Wednesday, January 2, 2008


Although I thought I would read loads over the summer, my reading experiences were limited to the annual holiday, where I was able to fit in two very different, but equally engaging books. Having enjoyed Salley Vickers’ “Miss Garnett’s Angel”, which is set in Venice, I was looking forward to her latest offering “The Other side of you”
( Paperback: Harper Perennial: 10.99). I was not disappointed; in fact her craft seems to have developed significantly, as this is a finely worked and beautifully expressed novel. It tells the story of David McBride, a psychiatrist who favours discussion over medication in working with his patients. The novel details the dialogue between David and Elizabeth Cruickshank, who has been admitted to hospital following a failed suicide attempt. Salley Vickers gently teases out the meaning of love and the laws of attraction in a highly original and engaging way. Her insight into human emotions and how we articulate them left me breathless in places. The author clearly loves Italy and parts of this book are set in Rome, which she describes with passion. She also bases the story around a number of paintings by Caravaggio, which she depicts so vividly, it made me want to go and look them up myself. This was a gem of a book, the kind you don’t really want to finish; it is certainly amongst the best reads I have experienced this year and is highly recommended.

The other holiday read was much anticipated and equally well enjoyed:
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” by J.K. Rowling ( Hardback: Bloomsbury: 10.99 from Tesco’s!) I had assiduously avoided all the hype around the publication of the final instalment of the series so I could come to it with an open mind- I even had to ask a very noisy teenage tourist on holiday to be quiet as she was telling her friends what happened to who! As a result the whole book was a revelation to me and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I did have to re-read the last few chapters of the previous book “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” before I started this tome, just to remind me of some of the detail of the action. It is quite a dark novel – literally a matter of life and death, but Rowling paces the action convincingly and the characterisation she has built through the series of books holds its own very well. The depth of the story is excellent in this novel as the author takes us back to look at the early life of Professor Dumbledore, whilst stitching in some clever elements of good and evil from the wizarding world.

Her fictional landscape is completely believable and I think she has achieved a feat worthy of some of her own literary heroes such as Dickens in transporting us to a place where we can become totally engrossed in both plot and characters. Even though the current generation of younger readers have been introduced to Harry via the medium of film, there is still so much more richness in the books and they would make a great present as a set when available. Also for adult readers I feel they have a depth and authenticity which makes them well worthwhile- forget about the hype and just lose yourself in a truly excellent story. The only sad thing about this book is that Janet Hawkins (after an initial batch and a super launch party) isn’t stocking it in the Blessington Bookstore as Tesco’s have a monopoly and are marketing it at 10.99, which the smaller bookshops just can’t compete with. A pity.


LITTLE FEET took on a BIG FEAT in the Danone Big Toddle for Barnardos. Toddlers from the Ballymore Eustace Early Years Toddler Group egged on by their older brothers and sisters took part in a sponsored lap of the Football pitch on June 9th and raised a fabulous €612.00.The Danone Big Toddle for Barnardos is an important fundraising event for Barnardos and helps support their best start programme, which provides a range of services aimed at babies and toddlers.The Early Years Toddler Group would like to send out a big thanks for all the friends and family who supported then and will soon be starting training for next years challenge!!

on passing by- again

I never thought the day would come but I am actually beginning to miss Dick Roche. It just does not seem the same without the daily dose of his sweet mellifluous condescending tones. No prime time television appearances, no radio interviews, just nothing. I know that himself and The Dope Cullen were told to keep a low profile during the elections but I didn’t expect it to last this long. Even allowing for his demotion this really is too quiet for Dick. Its as if he has been shunted out and banished to the political wilderness. I know Bertie has other items to think about at the moment but I think we are going to have to seriously contemplate a Bring Back Dick campaign. I am sure we could dickie up a few of his old posters and erect them around the place. Life is just too short to be without a Dick Roche.

Talking of Bertie what exactly are we to make of his appearances before the Mahon tribunal?.
Celia was obviously sent in to bat first and got quite shirty with the legal eagles, addressing them on first name terms and grudgingly admitting to some amnesia.
Bertie opened with a statement which outlined some of the allegations made against him which even the tribunal had decided were untrue but which ensured favourable headlines that evening. It appeared to be the Liam Lawlor trick of hiding everything out in the open.
We were then informed that it had taken Bertie almost thirty months to admit that some of his transactions actually involved sterling, despite repeated requests from tribunal lawyers, and despite Berties mantra that he was doing everything possible to help the tribunal and that all he wanted was to get in there and get it all sorted out. Sounds like a funny way to help but whatever.
We were told of Mr Wall bringing over a briefcase with the equivalent of thirty thousand sterling, taking out two grand to go out for the night , leaving the rest in a wardrobe in his hotel, and giving it to Bertie the next day. Nobody bothered to count it and Celia later brought it to the bank. Only problem was the bank only took in less than two grand sterling that day. The amount credited did though equate exactly to forty five thousand dollars. But Bertie never dealt in dollars. This farce is set to run and run.

