Wednesday 24 December 2014

The Old Woman of the Roads

At this time of year I feel more grateful than ever to have a house of my own — though humble it may be. It brings to mind a poem I learned in school many years ago which I will quote hereon:-
The Old Woman of the Roads 
Oh to have a little house!
To own the hearth and stool and all!
The heaped-up sods upon the fire,
The pile of turf against the wall! 
To have a clock with weights and chains,
And pendulum swinging up and down!
A dresser filled with shining delph,
Speckled with white and blue and brown! 
I could be busy all the day
Cleaning and sweeping hearth and floor,
And fixing on their shelf again
My white and blue and speckled store! 
I could be quiet there at night
Beside the fire and by myself,
Sure of a bed and loath to leave
The ticking clock and the shining delph! 
Och! but I'm weary of mist and dark,
And roads where there's never a house nor bush,
And tired I am of bog and road,
And the crying wind and the lonesome hush! 
And I am praying to God on high,
And I am praying Him night and day
For a little house—a house of my own—
Out of the wind's and rain's way. 
— Padraic Colum

Saturday 20 December 2014

"If" Final Verse

The following is the final verse of If by Rudyard Kipling:
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch;
If neither foe nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run—
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And—which is more—you'll be a Man, my son!

Monday 15 December 2014

Important Football Win for Cahir

County Tipperary SFC Semi-Final:

Cahir 2-10; Thomas McDonaghs 3-5

In yesterday's Tipperary Senior Football Championship semi-final, Cahir beat Thomas McDonaghs by 2-10 to 3-5. It was important for football in the county that a club like Cahir, which has always promoted Gaelic Football as well as Hurling, should defeat an amalgamation of about seven clubs from North Tipperary who have never shown any interest in Gaelic Football down the years. In the final Cahir will play the great dual club, Loughmore-Castleiney, who beat Aherlow/Lattin-Cullen in the other semi-final.

The saddest part is that the most  important games of the championship are being played over the last four Sundays of the year.

The championship competitions in most grades in the county have been badly run for many years. It is completely wrong to have the Under-21 Hurling Championships, which I consider the best competition of all because it is graded, starting in October as has been happening for some time. Junior B is given greater priority which is ridiculous. The competitions should be structured in such a way that all are completed before the end of October taking into account replays and county team involvement in the All-Ireland Championships.

There are too many meaningless games being played. When the number of participating teams is high, the championships should have teams playing in small groups where even the loss of one game would put pressure on them to stay in contention. The winners of each group should then play off on a knock-out basis. A move away from running championships like leagues should happen. For leagues, the county should be divided into two sections with promotion and relegation between groups. Clubs should not have to travel long distances to play games which would make it unattractive.

Thursday 11 December 2014

The Wind that Shakes the Barley

There's music in my heart all day,
I hear it late and early,
It comes from fields are far away,
The wind that shakes the barley.

Above the uplands drenched with dew
The sky hangs soft and pearly,
An emerald world is listening to
The wind that shakes the barley.

Above the bluest mountain crest
The lark is singing rarely,
It rocks the singer into rest,
The wind that shakes the barley.

Oh, still through summers and through springs
It calls me late and early.
Come home, come home, come home it sings
The wind that shakes the barley.

Katherine Tynan

Friday 28 November 2014

Thanksgiving Day

A national holiday throughout the USA, annually proclaimed by the President and state Governors for general thanksgiving. First celebrated by the Plymouth colony in 1621 after the first harvest in their new home. In 1863 Lincoln proclaimed the fourth or last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day. In 1941, F.D. Roosevelt fixed that day by decree. In most states, it is a great family festival, celebrated with turkey dinner cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.

Monday 24 November 2014

Lament for Thomas MacDonagh

He shall not hear the bittern cry
In the wild sky,where he is lain,
Nor voices of the sweeter birds
Above the wailing of the rain.

Nor shall he know when loud March blows
Thro' slanting snows her fanfare shrill,
Blowing to flame the golden cup
Of many an upset daffodil.

But when the Dark Cow leaves the moor
And pastures poor with greedy weeds
Perhaps he'll hear her low at morn,
Lifting her horn in pleasant meads.

Francis Ledwidge

Friday 21 November 2014

GAA Bits in Brief

Matt Ruth, who played senior football with Tipperary, won an All-Ireland intermediate hurling medal with Tipperary, a Munster senior hurling medal with Limerick and an All-Ireland senior hurling medal with Kilkenny.

On 9 July 1944 Tipperary senior footballers, despite a game effort, lost the Munster final to Kerry by 1-6 to 0-5 on a wet day at Limerick Gaelic Grounds. Mick Cahill and William (Bunny) Lambe, at mid-field for Tipperary, had the better of the great Kerry mid-field pairing of Paddy Kennedy and Sean Brosnan. Mick Cahill was then 18 years of age. Tipperary had an outstanding goal-keeper in Jim Williams. All have now gone to their eternal reward. At right-half forward, Tipperay had the speedy Sean Cleary, thankfully hale and hearty, and living in Galway for many years.

Sunday, 21 August 1955 is a golden day in the annals of Tipperary football. Having drawn with Kerry in the Munster minor football final in Killarney, the replay was fixed for Semple Stadium, Thurles. The Munster Tribune of 26 August 1955 reported as follows:
A magnificent back-line, a forward line that played fine aggressive football and a sound mid-field, all combined to give Tipperary a great 0-9 to 1-5 victory over the mighty Kingdom. The outstanding Tipperary players were: Tom Walsh (Cahir), Davy Stapleton (Clonmel Commercials), Philly Tobin (Grangemockler), Liam Boland (Clonmel Commercials), Gus Danagher (Fethard) and Michael Moroney (Clogheen).
The cup was not available for presentation after the game but was presented to captain Liam Boland following the team's decisive win over Mayo in the All-Ireland semi-final played at Limerick Gaelic Grounds on the following Sunday. Tipperary lost the All-Ireland final to Dublin by 5-4 to 2-7, through the concession of some very soft goals.

Thursday 20 November 2014

The Farmer's Son

Where'er are scattered the Irish nation,
In foreign lands or on Irish ground,
In every calling and rank and station
Good men and true will be always found:
But 'midst their masses
And ranks and classes,
When noble work must be dared and done,
No heart's more ready,
No hand's more steady
Than the heart and hand of a farmer's son.
His homely garb has not fashion's graces,
But it wraps a frame that is lithe and strong;
His brawny hand may show labour's traces,
But 'tis honest toil that does no man wrong.
For generous greeting,
For social meeting,
For genial mirth or for harmless fun,
'Midst high or low men,
'Midst friend or foemen,
Oh, where's the match for a farmer's son?
T.D. Sullivan

Saturday 8 November 2014

History Revisited? No Thanks!

Nearly 100 years ago the Bolsheviks came to power in Petrograd, Russia during the October revolution of 1917. They proclaimed the Bolshevik-controlled Soviets as the actual government of Russia. They had ousted the provisional government which was in place since the overthrow and murder of Tzar Nicholas II and his family in the February Revolution of 1917.

The Bolsheviks set up "The Russian Communist Party". The people they disliked, for one reason or another — or for no reason at all — were accommodated in mass graves, gulags and, except for certain privileged groups, were denied human and civil rights. These actions would resonate with those of the provo gangs in areas that they control on this island.

