Shell-shocked Sligo – and an ‘electric shock’ for my ‘ticker’

It’s Friday morning last, and at the unearthly hour of 6.45 am I am boarding Tommy Forde’s bus in Ballyhard, near Glenamaddy, and heading for the University Hospital in Galway, where the good people in the cardiac unit are going to give me another electric shock to get my old ticker back on its right track.

I’m a great fan of public transport (maybe public transport only applies to state companies, I’m not sure) and in little more than an hour Tommy had me safely deposited outside the hospital door, and ready for my minor procedure, and I have to say it’s the only way to travel.

No hassle, no delays as you tip along the bus lanes, pitying the poor drivers who were already stuck in the Claregalway traffic jams, although Tommy told me that nowadays, Friday mornings are by far the best ones to be going to Galway on.

Apparently, a lot of factories and businesses (I’d love to work in one of them) only work the four days, Monday to Thursday, and as a result many employees don’t have to report for duty at all on Fridays.

Anyway, down to the cardiac unit, and even though it was just after 8 am, it was in full flow.

While I waited for my turn, there were four people called for angiograms, until I heard my name called at exactly 8.30 am, which was my actual appointment time.

I had great craic with the two nurses who were taxed with the duty of getting me ready for the shock treatment, although, as usual, I didn’t want to give them any blood!

For some reason I always seem to want to keep all my own blood, and it can be quite difficult to get any of the red stuff out of me.

Eventually I must have had everything in place, because the last thing I remember is a young lady cardiologist telling me she was going to give me an injection, which would send me off to sleep.

It must have worked immediately, as the next thing I remember was waking up a few hours later to be told that all was well, and my ticker was now beating normally again.

On then to Sunday morning and I headed into Roscommon, some time around one o’clock, without realising that, as it was Connacht Final Day, the town might just be a little busy.

Even at that stage the place was buzzing. Every supermarket carpark was full to the lugs, and it seemed to me that everyone from Sligo must have been in Roscommon – I of course forgot that the two Sligo teams, minor and senior, were in action, and as that hadn’t happened for many, many years on Connacht Final Day, it was no wonder that the entire Yeats County population had come across the Curlews.

Driving up the town it was great to see the huge crowds having a few drinks outside the town centre pubs, and it was uplifting to see and feel the wonderful atmosphere that was building up.

The Sligo support was bright and cheerful, and while not necessarily confident, they were certainly hopeful and in very good spirits.

Fast-forward to a few hours later, and those same supporters must have gone home shell-shocked, confused and utterly demoralised, and in common with most sports lovers, I was genuinely sorry for the Sligo players, management and followers – it was a painful experience for them at the hands and feet of a very good Mayo team, and it will take a great amount of willpower and commitment to have them ready to face Micky Harte’s Tyrone in a week or two.

Before I leave the footballing world, as a Galway man it’s nice to see the wearers of the maroon and white still in the mix, but it’s sort of sad that in order to be competitive, they have had to buy into the modern ultra-defensive style.

As someone who grew up with the great team of the 1960s, and indeed, later admired the wonderful attacking skills of Paraic Joyce, Michael Donnellan, Ja Fallon and Derek Savage – amongst others – it’s hard to see the way the game has changed and has now almost become a game of chess, and how teams now play sideways and backwards just to keep possession.

However that’s the way it is, and I suppose if we could beat Donegal, Kevin Walsh’s first year in charge would be a relative success.

The Irish Pub

Changing subjects entirely, and last Monday night there was a really nice programme on the telly called

The Irish Pub, which featured a number of old traditional pubs, which were largely unchanged through the years, and which yet again showed us all how important a part the local pub plays in particularly rural communities.

Among the pubs shown was Simon Coyle’s in Four Roads, and I’m sure his appearance on the programme will do his business no harm at all, and the lasting impression I had from the 90-minute show was that I would like to pay a visit to every one of the featured pubs – they all oozed character, had their own character, and were what a local pub should be.

I doubt if I’ll get around to them all, but it was great to see that we, as a nation, still have an abundance of our traditional, famous Irish pubs, and even in these tough times they are all still holding their own.

Bertie & Brian

Talking of holding their own, although most of us wouldn’t agree with them, I have to admit that I was impressed with the demeanour of both ex-Taoisigh Brian Cowen and Bertie Ahern at the recent banking enquiry.

Each of them were unfazed by the experience, and neither was prepared to give an inch, and, like them or hate them, neither one was going to admit any wrongdoing or accept they had anything to do with the crash in our country’s economy.

I suppose all politicians must have thick skin, and to get to Taoiseach you probably need the thickest skin of all, and it seems to me those two boys got it in abundance, so, maybe it’s not so surprising that it was impossible to derail them.

And finally…

Finally, for this week, don’t forget the big Open Day in Donamon this coming Sunday! I told you all about it last week! It kicks off with Mass at 12.30 pm and there will be every kind of entertainment taking place for the following five or six hours.

I’ll see you all there, and look out for The Curny Bun Stall – can’t wait.

‘Till next week, Bye for now