It’s Thursday evening of last week and I am thinking about the Creggs junior footballers and about the game they will play on Saturday evening against Padraig Pearses in the semi-final of the Junior Football Championship. It crosses my mind how times and things have changed so much since my footballing days.
It is almost certain that on Friday night none of the Creggs lads will be in Mikeen’s, even though to my knowledge there is no official alcohol ban imposed by the team management, but they themselves will feel that drink the week of a game is pretty much a no-no. Funnily enough, there was a rumour going around during the week that the manager of a local club team has dropped a number of his players for an important game at the weekend for a breach of club discipline, which if it’s true really shows the discipline, dedication and commitment expected by team managers at pretty much every level of club football.
Back then to my own football career and while it’s a good few years ago, it wasn’t in the Ice Age, and yet it never crossed my mind or most of the other lads’ minds, that we shouldn’t have a pint on the night before the match. In fact I convinced myself that I couldn’t play well unless I had exactly six pints of Guinness on the eve of the game, but critically I knew I had to be in bed by two o’clock in the morning. My idea was that the six pints would make me sleep and by going to bed a little late, but not too late, I would be fresh as a daisy the following morning!
Training sessions often turned into drinking sessions as well and even when we started up the fledgling rugby club, which was and still is an amazing success story, there was many a night that we did more laps of the local pubs than we did of the rugby pitch!
Now in case you think that I was the only one having a few pints on the eve of a game, I’ve just heard Irish rugby international Donal Lenihan in a radio interview stating on a Friday night before home internationals, the big lads – that is the forwards – used head down to Sean Lynch’s pub. On the odd occasion I make it to The Pale and settle in the snug, have a ‘couple’ of jars and in Lenihan’s words, attempt to build a team spirit.
One of my friends swears he saw the late Moss Keane down a dozen pints of Guinness in the Palace Bar on the morning of an international game in the late 1970s or early ‘80s and then proceed to play a blinder later on in the afternoon. Obviously in this case the game was still an amateur one and you would expect that such behaviour would not be tolerated in the present professional era.
I have to confess that while it wasn’t unknown for the odd football club player to have a settler on the morning of a game, I never did, but as I look at the different level of commitment given now, I wonder would I have ever played at all! However despite it all, I suppose we were fit enough, but even so, the only six-pack I ever got to see was one in a cardboard box, which we would bring to the carnival and drink in the car after we were thrown out at closing time!
It is now Monday morning and I am glad to report that the quiet life being led by the footballers paid off on Saturday evening in Johnstown when we saw off a determined challenge from a talented young Pearses side and qualified for a county final appearance, where we will meet Kilglass Gaels in Strokestown on Sunday, 9th of October. We have played them twice this year with a victory each, so it’s evenly balanced between the two teams.
For us it is thirty-three years since we last tasted success in the Junior football championship, so fingers and everything else crossed that this year we might just get over the line, but having lost at least four county finals in the intervening years we are well aware how hard it is to win it.
Michael D. is a treasure
On Friday night, in sympathy with the footballers, I stayed in and watched the Late Late Show and not for the first time I realised what a great choice we made when we elected Michael D. as President of our great little country. He is just such a joy to listen to, extremely intelligent, totally respectful of the office of the Presidency and well aware of the boundaries, but nonetheless not afraid to speak his mind on different issues. I have to say every time I see him I realise what a treasure we have.
Whether he goes again or not is obviously his own decision, and taking his age into consideration he will I’m sure think long and hard about it, but either way he has been a credit to the office and a credit to the country and if he does decide to run again I’d say he’d be a cert to get re-elected.
I actually told you a little lie because I didn’t really watch the Late Late, I switched off after Michael D. and watched something else. It mustn’t have been much good either as I can’t remember what it was. Anyway, for me nowadays there are only two programmes that are in the ‘can’t miss’ category – one is our own terrific success story, Red Rock, while the other one is Rizzoli and Isles, a sort of a cops and robbers programme with a medical head doctor thrown in. But sadly the series is in its last run, as a decision has been taken to pull the plug on it. I have to say that I don’t agree with that decision but I don’t think they will take my feelings into consideration. If you get a chance, try to have a look at it before it finishes.
Red Rock will last for a long time in the future so if you’re not already watching it, sooner or later you will come across it.
What are they feeding them?
Locally the big news is that Seamus Scanlon won the award for the best overall pen of sheep in Roscommon Mart a couple of weeks ago. Congratulations Seamus and well done. He received rosettes and a large cup and it is amazing that the best cow producer in Roscommon, Tom Connolly, is a next-door neighbour of Seamus’. Wonder what they are feeding them up there?!
Table Quiz for local GAA Club
Next Friday night there will be a fundraising table quiz in Mikeen’s, with proceeds going to the local football club.
Although I haven’t been asked, I will be asking the questions whether they like it or not – and with the big match coming up, as much support as possible is requested. Kick-off is at 10 pm so don’t forget it and I’ll see you there.
Finally for this week (and thankfully, says you) for another year, the countdown is on for the big dance in aid of Cancer Care West and the Lourdes Invalid Fund in Dowd’s, Glinsk on next Saturday night (1st October) with music by The Lancers and all I can say is the welcome and generosity we have encountered on the doorsteps have been brilliant. We are almost finished with our door-to-door work and if we missed you, you can still contribute by coming to the dance on Saturday night.
The two causes speak for themselves and are very worthy charities. We will have a raffle on the night with loads of prizes, Jimmy and the band will have you on the floor all night, so all we hope for now is that you all come along, have a great bit of fun and make it a night to remember. See you all there.
Till next week, bye for now