It’s a mild enough Easter Saturday morning, and as I write this, I am reflecting on the most unusual Good Friday that I have ever experienced in the many years that I’ve spent upon this earth.
It started off by being the first Good Friday that I ever had to work, as up to this year, even though other shops were open, we stayed closed. However, we finally gave in to modern commercial reality and reluctantly (at least for me) we opened and put in the normal Friday retail shift.
In truth it was a busy enough day, but I pulled the plug short of 5 pm, hit for home and the dinner, and shortly after 6.30 pm I was heading for Ballyhaunis where our rugby lads were due to play Corinthians in the final of the Curley Cup. I’m sure the story of the game is told elsewhere in the People, but after a very shaky start in which we conceded a try after only a couple of minutes, we put on a superb exhibition of running rugby and ran out very convincing winners.
Many years ago when Ballyhaunis were a young club in their infancy, they played on a pitch near the Golf Club, which was pretty much on the side of a hill, with a slope on it that would nearly be good enough for an Olympic skiing competition. Fast-forward to the present day and their facilities are second to none, with two top class pitches, a huge clubhouse, incorporating dressing rooms and a function room, and it just shows how a small club can progress and develop with good leadership and management.
The Six Nations trophy was on show at the clubhouse, and we all had opportunities to have our photos taken with it, before the presentation of our two trophies – the Curley Cup and the Junior League Cup – took place, and we headed back to a night of celebration and fun in the first ever Good Friday opening of Mikeen’s pub.
Before I go from Ballyhaunis, full credit to their ladies committee, as they served up bowls of steaming hot soup, which were very welcome on what was a perishing cold evening. This was backed up with a great array of sandwiches, and all free of charge. Never were such refreshments so badly needed, or so much appreciated, and the whole event was a credit to the club and its officers.
Anyway, I elected myself to the highly prestigious position of bonfire organiser, and so I hit for the village before the bus left the Mayo town, and when the victorious team arrived we had the fires blazing to welcome our heroes home.
The rest of the night was as good a bit of craic as we had in many a year, and I can only say it was brilliant to have two rugby trophies in Creggs after many a long barren year.
I was lucky enough to be at most of the games that Creggs played during the year, and while there were times when their running game almost gave some of us old-timers heart attacks and seizures, I have to say they were a lovely team to watch, and played some super rugby, which was a credit to themselves and their management team.
Next season they have another step up to take, but I’m sure we’ll worry about that later. For the moment, we will enjoy this year’s success – and all I can say is well done lads, it’s been a great journey.
Timid boxing showdown, exciting day in Croker
Changing subjects entirely, but sticking with sport – of sorts – on Saturday night we had one of the most eagerly-awaited world heavyweight boxing title fights for a long time when Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker did battle for the right to hold four of the five different world championship belts.
Now why there are so many different champions in every weight category beats me, and I think back to the time when there was only one world champion, and the likes of Ali and Jack Dempsey and Mike Tyson were undisputed kings of the heavyweight boxing world.
Anyway, back to the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, where on Saturday night 82,000 fans were present in a sold-out crowd. Along with millions around the world, they got a complete non-event. Scarcely a blow was struck in anger, and any time it looked as if it might get physical the referee stepped in and separated the two fighters.
In the end, Joshua won the four belts by a convincing margin, and in fairness to him he is a magnificent physical specimen, and with a 20 million pounds sterling pay day he had a pretty productive Easter Saturday night. He is going to fight Deontay Wilder for the one remaining belt he hasn’t got, some time in the near future.
As for the millions who signed up to watch Saturday’s so-called fight on Sky TV, and who paid well for the privilege, I am nearly sorry for them, but I suppose you take your chances.
Back in the days before knives and stabbing became commonplace in settling disagreements, we used to have many a pub fight take place, and in truth I saw loads of better contests at the back of carnival marquees or outside the local pubs.
Talking of contests, I didn’t get to see the Rossies’ wonderful win in a high-scoring game against Cavan, but fair play to them, while I saw a little bit of the Galway/Dublin match, but though the Tribesmen did reasonably well, I do believe they should have abandoned their defensive set-up and gone for the win after the Dubs were reduced to 14 men.
However, the men in maroon showed enough to suggest their Connacht Championship match against Mayo in May could be one of the games of the year.
The Rossies will definitely have another Connacht final to look forward to, and would be my (slight) favourites to retain their provincial crown.
Finally for this week, the end of a very successful year for Creggs on the rugby field saw the seconds go down in the League final on Sunday to a bigger, stronger Our Lady’s Boys Club team in Tuam, on what I think was the coldest day on which I have ever stood on the sideline of any pitch. The lads have had a very good innings, and I’m told the celebrations in Mikeen’s were every bit as good as if we had won the trophy.
The big draw takes centre stage now, so I’m sure you’ll run into a ticket seller somewhere around the place in the next week or two, and if you do, try to support the club by buying a ticket. You could end up the winner of a prize Charolais cow, or any one of twenty-five other prizes. I’m told there may be a dinner dance in the offing later in the summer, to present our winners’ medals. I hope there is – it would be great craic and a great way to celebrate (again) the success of the season gone by.
Till next week, Bye for now!