Many years ago, when Shane Curran was one of the Roscommon Champion People of the Year Award recipients, a video package showing some of the eccentric goalkeeper’s career highlights was played on a large screen in the Abbey Hotel. It brought the house down. Accompanying the images of Shane sprinting from goal – often deep into enemy territory, ball in hand and fans’ hearts in mouths – was a soundtrack that we considered suitable. It was ‘Wild Thing’ by The Troggs.
Tonight, the TG4 documentary on Shane – part of their Laochra Gael series – opened with footage of Curran in full ‘I’m a goalkeeper, Get Me Out of Here’ mode – and I was amused to observe that the producers had also opted for ‘Wild Thing’.
It was an enjoyable programme, a fine tribute to a colourful figure who brought great pleasure to GAA fans over many years.
There was some great footage of Curran…evidence not just of his hair-raising forays from goal, but also of his all-round quality as a goalkeeper. What came across, in addition to the entertainment element, was his passion for the game, the competitive drive within him.
Having watched him in action over many years, I can recall many more memorable Curran vignettes which the cameras weren’t present to capture for posterity. What’s fascinating now is the fact that what we considered to be eccentricity then, has increasingly become conventional, with modern-day goalkeepers often acting as sweepers, and indeed taking long-range free-kicks!
Of course Curran first came to national attention with that audacious decision of his to take a last-minute penalty in the 1989 Connacht Minor Final, when a colleague was lining up the kick. I was at that game, and can recall the mayhem Curran’s intervention sparked. 24 years later, he was still in the news, playing a starring role as a veteran ‘keeper as St. Brigid’s claimed the 2013 All-Ireland Club title.
This documentary provided some welcome escapism in these tough times, the programme not just celebrating Curran’s unique career, but also providing viewers with a nice reminder of a colourful and often controversial era in the history of Roscommon football.
Curran could be controversial, and I’ve no doubt that he tested the patience of managers, players and fans from time to time. But he was an excellent player, and a wonderfully passionate Rossie. The eccentricity was priceless. Shane Curran brightened up summer and winter Sundays, the ‘wild thing’ making our hearts sing.
I pass that revered little place most days, as I did again today.
When I see the closed door, my heart seems to skip a beat. For many men, passing that place of guaranteed contentment is now an emotional experience.
So many of us have had good times there. Such places – for there are actually quite a few of them around – tend to be small and intimate. Men congregate there, every now and again. Well, we used to. We’d sit in comfort and while away some time, often turning the sports pages of a tabloid or scrolling on our phone as we minded our own business. Often, very little is said. And now, the doors remain firmly shut, and the weeks and months pass.
But there is always hope. And one day, the barber’s will reopen, and life will feel a little bit better…
Will Rory ever win big again? Rory McIllroy, potentially the best golfer on the planet, is suffering the Sunday Blues. Time and time again he moves into a strong position entering the final day of a top tournament. He is however struggling to get over the finishing line, as was the case this weekend in California.
Of course I expect McIllroy to win tournaments in the future – hopefully some more majors – but, for all his consistency, there’s definitely a question mark just now over his Sunday finishing prowess in big tournaments.
Seemingly Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary gave a controversial interview on Morning Ireland this…morning. Twitter has not reacted well. Liveline too is simmering.
With Covid having caused mayhem in the aviation world, hundreds of people say they are still waiting on refunds from Ryanair.
With nothing better to do, I put out what I considered to be a fairly amusing tweet. It read as follows:
It’s beginning to look as if The Wright Brothers had a more efficient refunds policy worked out than @Ryanair
Given that The Wright Brothers invented (and flew) the world’s first airplane (1903), I reckoned I was at peak sarcasm/dry wit levels.
I was surprised to get this reply from Ryanair:
Hey Paul, was your flight cancelled? If so, just pop your details into our new form and the cash will be paid into your account. https://onlineform.ryanair.com/ie/en/cash-refund…thank you, Megan
I’m not sure where this leaves us. I suspect ‘Megan’ was busy responding to every Ryanair-related tweet on Monday. I haven’t yet replied to explain that I’m not owed money, that my Wright Brothers’ reference was meant as a joke. Meanwhile, any readers who are still owed a refund by Ryanair are welcome to use my ‘Wright Brothers’ technique…tweet away and Megan/Ryanair will hopefully offer to put cash into your account immediately.
Later on Monday
Most reality TV is rubbish. Thankfully there are exceptions. Hands up: I did not expect much from Davy’s Toughest Team. I can’t bear to watch that other programme he’s involved in, namely Ireland’s Fittest Family. I’m sure the families are dedicated and passionate, but I don’t for one moment buy the mock seriousness which mentors display in such programmes.
Also, when I heard ‘Davy’ – now a TV entity himself – had another reality show on the go, I rolled my eyes. It was by pure chance that we saw episode one of Davy’s Toughest Team on Monday night. I expected it to be rubbish. I was wrong.
It was excellent. Our man Davy is preparing seven young men to climb Mount Everest. I think it’s fair to say that all of the men have had some personal issues, whether to do with low self-esteem, substance abuse, depression, anger management, etc. This first episode in the series was superb, the programme possessing far more depth than most reality shows do. Fitzgerald displays considerable empathy, along with his undoubted motivational skills. I saw him in a new light, and I was greatly impressed. It will be fascinating to see how the young men progress over the coming weeks.