I’m up early enough on Sunday morning, fully refreshed after an early non-alcoholic Saturday night, but even though I have the ticket for the match in Castlebar safely in my pocket, I have to admit that I am having doubts about whether or not I am actually going to travel.
Everyone is telling me that it will be mental with all the traffic coming from the same direction, but after a breakfast that everyone (except my heart man) would be proud of – eggs, rashers, sausages, white pudding, fried mushrooms, tomatoes and spuds – myself and my son Paul headed off in the direction of the Mayo town.
As we drove through our neighbouring village of Glinsk, the place was packed to the rafters as the massive charity truck and tractor drive was getting ready to roll. Over the weekend I was told that by then the amazing total of €35,000 had already been raised, with more to come in. Carlsberg say they are probably the best lager in the world, but when it comes to community spirit and supporting anything to do with charitable organisations, Glinsk, with some justification, could claim that they are probably the best local community in maybe not the world, but certainly in Ireland.
Anyway we headed onwards and worryingly traffic through Castlerea was already building up, but thankfully apart from a bit of a hold-up in Claremorris, the journey was uneventful and indeed pleasant and we were parked up and in the grounds a good half hour before throw-in. The only hiccup on the way down was that as we were chatting, we realised that between hurling and football, every game myself and Paul had gone to together, Galway had lost. For a little while, we debated turning around and leaving our obvious jinx on the tribesmen at home, but after a short discussion we agreed to carry on, certainly more in hope than expectation.
In the grounds of MacHale Park, I met the very popular Strokestown singer and Rossie supporter Frank Nelson and Creggs men Marty Conneran and Sligo-based James Gavin, while I also ran into a great Galway warrior, Thomas Heavey from Newbridge. He was one of the best and toughest backs ever to wear the maroon and white and on the many occasions I ran into him on the football pitch, I can honestly say I lost out every single time – and he was still looking as fit and well as ever.
Anyway the craic and atmosphere was great and myself and Paul settled down to watch a game that went the way of the Galway men, in a way that no one, not even their most ardent supporter, could have predicted – and for us at least it proved we had left our jinx safely at home.
A big talking point afterwards was the mass exodus of Roscommon supporters after only 15 minutes of the second half, which was a bit unfair I thought on the efforts of their players, who kept battling to the end. The even better news was that the predicted traffic mayhem didn’t materialise at all and I was sitting down to a badly-needed dinner in my own house just before seven o’clock.
It was a great day for us, but on this Monday morning I hear Roscommon have drawn Clare in next weekend’s qualifiers and if they can clear their heads in the next few days, you would have to think they should win that one and, despite everything, find themselves in an All-Ireland quarter-final, where it is very possible we will have three Connacht teams, Galway, Mayo and Roscommon. As for Galway, they are definitely going the right way and, who knows, with a decent draw, how far they can progress in the remainder of the championship. Here’s to Croke Park in a few weeks’ time!
Cost of car insurance is scandalous
We are still reeling from the atrocities that have seen hundreds of people killed in Nice, Turkey, America and other parts of the world. Here in Ireland, while obviously not in the same league as those horrific happenings, the soaring cost of car insurance is causing an awful lot of problems for an awful lot of people. I keep telling you that I have little interest in politics, but surely it’s time that our politicians did something about an issue that affects nearly every person in the country and if we, the older community, are being hit with higher premiums, the figures quoted to the young drivers, male and female, are nothing short of scandalous.
The insurance companies keep telling us it’s all to do with the soaring costs of claims, but despite that, their profits are still on the rise. We, as a country, are still recovering from losing an entire generation of our youth to emigration. The outrageous premiums that are being quoted will, in my opinion, force more of our children to have to take the emigrant’s route.
For a young boy or girl living in rural Ireland, the only escape is to be able to drive their own car. Without some form of independence, life can be pretty drab and a huge number of our young drivers will never be able to afford to have their own insurance policies.
I know there is some type of protest movement being formed to put this matter out in the open, but I call on our elected representatives to do something to force the big companies to bring in realistic prices.
Wonderful day’s craic at Donamon
It’s hard to believe that it’s almost time for the Open Day in Donamon Castle, but Sean Beirne tells me it’s all happening again on Sunday, July 31st. There is Mass at 12.30 pm, free parking, free admission and all the usual attractions, including bouncy castle, face-painting and much, much more.
I will have details of the entire programme in next week’s column but for now, just put the date in your diary and make sure you’re free on the day.
It’s one of the best free annual events in the entire local region and every year the huge attendance has a wonderful day’s craic and fun – and I look forward to seeing you all there on the day!
Till next week, bye for now