Finally, some election atmosphere…




Eight days to go, and while you couldn’t say there’s election fever, there’s finally some momentum to Election 2019. Just about!

  Election candidates have relished the excellent weather recently and are out in force, canvassing away. The recent Lamb Festival, the Roscommon v Leitrim match and Roscommon Races were all a bonus for candidates in that they presented an opportunity to meet large numbers of people in the one location.

  In relation to the local elections, the feeling throughout the county amongst people who are interested in this type of thing is that there are probably four to five very strongly fancied candidates in each of the three six-seaters…with one/two seats up for grabs in each area!


Thoughts on ‘Pool and Spurs

I was only six or seven years of age – yes, it’s so long ago, Eamon de Valera was probably our President, and the Bay City Rollers were probably in fashion.

  It’s my first memory of seeing, and being mesmerised by, soccer. There was a soccer match on the television – which was rare enough in those days. In black and white, of course. I was smitten by the style and panache of one of the two teams in action. Or were there three teams? I remember being confused. There was one team, and then there was Spurs…and Tottenham Hotspur. What was the commentator at? Eventually it dawned on me…Tottenham and Spurs were the same.

  I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for them, with their swashbuckling style, their sense of adventure. Many, many years later (but still a long time ago), I went to an Arsenal-Spurs game. Such excitement! The superstars I  daydreamt of in Rooskey were suddenly there in the flesh. I waited in wonder for Glenn Hoddle, Ossie Ardiles, Ricky Villa and Liam Brady to display their magic. When it ended 0-0, I felt suitably cheated!

  And now Spurs are in the Champions League Final, following an amazing victory over Ajax, another team with plenty of ‘swash’ and ‘buckle’. What Spurs have achieved is remarkable. I met a few still-stunned Spurs fans at the weekend (there are some out there, in Rossie-land) and yet…much as I like the club, my heart is with Liverpool on this one, in this unlikely football fantasy.

  Why? Because Liverpool have been wonderful this season, a relentless, thrilling, honest leave-everything-on-the-pitch football force. I didn’t much like their manager, Klopp, when he first arrived in England. Now I’ve warmed to him. His team has been superb. As has he.

  Liverpool’s extraordinary win over an admittedly defensively pitiful Barcelona gave us one of the great soccer nights in decades. And there really is something very special about big European football nights at Anfield. When the fans sing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ there, it is pure hair-standing-on-back-of-neck stuff. Even when I was a teenager, a passionate Leeds fans then as now, there was something special about Anfield on European football nights.

  I like and admire Spurs, but Liverpool have been a joyous rolling pleasure this season. After running Manchester City so close in the Premier League, few would begrudge them victory in the Champions League Final.


The Late Late: A-pealing as ever

So in this dream, two top TV executives fly in from the US (where else, for the purposes of this sarcastic piece?).

  They got down to business pretty quickly.

  “So, like we said in our email, you guys have the longest running chat show in the world! You guys are sitting on a phenomenon! Like we said, we gotta check this out! Thanks for meeting us!”

  Being some sort of an Independent guru in the television industry (in this dream), I spluttered: “Eh…you’re going to love it. Are you absolutely sure it’s this Friday night’s show you want to see?”

  The American guests were sure, they had flown in especially.

  The older guy reasoned: “We’ve had Carson, we’ve had Letterman, we’ve had Jimmy Kimmel, we’ve had Stephen Colbert, we’ve had James Corden…we need something new!”

  Sadly, there was time in my dream – just before I woke up – to proceed. And so it came to pass. The two American TV agents, with their big budgets and their desire to find out what was the secret behind the success of the world’s longest running chat show, sat in the Late Late Show studio.

  It was last Friday night. There was nothing I could do. It was too late.

  The executives watched, open-mouthed, when Ryan featured some ladies from the ICA demonstrating how to peel potatoes. 

  They steadied themselves a little when the ‘entertainment’ show then diversified into a discussion with a group of teenagers about exam pressures and such issues.

  I pretended to be asleep (well, I suppose I was) when the pregnant mannequin/robot was brought on to the set, and Ryan and two ‘midwives’ proceeded to deliver a ‘baby’.

  The American TV executives were more bewildered than angry. We had a drink afterwards.  

  “Exam students, old ladies peeling potatoes, a robot giving birth, I can’t understand it” the older guy said, shaking his head while enjoying his Guinness. “I don’t get this Late Late Show thing, I don’t know if we could possibly work with that template…”

  I did some thinking on the spot…I had just started to tell him about Daniel and Majella’s B&B roadshow when I woke up…