At the end of World War II, the United States and United Kingdom, having saved Russia from the Nazis, proceeded in a cowardly fashion to allow them to annex most of Eastern Europe and impose communist tyranny on those countries until the nineties. This was in line with what Stalin envisaged when his foreign secretary, Molotov, signed an "unbelligerent treaty" with the Nazi foreign minister, von Ribbentrop, in 1938.

The Irish terrorists, whose evil deeds surpassed those of the Bolsheviks prior to coming to power, are hoping to get into government after the next General Election with the support of Bolsheviks lackeys in this country. One has visions of Ireland being the new North Korea. I believe that there is still sufficient decency and intelligence left in the Irish people to prevent this from happening. But be afraid, be very afraid!

Thursday 23 October 2014

The Old School in Kilcash

Last Friday night, 17 October 2014, I attended the Community Hall, Kilcash, Co.Tipperary. This building was the old school in the village. It consisted of a girls' school on the west side; living quarters in the middle; and a boys' school on the East side. A new school was opened in 1958 and continues to provide for the educational needs of the children in the area.

The old school has been converted into one building and refurbished in a very attractive style. Great credit is due to the committee for providing this lovely community hall in Kilcash.

The building is 200 years old this year and to mark the occasion, the committee invited former pupils of the school to join them last Friday night.

Two distinguished guests gave talks. The renowned historian, Dr. Vincent Comerford, spoke about The National School system and it's predecessor, The Kildare Place Society. Dr. Comerford was born at South Lodge in Grangemockler parish and has many cousins in the area. Con Manning spoke and showed slides, tracing his family association with teaching in the area going back to the 18th century.

It was great to meet old class mates and neighbours that I seldom meet. Overall a pleasant occasion.

Tuesday 21 October 2014

A Sporting Memory

1940 Munster SHC Semi-Final: Limerick v. Waterford

Mick Mackey was marking Christy Moylan, a delightful exponent of the code and their duels were the highlight of the game. On two occasions, both players got a little rough with each other, and on the second such occasion after they were separated, play was suspended because of an injury to a player at the other end of the field.

Mick Mackey ran to the sideline and asked for an orange which a spectator supplied and on returning to his position divided the orange in two and threw half to his opponent Christy Moylan who was down on his knee six or seven yards away.

The gesture received a tremendous ovation and when the full time whistle blew, with the teams level, these two great sportsmen were seen to hug and embrace each other in the middle of the field.

From The Munster GAA Story by Jim Cronin:
This game was played in Killarney on 16 June 1940, and ended Limerick 4-2 Waterford 3-5. The replay was held in Clonmel on 14 July 1940. Both teams had played at this venue in the same stage of the Munster championship in 1937. This game was described as one of the best during the Shannonsiders' reign at the top when they pulled the game out of the fire in added time. The amount of added time played was a bone of contention with Waterford officials and supporters for many years afterwards. 
The 1940 replay was another titanic struggle with a similar pattern to previous encounters between the teams. Waterford were in the ascendancy for most of the contest only for Limerick to pull it out of the fire in the final minutes. Limerick went on to win the All-Ireland, beating Kilkenny 3-7 to 1-7 in the final. This win was the final curtain for this great Limerick team. The county did not win another senior All-Ireland until 1973.

Monday 13 October 2014

Thanksgiving Day in Canada

Today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. It was first celebrated in 1879 and has been observed annually since 1931 on the second Monday of October.

Tuesday 7 October 2014

Old Slievenamon

The following is taken from Romantic Slievenamon which was edited by the late James Maher of Kickham Street, Mullinahone, Co.Tipperary.
— Old Slievenamon! — Did we ever indulge in day-dream of which you were not part and parcel? Its sweetest draught was to contemplate the happy homes around thy base, freed for ever from the despoiler! 
Was the dream of love? It was to thy azure outline the beloved one turned her eyes to hide the blush and the tear, called up by the impassioned avowel. And when the trembling hand was at length yielded, and the pure heart wooed and won — you old mountain! Peeped in, through woodbines and sweet briar, upon a home scene, the like of which — alas! — is but too seldom to be found save in the visions of the dreamer. 
And when the time for such visions was gone by, and despair crept in where hope had been —when the cup of sorrow was drained to the very dregs — was it not to thee we fled — like a child to it's mothers lap — and thou has heard the groan which torture and the rack would fail to wring in the hearing of human ear? 
And when every earthly hope had withered, save one — what was it? — to sleep the last long, peaceful sleep beneath thy shadow. And saddest thought of all, is this too, but a dream, never to be fulfilled? 
We do not wonder at the reply of the United Irishman, when asked, after a lifelong exile, why he returned to a land where there was not a single friend or acquaintance left to bid him welcome — "I came back" said the exile, "to see the mountains".
— Charles J. Kickham, Tales of Tipperary.

Monday 29 September 2014

The Great Jack Kyle

Yesterday morning, it was with great pleasure — and a large degree of nostalgia — that I listened to Jack Kyle, at 88 years of age and accompanied by his daughter, in conversation with Miriam O'Callaghan on her radio programme.

Jack Kyle
In my early youth my ambition, with others, was to play Gaelic Football and to try our hands at hurling with all kinds of imitation hurleys. When the International Rugby season began I would listen intently to Liam Brown and Austin Darragh describing the progress of the Irish team. They had some great players at the time, but the shining light was Jack Kyle. He was the greatest out-half of that era, closely followed by the recently deceased Cliff Morgan of Wales.

Following a particularly brilliant Kyle try against France at Ravenhill, Belfast in the early fifties, the great rugby reporter of the time, the late Arthur P. McWeeney, writing in the Sunday Independent, borrowed from the introductory words to the popular radio drama of the time "The Scarlet Pimpernel":
They seek him here, they seek him there,
Those Frenchies seek him every where,
The paragon of craft and guile,
The daring elusive Jackie Kyle.

Sunday 28 September 2014

Bitter Disappointment for Tipperary

All-Ireland SHC Final Replay:

Kilkenny 2-17; Tipperary 2-14

It was another sad evening for Tipperary players and supporters. It is very hard for those of us who lived through the great Tipperary victories of the 50's  and 60's — especially against last night's opponents — to experience such hardship in winning All-Irelands for the county in the past 40 years. The way the game is played now — more especially in the past 20 years — has played into the hands of Kilkenny who were always more adept at the handling game. That is the reason they have been so successful during the past fifteen years especially. It has become a mad scramble for the ball on the ground now; something of a "lucky dip". It was described recently by one former county hurler and manager as "a hurling scrum".

Tipperary's recipe for success in the past was to move the ball on the ground — "first time pulling" as they used say. They need to make much more use of this style of play in future. To keep players sharp, club hurling can be made more competitive by regrading weaker teams and changing the playing format of such contests.

Having written all that, on the evening mistakes were made which could have made all the difference if a little more cuteness was shown. Players carried the ball into cul-de-sacs where not alone were the side exits blocked, the rear one was also then sealed. Instinct will dictate when a player should make a sudden surge towards goal. It would be much better to spread the ball to the flanks and let the receiving players shoot for points. They gave too many long distance passes via the hurley — always something of a lottery — when a shot for a point might have been a better option.

Monday 15 September 2014

The Star-Spangled Banner

The Star-Spangled Banner is the National Anthem of the USA. It was officially adopted by that country in 1931. This year is the 200th anniversary of it's origin. The words were composed in 1814 by Francis Scott Key, an American lawyer. It is sung to the tune of "To Anacreon in Heaven", composed circa 1771 by an English man, John Stafford Smith.

