‘Scrambling’ on return to the golf course, with a curate’s egg-type performance!

Our man Frank makes a return to the golf course, but discovers that large crowds in the vicinity were there for other reasons; He reflects on an outing to Malahide Castle, prior to the Dublin footballers downing the Kingdom… and he has a playful go at national treasure, George Hamilton!

It is Monday of last week, and myself and my brother Duff (Sean) decided to take out our golf clubs after the guts of a year of inactivity on that front, heading for the lovely parkland course that is out the road in Dunmore.

It took me a while to clear the cobwebs off my gear bag, but eventually we started to play the beautiful nine holes. We enjoyed what could only be described as a curate’s egg-type of round – good in some spots, but bad in a lot of others.

After a while we finished up and tried to head back to Creggs, but the trouble was we simply couldn’t get out onto the Main Street of Dunmore! At first, we thought a huge crowd had turned up to watch us play (a bit like Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods), but we gave up on that theory as no one bothered to approach us.

The upshot of it all was we had to leave Dunmore by a different route, and go home through Clonberne and Glenamaddy. It was when we drove through Glen and encountered another major traffic jam, that the penny finally dropped.

In both of those north Galway towns, for a period of a couple of hours in the afternoon, petrol and diesel prices were greatly slashed, and therefore it appears that the massive queues were not there to see Duff and I playing golf, but rather to avail of the huge reductions.

Diesel was selling at €1.28 a litre (the normal price is about €1.58), and there was a similar markdown on petrol. By the time we realised what was going on, the offers had almost expired, so we didn’t get to avail of the great deals. However, judging by the crowds in both places, we must have been the only ones.

Greatly encouraged by my return to a golf course, myself, Duff, my son Paul, and James Gavin, met up on Saturday morning and took part in the very successful Creggs RFC Classic – and to be fair, we didn’t do too badly! James is always very consistent and Paul played very well considering he hadn’t hit a ball for two years, while Duff and myself brought the curate’s egg with us from Dunmore.

However, I want Roscommon Golf Club to remove the 12th hole. The hole is only a short par three, but there is a body of water between the tee and green and every tee shot I have ever hit there has plopped into the pond. I sent two more in on Saturday, and so I now would like to see the diggers come in and fill it all up. Next year I will simply go from the 11th to the 13th, and give the ball-swallowing 12th a miss.

I don’t know who won the whole event, but once again, despite our great efforts, Jack the Higher didn’t ring us to come back for the prize-giving – maybe he just couldn’t get us on the phone!


Gerry was a rugby legend

and a true gentleman


It seems a long time ago now, and I suppose it is, but back in the late 1970s and well into the ‘80s, we here in Creggs Rugby Club developed a healthy rivalry with Ballina.

For a number of years, it’s safe to say we were the two dominant forces in Connacht Junior Rugby. As a result, we contested several cup and league finals (they won more than we did) and of course became very familiar and indeed friendly (off the field) with several members of the Ballina team. I also happened to work in the Mayo town for some of those years, and have very fond memories of my time there.

One of the best known and most loved of the Ballina lads was Gerry O’Donnell, a fierce competitor on the field but a true gentleman off it, and if ever a man involved and immersed himself in a club, Gerry did. After his playing days were over (as a club player, because he continued to play ‘Masters’ rugby until not too many years ago), he would turn up at nearly every rugby game involving Ballina, from underage boys and girls to senior teams. We last saw him in Creggs only a couple of months ago at an U-14 boys game.

He made the time to become President of the Connacht Branch, and during his tenure, Connacht famously won the Pro12 title by beating a star-studded Leinster team in Murrayfield in 2016. He also ran a very successful meat-distributing company and his GOD vans were a common sight all over Mayo and surrounding counties.

Last week, Gerry sadly passed away after a sudden illness, and so on Friday evening my brothers Billy and Duff and I travelled to Ballina to say goodbye to a man who was a true legend of Irish rugby. We were fortunate to meet up with a big number of Gerry’s Ballina teammates, along with fellows we played against from lots of other clubs, and the massive turnout was indicative of the standing he had in so many different areas of life – both business and sporting.

To his wife Olive, his family and many friends, we extend our sincere sympathy. In the words of Alan Rowe, president of Ballina RFC, “Gerry O’Donnell was a man like no other, and his likes will not pass this way again”.

May you rest in peace, Gerry.


In praise of Malahide Castle

(and a word on the Dubs)


On Saturday morning Carol and myself hit off to Dublin to visit our daughter Lisa and granddaughter Riley. After a nice, relaxing, quiet night, we found ourselves heading over to the beautiful grounds of Malahide Castle early on Sunday morning (about 9 am). When we were leaving at 11 or so, there wasn’t room to park a bicycle.

Our first stop was the Avoca restaurant and shop for the cup of coffee and scone, and then we took the short walk to an amazing children’s park, where there was every type of activity available for the huge crowd of excited children present. There were slides, swings, seesaws, wall-climbing activities, a big sand arena, trampolines, and numerous other things for the children to enjoy. If the rain hadn’t come, I don’t know would we ever have got Riley home!

By the time we left, the place was absolutely jammed, and there were huge numbers of families with young children making the most of the wonderful grounds. My overriding feeling was that the grounds of Malahide Castle, which also incorporate a fabulous walled garden, are an amazing facility for the people of North County Dublin.

Later in the early afternoon, we headed back west and were home in time to watch the Dubs win back the Sam Maguire, a result that didn’t really surprise me. Like them or hate them, there is no argument that the Dubs have been the dominant team in Ireland for so long that their place in history is undoubted, and the fact that three members of Sunday’s team are now the most decorated Gaelic footballers of all time, with nine All-Irelands each, is proof of their amazing quality and consistency for so many years.


Have you thoughts

on this masterplan?


I am told that there is a study being done around Donamon Wood, Stoneham’s Lake, and Ballinapark, to assess the potential for outdoor recreation and accompanying visitor facilities across the site, to improve access to high quality green and blue spaces. Everyone is asked to provide feedback on their vision for the site and help to shape the future of recreation within that space.

To do so, you can go online at outdoorrecreationni.com/projects/donamon-recreation-masterplan, and give your thoughts on the matter.


And finally…


As the rain once again hammered down this Monday morning, I happened to see our Irish Women’s soccer team take on Nigeria in the World Cup, and after a 0-0 draw I can only say I thought they performed very well and should be proud of their efforts.

However, it’s time commentator George Hamilton was put out to grass – twice in the space of a couple of minutes he told us we were playing Canada, and later, when Diane Caldwell came on as a sub, he told us she was 84 years of age. She is actually 34, which I guess is seen as getting on a bit for a professional footballer, but 84 is pushing it – and should surely get her into the Guinness Book of Records!