How I went from cheering The Kingdom to toasting the High Kings




From the moment I got up last Saturday morning there was nothing much in my head other than the All-Ireland football final replay.

  If the truth were told, I was hoping that the Kerry lads would halt the Dubs’ five-in-a-row bid. I really had no particular reason to support The Kingdom, but I suppose we all like to see the underdog cause an occasional upset.

  Anyway, at about 12 midday a couple came into the shop, and after a bit of a chat I found out that the lady was a Galwegian and the man was from Kerry. So I put two and two together, getting five, as I wrongly assumed that they were on their way to Croke Park.

  The woman told me they had only got one ticket, and that her sister, also a ‘Galway girl’, had got her hands on that, and had left earlier in the morning to travel by bus on her own to Croke Park, and would be making the return journey later that night after the match was over.

  Now I won’t deny that my first reaction was that she was a very selfish woman and that she should have given the ticket to her Kerry brother-in-law, and I said so to the sister – in no uncertain terms – particularly as she, being a Galway girl, can hardly have had any real interest in the outcome. Her answer took me by surprise when she said her sister was hoping the Dubs would win because she wanted to be present when history was made, when the Dubs would become the first ever team to win the magical five-in-a-row.

  It made me have a re-think about my own position, and later in the evening when history was made I have to admit that I looked at the Dubs in a new light. I realised that they are most certainly the best team ever to have graced the game of football, and while I don’t want their dominance to continue forever, I do acknowledge what a wonderful group of young men they are – wonderful ambassadors for the GAA – and I can only congratulate them on their amazing achievement.

  A year ago, I wrote that not only would they do the five, there was no reason to think that it wouldn’t stretch out to six or seven. Today my sentiments are exactly the same. I cannot see this Dublin team losing their crown for a few years yet.

* The great thing about sport is that there is always something else coming around the corner, and out here in Creggs we have a big Intermediate Football Championship quarter-final against our neighbours, Oran, to look forward to on Saturday evening next.

  Then on Sunday morning at 8 am, our Irish rugby team will start their World Cup campaign against the Scots over in Japan. It makes me wonder what would the likes of me do if there was no such thing as sport!


No, I’m not  ‘gone cuckoo’


My recent revelation about the presence of the cuckoo in Crosswell (that’s where I live) has caused consternation in Mikeen’s, with several people telling me that it’s me that’s gone cuckoo, and that by the month of September, even if he ever came he would by now be long gone.

  An old ditty which says the cuckoo flies away in July had all the bird watchers in a tizzy, and the amateur ornithologists in our midst were ‘certain sure’ that I had got it wrong.

  Some of them seemed to know what they were talking about, and for a little while I wondered could I possibly have heard a musical pigeon…until the lad who told us there were no crows in Leitrim joined in. He had most of the bird people believing him, and when he convinced them that you would get a few crows around Carrick-on-Shannon, but nowhere else in the county, that was enough for me – and, no matter what evidence they try to dig up, I know what I heard, and I repeat that only a week or so ago, I heard the crystal clear sound of the Crosswell cuckoo.



A great celebration of life and times of Mary Black


A number of my friends and acquaintances can’t stand the longer winter nights, when, at its worst, it’s dark at 5 o’clock. I suppose they have a point, but at the same time the long nights give us the chance to rekindle the wonderful roasting open fires, and also the time to watch more television programmes.

  Now I’m the first to admit that some of the present television offerings leave a lot to be desired. Only last night I had the dubious pleasure of watching an episode of Ear to the Ground, which was a repeat that focused on Christmas of last year, and which featured a load of turkeys that I’m sure were destined for the 2018 Christmas Day oven.

  However, earlier in the week, I happened to tune in to a documentary on the singer, Mary Black, and I can only say it was a brilliant insight into the life and times of one of our top, and longest lasting entertainers. It didn’t try to sugar-coat the struggles she has had with lack of confidence and depression.

  One of the most telling observations that the singer made was the fact that her depression was at its worst when everything, career-wise and family-wise, was at its best. As she said, there was nothing financially, or otherwise, troubling her, and yet the depression was still there.

  She also at times questioned her right to be popular and successful, and it was heartening to see someone who, while acknowledging she had a good voice and was quite talented, never wanted great fame or fortune, but was happy to have her own loyal followers and to make a living doing something she obviously loved.

  I would never claim to have been a fan of either Mary, or her sister, Frances, but I admire the former for allowing the documentary to be so truthful about her insecurities. It is a credit to her that she had such a successful career – playing the Albert Hall in London a number of times in the 1990s, and later joining forces with six other top Irish female artists to record the iconic Woman’s Heart album.

  Two of Mary’s three children – Danny, lead singer with The Coronas, and Roisin O – have followed her into the music industry, and they are both hugely successful in their own right, so the Black musical legacy will live on.

  I was hugely impressed with Mary and her honesty, and, knowing RTE’s great fondness for repeats, this will surely be shown again. If you missed it, make sure you have a look next time. It won’t disappoint.


And finally…


Finally for this week, we are up and running with our tickets for the big fundraising dance in Dowd’s of Glinsk, on Saturday, October 12th. There will be music by The Lancers, and all funds are going equally to Cancer Care West and the Lourdes Invalid Fund.

  The number of families locally that have suffered from cancer, either directly or indirectly, is frightening, and so many members of our community have benefited from the wonderful facilities in the Inis Aoibhinn Residence in Galway.

  Meanwhile, the Lourdes Invalid Fund assists pilgrims to go to Lourdes at the end of August each year, and it is our privilege to do some little thing each year to help both organisations in even a little way.

  Your generosity over the last 15 years has been humbling, and I have no doubt you will once more come up trumps. We are looking forward to renewing a lot of acquaintances on Saturday, 12th of October, and hopefully before that you will meet us at your door over the next few weeks as we arrive with our very colourful newly-designed tickets.


Till next week, Bye for now!