I have written before about the problems we are going to have to face if we don’t start taking a firmer line with Islamic extremists. Our constant fear of being seen as non PC is blinding us to an escalating terror but even I thought it was only the nutters we had to worry about. Seems not.
Recently one of the worlds most respected Islamic scholars, Muhammad Taqi Usmani, expounded his views on Islam and the West. He is of the opinion that in countries where Muslims have the freedom to practice their religion without interference or sanction, such as our own country, they should co exist peacefully. That certainly sounds reasonable and I don’t think anyone could have a problem with it. However, he continues that this peaceful co existence should only be endured until Muslims have gained enough power to engage in battle. He believes that aggressive military “jihad” should be waged by Muslims to establish the supremacy of Islam worldwide. Starting to sound less reasonable?. Thought so.
There has long been a myth that offensive expansionist jihad represents a distortion of traditional Islamic thinking. Well Mr Usmani views would appear to confirm that this is anything but a myth. It has long been held that only fighting that is a defence of a Muslim country under attack or occupation is permissible in Islam. Not so, says Usmani.
What about the view that jihad is unlawful against a non Muslim state that freely permits the preaching of Islam? Well actually that view is not really correct.
Mr Usmani then wonders if aggressive battle is commendable or not. If it is commendable, why should Muslims stop fighting just because territorial boundaries get in the way. If it is not commendable, then why did Islam not stop it in the past. He then went on to assert that jihads should we waged to establish the grandeurs of the religion of Allah.
If these were the words of some radical extremist with a handkerchief over his face we could perhaps be forgiven for giving them little credence. The problem is that this man is well versed on the ways of the west, is one of the most acclaimed scholars in Islam, who spoke politely and quietly, who appeared to have a detailed knowledge of world events and whose words appeared balanced and considered.
If these are the views and beliefs of the “quiet” side of Islam what chance do we have against the extremists.

News just coming in as I finish that a helicopter crash in Scotland has apparently taken the life of rally driver Colin Mc Rae and others. McRae has been an outstanding driver for a long number of years and displayed an innate skill when behind the wheel. He has notched up wins in all the major events worldwide and yet remained remarkably accessible to fans. He was an excellent ambassador for the sport and will be sorely missed. R.I.P.

All for now. Mike Edmonds.

Cricket – Ireland v West Indies - A Battle at Clontarf

When the Irish Cricket Team embarked on its world cup odyssey early this year, few of its supporters expected such an outcome as occurred by their sensational defeat over world cup favourites, Pakistan, and in the aftermath the seemingly mysterious death of Pakistan’s coach, thought for some time afterwards to have been murdered because of his failure to guide them to victory. Cricket in Pakistan is what horse racing is to Ireland, where financial investments are enormous, including betting. That win brought the Irish team to the top ranks of cricket, propelling them to the finals in the Super Eights where they defeated Bangladesh, a cricket super power. It was an astonishing achievement for a squad of fifteen, twelve of whom were amateurs. By way of parallel their journey reminded me of the feckless Irish soccer team, who under Jack Charlton’s management in the 1980’s, later became another wonder of the world of sport.
It’s a long time since I last played a game of cricket. Up to recently, I had never attended a world class cricket match, so when the President of the Phoenix Cricket Club called offering me special guest status at the Ireland v West Indies match at Clontarf Cricket Club which included reserved car parking and lunch in the pavilion with the aficionados of Irish cricket on Saturday 14th July, Bastille Day. I was thrilled, and later that evening while celebrating my good fortune who should I meet …the very man himself, Fitzer, and as usual he got his own words in first, and thinking he had already heard my good news, I didn’t interrupt him, for he seemed excited rather than agitated.
“Listen”, said he, “I’m going to Croke Park tomorrow to see the Laois (he’s a Queens County man) match, and I’m not too happy that the eventual outcome will be in our favour; those other fookers play dirty and our team is young and inexperienced, and I’m a bit afraid like….” He went solidly on for ten minutes without drawing a breath and never as much as mentioned a single word about cricket. Eventually I interrupted him, saying I would light a candle for his intentions. With that, I threw in the grenade about my cricket plans for the next day, just to annoy him.
“You’re what?” Regretting that I had ever mentioned the sacred word ‘Cricket’ in his presence, he then started on another tack, moving to a state of beyond-the-pale one-up-man-ship.
“Well,” said he with unfaltering modesty, “My late father, may God rest his soul and forgive him his sin, used to play cricket on the village green down Ballinaslee way back in the last century. Indeed, if memory serves me right, I think he was captain of the side; oh yes, and mother had the servants bring out the silver tea service as well as, as well as I tell you, the highly polished mahogany dining table for afternoon tea, served with raspberries and crumpet (!) – had to keep the side up you know, fly the flag and all that.” On that high note he fled for a fag.