Monday 8 September 2014

Heart-stopping Game

All-Ireland SHC Final:

Tipperary 1-28; Kilkenny 3-22

My experience of yesterday's All-Ireland final, played at Croke Park, was of much stress, great joy at times and then anxiety; so much that I could not watch the second-half live — I had to record it. I then had the pressure of seeing the end of the game live and experiencing great relief at the final whistle.

The players showed unbelievable endurance for amateurs. The game had a high level of skillful point scoring among other great qualities.

Tipperary will win the replay if the backs show more cuteness and craft; when more than one player goes to an opponent in possession, they should make sure he is not allowed to make a long pass to an unmarked colleague who has all the time in the world to put the ball over the bar or to a well placed inside forward. When attempting to block an opponent's effort to strike the ball, a player should concentrate on blocking the ball rather than the other player's hurley.

Tuesday 2 September 2014

In the Burren Country

In the beautiful Burren country of County Clare as you travel north from Limerick to Galway, you come upon the birthplace of Michael Cusack at Moughney, about a mile from Carron. He, with Maurice Davin of Deerpark, Carrick-on-Suir, called the historic meeting at Hayes Hotel, Thurles on 1 Nov 1884 that saw the founding of the Gaelic Athletic Association, the ruling body over the games of Hurling and Gaelic Football. On 18 December 1884, Dr. Croke, Archbishop of Cashel, gave the Association his benediction in a famous letter that was to become known as "The Chapter of the GAA".

The first official All-Ireland Championship final was played on Easter Sunday, 1 April 1888. It was the final of the 1887 championship and Tipperary (Thurles), under the captaincy of Jim Stapleton, said to be a man of powerful physique, beat Galway (Meelick) at Birr.

The Liam McCarthy trophy, which goes to the winners of the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship, was presented for the first time in 1921 and Limerick, under the captaincy of Bob McConkey, were the first team to inscribe their name on it.

Monday 18 August 2014

Surprising Big Win for Tipperary

All-Ireland SHC Semi-Final:

Tipperary 2-18; Cork 1-11

Tipperary showed a lot of spirit and determination—and no little skill—in carving out a ten points win over old rivals Cork in Croke Park yesterday. The Tipperary backs, centre field and some of the forwards upset Cork's rhythm causing them to make mistakes and shoot some bad wides. Despite having the ball in the Cork half for more than 60 per cent of the first period, Tipperary only led by two points at half time. This was due to the mistaken policy of playing a one-man full forward line and raining long balls down into the Cork goal mouth. When things were changed in the second-half the forwards moved much more smoothly.

One incident in this game stood out for me; it was the sight of Tipperary forward John O'Dwyer racing ten yards to block an attempted Cork clearance, then picking up the loose ball and, from out near the side line, putting the ball over the bar from his left side. If that would not rouse the Tipperary spirit and break the hearts of the opposition, nothing would! O'Dwyer, Seamus Callanan and Patrick (Bonner) Maher were the outstanding forwards.

John O'Dwyer is not the first Killenaule man to show great skill on the Tipperary senior hurling team at a vital moment. I remember the 1962 All-Ireland final final when a great goal from Killenaule's Tom Ryan in the dying moments of the game snatched victory from a gallant Wexford team who had conceded two goals in the first five minutes. To quote lines from a poem written by the late Br. Joe Perkins following that game:
Like Mackey of yore, McKenna tore, then parted with the ball.
I'll never forget how he shook the net, the man from Killenaule.

Tuesday 12 August 2014

The First Under-21 Hurling Final

The first All-Ireland Under-21 hurling final was played at Nowlan Park, Kilkenny on 4 October 1964 and brought Tipperary and Wexford into opposition. Tipperary, prompted by a superb mid-field of Mick Roche and Joe Fogarty, ran out winners by 8-9 to 3-1, but the game was much more entertaining than the scoreline would suggest. Michael Keating was another of Tipperary's stars. Playing at centre-forward, he set the Premier County firmly on the road to the title when he grabbed two goals inside a minute midway through the first half. He finished top scorer on the day with 2-3. The first goal of the final was not long delayed. Noel Lane, the Tipperary right half forward, sent a long shot from out on the wing all the way to the net in just three minutes. He also scored another goal in the game.

Tipperary and Kilkenny did not meet in an Under-21 final until 1980 when they drew a big crowd to Walsh Park, Waterford. A goal eleven minutes from time by left-half-forward Austin Buckley clinched victory for Tipperary. They won 2-9 to 0-14. Pat Fox, at left-full-back, was one of the winners' aces.

A year later, Tipperary made it three titles on the trot with a resounding win over Kilkenny by nine points at Walsh Park. Full forward Donie O'Connell scored 2-1 for Tipperary. Nicholas English and Bobby Ryan were also on the score-sheet for the winners. The stars for Kilkenny were left-full-forward Billy Walton, with 1-7, and centre-half-back Billy O'Hara along with goalkeeper Michael Walsh.

Wednesday 6 August 2014

Wonderful Irish Ladies

Ladies Rugby World Cup: Ireland 17 New Zealand 14

This victory by the Irish Ladies Rugby team in yesterday's World Cup game in Paris can take it's place along side the great Irish sporting achievements in history. The New Zealand All-Blacks are the kingpins of both men's and women's rugby. Their ladies have won the last four world cups without losing a game in the competition since 1991 until yesterday. When one considers that the Irish team are all amateurs, drawing from a small pool of players, and conceding a big weight advantage to New Zealand who are a professional team, the enormity of their achievement becomes clear. We can now hope that their male counterparts will achieve that long-hoped-for win over the All-Blacks.

Saturday 2 August 2014

The First World War

The First World War (1914-18) was waged between the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, Bulgaria) and the Allied and Associated Powers led by France, UK and the British Empire, Russia and—later—the USA. The Allied side also included Belgium, Serbia, Montenegro, Japan, Portugal, Italy, Romania and eventually Liberia, China, Brazil, and Guatemala.

It began with a declaration of war by Austria upon Serbia on 28 July 1914; it ended at 11am on 11 November 1918 when the terms of the Armistice granted to the defeated German army came into effect. The greater part of the actual fighting was by land armies. Combatant armies at the outset totalled over 16 million. At the end of the war, the total mobilised strength in service was nearly 26 million. From first to last, Germany mobilised 11 million men; the UK and British Empire nearly 9 million. Nearly 8 million combatants of all nations were killed including over 2 million Germans, 1.7 million Russians, 1.3 million French, 1,2 million Austro-Hungarians and over 1 million from the British Empire. As an immediate or direct result of the war, nearly £40,000 million of debt or expenditure was incurred.

Russia withdrew from the war on 15 December 1917, following the Bolshevik revolution. War was formally ended by the treaties of Versailles which Germany signed on 28 June 1919 and which established the League of Nations.

Thursday 17 July 2014

Defeat for Tipp Under-21 Hurlers

Munster U-21 Hurling Semi-Final:

Clare 5-19; Tipperary 1-25 (AET)

This game, played at Cusack Park in Ennis yesterday evening and won by Clare in extra time, was one that Tipperary should have won in the regular 60-plus minutes. Throughout the field, I felt that Tipperary had the advantage in most positions. The main factor in Clare's win was the presence on their team of a number of players who had won All-Ireland Senior Hurling honours last year as well as an Under-21 victory. Tipperary contributed to their own defeat with some costly errors—mixed in with some great skill and heart in most positions. Tipperary's defending of their goal was faulty.This has been a problem with Tipperary teams for many years. The tackling of opposing players was lamentable at times. It was dreadful to see an arm or hurley wrapped around an opponent's neck or any other part of their bodies. This has also been a problem with Tipperary teams for many a day. Some easy frees were missed. It has been evident to me for a long time that there is a lack of proper training in the basics of the game for juvenile players in Tipperary.

