Friday, January 28, 2011

Political party you're havin' a laff

Received this letter in the post today at work. Absolutely brilliant. Efficient as ever getting the begging letters out - love to see the one they sent to the IMF.

I note they are "the only party which is willing to put aside politics as usual and show the people exactly what has to be done to deliver a better future for Ireland." Since bloody when?

Also their grasp of the five times tables is laudable - "For instance, a donation of €1,000 would buy 200 posters, €2,500 would buy 500 election posters or €5,000 would buy 1,000 posters or 50,000 leaflets." Hard to see how these mathematical wizards lost track of about €20 billion a year?

A new dawn beckons. Anything is better than this.

Poetry - Warning by Jenny Joseph

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.

I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Kick sexism out of soccer

I was delighted to hear of the sacking and resignation of Andy Gray and Richard Keyes for their totally unacceptable display of sexism on Skysports over the past number of years. There clearly is no place for this kind of behaviour in broadcasting today.

Much debate is ongoing around the subject of who will replace them and I have to say my vote goes to Gabby Logan. Let's face it her knowledge of the four four two system is second to none.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A bit o' red

Thinking ahead to the imminent LOI season commences with looking back at a key event from last season.

Congratulations go to Sligo Rovers in winning the FAI Cup in the final game of last season and in doing stopping the Hoops from completing the League and Cup double.

The final was a re-run of the 1978 final when Ray Treacy (ex-footballer; ex-ticket tout), scored the winner for Shamrock Rovers from the penalty spot in first-half injury time. Played in torrential rain, the 1978 game was a dull affair with the principal talking point being at what stage Art McCooey became aware that the green dye from his paper Rovers hat was running down his face into his eyes. Opinions varied on this, but all agreed it was after the time that the hat-seller has scarpered with Art’s £1 coin in his arse pocket.

Looking back on it, it is hard to see how we persuaded Art up to Dalymount Park that Sunday afternoon but it was certainly worth it for the aggrieved look in his green-stained face.

The Irish Times featured the game recently in its’ archive section and it is nostalgic to remember some of the names of the day:

CONTROVERSY, raw, and at times ribald, hung like a pall over Dalymount Park yesterday after Shamrock Rovers, in the manner of so many of their earlier successes in the competition, had cheated their critics and celebrated their coming of age with their 21st success in the FAI Cup.

Sligo Rovers, at the end of a season which promised so much, were left with nothing more than memories and the singular eeriness of the losers’ dressingroom when a penalty, converted with aplomb by Ray Treacy in the 48th minute of the first half, separated the teams in a taut, tense game.

History teaches that all of the more memorable cup finals contained the essential element of controversy. And in this aspect, at least, yesterday’s game seemed destined to stand the test of time.

John Carpenter’s preparedness to make unpopular refereeing decisions has, perhaps, involved him in more debate than any of his contemporaries. His award of the critical penalty merely served to embellish that reputation.

The players were already anticipating the respite of the interval when Tony Fagan, in a moment of rare carelessness, gave the ball away to Johnny Giles. And Giles, perceptive as ever in such situations, immediately pushed the quick, through pass to Steve Lynex just inside the penalty area.

There will be a dozen different versions of the incidents that followed, but, as I saw it, Lynex was pushed as Paul Fielding and Chris Rutherford converged to make the tackle. The referee first ran in the direction of the scene of the foul and then, in a change of stride that will haunt Sligo men for years, he veered towards the penalty spot with a total certainty which brooked no argument.

In the context that Lynex was pushed, I believe he ruled correctly. More contentious, by far, was his decision to play four minutes injury-time in a half in which the stoppages were minimal.

In those eventful seconds, the game was won and lost for, while Sligo enjoyed the odd, fleeting moment of affluence in the second half, Shamrock Rovers held their line intact in varying degrees of efficiency and expediency.

Thus, the trophy, suitably decorated in green and white, went back to a familiar resting place last night and Shamrock Rovers, in a fashion, had fulfilled their destiny.

Those who had thought in terms of a huge crowd to provide the requisite atmosphere on the terraces, reckoned without the whims of nature. This was an afternoon taken from deepest winter – with wind and sleet sweeping the grounds for hours before the kick-off. It cut the attendance to less than 15,000 and yet, for much of the first half the level of entertainment was quite superb …………………

Shamrock’s concession to enterprise was predictably smaller as they staked everything on retaining their advantage in the second half, but they might have had a second goal in the 74th minute when Mark Meagan’s shot was rather fortuitously blocked by Fielding’s boot.

................ Giles himself had contributed nobly to success and some of his distribution on a day when ball control was hazardous in the extreme was as good as anything he has produced in recent years.

