Storm Isha rages, while Glen take wind out of St Brigid’s’ sails

Our man Frank on a stormy week; glory for St Thomas’, heartbreak for St Brigid’s; The drugs that went missing from a garda station… and local issues

It’s Sunday afternoon as I write, and Storm Isha is feeling its way outside – but while it’s wild, windy and wet, its full ferocity hasn’t yet hit. Creggs Rugby Club’s first team were due to be playing in the quarter-final of the Junior Cup in Clifden this afternoon but, with unusual foresight, the Connacht IRFU branch called off all fixtures in the province on Saturday evening, thereby saving everyone the hassle of wondering whether or not the game would take place.

At the best of times the west coast of Ireland can be a difficult enough place weather-wise, but with a storm on the way Clifden would not be an ideal place to have to go to, so credit to the powers that be for taking the wise decision so early and putting the safety of players, supporters and officials first. I haven’t always been a fan of the Connacht branch, but in this instance full marks to them for showing a large helping of cop on and taking decisive action in cancelling fixtures in good time.

It’s now just after 5 o’clock on Sunday evening and I have just watched St Brigid’s suffer a heartbreaking loss in the All-Ireland club football final up in Croke Park. Despite (in my opinion) being the better team, they fell to Derry champions Glen by a single point.

I thought the GAA would have postponed the club finals, as despite not having a red storm warning in the Capital, there were numerous flights cancelled out of Dublin and at least seven planes couldn’t land because it was so windy (so I was surprised the games went ahead).

In fairness, the conditions – while very wet and windy –  didn’t spoil the quality of either game. Galway’s St Thomas’s won the hurling when they saw off Kilkenny’s O’Loughlin Gaels by a single point. It would have been a terrible game to lose for the Galway men, as once again (in my opinion) at least one Gaels’ player (and possibly two) should have got a red card in the opening minutes. The number 7 definitely should have walked for an altercation, but having got away with it, he went on to score some vital points from play afterwards. Had his team won it would have been a highly controversial victory, but the Kilchreest men were not to be denied and ground out a famous win.

What a pity St Brigid’s just failed to bring off a wonderful double for the west of Ireland. They did themselves and Roscommon proud, but I know that will be of no consolation as they come to terms with what might, could, and should have been.

Ladies Night in aid of Creggs National School

For 15 years or so a few of us ran a fundraising dance for Cancer Care West and the Lourdes Invalid Fund.

Funny enough, one of the most enjoyable aspects of it all was going door to door to sell tickets. Despite the commonly held theory that door to door ticket sellers aren’t too popular and should perhaps have the dog set upon them, nothing could be further from the truth.

Certainly my experience, and that of our other sellers, was the opposite of that. In almost every single case people were most welcoming, and in lots of instances out the country, they were delighted that anyone would call, even if the visit might cost them a few bob!

Loneliness is a big problem in rural Ireland, and the rise and popularity of men’s sheds (in my opinion they should be community sheds, open to people of both sexes) has helped to address it for a number of our elderly citizens.

In our area, there are sheds in Ballygar, Roscommon, Mountbellew and Dunmore, and maybe it’s time to have a look at forming one in Creggs.

Going back to the fundraising dances… Covid put paid to them in 2019, and so for the last four years we have held no function, mainly because people were almost afraid to go out and socialise.

And so I am delighted to tell you that the wonderful Parents’ Association of Creggs National School are grasping the nettle, and on this Saturday night, January 27th, they are having a Ladies Night in Gannon’s Bar, with live music and karaoke too.

It’s all in aid of the most progressive national school (Creggs NS) in the province. There will be loads of spot prizes and even a €250 voucher for Brown Thomas. Tickets, which are selling like hot buns, are only €10. Doors open at 7.30 pm. There will be Prosecco for all on arrival. There is also a make-up demonstration.

I have to say that it’s great to have such an event taking place in the village, so make sure ye come out in large numbers this Saturday night and support it.

As it’s Ladies Night, all the young lads should be there.  You’d never know your luck! Hopefully I’ll see you there. I am so delighted to see live entertainment back,   we may well look at reviving our annual dance in the near future. I’ll keep you posted.

The drugs that went missing from a garda station…

One of the great ongoing stories in this country is the war that is being waged on drug gangs and their warlords.

In recent times we have been told that moves are afoot to extradite some of the top members of the Kinahan crime gang from the United Arab Emirates to face legal proceedings here in Ireland. I have to say I’ll believe it when I see it, but that’s what the Gardaí are indicating is happening.

Regardless of whether the extradition ever happens, it is an undisputed fact that our law enforcement people – whether army, customs or gardaí – have made huge drug confiscations in recent times, topped off by the seizure of 2,000 tons of cocaine from the MV Matthew off the Cork coast last September.

The seizure of cocaine worth €157 million was seismic in the fight against drug importation, and a huge blow to the organised crime gang behind it.

In contrast to those larger hauls, €100,000 worth of cannabis is really only a drop in the ocean, but nonetheless €100,000 worth of ‘product’ is not insignificant. So, for cannabis worth that much to have gone missing from a garda station in Leinster last week has to be of major embarrassment to the force, and its embattled chief, Drew Harris.

The Gardaí have said they will carry out a thorough investigation into the disappearance of the drugs, but the finger of suspicion is allegedly falling on someone with ‘inside knowledge’. They searched outhouses, bins and dumpsters in the hope that someone perhaps threw the drugs out by mistake, but sadly nothing was found. The most obvious theory is that someone saw a chance to make a few handy bob for themselves, but there is also a fear that a member of the force might have been blackmailed into taking them.

I wonder where that bigger haul of €157 million worth of the stuff is being stored? I hope they have a better security system there, because there would be some crack/craic (bad pun) if that haul disappeared.

And finally…

It is now Monday afternoon as I write, and thankfully in our area we seem to have survived Storm Isha. We have seen hundreds of fallen trees all over the country, hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses are still without power, but most distressing of all is the fact that at least two lives were lost on the road as a direct result of the storm.

I have just driven to Galway, where I am actually writing this, and even though the storm has abated, driving conditions were still very tricky. The notorious winter sun, which quite literally blinds you, coupled with a massive amount of spray, made life very difficult for drivers, and I must admit I didn’t enjoy a drive which is normally quite easy.

I know another storm is due Tuesday (by which time I will have submitted this column). Hopefully you all stayed warm on Tuesday and – above all – safe.