Sunday 13 July 2014

Dual Success again for Tipperary

All-Ireland Senior Qualifiers

Football: Tipperary 3-17; Laois 4-9
Hurling: Tipperary 5-25; Offaly 1-20

These games, played at O'Moore Park in Portlaoise yesterday evening, brought satisfying results for Tipperary. Offaly hurling has been in a recession for some time, so the hurlers were expected to win fairly easily following their dramatic win over Galway the previous week. The footballers' victory, and the fashion in which it was achieved, showed that they have matured a lot in self-belief and determination. They had a great first-half, building up a lead of ten points at half-time, but ran into a Laois blitz early in the second half when they were hit with three goals. Laois scored a fourth goal in the 62nd minute to level the game. Tipperary showed their mettle by scoring 1-3 in the final minutes to win by five points. The forwards are capable of taking on the best, but the defense will have to win the early ball and move it fast; you only get away with conceding four goals once in the blue moon. The hurlers also had a ten points lead at half-time. They went into a bit of slumber for a while and Offaly got back to within four points of them. They upped the tempo again and won easily in the end. Best of luck to both teams.

Monday 7 July 2014

A Very Good Evening for Tipperary

All-Ireland Senior Qualifiers

Football: Tipperary 2-17; Longford 0-6
Hurling: Tipperary 3-25; Galway 4-13

The double victories for Tipperary footballers and hurlers at Semple Stadium, Thurles last Saturday evening were very important for both codes in the county. I did not get any pleasure from the fact that Longford and Galway were the defeated opponents. I have long admired Galway hurlers for their skill and commitment, the spectacular performances they produce at times, and of course the one and only Joe Canning. Longford is a county small in size and population which has always played its part in a sporting, cultural and true patriotic sense. We all remember the great Sean McKeoin from Ballinalee. I can also recall their great National League final win over Kerry in 1968 followed by a Leinster senior championship final win in the same year.

The Tipperary wins last Saturday were milestones for different reasons. The hurlers needed to throw off the shackles of their indecisiveness, especially in the closing stages of vital games; in future games they will need to eliminate the naive defending that gifted at least two goals to Galway. For the footballers it was very important to get a victory to maintain recent progress. They will know that from now on the real test will come. The best of luck to them.

Monday 9 June 2014


Frank Dempster Sherman

At evening when I go to bed
I see the stars shine overhead;
They are the little daisies white
That dot the meadows of the night.

And often when I'm dreaming so,
Across the sky the moon will go!
It is a lady sweet and fair,
Who comes to gather daisies there;

For when at morning I arise,
There's not a star left in the skies;
She's picked them all and dropped them down
Into the meadows of the town.

Tuesday 3 June 2014

Sad Defeat for Tipp Hurlers

Munster SHC Semi-Final:

Limerick 2-18; Tipperary 2-16

This game, played at Semple Stadium, Thurles on Sunday last, proved to be a great disappointment for Tipperary GAA followers. Tipperary's display in the recent National League final gave hope for a good run in the championship. However, they could not cope with Limerick's spirit, desire-to-win, "bottling"-type tackling allied to to an effective level of hurling skill. To counteract this Limerick performance, the Tipperary player in possession should have had much better back-up for a 'lay off' than was happening. When hemmed in while in possession, it is better to drop the ball to the ground and to try and work it out with the boot rather than conceding a free or giving away possession with a poor attempt at passing.

The forward line was very disjointed, especially towards the end of the game. Forwards were shooting wide or into the goalie's hand when under a certain amount of pressure. Near the end of the game, when every point was vital, we had, on a number of occasions, a single Tipperary forward, without support, tussling for the ball against three defenders, 30 or 40 yards from the Limerick goal.

Thursday 22 May 2014

Something about the 'Mocklers

Last Tuesday, 20th May 2014, I went to Molloy's Funeral Home in Callan, Co. Kilkenny, for the removal of the remains of Michael Hogan, Currasilla, Grangemockler, Co.Tipperary. Michael was a nephew of Mick Hogan who was shot by British Auxiliaries while playing for Tipperary Senior Footballers against Dublin at Croke Park on 20th November 1920. Michael is now laid to rest with his uncle and parents in Grangemockler Churchyard.

While I come from the neighbouring parish of Kilsheelan-Kilcash, I always had a great affection for, and great friends in, Grangemockler even though we were rivals on the Gaelic Football field in the past.

As I stood in the funeral parlour last Tuesday evening, Mick Egan entered and engaged in conversation with Eamon Hogan, only brother of the late Michael. Mick Egan and Eamon Hogan played on the Tipperary senior football team in the sixties; both were members of the Tipperary senior football team that beat Dublin in the Bloody Sunday commemorative game played at Croke Park in November 1965. Mick Egan was born at Blackbog, Windgap, Co. Kilkenny, and has lived in Clonmel for about 60 years, but the family roots are at Poulacapple, Mullinahone, Co. Tipperary. I thought then, and many times since, how on that day of infamy, when Mick Hogan was shot down, a fellow player on the Tipperary team was Jim Egan from Mullinahone, uncle of the aforementioned Mick Egan. Jim Egan with his brother, Ned, were later to die while fighting on the side of the Anti-Treaty forces during the tragic Civil War. Mick Hogan's brother, Dan, who had been Second-in-Command of the Northern Volunteers under Eoin O'Duffy, was then Commander of the Northern Division of the new Irish Army. Dan Hogan was later Chief-of-Staff of the Irish Army when O'Duffy was appointed Garda Commissioner.

The tragedy of the Civil War and the damaging effect that it had on the country should have removed the gun from Irish politics forever. Unfortunately a dark cloud is descending on the country once more when a subversive organisation, that carried out terrible atrocities for thirty years in this country and overseas, is apparently being rewarded with the prospect of electoral success.

Thursday 15 May 2014

A Boy's Song

James Hogg

Where the pools are bright and deep,
Where the grey trout lies asleep,
Up the river and o'er the lea,
That's the way for Billy and me.

Where the blackbird sings the latest,
Where the hawthorn blooms the sweetest,
Where the nestlings chirp and flee,
That's the way for Billy and me.
Where the mowers mow the cleanest,
Where the hay lies thick and greenest—
There to trace the homeward bee,
That's the way for Billy and me.

Where the hazel bank is steepest,
Where the shadow lies the deepest,
Where the clustering nuts fall free,
That's the way for Billy and me.

Wednesday 14 May 2014

Charles J. Kickham

Charles J. Kickham (1828-1882)
Though he was totally deaf and almost completely blind because of an accident in boyhood, he wrote what is probably Ireland's greatest historical novel, composed numerous popular ballads, wrote countless stories and newspaper articles, and was one of our finest, idealistic patriots of all time. This was Charles Kickham, a man of supreme courage, not only against the enemies of his country, but against those incapacitating handicaps, and the illnesses brought on by his imprisonment in English jails.

