We shouldn’t be playing important games in season of woolly scarves and caps

For the first time in a good four weeks, it’s wet, wild and miserable as I sit into the trusty old Volvo’s replacement (hopefully temporarily) on Monday morning.

I head for the not so welcoming building in Athlone where I busily (don’t believe that bit) pass most of the working week.

Lynn Antiques and Gallery are now the occupants of what used to be the old Adelphi Cinema, and in truth, even on the hottest summer’s day (what’s that, I hear you asking) it’s necessary to keep the jacket and jumper on.

So now that the winter looks to be, finally, on its way, I’ll be digging out the Long Johns and the woolly scarves and caps and getting ready for a spell of harsh, artic weather.

I’m not sure why the weather is on my mind all this morning but I think it’s because I watched part of the big Connacht Club match between Clann na nGael and Castlebar Mitchels which was played in Roscommon’s Hyde Park on yesterday afternoon (Sunday) and I pitied the players, on both sides, as they tried to play good football on a soggy pitch, where it looked to me as if the ball would barely bounce at all.

Anyone that ever played any sport would know that there is nothing as difficult as a surface where the ball almost gets stuck when it lands.

And while I know there’s a huge debate going on in the GAA regarding club versus county fixtures – and there is an effort being made to sort it out – it’s ridiculous that county finals and other important club games are still being played in the middle of November.

There’s a picture on the Irish Independent this Monday morning of the goalmouth in O’Moore’s park in Portlaoise where the home team hosted Kildare’s Sarsfields in a Leinster Club quarter-final, and it looked to me as if a small corner-forward could nearly be drowned or suffocated if he was to be upended in the square – anyways it’s all down to the fact that there are too many competitions and players are being asked to do way too much.

So something has to be done.

My TV review

Changing subjects, and over the weekend I found myself staying in on both Saturday and Sunday nights (and Friday as well) and so I had an unusual opportunity to watch what was on offer on our television screens.

I saw yesterday how some fellow went to jail rather than pay his TV licence fee of €160, and based on what I watched over the few nights, if his objection was related to the quality on offer, I’d have to say he was totally correct.

Friday night on RTE has for a good few years been dominated by ‘The Late Late Show’ and, in fairness, there has been many an occasion when we have seen shows of the highest order – comedy, controversy, music and chat that we saw on Friday night (and Saturday nights in the early years) have often kept it going till the following weekend’s show, and, in particular, Gaybo seemed to be able to attract the very best of national and international guests.

Sadly, Friday night’s show was, in my opinion, totally forgettable. So much so that I can’t remember any of the guests but, true to form, Corkman Graham Norton saved the day with his BBC show, featuring our own Michael Fassbender, actresses Julie Waters and Kate Winslet, rapper (and apparently actor) 50 Cent, and musical guest Ellie Goulding.

It’s hard to know what makes Norton so brilliant but even though, as a rule, I like Ryan Tubridy, the two shows were like chalk and cheese.

In fairness to Tubridy, and Ray D’Arcy on Saturday night, they do their best with second-rate guests and even Jonathan Ross – whom I watched on Saturday night – doesn’t come close to matching Norton for sheer fun and entertainment.

Ross had A-listers Joan Collins, Danny DeVito and actress Sheridan Smith and I’m told he was absolutely livid when his big musical act, Ariana Grande (who I had never heard of) didn’t turn up at all, but even with three excellent interviewees it didn’t come close to matching Graham Norton’s offering and it just confirmed, as far as I’m concerned, that the Corkman is out on his own.

On Sunday night we had The X Factor results. I missed some of Saturday night’s show – must have fallen asleep, while (I think it was the Sunday) I watched a lovely lady, Carol Kirkwood, getting voted off Strictly Come Dancing, I have to say that (as the reigning Creggs Harvest Festival waltzing champion, with my partner (dancing) Nora Connelly) I have seldom seen such a poor dancer.

How she lasted seven weeks is a complete mystery. I didn’t see Wee Daniel, but he must have had to have two left feet.

Talking of two left feet, Stetsons and Stilettos on Sunday evening was very enjoyable, and if any home-grown programmes saved the weekend for me, that one did, as it focused on loads of young country music followers all over Ireland who are learning how to jive and it culminated in the All- Ireland jiving finals in The Square in Monaghan town.

Table Quiz

I’m looking forward to watching the next episode on Sunday night next, but, thankfully, Tom Connelly is holding another Table Quiz for the ‘Ray of Sunshine’ charity in Dowd’s of Glinsk on Friday night at 9.30 pm – local man Batty Egan is heading out to Kenya to help build a number of houses for severely disadvantaged young Kenyans, and the table quiz at €20 for a table of four is to provide the funds to enable him to do so.

Tom is the quizmaster and also sets the questions, and he is asking for your support for a very worthy cause. I’ll be there. At least I won’t have to watch The Late Late Show.

And finally…

Finally, for this week, and staying with Dowd’s, last Wednesday night week we had the great pleasure and privilege of presenting the proceeds of our recent dance, which was also held in Dowd’s, to the representative of the two charities involved –Cancer Care West and the Lourdes Invalid Fund.

Both of these charities do enormous work in helping so many sick and disabled people in or immediate area and it’s a great thing for all of us to get involved, to do some little thing to help them, even in a small way.

Thanks to everyone’s efforts and support we were able to hand over cheques for €1,850 each – a total of €3,700,

‘Til next week, Bye for now