Dunphy’s first-half performance outweighed his eclipse subsequently and Meagan, in his own unspectacular way, contributed to the success of the middle line.

Fullam’s achievement in winning his eighth cup-winners’ medal was distinguished by characteristic skill and vision and it was his influence which dominated a defence in which Pierce O’Leary, Mick Gannon and Synnott all showed to excellent effect.

Treacy. coated in mud, was unsparing as ever in his efforts to bludgeon a path down the middle, but, like Lynex and Larry Murray, he was invariably blotted out by sheer weight of numbers.

SHAMROCK ROVERS : O’Neill, Gannon, O’Leary, Synnott, Fullam; Dunphy, Giles, Meagan, Murray, Treacy, Lynex. Sub : O’Sullivan for Gannon (63 mins).
SLIGO ROVERS : Patterson; Fielding, Rutherford, Stenson, Fox, Gilligan, Fagan, Tobin, Cavanagh, Hulmes, Delamere. Subs : McLoughlin for Cavanagh (65 mins); McColl for Delamere (77 mins).

Penalties featured strongly in this years event when, after a nil all draw, the game went to extra time and then penalties with Ciaran Kelly saving all four of Shamrocks Rovers' spot-kicks to win the cup for Sligo. A positive note from the game, in addition to the Hoops losing, was the attendance of 30,00 at the Aviva.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Nasher 1969

Friday, January 21, 2011

Deja Vu for Leeds

2010 - draw in North London against top 4 team in game involving a last minute penalty equaliser. Lose replay 3-1.
2011 - draw in North London aganst top 4 team in game involving a last minute penalty equaliser. Lose replay 3-1.

The romance of the Cup.


“I’m delighted to be here,” he beamed at Spurs Lodge on Thursday.

As a player, you want to play in a good team and challenge yourself and that’s what I always try to do as an individual.

There is a great manager at this club and one of my team-mates with the national team plays here (Bongani Khumalo) and he told me about the club, that it’s a big club, it’s a club on the up that plays good football.

I have played a few times against Spurs and I know the club have a big following in South Africa so, for me, being from there, it was an easy choice to make.”

As for his target for the rest of the campaign, Steven admits it’s now a case of trying to earn a place in the starting line-up.

“For me personally, I want to make sure I work hard and fight for a starting place in the team,” he said.

I know it won’t be easy but I am mentally strong to do that.

For the team, we are not far off first place in the Premier League so I think we’ve got a good chance to go all the way and win a trophy this season.”

Oh boy, what does all this say about Everton?

Back Home

Heathrow Airport May 1970 - Jeff Astle spins a disc on his portable record player. Great stuff. I wonder if this is what he was playing?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Poetry - An Old Woman of the Road by Padraig Colum

O, to have a little house!
To own the hearth and stool and all!
The heaped up sods against 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 and white and blue and brown!

I could be busy all the day
Clearing 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 loth 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 the rain's way.

Sadly this could have been written for the Ireland of today.

Robert Baden Powell

In our pre-teen days, we grew up immersed in stories from the Victor and the Hotspur of healthy outdoor boy scout pursuits - camping, sailing, climbing, and holidays in the Cotswolds with Uncle Edward. To me these escapades were constant reminders of what I "should be doing" rather than what I was doing i.e lounging around swopping Batman cards or generally dossing. Dossing not tossing.

Feelings of Cathloic guilt crept all over me as I tried to accept that I didn't really want to know how to light fires with a piece of stone, or catch a trout by tickling the underside of its' belly. Coincidentally this remorseful guilty feeling resurfaced when I thought about other dutiful pursuits which my older brothers followed, serving Mass in St Laurences Church and representing the school in GAA at Croke Park , and in which I had no interest. Looking back, I'm eternally grateful I didn't partake in either and I'm also relatively unscarred mentally. It did nevertheless take me a number of years to realise that participation either on the altar or in Croke Park was was not all it was cracked out to be.

The realisation about the boy scouts came earlier. Or the Sea Scouts to be precise. This turning point in my life on this matter came on our first An Oige hosteling holiday when I was paired off for journeys with a veteran sea scout with several years experience, and many many stories to tell. Heading off from Dublin I drew silent comfort from the fact that I was with a guy who could basically get me out of any mess, charging bear included (gumboot in the mouth). Kumbawali, kumbawali, kumbawali, fliske.

Consider my disillusionment a few short days later as I tried to survive getting lost on Carantouhill (we'll nip over the Devil's Gap says he) on a wet and foggy evening with light fading fast. Or my feelings as I tried to sleep in the middle of a ditch in Mallow when he was devoid of ideas, and me expecting a tent made out of deerskin or a fire lit from reeds and dried moss. Or the sheer hunger I felt as the rice is dumped down the sink (couldn't grasp the concept of the sieve) in Foulksrath Castle a few days later - and it representing our first hot food for days.