Charles Kickham was born in Mullinahone, Co.Tipperary, "beside the Anner at the foot of Slievenamon", on 9 May 1828. His father was a farmer and shopkeeper noted for his charity and intelligence, while his mother was an O'Mahony, related to the great founder of the Fenian Movement. Two of the boy's uncles were priests, and he was almost entirely educated by his father, and a local scholar named Thomas Cleary who was to die a priest in the USA.

Kickham described the home environment many years later in his personal recollections:
Reading aloud was the custom in my father's house. To this fact I think I was indebted for a rather early acquaintance not only with Robinson Crusoe, but with Pickwick, Martin Chuzzlewit, King Lear, Macbeth, Hamlet, The Vicar of Wakefield and diverse other works in prose and verse, which I cannot now so distinctly recall. The Nation, in like manner, was read aloud, not only the speeches in Conciliation Hall and at the Repeal Meetings in the provinces, but also the leading and literary pages, including of course, the Poet's Corner.
The last years years of Kickham's life were spent in Blackrock, Dublin, the better to work on The Irish People—this was the newspaper of the Fenian Brotherhood and had Kickham on it's editorial board—but his heart remained in Mullinahone. He suffered an injury as a result of an accident while crossing the road at the incessantly busy spot near where he then lived at Mountpellier Place. He died sometime later of a stroke on 22 August, 1882. Thousands accompanied his remains all the way to Mullinahone, where the poet-patriot wished to be laid at the foot of Slievenamon.

Sunday 11 May 2014

Great Wins for South Tipp U-16s

Having won the Tipperary inter-divisional tournament, the South Tipperary U-16 hurlers headed into the Munster Championship. This tournament, between the the county GAA divisions in Munster, took place over the May Bank Holiday week-end.

On Good Friday they played a tough challenge game against West Waterford, which they won. On Saturday, in the tournament proper, they won two close games against East Waterford and North Cork. In the semi-final, played in Mallow GAA Grounds on the Monday, South Tipp beat East Clare by one point. In the final, the Tipperary side beat Imokilly, Cork by 2-8 to 0-8 to achieve a famous victory. Heartiest congratulations to all concerned.

While not wanting to minimize the contributions of others, I was very pleased to read that Declan Fanning had been involved in the coaching of this team. As a player for club and county Declan displayed outstanding defensive techniques—something lacking in other Tipperary defenders for many years. His talents should be availed of in the coaching of young players in the county.

Thursday 8 May 2014

Galling Tipperary Defeat

National Hurling League Final:

Kilkenny 2-25; Tipperary 1-27 (AET)

Tipperary's one point defeat by Kilkenny in last Sunday's National Hurling Final at Semple Stadium, Thurles was a bitter pill for all true Tipperary GAA followers. This was a game in which Tipperary had enough possession to win comfortably. The concession of two goals from penalties is a terrible way to lose a game. I cannot understand how players, from a young age, are not shown how to harry a player in possession without using an arm around him, thereby conceding a free when the opponent falls, whether deliberate or otherwise. There were far too many hurried and misplaced passes by Tipperary players last Sunday. This displays a lack of confidence which the training ground should help to eliminate.

The worrying part about the situation are the comments attributed to those close to the team as hailing the display as if it was a victory. This type of inferiority complex will never achieve success.

Friday 25 April 2014


The following is taken from Romantic Slievenamon which was edited by the late James Maher of Kickham Street, Mullinahone, Co.Tipperary:
There's a little winding road in Tipperary,
Where the cobble-stones protrude and hurt your feet,
But I'd rather walk that road in Tipperary
Than the smoothest and widest city street.
There's a little singing stream in Tipperary,
And it chatters and it gurgles on its way;
Oh! I'd sit beside that stream in Tipperary
And listen to its music all the day.
There's a mountain, grand and noble, in Tipperary
My heart's delightromantic Slievenamon;
It's matchless grace adorns you, Tipperary,
As the rose adorns the bush it grows upon. 
There are kindly folk in homely Tipperary,
And the stranger's always welcome on the hearth;
The heart is never lonely in Tipperary—
'Tis the home of sweet content and wholesome mirth. 
So God's blessing be upon you, Tipperary,
May your joys be many and your ills be few;
May you ever thrive and prosper, Tipperary,
And your sons and daughters e'er prove staunch and true. 
- M.J. Costelloe

Friday 18 April 2014

The Handigrippers of Kilcash

 Following the founding of the GAA in Thurles in 1884, one of the first clubs to affiliate was Kilcash—my own native place. Kilcash had been engaged in football contests for some years prior to 1884.

The following is an extract from Tipperary's GAA Story written by the late Canon Philip Fogarty, and published in 1960:
All Star Handigrippers—Kilcash "Redoubtables" 
The handigrippers of Kilcash, the most dreaded team in Tipperary, disappeared in 1888 because of the parish rule, but up to then they were: Tom and Ned Kelly, Pat Ryan, Jim and John Kehoe, Tom and James Butler, William and James Shea, Mick and Peter Tobin, Tom and Pat Lawless, Pat and Tom Stokes, Mick Dee, Jim Slattery, Tom Carey, Jack Commins, Tom Prendergast, Mick Fleming, William Gibbs, Dick Crotty, Phil Callanan, Mick Lyons, Jim Hennessy, John Harney, Patsy Neill and Pat Foran.

Friday 11 April 2014

The Legacy of Kickham

Charles Kickham's gravestone in St. Michael's Churchyard, Mullinahone carries the following tribute from his friend Rose Kavanagh:
Rare loyal heart and stately head of grey,
Wise with the wisdom wrested out of pain,
We miss the slender hand, the brave bright brain,
All faith and hope to point and light the way,
Our land should go, oh surely not in vain,
That beacon burned for us, for we can lay,
Fast hold of the fair life without a stain
And mould our own upon it—we can weigh
Full well his fate who suffered, sang and died
As nobly as he lived ah nought could tame
The truth in him, for nought could trust aside,
His lifelong love, the land whose sacred name
Throbbed to the last though his life's ebbing tide,
And lit the face of death with love's white flame.

Thursday 10 April 2014

Disappointment for Tipp Footballers

Munster Under-21 Football Final:

Cork 1-18; Tipperary 3-08

Once again defeat was the lot of Tipperary in a football final against Cork. Following the magnificent, and wonderful, All-Ireland win by Tipperary minor footballers in 2011, there was confidence among the true followers that an Under-21 title would be won during the following three years. The Tipperary Under-21's were very impressive in their two previous championship games this year but, as often in the past, a final against Cork at Páirc Uí Rinn proved a bridge too far.

The great people who continue to work hard to improve the standard of the game in the county should not lose heart; progress has been made. A renewed effort should be made to improve the standard of the game at club level. The divisional and county championships should be graded more tightly so that teams of a similar quality are competing against each other—close scoring games bring up the standard. Outside coaches should be brought in to work with teams at club level; and to make greater use of videos.

Wednesday 2 April 2014

From Othello

By William Shakespeare

Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls;
Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something,
'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.

Love of Country

Breathes there a man with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
Whose heart hath ne'er within him burned,
As home his footsteps he hath turned
From wandering on a foreign strand?
If such there breathe, go, mark him well;
For him no minstrel raptures swell;
High though his titles, proud his name,
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim,
Despite those titles, power and pelf,
The wretch, concentred all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonour'd, and unsung.

Sir Walter Scott

Saturday 29 March 2014


Happy the man, whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breathe his native air
In his own ground.

Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks supply him with attire;
Whose trees in Summer yield him shade,
In winter fire.

Blest, who can unconcern'dly find
Hours, days, and years, slide soft away
In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day.

Sound sleep by night; study and ease
Together mixt, sweet recreation,
And innocence, which most does please
With meditation.

Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;
Thus unlamented, let me die;
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lie.

Alexander Pope

Friday 28 March 2014

John B. Keane on Referees

The following is taken from the match programme for the Munster Senior Hurling final played between Limerick (winners) and Clare at Semple Stadium, Thurles on 5 July 1981:
There is a daring breed of men whose exploits never make the front pages of newspapers, whose heroics forever remain unsung, whose visages will never be seen on our television screens and about whom no songs are made. 
Be that as it may, what matters is that this breed of men is common to every generation and no matter what abuses or tortures the breed suffered in a previous generation, it will always bob to the surface in this present one. It will show itself to be unsullied and untainted by previous wrongs and it will carry on with the job regardless. 
I refer, of course, as if you didn't know, to that dauntless band of gentlemen, none other than those heroes who referee junior football matches. 
Now don't get me wrong.There are few of us who loved the game who did not at one time or another find ourselves with a whistle in the hand when the appointed referee failed to turn up. This is all very well but, while we may have acted the part once, nothing on this earth could induce us to do so again. We did it and we wrote it down to experience. We were grateful to escape without injury and those who suffered physically were even more resolved never to be caught again with a whistle in the hand. 
The hero to whom I refer is he who comes out Sunday after Sunday to do the needful in the matter of refereeing. Often his task is easy and pleasant but only when one team is so much better than another that a referee is not needed at all. 
His life is in danger however when there is nothing between the teams. Then, in the eyes of the partisans, his every decision is riddled with prejudice and no matter what way he points the finger he is greeted with a storm of catcalls and booing. To these he is impervious and he takes them for granted. 
It is when he makes the genuine mistake that he is in serious trouble. Nothing will convince the injured party but that it was deliberate. First the ball is flung at the referee. Then he is abused with a wide range of choice epithets. 
At this stage experienced referees go to where the ball is, sit on it and wait till the whole thing blows over. The worst he is likely to suffer if he chooses this course is a belt of a cadhraw or a scraw. However, if he attempts to hand the whistle to one of his tormentors it is felt by one and all that he is stepping outside the part and is no longer, as it were, in sanctuary. 
Acts like this are regarded as impertinence. Once he ignores his enemies he is more or less ignored himself but once he takes them seriously he is asking for trouble. 
After the game is over is the worst time. There is no police protection and it is quite true to add that the game may have been contested in a village where there never were police. His best bet here is to pick out the biggest man in the vicinity and to open a conversation with him. Those who are out for his blood can never be sure but 'tis his brother or maybe his uncle he is talking to. 
A referee who togs out in white is taken far more seriously than a referee who does not tog out at all. Like a singer who appears on stage wearing a dress suit, he has a head start over those who treat the occasion lightly. The referee who merely stuffs his trousers inside his socks and hands his coat to his girlfriend is asking for trouble.
Whatever way one looks at it, it is a hazardous occupation. Referees for the most part are even-tempered men who do not court trouble. This, however, is no protection and the good referee must know a few tricks if he is to survive. Before I close I would like to recall one of those tricks as I saw it. 
The match was a junior semi-final. All went well and our friend staggered around without falling. What saved him was the fact that he did not blow the whistle. Then following a long bout of booing he blew, and having blown he could not remember why. The pitch was invaded but, completely in command, our friend raised his hand and announced that he had blown the whistle in order that two minutes silence might be observed. Nobody asked who was dead. It wouldn't do to exhibit such ignorance

Thursday 27 March 2014

Communist Tyranny Revisited

The recent actions taken by Russia against Ukraine are reminiscent of how they treated the countries of Eastern Europe for nearly 50 years after the end of World War II in 1945. I think especially of Hungary (1956) and Czechoslovakia (1968). The Prime Ministers of those countries began a process of allowing people to utilize their talents in a way beneficial to themselves and to society as a whole. Human and civil rights which had been suppressed under communist dictatorship were being gradually restored. This situation did not please Moscow. They sent in their forces with tanks to crush the movement towards free enterprise. The two prime ministers were replaced with their own puppets and in Budapest the tanks rolled over unarmed civilians in the streets and the evil communist regimes were restored. The stranglehold which communist Russia held over all of Eastern Europe was allowed to happen by the weak-kneed agreement which the USA, the UK and France made with the USSR in 1945.

On 23 August 1939, a Nazi-Soviet non-aggression treaty was signed in Moscow by German Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop and Soviet Commissar of Foreign Affairs Molotov. It secured the benevolent neutrality of the Soviet Union towards Germany's approaching attack on Poland. On 28 Sept 1939, a secret protocol partitioned Poland between the two powers and placed Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, in addition to the Romanian territory of Bessarabia, within the Soviet sphere of influence. The treaty remained in force until 22 June 1941 when Germany invaded Russia without warning.

The German troops moved rapidly through Russia and were soon surrounding Moscow. Stalin appealed to the USA for support. On 7 December 1941, the USA entered the war after Japanese bombers destroyed two-thirds of its naval fleet anchored at Pearl Harbour in the Pacific Ocean. With the Japanese diverted from its eastern flank and the Nazis preoccupied in North Africa, Italy and France, the extreme Russian Winter allowed the Red Army to regroup and drive the enemy back. The war left Germany divided with a large part of the country east of the river Elbe falling under communist control.

Berlin was divided into four sections controlled by the USA, UK, France and the USSR. East Germany became one of the most brutal of the Communist satellite states. Between 1949 and 1961, during which free movement was allowed, 2,700,000 crossed from East Germany into West Berlin and never returned. In August 1961, a year in which more than 3,000 a day were crossing into the west, on the instructions of Soviet leader Nikita Khruschev, a 96 mile wall was erected to halt the outflow. Many lost their lives from communist rifles in attempting to escape; many others succeeded. The present Russian president, Mr. Putin, was head of the KGB, the Russian secret police, until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1990.

Monday 24 March 2014


Teach me to feel another's woe,
To hide the fault I see;
That mercy I to others show
That mercy show to me.
Alexander Pope

Monday 24 February 2014

From King John

By William Shakespeare (1564—1616)

Therefore, to be possess'd with double pomp,
To guard a title that was rich before,
To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
To throw a perfume on the violet,
To smooth the ice, or add another hue
Unto the rainbow, or with taper light
To seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish,
Is wasteful and ridiculous excess.

Saturday 15 February 2014

Andy McGovern—Inspirational Man

RTE One's Nationwide programme, presented by Mary Kennedy on 12 Feb 2014, focused on examples where positive thinking and practice greatly benefit physical and mental health.

The first example was Brefnie Early who had got into a trough of deep depression due to his excessive weight and consequent disappointing social life. When he reached the nadir of his depressed state, and the dark thoughts that went with it, he was jolted into action. He engaged in a program of physical activity—mainly cycling—but also work in the gym. He got into good physical condition and his confidence was restored. He is now preparing to take part in a world cycle challenge for charity.

In Mayo, school children are being taught "Mindfulness". It is done by relaxing mind and body as a counter to stress and anxiety. The practice is highly praised by teachers and pupils alike.

