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.