he passed away on August 9th, I only found out about the death of the great English comedy writer David Nobbs in today’s Sunday Independent. While he had a long and distinguished career as a writer for various television productions, Nobbs is most associated with being the creator of the ‘Reginald Perrin’ character.

The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin was a classic British sitcom from the 1970s which is widely and rightly considered to be one of the best and most original comedy programmes of all time. Well, I think so anyway.

I read David Nobbs’ autobiography – ‘I didn’t get where I am today’ – a number of years ago and it was a highly amusing and entertaining read.

He was a gifted creative writer who had many strings to his bow but he will indeed be most remembered – with great fondness – for giving us the wonderful Perrin, played to perfection by the late Leonard Rossiter.

Monday

Another Monday, another avalanche of headlines about the antics of Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho.

We are only two games into the new Premiership season. The newspapers – tabloid and broadsheet – as well as radio, television and social media, are brimming with Mourinho mayhem.

What’s all the ‘controversy’ about? From what I can gather, he (a) criticised his own club doctors, (b) said Manchester City’s 3-0 win over Chelsea was a ‘fake’ and (c) sparked a bit of a media frenzy by (for the first time ever) substituting John Terry.

It must be very upsetting for modest and shy Jose to be the centre of attention. Wouldn’t it be great if every single newspaper (and all other media types) ignored him completely after the next match?

Presumably Jose would welcome it if the spotlight was taken off him. Presumably he would emit a great sigh of absolutely enormous relief.

After all, his outbursts are, I assume, unfortunate heat-of-the-moment responses which merely reflect his passion…rather than contrived, egotistical, self-serving utterances aimed at building a siege mentality while also publicly caressing his own ego? Now I wonder which is it? Still, I suppose he’s entertaining…

Tuesday

I went along to Kilteevan Community Centre this morning where pride of place was in spectacular evidence.

Kilteevan Community Development Association have been nominated for a Pride of Place award and the judges were in town.

The judges have also visited Ballyleague, Cavetown and Roscommon town over the past few days. Ballyleague Village Renewal, The Quad Youth Centre and Cavetown Residents Development Company have all been nominated in the all-island competition.

Beautiful sunshine greeted the judges and Kilteevan was looking just fabulous. There was a marvellous turnout of locals.

Inspiring speeches by Eileen Fahey and Michael Spellman left the distinguished guests in no doubt, I imagine, of the scale of the work that has been done in Kilteevan over the years.

The wonderful community spirit which exists in this small – but very proud – place was much in evidence as the people of Kilteevan showcased all that has been achieved over the past thirteen years (since the formation of the Development Association).

“Uplifting” commented one of the judges, both of whom seemed genuinely bowled over by the presentation on the day.

I am quite sure it’s a similar story in Ballyleague and Cavetown and I have some knowledge (through my involvement with Roscommon Lions Club) of the fantastic monument to hard work and vision that the Quad (Youth) Centre is.

Indeed the Quad Centre is without doubt one of the most inspiring community-led projects to have been undertaken anywhere in County Roscommon in the past half-century and its value to the community will be apparent for many decades to come.

Here’s wishing the very best of luck to all four local nominees in the Pride of Place. We’re proud of you!

Every day (virtually)

Rain. Incessant, relentless, dirty, ugly – wet – rain.

It’s Wednesday, and it’s pouring down. We’ve had so much rain, it can only inspire the expectation that next year, we’re going to have one of the most wonderful summers ever.

Start lining up that sun cream now…!

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