I considered that the most inspirational story was that of Andy McGovern of Mohill, Co. Leitrim. He was visited in his home by RTE's North-West correspondent Eileen Magnier. Andy is now 81 years of age. At the age of 43 he was diagnosed as having motor neurone disease, and he having a business, a wife and six young children. The life span predicted for anyone with this ailment is 2-5 years. He felt very angry and a trip to Lourdes did not sooth his anger—but only made him more so. A second trip to Lourdes some years later completely changed his thinking. As he described it himself, he got "the gift of acceptance". He began to think positively. Even though he has now lost the use of his arms, he looks very happy and engages in social activities for senior citizens around his home area. He is an inspiration to anyone who is diagnosed with serious illness. He uses the the words of the poem If by Rudyard Kipling as his mantra:
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise: 
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools: 
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’ 
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Friday 14 February 2014


Valentine is the name of several saints. According to tradition, two of them—a priest and a bishop—were martyred near Rome on the same day, 14th of February (circa 490 and 270 AD), and their festival is observed on that day. The tradition of sending love items (Valentines) was probably derived from a Roman custom during the Lupercalia festival, held around the same date, when boys drew lots for the names of girls in honour of the Goddess Juno Februalis. In Britain the practice declined during the 19th century.

Wednesday 12 February 2014

Abraham Lincoln

12 Feb 1809—15 April 1865

Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican President of the USA, serving from 1861 until his death in 1865. His time in office was almost entirely taken up with the Civil War which he undertook against those Southern slave states which desired to secede from the Union. In 1862, by an act of martial law, Lincoln abolished slavery in all states over which the armies of the North had established jurisdiction. He insisted on a complete surrender of the South. Victory finally came on the 9th April 1865, but five days later he was shot in a Washington theatre by a fanatical actor, J.W. Booth, and died the next morning.

Lincoln was the son of a migratory Kentucky farmer. At the age 21, with only one year's formal education, he began working as a labourer in Illinois. This was followed by a partnership in a store in New Salem where he also worked as a postmaster. Lincoln worked as a lawyer in Springfield until his election to Congress as a Whig (1847-51). He was also a local leader in the newly formed Republican Party. Universally liked for his oratory, shrewdness, kindliness, humour, fortitude and devotion to his ideals, he was at times melancholy. In 1842 he married Mary Todd who died in 1882.

Monday 10 February 2014

The Hurler's Prayer

The following is contained in a much revered card sent to me by Kathleen Cheasty of Killure, Waterford following the sad passing of her beloved husband, Waterford hurling legend Tom Cheasty, on August 10th 2007. It came to my mind last week on reading a newspaper report on the funeral of young Carlow hurler, Jonny Byrne from Leighlinbridge who was taken from his family and community in such tragic circumstances.
Grant me, O Lord, a hurler's skill,
With strength of arm and speed of limb,
Unerring eye for the flying ball
And courage to match them what'er befall.
May my aim be steady, my stroke be true,
My actions manly, my misses few;
And no matter what way the game may go,
May I rest in friendship with every foe.
When the final whistle for me is blown,
And I stand at last at God's judgement throne,
May the Great Referee when He calls my name,
Say "you hurled like a man, you played the game". 
Seamus Redmond

Thursday 30 January 2014

The Daffodils

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high oe'r vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretch'd in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay;
Ten thousand saw I at a glance
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee.
A poet could not but be gay
In such a jocund company!
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills
And dances with the daffodils.

William Wordsworth 

Saturday 25 January 2014

Major Advances in Science

1934-45 Alexander Fleming discovers and develops penicillin.
1935 Moniz develops lobotomy for mental illness.
1938 Electroshock therapy introduced.
1945 First atomic bomb detonated.
1950 Drugs developed for leukemia
1952 Drug for treating schizophrenia identified.
1965 Penzias and Wilson discover cosmic microwave radiation.
1967 Bell and Hewish discover pulsars.
1969 Apollo astronauts land on Moon.
1971 First commercial microprocessor introduced.
1972-1985 CT scan and MRI introduced.
1975 Personal computer industry launched.
1975 Role of endorphins discovered.
1976 Cosmic string theory introduced.
1978 Sweden leads ban in CFC aerosol.
1980 World Health Organization declares smallpox eradicated.
1981 Aids is officially recognised.
1987 Antidepressant Prozac introduced.
1992 World Wide Web arrives.
1993 Search for behavioral genes.
1994 4.4 million-year-old human ancestor found.
1996 Meteorite from Mars points to possibility of life on other planets.
1996 Dolly, the world's first cloned sheep, is born.
2005 Mobile phone use approaches 100 per cent in Ireland.
2005 First successful partial face transplant.
2006 First successful penis transplant.

Dolly: the world's first cloned sheep

Thursday 23 January 2014

Munster SFC Semi-Final 1970

I have always had great regard for the true Tipperary Gaels who, down the years, have devoted so much of their time and energy in their efforts to restore Tipperary Football to the status it enjoyed up to the early 1950s. They often do this in the face of cynicism and ignorance from many masquerading as Tipperary GAA people.

Glimmers of light at the end of the tunnel have emerged from time to time. I think back to 1955 when an excellent Tipperary minor football team had the better of the exchanges with Dublin in the All-Ireland final only to concede three goals through defensive lapses. The recent successes of the minor footballers, with the wonderful All-Ireland win in 2011 followed by a Munster final win the following year, gives ground for optimism.

At senior level, a game that stands out for me was the Munster semi-final of 1970, played in Clonmel when Tipperary were thwarted by three late points from a very strong Cork team. The outstanding memory from that game, for me, were the three great goals scored by Tipperary dual star, Michael "Babs" Keating. I remember, especially, the one he scored in the second half, when he drove the ball to the net through a crowded Cork goal line.

I reproduce here an account of that game written some years afterwards:
Cork and Tipperary drew an attendance of 8,000 to Clonmel Sportsfield on July 5th 1970 for their Munster Senior Football Semi-Final clash. The sideline was closed before the curtain-raiser had concluded and both teams paraded behind the Carrick-on-Suir Brass Band prior to the game. RTE cameras were on hand to record the highlights and there was great confidence behind the Premier County side which had been prepared by the late James P. McGowan, the former Mayo star. 
The Tipperary supporters who flocked to see the home side in action were not to be disappointed as the Tipperary players carried the fight to hot favourites Cork from the beginning and two goals from Michael Keating got Tipp away to a dream start. Cork showed all their fighting qualities however to come back at the break with only two points separating the teams. Tipperary again gained the upper hand in the early stages of the second half and in the last quarter they went four points clear. Once again Cork called upon all their expertise and spirit, and the Tipp defence cracked under the pressure. Cork drew level three minutes from the end and a trio of points in the closing stages gained them a flattering three points win. 
The final score read Cork 2-15 Tipperary 3-9 and once again Tipperary's football hopes were dealt a cruel blow. The scorers were: Cork: Denis Coughlan 1-10; T. Holland 1-0; Ned Kirby 0-3; Ray Cummins 0-2. Tipperary: M. Keating 3-1; Paudie Blighe 0-4; Sean Kearney 0-2; Paddy O'Connell, Patsy Dawson 0-1 each.

Wednesday 15 January 2014

The Liam McCarthy Cup

Liam McCarthy, GAA Patron (1853-1928)
The winners of the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship receive the Liam McCarthy Cup.

The trophy was first presented for the final of 1921 between Dublin and Limerick, and played at Croke Park on 4th March, 1923.