At dawn on Saturday morning July 14th, I headed off to Clontarf hoping somehow to hear the sound of distant drums – 1014 and all that, as I passed over Binns Bridge. I thought of Brian Boru and of the scene of that great battle against the Danes, maybe on the very pitch where I was about to witness our boys defend us against the West Indies, and of how Brian wielded his sword, smiting the enemy, felling two or three Danes with every stroke.
But curiously the image of that great King came to me in the form of Fitzer, as in a mist, and by ten thirty in the morning when the original battle was just about won, the great man, taking two handfuls of seaweed seeping with healthy iodine from the beach at Dollymount, and rubbing his stout chest with it, he went swimming across the Irish Sea to meet his girlfriend at the Isle of Man, and likened one might say to Leander, who swam the Hellespont to meet Hero, “‘Till in his twinning arms he lockt her fast/ and then woo’d her with kisses and at last…”. Fiction has it that he was stabbed in the back by a Dane, but he was too quick for that caper. For is it not true (as recorded by O’Carroll) that the Fitzer’s originally came from the Isle of Man and the Patricks came from Lambay Island off the Dollymount coast? And do not the Fitzer’s refer to their sons as princes? Ask the boss yourself, I’m in enough trouble as it is.

Anyway, Ireland versus the West Indies was to start just after the time of the cessation of hostilities in 1014, viz. 10.45am, 2007, but was deferred due to weather conditions even though it was not raining. A small patch on the run up to the wicket by the bowlers was considered too soft and dangerous underfoot, at a spot from where the West Indian bowlers would release the ball. After a while I began to wonder about the pretentiousness of the West Indies side and their status as champions. Were they indeed afraid of the Irish team; and recalling the murder (?) scene in Jamaica after our lads conquered Pakistan, logic’s pendulum began to swing. Were they fearful of losing dignity and were their tactics simply a delaying mechanism against shameful defeat?
I mentioned these unsettling thoughts to a lovely radiant lady of some influence who was sitting next to me in the lounge after lunch, and reminded her again of the recent unsolved Murder at cricket in Jamaica. Sipping her G&T, she looked at me – aghast. “Never….. really.” She was perplexed, perhaps mesmerised, and as she moved close to me I explained the scene at Clontarf so many years ago without drawing Fitzer into the picture. Just as I was about to expand on this intrigueing analysis, and as she moved even closer to me, the call came for the resumption of play, dash it. It was now three o’clock, and as we watched the game from the balcony it was quite clear that the Irish lads were on top form, for despite lightning-fast bowling by the West Indies such as I never saw before, we witnessed a scintillating display of batting from our side, whizzing sixes clear over the crowded arena and as many fours across the boundary as there were men on each side. This was world class cricket and Ireland was on the pivotal point of success. With that, a heavy shower of rain fell and the match was abandoned.
Although I didn’t see much cricket that day because of the weather and unwarranted procrastinations of the West Indies team, what I did see reminded me of how exciting a good game of cricket can be.
Two weeks later I met my good friend the President at a house party in Blackrock, and now find I am invited to (play) The Taverners match next Saturday at the Phoenix club grounds in the Phoenix Park. In the meantime he told me, the lovely radiant lady from Trinity was ‘struck’ by me, so I’m off to swim the Hellespont to meet my little buttercup! Michael Ward.

The News: The U8 & U10 Juvenile hurling teams were involved in another successful West Wicklow Hurling Blitz., the U10 & U12 football league updates, Oliver Plunketts U16 & minor championship reports, and the Kildare South Board U12 hurling and football development squads.

Patrick Langan Michael Stewart Byrne Robert Boland
The Kildare South board required four players (three hurling and one football) to attend the U12 county development squads. The squads meet for five weeks on Weds. evenings for a series of training sessions and challenge games. Trips are arranged for the third weekend in Sept. with the hurling squad heading to Clare and the football squad to Armagh. The Juvenile committee selected Robert Boland, Michael Stewart Byrne and Patrick Langan for hurling and Alex Reck for the football squad. Congratulations and good luck to the four lads, hopefully they will enjoy the chance to take part and maybe the experience gained by all will stand to the club in the years to come.

