Football and foxtrots on a ‘super Saturday’

Our man Frank on a busy Saturday…cheering on St Ciaran’s ladies, attending Paddy Lally’s birthday bash, and finishing up in Mikeen’s!

Last Saturday afternoon I found myself heading off to St Faithleach’s football pitch, where the ladies from St Ciaran’s were facing Boyle in the Intermediate county final.

Boyle were very worthy winners in a game that was marred by an injury in the very first minute to Niamh Farrell of St Ciaran’s, from which I hope she makes a full and speedy recovery.

However, for me the most eye-catching feature of the whole occasion, which was very well organised by the host club, was the superb match programme that the Ladies’ GFA produced.

Many times I have been critical of different aspects of the GAA – I am still annoyed at the sudden removal of pensioners’ match fee reductions, which I have written to Croke Park about (I have, of course, been ignored). But in this case I must give credit where it is due, so congratulations to all who were involved in the programme’s production. Usually such booklets are both expensive to produce and to buy, so to get a booklet that was informative, interesting and in full colour at €3 was a steal!

So well done ladies, you have set a standard that I hope the men will emulate when their county finals are played in the very near future.

Paddy’s party

So that was Saturday afternoon done with, but there was no rest for the wicked, as later in the evening I was on the road again, this time heading off to Dowd’s in Glinsk, where Paddy Lally’s 80th birthday party was in full swing.

The Lancers had the large crowd out on the floor doing foxtrots and waltzes and quicksteps, and I have to say – nearly for the first time – things were very much back to normal. It was almost as if Covid had never happened.

I had no idea what dances people were doing, but Carol filled me in. I wondered how I could have got this far without ever learning any dance step, but I couldn’t say the same about the man of the moment – Paddy looked more like 18 than 80 as he danced around the floor. I have to say it was great to see the whole place hopping.

All proceeds of the night are going to Cancer Care West, so well done Paddy and happy birthday to you.

To retire or not?

We weren’t done yet. After an hour or so in Dowd’s, we headed to Mikeen’s (Carol being my designated driver), where Shaun Donoghue was playing to another large crowd. There was a private party on in O’Rourke’s, which I thought was to celebrate Enda O’Rourke’s retirement (his fifth) from the football team, but it turned out to be for a more uplifting occasion – celebrating good news for a very popular young lady. I have to say the atmosphere and craic was 90.

In an exclusive interview, Enda, who has been a stalwart midfielder for a good few years for Creggs, confirmed his intention to retire this year, citing personal reasons, but I think he will be back for another crack at it next year. He can’t go now anyway as he told me if he got his name in the paper (he’s got it twice now), he’d play on for another year, so we look forward to seeing his celebrated left foot next year.

Anyway, that brought the curtain down on a very interesting and enjoyable Saturday. As I used to always write in my national school essays, we headed home tired but happy after a long, long day.

Early start led to a clean sweep…

It’s a well known fact that some people, upon their retirement from work, find it hard to adjust to their new less structured lives, and can often struggle to adapt to their new circumstances. Thankfully, I had no such problems when I retired – although there are people out there who say I never did a proper day’s work anyway. The reality is I have fitted seamlessly into my new world of total relaxation.

However, I did make one rule when my working life came to an end, and that was not to get into the habit of lying on in bed in the morning. An extra half hour can easily become an hour and before you know it you can be sleeping half the day.

Now I don’t claim to be a ‘crack of dawn’ man, but most days you will find me up and about somewhere between 8 am and 8.30 am – except for an odd Saturday when I might sneak in the extra half hour. However, on last Saturday, there was no such luxury, as Damien McDonnell (from Complete Chimney Services) had told me he would be coming to me at about twenty past seven to clean two chimneys here.

Oftentimes when lads say seven, it could be eight, but not with Damien. Right on time he pulled up outside the door, and by the time I would normally be getting up, he had all done and was ready to head off. One of the chimneys had been closed up for a number of years and had become a home for nesting crows and other types of birds, and he took out a huge amount of sticks and other stuff that birds use to make their nests. I have to say that both chimneys were in a bad way, but Damien gave them a thorough cleaning, and now we can look forward to a winter in which  hopefully we won’t need to call the fire brigade.

At this time of year, all chimney sweeps are very busy, so I was probably lucky to get one at all, but if you need to get your chimney cleaned, give Damien a call!

And finally…

This Friday and Saturday night sees the long-awaited return to the School Hall in Creggs of the Lip Sync fun events, with doors opening at 7 pm on both nights.

Friday night is a family night so feel free to bring the children along, but Saturday night is for the adults – who can bring their own drinks with them and have a real live Lip Sync party.

There are ten wonderful acts, performing as a variety of well-known top international artists. Whoever gets the most votes from the public (and the judges) will be the winner.

It’s all to raise funds for the school, so bring loads of money with you to vote for whatever acts appeal to you. There will be a raffle for great prizes each night, so come along to help the school – which has to be amongst the best in the country – and also to enjoy the craic. We all deserve a good night or two after two long, miserable years.

See you there both nights in my very well-earned judging capacity!