Toy Show fun a stark contrast to previous day’s thuggery

Our man Frank on the shocking lawlessness in Dublin last Thursday; In praise of Toy Show star Sheamie; In awe of Katie Taylor; Some local events… and Castlerea’s great win

It’s Friday evening, and unusually for me, I’ve decided to stay at home for the Late Late Toy Show. For the last few years, despite everyone talking about how good the shows were, and how wonderful Ryan Tubridy was at presenting them, I have headed to the pub for a few quiet pints on Toy Show night, more or less to escape from all the razzmatazz.

This Friday however – I suppose because it was Patrick Kielty’s first Toy Show – I decided to watch, and I have to say that overall I enjoyed it. I can’t say it was riveting entertainment but, considering it was his first one, I would say he handled it all very well.

The reaction on both social media and mainstream media seems to be pretty favourable, and (as seems to be the norm with the Toy Show) we discovered quite a character, in this instance a young Clare lad called Sheamie who absolutely stole the show, and who will surely be a TV star of the future.

Sheamie (aged just 7) and boasting a highly questionable mullet hairstyle, was hilarious as he told some of his family secrets, chatted like an auld fella with Patrick Kielty, and charmed the hundreds of thousands of people who were watching all over the world. Sheamie was such a hit that umpteen viewers said he should have a show of his own, and I have no doubt that some day he will.

The icing on the cake for Kielty was the fact that more than €3.3m was raised for charity, so all told I would say he can look back on a very successful maiden Toy Show presentation.

It’s funny how television can throw up such happiness and enjoyment on a Friday night, only hours after showing us some of the most appalling scenes ever witnessed in our capital city, when thugs, criminals or scumbags – or whatever you want to call them – took over the streets of Dublin, causing terror and mayhem to most of its population.

As we all saw, they looted several shops, burned buses, Garda cars, and a Luas Tram, attacked our Gardaí with all types of weapons, and for a number of hours lawlessness reigned on our Dublin city streets. The so-called far-right claim it’s all about our immigration policy, but the truth is that most of those rioting in Dublin had only one goal – and that was to cause as much mayhem as they could. They couldn’t care less about immigration policy, or any other policy.

A friend of mine who is in the army told me that there was a sizeable unit of specially trained officers on standby in Dublin on the night, and all I can say is they should have been called into action, as they would have sorted the thugs out in ‘jig time’.

From time to time we have seen trouble on the streets of Paris, while those of us who are old enough  can remember vehicles being set alight during the troubles in the North, but in my lifetime I’ve never seen anything like what happened on Thursday night anywhere in the Republic of Ireland.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris need to get their act together and make sure nothing like this ever happens again.

I am not on Twitter or Facebook or any of those media sites, but my friends tell me there was loads of stuff being posted that should have set alarm bells ringing. Anyway, the bells obviously didn’t ring loud enough, and our guardians of the peace were caught unawares. As they say, once bitten twice shy, so they should never be caught unawares again.

As for the thugs from last Thursday night, who seem to have no regard for anything or anybody, I would say throw the book at them, take away all their privileges in prison, and leave them plenty of time in isolation to reflect on their actions. It’s over to Helen and Drew, and hopefully we will never ever see a repeat of last Thursday night’s mayhem.

Amazing Katie is box(ing) office

Sometimes I never seem to watch the telly at all during the week, while other times I seem to spend all week looking at it – and this was one of those weeks!

On Saturday night, only two days after watching the terrible violence in our capital city’s streets, I watched another hour or so of more unrelenting violence on a pay per view channel, DAZN. However, this time it was ‘legalised violence’ as Katie Taylor went to war with Chantelle Cameron in a boxing contest that ranks as one of the best and most brutal fights I have ever seen.

Ten absolutely riveting rounds of boxing with no quarter asked or given between two totally committed and focused fighters ended with Katie reclaiming all her world title belts, but – even more importantly for her – avenging the one blemish on her professional career, and restoring her position as the undisputed champion of the world.

It’s remarkable how there are still dissenting voices out there about women’s sport, but right across the board – in horse racing, rugby, football (gaelic and soccer), camogie, boxing, tennis and golf, and many more sports – women are making their mark and providing huge entertainment to millions of people all over the world.

I have mentioned present-day world class heroes such as Katie, Rachael Blackmore, Leona Maguire, and Ciara Mageen before, as well as trail-blazers like Sonia O’Sullivan and Catherina McKiernan, and all I can say is how extraordinary it is that our little country could have produced such wonderful talent.

What a pity the thugs who disgraced themselves on Thursday night in the same city where Katie did us proud wouldn’t put their excess energy into some type of positive activity, and instead of destroying their own city make a contribution that would be of benefit to the nation as a whole. I won’t hold my breath!

As for Katie, I would hope that she would retire now and get out on top after what was probably the greatest win of her life, but of course there is no chance of that. The warrior in her will want to do it all again, and in a hugely-awaited third fight against Cameron, Katie will want to dispel any lingering doubt (if there is any) about who is the best female boxer on the planet.

The debate will always go on as to who is, or was, our greatest ever sportsperson, and there are several worthy contenders. I can’t definitively say that Katie is or isn’t, but I can tell you that every time the debate comes up in any bar in the country, her name will be mentioned. For her to be in the mix at all pretty much says everything about her career. Well done, Katie. As you said afterwards, why did we ever doubt you?

Creggs celebrations

Out here in Creggs on Saturday evening, the community came together at a ‘do’ in the school hall to celebrate the recent achievement in winning The Pride of Place 2023 award. Dignitaries from Galway County Council, as well as a myriad of local politicians attended the festivities, and I’m told it was a great occasion.

I had been in Dublin earlier in the day, and after getting back a bit late in the evening, I watched Creggs’ second team produce some scintillating rugby in defeating Our Lady’s Boys Club in a league match on the 4G pitch. In many years of watching club rugby (firsts or seconds), I don’t remember an attacking performance like it. The great thing about it was the number of young players who were part of the performance. Despite the very cold evening, I went home with a very warm feeling. The future of Creggs RFC looks to be in good hands.

Sunday afternoon saw me up in Galway, where the first team, despite what I would consider to be a patchy enough performance, proved too good for an NUIG team that – despite a very misleading 38-7 scoreline in Creggs’ favour – were quite a handful.

And finally…

Congrats to Castlerea on winning the Connacht Club Intermediate football final last Saturday, by beating Monivea-Abbey on a 2-4 to 0-8 scoreline. It’s a great achievement for the club, and I imagine my good friend, Danny Burke, might have downed a pint or two on Saturday night!

I spent a few very happy years working in Castlerea in my younger days and have always had a soft spot for the town and its people, so well done to Dara Bruen (manager) and everyone involved! Bring home the All-Ireland now and I might even make it down for a pint myself!