The joy of the long-distance sports’ fan…enjoying the beauty of rural Ireland

Our man Frank on taking the scenic route to follow the Creggs rugby team; That big drugs’ find; Some local issues… and (Editor: Surely tongue in cheek?)… in praise of the Rossies!

It’s a beautiful Sunday morning as I write, and Kieran, Ger Dowd and myself are heading for Clifden, where once again our rugby lads have a date with the Connemara All Blacks, this time in the quarter-final of the Connacht Junior Cup.

We decide to bypass Galway city, as we anticipate a lot of traffic due to the Galway-Derry football match, and we head off through Ballinrobe onto Cong, across the beautifully rugged Connemara countryside and over the hills to Maam Cross. From there, it’s very straightforward, and we arrived into Clifden with loads of time to spare before kick-off; we had the obligatory loo stop and the cup of coffee and were parked in the Monastery Field a half hour before the game started.

I had never gone to Clifden other than through Galway city before, and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the more rural route. It’s been many a year since I gazed upon the tranquil waters of Lough Corrib and I had totally forgotten how big a lake it is. Ger told us that there are supposed to be 365 little islands dotting round Lough Corrib, one for every day in the year (although there’s one missing for this year as it’s a leap year), and as we travelled through the glorious landscape, there was an air of hope – more than actual expectation – that we would have a good result in the subsequent rugby match.

As we talked on the way out, we reflected on a piece of information that came our way earlier in the week, when 11 of the first 13 captains of the club met up for a chat in the rugby club. The club is this year celebrating 50 years in existence and presumably there will be stuff organised to mark a very significant and noteworthy event.

The only two that didn’t make it were Jack the Higher (Cunningham) who was nursing a bad flu, and Batty Grady, who was also slightly indisposed over in Ballina. Among those in attendance, Eamon Cummins had come from Dublin, and the Rasher (my brother Declan) from Ennis, while Liam Callaghan, Vincent Canny, the Dowd brothers (Ger and Kieran), Charlie Clarke, my brothers Duff and Billy, Vincent Collins and yours truly made up the rest of the thirteen.

Anyway, in the course of our chat Duff informed us that since last year we have lost 23 senior players through emigration, injury, retirement, and just moving away in Ireland. For a small rural club to lose that many in such a short time is simply amazing. At least six of those players are in Australia, one or two are in Canada, while a handful have long-term injuries. As we talked about all of those losses, we marvelled at the fact that we have managed to keep the show on the road to such an extent that both our senior teams are looking forward to league finals.

Sadly our optimism on the day was slightly misplaced, and as has happened us many times in the recent past, we came back from Clifden beaten, but feeling we could and maybe should have won. The good news is we have a chance to get revenge when we meet them again in the league final in Galway on Sunday, and in my humble opinion if we can cut out some of the unforced errors that we always seem to make against them, and get a fair crack of the whip from the referee, we will be celebrating a second league win in a row!

The crowd of supporters we had in Clifden last weekend was amazing, and I am asking you all to turn out again this Sunday – get to the Sportsground and cheer our lads on to a monumental victory. I might even have a celebratory pint if you do!

Anyway, slightly deflated and hugely disappointed, we headed back to Creggs, this time going through a relatively quiet Galway city. As we arrived back in the village, all we could do was look forward to next Sunday and hope for a reversal of fortunes.


‘Oran Gaelic 4 Mothers

& Others’ to host

Grand Reunion


As I am writing this, I am looking at a picture of a number of fine women (and two fine men), all of whom are members of the Oran Gaelic 4 Mothers &  Others group who are having a Grand Reunion and 10th birthday celebrations this Saturday night.

The craic is starting in Kenny’s, Rockfield, at 8 pm, and if you are late, you’ll have to do 20 press-ups and 50 laps of the bar.

DJ Darren will be playing the best of tunes, the nibbles will be supplied by Gourmet Geraldine, and Therese tells me it will be a night to beat all nights. So, don’t forget, be in Kenny’s!


Keen interest in

massive drugs

haul in Kerry


As readers will be aware, around €33 million worth of crystal meth was discovered in Kerry recently. I won’t get into the details of the case, other than to note that

one of the two men arrested was Nathan McDonnell, a hugely respected businessman and a stalwart supporter of local charities and other deserving causes over the years in the Munster area. It was a development that has caused quite a stir, needless to say.

Mr McDonnell pleaded not guilty to the charges of possession of drugs for sale and supply. It will be interesting to see how the story plays out.


And finally…


Even a Galway man has to be impressed with the fantastic display by the Roscommon senior football team on Sunday; to score 1-16 against Monaghan was some achievement.

Fair play to them, they certainly have a most potent forward-line and look a good bet for, at the least, Connacht Championship glory!