Marooned in the big city

It’s Sunday morning of the Bank Holiday weekend and after my usual bout of will I, won’t I, I find myself on the nine o’clock bus from Athlone heading to Croke Park in the company of my two sons, Paul and Mark.

  The media had been telling us all week about the road works that would be disrupting the traffic in the city centre but in fairness there didn’t seem to be any major problems and it certainly had little impact on the different forms of public transport that we used over the weekend. Anyway, we made it into the city well before eleven, left the gear in Mark’s apartment, put on my Galway jersey and cap and headed off for the big breakfast in Eddie Rockets – sometimes I think that’s the main reason I go to Dublin at all and as always it didn’t disappoint. I know they have recently opened in Athlone but eating the breakfast there wouldn’t have the same impact.

            Anyway, with Eddie’s done and dusted, we started off on a leisurely stroll to Croker, ticketless as of yet but on the way we met the living Galway legend that is Gerry Rushe from Mountbellew and he showed us where to go to get them. As it turned out we might have been better off if we never got them – but we didn’t know that at the time!

  Gerry was staying in accommodation close to the pitch and to educate some of the locals he had brought a sod of turf with him, which he strategically placed outside the front of his hotel. It was strange to see it sitting proudly on the footpath, in the middle of our capital city. On we went and we met one of Galway’s most loyal supporters, Larry Donoghue, and took our very good seats in the lower Hogan Stand well in time for the start of the Kerry-Clare encounter. In fairness the attendance was so small we could nearly have sat anywhere we wanted. Just below us was Glinsk native, Micky Lundy, a top footballer in his own right and whose son, Michael, was one of Galway’s top performers last year but who is presently away in America.

  The two games were most disappointing; Clare, after their win over the Rossies last weekend, just never got going and the less said about Galway’s performance the better. What happened them is a mystery but then again when we look at their record in Croke Park since 2001 maybe it’s not so surprising. Tipperary played a fabulous brand of football that the Connacht champions couldn’t live with and I hope they do themselves justice in the semi-final in a few weeks time. The big question it posed really was; how good or bad was the Connacht Championship? As for us, we are good losers being well used to it and we went off for a few around the city pubs. If you met us later in the night you wouldn’t be able to tell whether we won or lost – come to think of it, we mightn’t have been too sure ourselves!

  I’ve said it before, but the once or twice a year that I socialise in Dublin makes me realise that it’s a totally different world to the one that we inhabit and I can definitely confirm that if the recession hit Dublin at all, it’s well disappeared by now. Lisa, our daughter, joined us after the game so we had a most enjoyable few hours before I headed off for a relatively early night and the rest hit Copper’s; where I know they missed my renowned dancing skills! Anyway, that’s the first of the match-ups with Tipperary over and done with; we can only hope that the same fate is not awaiting the hurlers in a couple of weeks’ time.

Accommodation needs to be accepted

The most bizarre story to make the news last week was the story of the woman in Dublin who was living in an unsuitable one-room flat with her two children aged 16 and 10 and she was offered a new two-bedroom townhouse in Cabra. She refused the offer because she wanted to get a three-bedroomed house in a different area so that she could live near her mother. Now everywhere we look we are being told of homelessness and a lack of social housing and yet it seems that people all over the country are being offered sometimes brand new houses and are turning them down for all kinds of reasons. Some houses aren’t near enough to the shops, others are too far away from other family members, some are too big or too small and it all seems totally ridiculous to me – if you need a house, and are lucky enough to get offered one then it should be compulsory that you accept it! If you refuse, you should tumble way down the waiting list, and maybe, the next time you get an offer you just might take it.

  Sticking with housing, and a new survey out today has confirmed what a lot of us have thought all this time; that two thirds of tenants have difficulty getting back their deposits from landlords. It’s a few years now since my children went through third level education but I can remember the same difficulty cropping up every single time – no matter how good a state the place was in when it came to leaving, the landlord always found some reason to renege on repaying the deposit. There is a new service available now, called Deposify, which effectively is there to adjudicate on disputes between landlords and tenants and it seems a great idea to me. I don’t blame landlords because some tenants are a nightmare, and wreck their accommodation, but some tenants don’t cause any problems and now that there is a body to help both sides I think it is a good idea.

No more midnight ‘doughnuts’!

Last Friday night I had the good idea of having an early night and was just settled into a lovely deep sleep, shortly after midnight, when I suddenly thought I was in Mondello Park; the sound of what seemed like Formula One engines nearly had me jump clean out of the bed and I just made it to the window in time to see what I think were three cars doing what I’m told are doughnuts, right outside the house. They then roared off into the night before coming back for more at about 3 am and, on the evidence of the local roads, corners and junctions they spent a busy night drawing their doughnuts all around the area. It’s a practice that seemed to have died down over the last few years, which was no harm, so if you were the one who woke me from my slumber, maybe think twice about keeping up this dangerous practice and settle for a different type of thrill.

American Tea Party for senior citizens

Finally for this week, I’m asked to remind you all of the American Tea Party in aid of the senior citizen’s Annual Christmas Party, which will take place in Kilbegnet Hall on Friday, 12th August at 8.30 pm sharp. Music will be provided by our own local dub, Paul Browne, admission is only €10 and you are all invited to come along and have a great night’s craic. It’s all to help fund the Senior Citizen’s Christmas party, which is one of the great parties of each and every year and a way of saying thanks to the older generation for their lifelong contribution to the parish: don’t forget August 12th, come if you can at all, and if you can’t make it a little contribution would be gratefully accepted.

Till next week, bye for now