Saturday 26 December 2015

St. Stephen

Saint Stephen, whose feast day is today, December 26, was the first Christian martyr. He was tried by a council at Jerusalem on a false charge of blasphemy. His long defence and his death by stoning are recorded in Acts 6 and 7 of the New Testament.

Sunday 13 December 2015

Commercials Keep On Rolling

All-Ireland Club SFC Quarter Final:

Clonmel Commercials 2-12; Tir Chonaill Gaels 0-9

Following the euphoria of their Munster Final victory over Nemo Rangers of Cork, Clonmel Commercials had to cross the Irish Sea to take on London champions, Tir Chonaill Gaels, at Ruislip Stadium. I considered this an awkward fixture for a young team travelling to unknown territory and having to take on an experienced outfit drawn mainly from Donegal exiles plus players from other traditional football counties. It didn't help that the game was held twelve days before Christmas in adverse weather. It was therefore a great relief that the mission was accomplished successfully.

The victory was achieved on the basis of a very good performance in the first half while playing against what reports described as 'a gale-force wind'. Commercials received a setback before half-time when two of their leading players had to leave the field for black card offences. The opposition duly went on to score three unanswered points.

The Clonmel side got a great start in the second half when after 15 seconds they had a fine goal from young Padraig Looram who had replaced the black-carded Aldo Matassa. The team was comfortable enough afterwards to run out worthy winners. They now go on to meet Leinster Champions, Ballyboden St. Endas, on 13th February next. They are well capable of gaining a victory and I wish them the best of luck.

Saturday 12 December 2015

By the Fireside

Where glows the Irish hearth with peat
There lives a subtle spell —
The faint blue smoke, the gentle heat,
The moorland odours, tell

Of long roads running through a red
Untamed unfurrowed land,
With curlews keening overhead,
And streams on either hand;

Black turf-banks crowned with whispering sedge,
And black bog-pools below;
While dry stone wall or ragged ledge
Leads on, to meet the glow

From cottage doors, that lure us in
From rainy western skies,
To seek the friendly warmth within,
The simple talk and wise;

Or tales of magic and of arms
From days when princes met
To listen to the lay that charms
The Connacht dweller yet

And still around the fires of peat
Live on the ancient days;
There still do living lips repeat
The old and deathless lays.

And when the wavering wreaths ascend,
Blue in the evening air,
The soul of Ireland seems to bend
Above her children there.

— T.W. Rolleston