Monday 23 March 2015

Summer Time

In Ireland and the UK, Summer Time begins at 2am on Sunday 29th of March 2015 when all clocks are put forward one hour. It was first suggested by Benjamin Franklin (1706-90). The Waste of Daylight movement was founded in London in 1908 by William Willett (1856-1915) and a Daylight Saving Act was passed by Parliament in 1916 as a measure in the First World War.

During the Second World War, on 4th of May 1941, Double Summer Time (which advanced the clocks by two hours) was introduced for four months every year until 15th of July 1945; and again from 13th of April to the 13th of August 1947 in order to save fuel.

Monday 16 March 2015

Two Fine Wins for Tipperary

National Football League Division 3:

Tipperary 4-16; Louth 3-11

National Hurling League Division 1:

Tipperary 2-22; Kilkenny 1-13

Tipperary senior hurlers and footballers secured two very important league victories yesterday. The footballers had a good win over Louth after their long trip to Drogheda. They had two longer trips previously, to Armagh and Irvinestown, and were unlucky to come away empty-handed.

While promotion is very unlikely at this stage, if they win their two remaining games it will consolidate their position as an improving football force, which is something they can be proud of considering the difficulties for football advancement in the county.

The hurling game, played at Semple Stadium Thurles, was one that Tipperary had to win for the sake of their pride and self-confidence. They played with championship-like intensity, which closed down Kilkenny and denied them the acres of space which they thrive on. The game was much closer than the victory margin would indicate, which demonstrates how hard it is to put Kilkenny away — even with depleted forces — in the hurling style being applied for the past 25 years or so.

While Tipperary played with skill and passion, some aspects of their play need to be looked at. They use the hand-pass to good affect most of the time but they overdo it at times and lose possession. They should use the ball fast when in possession rather than hesitating and being hooked, as happens to some of them. The placing of an excellent back or midfielder like Brendan Maher at centre-half forward is wrong and he should be restored to his more normal position. No effort has been made to get a recognized full-back; a very good young newcomer, Michael Breen, played at full-back on the under 21 team last year and should have been tried out in that position during the course of the league.

Sunday 15 March 2015

Mothering Sunday

Mothering Sunday is the name given in England to the 4th Sunday of lent, when apprentices in former days were given the opportunity to visit their mothers, taking a small present. English children in the 1960's were generally encouraged by schools and churches to observe the same custom.

Mother's Day in the USA is on the second Sunday of May. This was established by a Congress resolution in 1913. On that day Americans are encouraged, not least by shopkeepers, to give presents to their mothers.

Thursday 12 March 2015

My Old Home

A poor old cottage tottering to it's fall,
Some faded rose-trees scattered o'er the wall;
Four wooden pillars all slant one way,
A plot in front, bright green amid decay,
Where my wee pets, when e'er they came to tea,
Laughed, danced and played, and shouted in high glee;
A rusty paling and a broken gate
Shut out the world and bounded my estate.

Dusty and damp within, and rather bare,
Chokeful of books, here, there and everywhere.
Old-fashioned windows, and old doors that creaked,
Old ceilings cracked and grey, old walls that leaked.
Old chairs and tables, and an ancient lady
Worked out in tapestry, all rather shady.
Bright pictures in gilt frames, the only colour,
Making the grimy papering look duller.

What was the charm, the glamour that o'erspread
That dingy house and made it dear? — the dead,
The dead, the gentle, loving, kind and sweet,
The truest, tenderest heart that ever beat;
While she was with me 'twas indeed a home
Where every friend was welcome, when they'd come;
Her soft eyes shone with gladness, and her grace
Refined and beautified the poor old place.

But she is gone who made home for me there,
Whose child-like laugh, whose light step on the stair
Filled me with joy and gladness, hope and cheer,
To heaven she soared, and left me lonely here —
The old house now has got a brand new face.
The roses are uprooted, there's no trace
Of broken laugh, or blossom — no decay 
The past is dead, the world wags on alway.

— Ellen O'Leary

Wednesday 4 March 2015

The Lows and Highs of Sport

Last Monday, the 2nd of March, was a day of contrasts for me regarding two sporting figures whom I greatly admired.

During the day I learned of the death of Tony Reddin, after a short illness, in his 96th year. 1949 was the first year in which I was capable of appreciating the sporting events taking place at the time. That was also the first year of a golden era for Tipperary hurling which lasted for the senior team until 1966. In 1949, Tipperary won both the senior and minor All-Ireland hurling titles. The star, among many, on the senior winning team was goalkeeper Tony Reddin. Tony had made his debut on the team at the close of 1948 when he was approaching his 30th birthday. He continued to produce spectacular displays of goalkeeping for Tipperary and Munster, as well as for his club Lorrha until 1956, when an eye injury sustained in a challenge game against Clare ended his county career. He continued to play for his club until the early sixties.

Tony was born in Mullagh, Co. Galway, on the 15th of November 1919. He played both in goal and outfield for Galway senior and junior hurlers. He moved residence to Lorrha, Co. Tipperary in 1947 where he owned and drove a hackney car. He went to live in Banagher, Co. Offaly in 1963. He trained the local St. Rynagh's senior hurling team which won ten Offaly senior titles between 1965 and 1976.

Tony Reddin is laid to rest in Rathcabin graveyard in the parish of Lorrha, Co. Tipperary. May the Lord have mercy on his gentle soul.

On the evening of last Monday I was delighted to hear on the radio that Padraig Harrington had achieved a notable golfing victory after a long absence from the podium. The popular Irish golfer had won the Honda Classic at the PGA National Resort and Spa, Palm Beach Gardens, Flordia. This was his first win on American soil since the 2008 PGA Championship. He had a great run of wins in the mid noughties and then the wins dried up. I always admired his gentlemanly, and honourable, approach to the game which came through in his interviews. I hope that this is the restart of many more big wins for him.