Memories of Con (and those famous gremlins!)

Our man Frank on battling gremlins, opening a bar in the old folks’ home, what Deirdre Bradley did next, and the passing of a proud Galway man…

It’s safe to say that a lot of people who read this paper will never have heard of the Irish Press Group. They published three iconic papers – the Irish Press, Sunday Press, and the Evening Press – and it was a huge loss to the Irish news media world when the whole lot closed down back in 1995.

The Evening Press had two wonderful feature writers, Joe Sherwood and his successor Con Houlihan. While they were ostensibly sports writers, there was very little that they didn’t comment on. As people, they were very different.

Sherwood was from the north of England, and had worked as a journalist in South Africa before answering an ad in a trade paper. He then started writing for the Irish Press before moving over to the Evening Press, back when it was a brand new paper. He wore a deerstalker hat and smoked a turned down pipe, and his ‘In the Soup’ column was a huge hit, running for almost twenty years.

When he retired, he went to live in Belfast with his daughter, but with the Troubles at their worst at the time, he didn’t like risking his life to go for a drink. And so he went to Rhodesia, where he lived happily with another daughter for some time. A bizarre accident ended his life a while later, when he tripped over a small dog and died from his injuries.

Sherwood’s earlier retirement had left a big void in the Evening Press, and they were lucky enough to fill it with undoubtedly the greatest Irish sportswriter of them all, Con Houlihan. Con was a big Kerryman who didn’t become a journalist until he was 46-years-old, but his thrice weekly columns in the Evening Press (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) were not to be missed. Households all over Ireland would be in despair if someone forgot to bring home the paper on those three days.

His fondness of a drink was legendary, and it is said that he wrote a lot of his articles in the snug of Mulligan’s on Poolbeg Street, one of Dublin’s best known watering holes. He was also a regular in another great old Dublin pub, The Palace Bar. When he passed on in 2012, his ashes were brought back to the family grave in his beloved Castleisland, while fittingly there is a bust of him in Mulligan’s and a sculpture outside The Palace.

The only thing that unites me with Con Houlihan in a journalistic sense is the fact that every so often ‘gremlins’ would get at his column. Last week, they turned up in mine as well…

By some quirk of modern technology, the newspaper reproduced an article from about two years ago, advocating the designated driver scheme. While appropriate and useful when originally written, such a scheme would certainly not be in any sane person’s mind now. There were also a couple of bits of local interest that the gremlins got at as well, but they are appearing on this page this week.

I would like to thank Con for telling us about the little fellows (the gremlins), because only for him, I might still be wondering how last week’s mix-up happened!


Our Lady’s raises the

bar for nursing homes


First off, I have to tell you that I have never actually been (resident) in a nursing home or a prison (yet!). Although I have of course visited people in a nursing home, and I also used to deliver cutlery and crockery (knives and forks and spoons and plates and stuff) to the prison in Castlerea. Resulting from those visits, I certainly wouldn’t be applying for a spell in either places – but especially not in prison.

However, I may have got that all wrong, because recent developments tell me that things are really changing. In Mountjoy last weekend, a prominent member of the Kinahan gang was videoed having a right old knees-up with four of his mates. Even better was the news of the opening of a bar in an old folks’ home in Belfast!

Our Lady’s in Belfast is an 86-bedroomed home off the Falls Road, which recently opened The Giant’s Foot Bar. Residents can have alcoholic or soft drinks, and play darts, poker, or roulette.

I don’t know if the practice of having a bar will be introduced at every local nursing home, but just in case (like enrolling for national school), I have put my name on the waiting list for Our Lady’s in Belfast. If the time comes, that is where I want to go!


Deirdre’s ‘making moves’

in the world of property!


As we all know, things are getting more and more challenging every day, with rising prices in every area of life. Those in business will tell you things are getting tougher and tougher, and it takes a lot of guts and self-belief to start your own new business at this peculiar and almost surreal time.

However, Deirdre Bradley is someone who has all those qualities – and many others – in abundance, and so she has just launched her new estate agency, Bradley Homes. I can only wish her well and I have no doubt she will make a resounding success of her new venture.

Deirdre has 16 years of experience in the property world, and clearly feels now is the time to put all her knowledge and expertise to even better use. Heartiest congratulations Deirdre, I expect you will really shake up the property world!


Finally for this week…


Out here in Creggs, we are mourning the loss of another of our most respected senior citizens, with the recent death of Michael ‘Tash’ McGovern, a proud Galway man and one of Creggs GAA’s greatest supporters.

Even when in failing health, there was hardly any match that he wasn’t at. From my own playing days, I will always remember that no matter how poorly you played, Micky would always have a word of encouragement and would never criticise. He was a really nice man and will be greatly missed by all around Creggs and much further afield.

He was predeceased by his beloved wife, Bridget (Baby), and was the proud father of six daughters. To them, his sister Mary, and all his extended family and friends, all I can do is offer my sincere sympathy on their great loss. May he rest in peace.