Alex Reck
West Wicklow blitzOn Saturday 25th August Ballymore took part in another U10 and U8 hurling blitz in Hollywood. The U10’s played 2 games against St Kevin’s from Hollywood and Michael Dwyer’s from Kiltegan. The U8’s played 3 matches against St Kevin’s, Stratford and Michael Dwyer’s. After the hurling the players were treated to fruit, drinks sweets and posters and the parent’s tea and scones. Many thanks to Hollywood GAA for their generous hospitality. (Liam Cullen who organised the day with John O’Keeffe and committee members) The pitches in Hollywood’s new facilities on the Dunlavin road are always immaculate with short grass ideal for hurling.

The U10 Hurlers in HollywoodBack Row: Darragh Kelleher, Tony Og Sheridan, Conor Lippset, Enda Stewart-Byrne, Aaron Deegan, Pascal Thompson, Mark Daly, Niall Murphy. Front Row: Robbie Noone, Ciaran Kelleher
Results:The U10 footballers had a fantastic league campaign winning four out of six games, the final game against Suncroft to decide the top of the table. This match was played away in Suncroft on Tue. 4th Sept. and a panel of 26 very enthusiastic and determined young players togged out for the game. Alas, Suncroft with a much bigger number of ten year old players on their side proved too strong for BME. Congratulations to all the players who took part in this exciting league over the summer and a special thanks to all the parents for your support in making sure players got to training and to the matches. Everyone would agree that the pleasure got from watching the games, the fun they had etc. made it all very worth while. Players taken part over the summer as follows: Caolan Halpin, Conor Nolan, Pascal Thompson, Jason Gorman, Shane & Mark Barrett, Sean Murphy, Adam Murphy, Joe Hayden, Tom McQuirk, Evie & Tom Carter, Eve McGuire, Karl Keogh, Amy Horan, Stephen Davis, Harry Murphy, Ciaran Kelleher, Tony Og Sheridan, Niall O’Neill, Tadgh Dooley, Mark Daly, Niall Murphy, Oonagh & Aaron Deegan, Enda Stewart Byrne, Rossa Doyle, Patrick Murphy, Zak Kinsella, Robbie Noone Kevin Mahon, & Conor Lipsett.
U10 Football team in Ballymore Eustace
Back Row: Conor Nolan, Pascal Thompson, Shane Barrett, Adam Murphy, Joe Hayden, Tom McQuirk, Harry Murphy, Ciaran Kelleher, Tony Og Sheridan, Niall O’Neill, Tadgh Dooley, Mark Daly, Enda Stewart Byrne, Patrick Murphy, Zak Kinsella, Robbie Noone.Front Row: Jason Gorman, Kevin Mahon, Tom Carter, Sean Murphy, Evie Carter, Oonagh Deegan, Niall Murphy, Conor Lipsett, Caolan Halpin.

The U12 footballers continued their league campaign travelling to Monasterevin on the 17th July. With holiday season in full swing an under strength panel found the opposition too good on this occasion, the home side winning this game. This result left Suncroft on top of the table and through to the final, BME and Monasterevin had to meet again to decide who the second finalist would be. Again BME had to travel to Monasterevin and in match worthy of any final and played on Thur. 6th Sept. the teams drew at 2-8 to 1-11. This result gave BME home advantage for the replay and on the 11th Sept. after another equally exciting game of football the sides again drew at 1-8 all. In the event of a draw extra time was to be played but with the evenings getting dark early the game for safety reasons was re-fixed for Thurs. 13th Sept. in St. Laurence's. As this game got underway it looked like it was going to be another nail-biting affair with early scores been exchanged. A goal by Dylan Waters kept BME just in front but Monasterevin looked the sharper up front with some very well worked scores, at half time BME were 1 point up, (1-5 to 1-4). The second half started with BME tagging on two more points (Robbie Boland, Shane Barrett) and from there on BME took control in all areas of the field. With plenty of possession and good ball played to the forwards BME notched up a final score of 3-14 to 1-4. Robbie Boland, covering acres of ground and taking some terrific scores 1-7 (2 free kicks), Dylan Waters & Mark Slevin 1-0 each, Shane Murphy and Jake Meehan 0-2 each, Shane Barrett, Conor Davis & Michael Stewart Byrne 0-1 each. Final score 3-14 to 1-4.This game as in the previous matches required a full panel effort with every player from keeper out and subs coming on having to dig deep and do their jobs. Division 3 League Final Ballymore Eustace v Suncroft (15th Sept. 2007)After a super league campaign BME faced Suncroft in the final in the Co. grounds in Newbridge to decide the league winners. The weather and pitch were perfect for the occasion and after a whirl wind of a week where BME had 3 hard matches against Monasterevin to get to the final there was a lot of interest in this game. BME playing with a slight breeze in the first half never really got going but still managed to be just one point down at half time (1-4 to 1-5). In the second half Suncroft started really well and soon began to open up a big lead. Great credit to BME who tried right up to the final whistle, but on the day Suncroft were worthy winners. Final score 1-6 to 4-10.While this final did not go our way my guess is we will see this team in more finals, they are a super bunch of lads. Congratulations to all involved on making it into the final.(Some facts: Played 10 matches, won 5, drew 2, lost 3)
U12 Team in Newbridge on the 15th Sept.
Back Row: Oliver Gough, Patrick Murphy, Shane Barrett, Tom Murphy, Jake Meehan, Mark Slevin, Dylan Waters, Michael Stewart Byrne, Shane Murphy, Robbie Boland, Kevin McLoughlin.Front Row: Patrick Langan, Niall O’Neill, Harry Murphy, Craig Byrne, Stephen Doyle, Adam Murphy, Declan Davis, Stephen Piggot, Alex Reck, Darragh Kelleher, Conor Davis.

