Our man Frank on the growth of ladies’ football locally, violence at Gaelic football matches, a possible breakthrough in the case of a missing woman, and the impact of the Budget on rising prices…
A few weeks ago, I was totally enthralled by the performance of both the Meath and Dublin ladies footballers in the All-Ireland final, a game which was no doubt the best I’d seen all year. The whole thing brought me back to a time some years ago when I managed the Creggs Ladies football team.
At that time, there was a sort of a novelty feel about the whole thing. While we had a few pretty successful years in the Roscommon competitions, looking back now I would say that the approach at the time was probably not as organised or professional as it is today. That’s not to say that we didn’t take it seriously – the girls trained as well as any team – but in a small rural club, the numbers just weren’t there.
Our team was a mixture of very young girls – a few in their mid-twenties, and one or two who, like a good wine, were maturing very nicely. At that time, ladies football wasn’t generally regarded with the same respect that it is now, and the same could be said about a lot of sports. Yet looking back, we had some of the best footballers I’ve ever seen in our club. I won’t name any of them, but without any doubt, we had six or seven players who would’ve been good enough to grace any of our men’s teams at any level.
Sadly, the adventure eventually petered out, and the Creggs Ladies team is no more. In latter years, we have joined with our neighbours in Fuerty, and are now plying our trade as St. Ciaran’s.
And so it was that last Sunday morning, at the early hour of 11 am, I decided I would go to see St. Ciaran’s’ championship match against Boyle. I wanted to find out if the undoubtably huge improvement in the standard at inter-county level had managed to make its way all the way to local club football.
The first thing that surprised me was the large crowd that was in attendance at Mulhern Park. I toddled along, a few minutes late, expecting to see a handful of hardy supporters, so I was amazed to find that it was actually hard to get parked!
However, it was the standard of both teams that really opened my eyes. The fitness, commitment, and skill level demonstrated by all players was simply superb, and I thoroughly enjoyed a rip roaring game that, fittingly, ended on level terms.
As I headed home, I was still convinced that a lot of the girls we had back in the day would’ve definitely been good enough to shine on the present Ciaran’s team. Of course, we will never know, but one thing I do know for sure is that the present side is packed with talent and ladies’ football in County Roscommon is certainly in a good place.
Violence at matches is not a new phenomenon!
Sticking with GAA for the moment and headlines were made on every media outlet nationwide over the violent scenes at the end of the Wicklow U-15 county final between Carnew and Kilcoole. There is a massive outcry about such appalling behaviour, especially as it has been claimed that such outbreaks are not uncommon at Wicklow club football matches.
Now I am in no way advocating such terrible conduct, and video footage circulating shows quite a disturbing level of violence, but I would also have to say that this is not a new phenomenon. Way back in the sixties and seventies, such scenes were commonplace. I can remember a Junior County Final where umbrellas, sideline flags, and handbags were used as very effective weapons, and there wasn’t a word said about it.
I am not blaming social media for what happened in Wicklow at the weekend, but if the incident wasn’t posted on Twitter, we might never have heard about it at all and there mightn’t’ve been any public outcry. So as I say, while I do not condone it, it’s not exactly anything new.
Hoping for a breakthrough for Deirdre Jacob’s family
It’s Monday morning, and on this lovely autumn day my thoughts are with the families of all the people who have gone missing in Ireland and elsewhere over the years. In particular, my thoughts are with the families of Deirdre Jacob and JoJo Dollard, both of whom went missing in County Kildare in the nineties, disappearing without a trace.
A new search (relating to Deirdre Jacob’s disappearance in particular) has recently started on the Wicklow/Kildare border, and I can only hope that there is a positive outcome from this latest development.
As a parent, I can only imagine the torment the families have gone through. There can hardly be anything worse than seeing your daughter walk out your own front door in the middle of an ordinary day, and never seeing her again.
Down in Tullamore, the family of Fiona Pender have similarly endured twenty-five years of unbearable agony, not knowing what happened to her as she too disappeared without trace. It would be one of the best news stories of all time if the Gardaí could get to the bottom of all these unexplained disappearances.
During the nineties, a total of eight women disappeared in an area dubbed the ‘Vanishing Triangle’ in Leinster, and none of the families have ever got either answers or closure. It is highly unlikely that all the disappearances are linked, but if any of the mysteries could be solved, it would be a big step forward. Let’s all hope for a real breakthrough.
Budget won’t address rising prices
As I am writing this there is a lot of speculation in the media as to what the Budget is going to look like, but regardless of what it brings, there is no way that the massive rise in the cost of everything can be satisfactorily addressed.
Petrol, diesel, heating oil, gas, and electricity prices have all gone through the roof – but they are still nothing in comparison to the cost of actually fixing your roof. Building costs have risen enormously over the last year or so. The price of timber in particular has sky-rocketed, with some prices having trebled in less than twelve months. Basically, it seems that if you want to build anything now, you better have a bank behind you.
Food prices are also likely to increase substantially, and according to this week’s papers, the cost of second-hand cars has gone up by 50 per cent since January 2020. The supply of such cars has greatly dried up and as a result of such a scarcity, prices are continually rising.
It’s fair to say that for a lot of people, the outlook is getting bleaker and bleaker. No matter what the Government do this week, for most of us things will still be worse.
Finally for this week…
Marie Barlow tells me the Glinsk Ladies Club’s Gardening course with Rod Ogilvie continues this Saturday, October 16th, on Barlow’s farm (F45EH27) at 12 noon, and all are welcome to attend.
‘Till next week, Bye for now!