Now in conclusion these may have been be isolated instances unfortunately performed in my presence in the space of a few short days in the summer of 74, but I came away from that holiday with other ideas. If this was what prancing around in short pants and scarves for ten years taught you, well you could count me out. On reflection, I'm sure it wasn't the display of self-sufficiency and competence which Robert Baden Powell would have had in mind.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I met her in a club down in old Soho

This is fucking sad

I must go out and buy the number 77 shirt, I must.

Ok Levy, cut the bullshit out - we've already got four sets of kit (one "worn exclusively" in cup games) and we really don't need to rob addicted supporters of another £50 by signing Beckham during his summer holidays and carting him over to the Lane to parade around with a number 77 emblazoned on his head, back, arse and tits during a few training sessions.

How much of the deal is Becks getting?

Alternatively, did we contract him to motivate us on the final run-in in arguably our best season for half a century? If so remember what Rodney Marsh did to Man City in 1972 and also look on youtube for Arshavin and the others celebrating as Russia were awarded the 2018 World Cup. Fat lot of good Becks did for the English bid. The Goldenballs thing is only a joke remember.

And finally Harry your complicity in the deal is worrying - if you want to solve the problem of Peter Crouch not scoring from six yards (poor quality delivery my arse), here's an alternative solution - get rid of Crouch, buy a proper striker and stop relying on the Dutchman.

At least the players new how to deal with the new arrival - below - "you're in the middle David and we'll stop after an hour". Pity they could never do that when they played against him.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Leeds at it again

Well done to Leeds who, like last year, turned in a fabulous performance to very nearly provide the upset of the weekend by beating the Arse. Sadly Fabregas equalises in the last minute and a replay beckons.

Aside from Leeds heroics, everything went very much according to form with 7-0, 3-0 and 5-1 victories for Chelsea, Spurs and Everton respectively against lower league opposition.

Everton v Chelsea
Fulham v Spurs
Leeds (Arse) v Huddersfield

Bring on the 4th Round.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Get well, Trap

It kind of worries me to hear the stories of Trappatoni being unwell in Italy at a time when Psycho is now without a job.

While delighted that Keane got his matching orders from the Tractor Boys, the FAI are well capable of being stupid enough to make enquiries as to his interest. If we are to see an old ace return, let it be Mick McCartree, pictured below following Wolves' brilliant 1-0 victory over Chelsea during the week.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Where's Wally?

A beautiful summer day in 1980. In the judicial gardens.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Magic of the FA Cup

While we have the distraction of midweek league fixtures to get out of the way first, seeing as it is the first week in January our thoughts nevertheless turn to the upcoming FA Cup 3rd round fixtures.

In years gone by this would might have involved a trip to Liverpool to see Altrincham or Plymouth, but now that Rich Hudson can get his new coats in Marks & Sparks in Galway there's no real need for a repeat of the seventies pilgrimage.

This year has a special significance which effectively means it's our Cup - the year ends in one and six of our previous wins have come in similar years a year ending 1901, 1921, 1961, 1981 and 1991.

Fixtures for weekend:

Spurs v Charlton
Chelsea v Ipswich
Scunthorpe v Everton
Arsenal v Leeds

Potential storylines involve Leeds winning and then not again until May; Ipswich conceding 5 and Roy Keane walking; and, for Brusselsblue, Tetley's putting the tea back in teabags. Good luck to all.

Finally, a little-known FA Cup statistic - Everton have the unfortunate record for the highest number of defeats in the final at 8.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Michael Flately - our greatest asset

We'll accept the demise of the Celtic Tiger, but don't mess with us over Michael Flately .....

Save us from Nutters

So disappointing to see what promised to be a mature and compassionate memorial to those that died on Stairway 13 at Ibrox in 1971 destroyed by a small number of ignorant, mindless Celtic supporters last weekend.

Instead of putting their mindless bigotry and hatred behind them for the day (a low-level expectation) they proceeded to insult the Rangers crowd by dressing up in Papal garb in one instance, and in another by waving an Argentinian shirt as a direct affront to Simon Weston, the Falklands victim, who was a guest of honour of Rangers on the day.

For the Celtic crowd to honour the minutes silence impeccably and then tolerate this type of behaviour in their midst minutes later, stinks of sheer hypocrisy. So very sad that much of this behaviour in carried out by louts wearing Ireland shirts.

Eoin Ryan's challenges are a lot deeper than singing.

Happy New Year 2011

Right, we're back and looking forward to a healthy and happy new year for all of us. Fingers crossed - go mbeirimid beo as an am seo arais.