The day of the first final was bright but cold; admission was one shilling and two shillings (or five cent and ten cent in to-day's currency) and six pence for schoolboys.

The ground was in excellent condition, and the "proceedings were enlivened by the Transport Workers Band and the Artane Boys' Band", to quote a newspaper report the following day.

The match attracted an attendance of close on 19,000, it was the first between Dublin and Limerick, and the referee was Willie Walsh of Waterford.

Dublin were defending champion and holders of the Great Southern Cup which, until then, was the trophy for the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship.

The final proved to be the poorest in years. The first ten minutes were exciting enough, but then Limerick took a grip on the exchanges. Their backs gave little away, and the attack, powered by team skipper Bob McConkey and Tom McGrath, began to find the target.

The Shannon-siders led by eleven points at the interval, and went on for an 8-5 to 3-2 win. McConkey was an inspiring captain. "The little fellow with the grey capthe skipper who knows more about finding the net than most", as a report in a daily newspaper put it. McConkey scored four goals in that game.

The Liam McCarthy Cup commemorates a man who gave sterling service to the Gaelic Athletic Association in Britain. Liam McCarthy was born in Ballygarvan, Co. Cork. He emigrated to London, where he became the first President of the Provincial Council of Britain. He brought many teams to play in London.

Sunday 12 January 2014

Gold Scott Medals

The following are extracts from a recent post on the official website of the Garda Siochana Retired Members Association:
Two Tipperary Brothers - Gold Scott Medals 
Thomas J. Callanan (Tommy Joe) was born at Lisbalting, Kilsheelan, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary on 7 November 1931 and left farming for a career with the Gardai on 27th May 1954. From the early seventies until he retired in 1984, he was Sergeant-in-charge of the Special Criminal Court. In the late afternoon of 6 January 1977 he entered the Bank of Ireland at Whitehall, Dublin, unarmed, in plain clothes and on private business only to find an armed robbery in progress. One of the raiders placed the barrel of a sawn-off shot gun against his stomach and ordered him to the floor. Except for bank staff and one other customer, all lying prone, nobody but Callanan were present. Despite the unenviable odds, Callanan instantly struck the gun aside and knocked the raider to the ground. He was then attacked by one of the other men who called on his accomplices to flee while striking Callanan a heavy blow on the shoulder with a krooklock.As one of the fleeing raiders, bag of money in hand, vaulted the counter, Callanan seized him and grabbed the bag ,throwing it back over the counter. A brief inconclusive struggle followed, during which Callanan managed to pull off the man's mask and found that the robber's features were known to him. All four raiders, put to flight by one intrepid unarmed Guard, were arrested near the bank quite soon afterwards. When examined, the shotgun which had been held against Callanan's stomach was found to be loaded with two live cartidges. 
Thomas J. Callanan received the Scott Gold Medal from Gerard Collins, Minister for Justice, on 24 November 1977 at Templemore Garda Training Centre. He continued thereafter to serve in the Dublin Metropolitan Division, retiring on 11 June 1984 after 30 years and 16 days. He died on 14 November 1997 having battled a coronary problem since 1970. 
His brother Sergeant Philip F. Callanan, born on 9 January 1936 became a Scott Gold Medalist one year later in similar circumstances.While serving in Tullow (Carlow/Kildare Division) on 16 January 1978, in uniform and unarmed, he challenged four armed robbers outside the town's Bank of Ireland. He seized one of the raiders but was shot in the thighs, sustaining severe injuries. Sergeant Phillip Callanan received his Scott Gold Medal from Justice Minister Gerard Collins in November 1978 at a ceremony in Templemore Garda Training Centre. He continued to serve thereafter in the Carlow-Kildare Division, retiring on 31 August 1988 after 30 years and 11 days service.
The following comments were posted by Noel H:
...exactly 54 years earlier on 8th January 1924 Walter Scott wrote to General Eoin O'Duffy, who was then Commissioner of An Garda Siochana, confirming his offer to endow a Medal for valour for the new Irish Police Force. In that letter he stated that "it has always been a practice of mine to present flowers during life, when one can enjoy their beauty and fragrance". Later that year when Commissioner O'Duffy was presenting a very first Scott Medal to James Mulroy, later a D/ Ennis, Co. Clare, he stated that "a brave Guard is braver than a brave Soldier.The Soldier goes into battle under the command of his officers, but the Guard is often on his own with his own decisions to make. He fights his fight alone".
How propetic then were these remarks in January 1978 when Phil Callanan, unarmed, confronted four masked men coming out of the Bank of Ireland in Market St, Tullow, Co.Carlow. He was on his own with his own decisions to make. In the Main Square in Tullow there is a fine monument erected to that insurgent priest, Fr.John Murphy of Boolavogue. Perhaps a similar monument will also be erected some day outside the Bank of Ireland in Tullow to commemorate Phil Callanan's bravery.

Wednesday 8 January 2014

John L. O'Sullivan

In the Cork Examiner (now the Irish Examiner) of Friday, August 17th 1979, George Cronin wrote a profile of John L. O'Sullivan—who is deceased for more than 30 years—following a visit to his home.

John L, as he was so well known, had been Captain of "L" Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Cork Brigade of the Old IRA during the War of Independence. He also served as Captain in the Irish National Army from 1922 to 1925. He was a Fine Gael TD for the constituency of Cork South-West and a member of Cork County Council for many years.

To counteract the lies that continue to be propagated by certain elements of the subversive kind, in respect of the Irish Plenipotentiaries who negotiated the Anglo-Irish Treaty in December 1921, I will reproduce an excerpt from George Cronin's report following his conversation with John L. O'Sullivan:
....One of the points made by John L during my meeting with him was that the general public are not aware of the powers given to the plenipotentiaries when they were discussing the Treaty. 
"These two copy documents (which he handed me) make it quite clear", he said, "that the plenipotentiaries had full power to negotiate and to conclude an agreement with the British". 
The first, signed by Eamonn de Valera as President, reads: 
In virtue of the authority vested in me by Dail Eireann, I hereby appoint Arthur Griffith TD, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Chairman; Michael Collins TD, Minister of Finance, Robert C. Barton TD, Minister for Economic Affairs; Edmond J. Duggan TD; George Gavin Duffy TD, as envoys plenipotentiary from the elected government of the Republic of Ireland to negotiate and conclude on behalf of Ireland with the representatives of his Britannic Majesty, George V, a treaty or treaties of settlement, association and accommodation between Ireland and the community of nations known as the British Commonwealth" (done in the City of Dublin this 7th day of October in the year of Our Lord 1921 in five identical originals). 
The second was an extract from Piaras Beaslai's book, Michael Collins and the Making of a New Ireland. This read:
When De Valera proposed his five plenipotentiaries—Arthur Griffith, Michael Collins, Robert Barton, Eamonn Duggan and George Gavan Duffy—for ratification to the private session of the Dail, Miss McSweeney and Joseph McDonagh sought to have conditions imposed on the delegates. 
Mr. De Valera strenuously objected to this course. He insisted that they be plenipotentiaries without any limitations to their terms of reference. 
"The Dail", he pointed out, "would have sufficient safeguard in the fact that any agreement signed by them would have to be submitted to the Dail for ratification". 
"Remember what you are asking them to do", he said emphatically. "You are asking them to secure by negotiations what we are totally unable to secure by force of arms". 
On this point he overbore all opposition and Mr. McDonagh withdrew his proposal, declaring himself satisfied.