Border rivalry is kept alive!

It’s Monday morning and while the Connacht Final between ourselves and the Rossies heads for a replay, I have to say that after a number of years of Mayo dominance, which may have led to a certain degree of apathy and indifference there, there certainly was no sign of either of those in Creggs yesterday and it’s a long time since I’ve enjoyed the border rivalry like I did last night.

  Mikeen’s was like old times, absolutely wedged and while the Rossies were in a minority, they definitely weren’t a silent minority and despite in my opinion being lucky to get away with a draw, their confidence is unabated and as with the week before they are fully convinced they are going to take home the Nestor Cup on Sunday evening.

  It was a historic night in the village as some lads, whom we always took to be on our side, declared their allegiance to the primrose and blue (we are calling them plastic Rossies) and it was one of those nights that the insults and the banter made it a privilege to be from a border village.

  The match itself was eminently forgettable, although even as a Galway man I thought Joe Brolly was overboard with his criticism of Roscommon when he said they were “useless” and I think it’s wrong that lads who give everything to represent their county have to endure such harsh words from someone – even if he was a good footballer himself – sitting in the warmth and comfort of a television studio.

  I know football has become a very tactical game nowadays, but the big question I have – in common with a lot of other people – is why inter-county forwards are so reluctant to take a shot at the posts. I told you before that I had a short-term career with the Rossies in the seventies (which probably makes me a plastic tribesman) and I can remember Sean Young, the county manager at the time saying to us at our first training session, that if we were inter-county forwards, which obviously some of us weren’t, we should be able to put the ball over the bar from 50 yards while the club footballer should do it from 25 or 30 yards. At that time it was that simple – if you were in a position to shoot, you were expected to do so and I have no reason to think it’s any different nowadays. So why don’t they? Umpteen times yesterday, forwards from both sides had clear chances to have a go at scoring points and didn’t take them and knowing the quality of players that both sides had, it’s not that they aren’t good enough!

  So if I have one wish for not only the replay but for Gaelic football itself, it’s that the ultra defensive set-ups disappear and forwards stop being afraid to have a shot at goal! I also think it is crazy that so many inter-county teams rely on their goalie to take any long-range free! It’s time forwards stood up for themselves, after all the reason you are a forward is that you can score and long range frees should also come under your job description.

  As for the rematch, although I was warned not to say it, I think Galway may have left it behind them yesterday and reluctantly I think our noisy neighbours may be even noisier next weekend and they may be celebrating their first Connacht Final victory since 2010.

  Our club secretary, Gerry Keegan featured on the Star on Saturday as he hoisted Donie Shine in the air after that win over Sligo and he told me last night he’s all set to do it again next weekend. Let’s hope not, but win or lose, I hope both teams prove that they really can play good football!

Political world in turmoil

Leaving sport for now, I have never made a secret of the fact that I have very little knowledge of politics and up till now, the word Brexit has never crossed my little tablet’s lips (I know it hasn’t got lips but you know what I mean) but this morning everywhere I look, the political world is in turmoil.

  Here in Ireland the new government appears to be built on a foundation of jelly. Fine Gael are in turmoil, Enda Kenny is hanging on by the skin of his teeth, Fianna Fail are taking credit for every bit of good news that comes from the government with Willie O’Dea appearing all over the place like a little Jack in the Box and even to an uneducated eye like mine, it seems as if it won’t be long before we are heading back to the ballot box.

  Across the water, the Brexit vote has devastated all the leading political parties with the Prime Minister David Cameron stepping down, the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn facing a leadership challenge and both men who brought about the Brexit vote, Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson, now also effectively sidelined so no matter how you look at it, it’s an unholy mess.

  As for the United States and the upcoming Presidential Election, with two very flawed candidates and Donald Trump almost laughable if he wasn’t so popular, you’d have to say they too are facing a very unstable and uncertain future. I have no idea how the UK’s departure will effect us in the long term but certainly so far it seems to have caused more problems than it has solved.

The gift of song is best of all!

This morning I have decided that when God gave talents to some lucky people, of whom I am not one, the best one of all is the ability to sing. Sporting prowess is also a great gift but with nearly all sports there is a time limit on the longevity of the person’s ability! Singers can sing right in to old age and performers like Tom Jones, Neil Diamond, Kris Kristofferson and our own Big Tom seem to get better and better and ever more popular.

  Tom Jones is in the Marquee in Cork tomorrow night (Tuesday) and I heard two lady fans of his on the radio today and they were so excited at his appearance that I’d nearly go myself. Anyway, if you can sing, be very grateful because you have been given the best gift of all.

Summer Cabaret show in Claremorris

On the entertainment front, Annette Griffin, the wonderful singer and entertainer, from down the road in Ballymoe has asked me to let you know that the hugely successful Summer Cabaret show, which sold out every night last year is returning for one night only to the McWilliam Park Hotel, Claremorris on next Wednesday night (July 20th) with doors opening at 8 pm and the show starting at 9 pm sharp. The show features some of Ireland’s best entertainers, including Brendan Shine, Gerry Guthrie, Sean Costello and the fabulous comedian Frank Forde, and of course Annette herself and John Staunton.

  This year it’s in aid of Western Care Association’s local services for people with intellectual disabilities and their families in the South Mayo area.

  Last year I didn’t get to any of the performances but a number of friends of mine went to one of them and they still rave about it. An absolutely superb show and one not to be missed. I definitely won’t miss it this year, so I’ll see you all in Claremorris next Wednesday night. Don’t be late!

Local wins at the races!

Finally for this week, on Tuesday evening last I found myself at the races in Roscommon and it was a great evening for two local racehorse owners – Kilcaragh Boy, owned by Castlecoote’s Gerry Duke, won his race and Angelica Yeats, owned by Mike Ward, from the mountain, came in second in another race. Both were at long odds and a good few bob was taken from the bookies and it was great to see a small trainer like John Neilan who has both horses put it up to the big guys. I’m told the celebrations went into the late hours and rightly so! Well done to all involved and here’s too much more success on the track. Hopefully I’ll have a bit more on the next time!

Till next week, bye for now