Well done Al – for highlighting such an important issue

Up to a couple of weeks ago the name Al Porter meant little to me, except that he was a gay Dublin comedian, who as far as I knew, specialised in what I would describe as over the top comedy – stuff that was designed to shock his audience, almost to the point of disgusting them.

  Then I saw him on a recent chat show, and I had to admit that my opinion of him changed quite a bit. He was genuinely funny, a little bit risqué, but very entertaining, and I said to myself that maybe I had misjudged him. And today (Sunday, as I write) on all the papers, he speaks openly about his battle with depression and how after years of struggling with the disease, he has started on medication, which has made him feel more positive about things.

  Thanks be to God I have never had any depression issues, and generally, look fairly positively at life, but what intrigued me most by Al Porter’s story was that even at a time his career was becoming more and more successful, he was basically, in his own words, “feeling really down, a kind of despair”, and wondering did he really want to get out of bed.

  I applaud him for going public with his battles, because whether we like it or not, people are still reluctant to talk about mental illness. So many are suffering in silence, so it is good when people in the public eye, like Al, tell us that they too can feel lonely, isolated, and sad. We are facing a suicide epidemic, with so many young men taking their own lives. It’s important to know that there is help out there, and we should encourage everyone to seek it out; in the meantime, well done to the Dublin comedian for highlighting the issues he has faced and is still facing, and I wish him well for the future.

Our heroes did us proud!

Last Sunday saw our little half-parish venture into new territory when our lads headed to Kiltoom to represent Co. Roscommon, as we took on red-hot favourites Louisburgh – the Mayo champions – in the Connacht final of the junior football championship.

  The team travelled in the luxury of the Club Rossie bus, and I doubt if any of them will ever forget the excitement of the whole day. The attendance for a junior football game was huge, and fair play to Louisburgh, they had hundreds of supporters with them, all decked out in their club colours.

  I told you a couple of weeks ago about the lift the whole football journey has given to the area and on Sunday, again I met Creggs men who had travelled from all over to be at the game: Harry Crean, and his brother Noel, Jim Mulligan, from Ballina, Jimmy Gavin, from Sligo, and Dinny Monaghan, with his daughter, Amy, from Galway. Back again, from Manorhamilton, was Johnny Kennedy, who told me I exaggerated his ability as a full-back in a recent piece (I didn’t), and all over we had great support from our neighbouring clubs.

  As for the game itself, I’m sure it’s well covered in the sports pages. But I felt we, just like Ireland the day before in the rugby, got no rub of the green at all, and lost a game we could just as easily have won. However, in my biased opinion, we did ourselves proud and performed extremely well and ran a very good Louisburgh team very close. Let’s hope they can go on now and win it out, as they’re a rural club just like us, albeit a good bit bigger.

  As we headed to Kiltoom on the big Club Rossie bus, it was strange to think the County Board had laid it on for us. For as we left the village, it really was a sight, the primrose and blue Roscommon bus was all maroon and white.

  As the unofficial club poet laureate, I had the poem written, just in case we won it – sadly it was not to be and so my effort will be confined to the dustbin! But as a Galway supporter I thought it important to let ye all know that, for one time only, the bus had the good fortune to play host to the Galway colours!

Wishing Gaybo well…

82-year-old Gay Byrne stunned listeners to his Lyric FM show by revealing he has to go into hospital next week for tests. His doctors think he may have cancer of the prostate, which may have gone into his lower back.

  Now, obviously I hope it’s a false alarm. As with Al Porter, it was the right thing to do to let his listeners know, as he said himself “to avoid any rumours or talk.”

  Even if the worst fears are realised, the survival rate of prostate cancer sufferers is 98%, so Gay has every reason to be optimistic about his future. However, in the meantime, all I can do is wish him well, and hope he gets the good news that we all hope for. 

Launch this Saturday

Don’t forget the launch of the 22nd Barrie Harris Walk will take place next Saturday night in Mikeen’s, at 9.30 pm, with music by Simon Cooke, all kinds of nice goodies, and most importantly the giving out of the sponsorship cards.

  This walk has raised thousands and thousands of euro for many charities over those 22 years, and hopefully this year will carry on the great work.

  So, make sure you get to Mikeen’s, get your cards, and get as much sponsorship as you can and make this year’s walk one of the best ever.

And finally…

Finally for this week, 45 years ago we – the combined full parish of Creggs and Glinsk –  won the U-21 championship, when we beat a very strong Castlerea team in the 1971 county final.

  One of the stars of that team was a big, strong full-back, called John Joe Cunningham. He used to take the kick-outs, in the days before it became the duty of the goalie, and even though the balls were much heavier back then, he could send it enormous distances. He was great under the high ball and was a huge part of that successful side.

  On Sunday in Kiltoom, there was a minute’s silence for someone, and I couldn’t make out who it was for. It was only today that I found out it was for my one-time team-mate, John Joe, who passed away at the weekend. I am saddened that I heard the news too late to attend his funeral, but I wish to extend my sympathy to his family on their sad loss and when we look back on that historic year, the part John Joe played will always be remembered. May he rest in peace.

Til next week, bye for now