Oliver Plunketts NewsU-16 Championship 200720th August - Oliver Plunketts 4-16 Carbury 0-0In the opening game of the Under 16 championship, Plunketts got off to a great start with a comprehensive win over a young and inexperienced Carbury side. A goal by Michael Mullan in the opening minutes, quickly followed by a point from Paudie Ryan and a second goal by full forward, Taghd Beirne set the scene for a strong performance by the lads from Two Mile House, Ballymore & Eadestown. Plunketts dominated completely and led by 3-9 to no score at half time following points by Cian Bolton, Harry Donohue (2), Michael Mullan, Paudie Ryan (2) , William Donohue and a goal by centre back, Conor Healy. In the second half Plunketts continued to dominate and ran out winners on a shoreline of 4-16 to no score. Points in the second half came from Conor Healy, Cathal O’Reilly, Clyde Dunne (3), William Donohue and a goal from Michael Mullan.
24th August - Oliver Plunketts 1-14 St. Cocas 2-6Oliver Plunketts notched up their second win in the championship in Kilcock on 24th August, despite missing a number of key players. Harry Donohue opened the scoring which came from a lucky bounce of the ball that beat the goalie. Despite the good start, Plunketts struggled to get to grips with the game in the first half. Paudie Ryan and Alan Rogers knocked over points a piece and Plunkett’s trailed at half time 1-3 to 1-4 for St Cocas.In the second half Plunketts put in a much better performance and took the game to Cocoas. They scored 12 points in the second half to Cocas 1-3. Five points from Paudie Ryan, three from Michael Mullan, 2 from Cian Bolton and points each from Willie Burke, Harry Donohue resulted in a final score of 1-14 to Coca’s 2-6. This puts Plunketts into the quarter final on 8th September. Best on the day were Paudie Ryan, Willie Burke, Conor Healy and Cian Bolton.
Minor Championship 200722nd August - Oliver Plunketts 2-13 St. Kevins 2-8Plunkett’s minors returned to the championship after a 4 week break and played St Kevin’s at Sallins. Despite a good start Plunketts were not match sharp and the long break from competitive football showed. Ian Cox opened the scoring with 2 well taken points and a third followed from Keith Conway before Kevin’s got on the scoreboard. Kevin’s were fortunate to be awarded a penalty to keep them in touch and got a second just before half time. An in-form Keith Conway kept plugging away and knocked over 4 points in succession. At half time Plunketts trailed Kevin’s 0-8 to 2-6. In the second half, playing with the breeze Plunketts upped their game with Keith Conway dominating and scoring 2-2 and points from Ian Cox, Jimmy Browne and substitute, Paudie Ryan. The final score was Plunketts 2-13 to Kevin’s 2-8. Best for Plunketts were Keith Conway (2-7), Ian Cox, and Willie Burke. Plunketts minors are now through to the semi-final with an unbeaten run in the championship to date.
FixturesScoil Mhuire U11 hurling fixtures 2007Tuesday 18th September Ballymore Eustace N.S V’s Crookstown N.S. In Ballymore Friday 21st September: Rathangan N.S V’s Ballymore Eustace N.S In RathanganFriday 28th September Dunlavin N.S V’s Ballymore Eustace N.S In Dunlavin

Ballymore Eustace GAA Club Juvenile Football & Hurling
Coaching motto: Children first. Winning second

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