Hurling the game of the summer as Pope set for Croke Park visit

Hello to all the Advertiser readers.

Well, valiant Galway will have to wait another day to get the All-Ireland hurling title again. I watched it with great interest, and also the earlier minor match where Galway were triumphant. I could not understand how Galway appeared to let Limerick take the field and get all the early scores and then to crown it all Limerick got the first goal. I am sure many readers will share this with me, that I have noticed the team that gets the first goal usually wins out, and so it was with Limerick. You just couldn’t begrudge them the win. They were such a young team, lean and hungry and determined to do their county proud and they did.

Galway woke up coming near the end and in that wake-up period they nearly won the day because they scored and scored and scored, and it seemed to me that they could yet win but then they didn’t. And in a way the end justified the skills we saw on the field. Then of course we had the welcome home into Limerick station and through the city, and then on to the GAA pitch, and it was all truly wonderful for the Limerick people who had waited since 1973.

In the newspapers leading up to the match, it was amazing how nearly every sports writer forecast that Galway would win. There were very few that said that Limerick would do it. And yet I think the team that is the underdog, and in this case it was Limerick, usually comes out on top. It is as if the gods don’t favour it, but we’ll show them all that we can do it.

Hurling was definitely the game of this summer. Then we had that wonderful three-part documentary on RTÉ1, The Game, and the game was mostly hurling and some camogie as well. So all in all it made for a great summer of viewing, reading and thinking about who would eventually be the winner.

A few of us were talking about it the night it happened, and it is interesting that hurling, camogie and hockey all have one thing in common, that is they are played with a stick in the hand. Now of course there are huge differences between them, but the skill of the wrist, of the hand and of the eye all combine in each of the games to give us great joy in viewing, and I’m sure when playing as well.

So the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, has passed away in the US at the age of 76. She was a wonderful singer, and every time you would hear her voice on the radio you’d pause and listen and think about what was saying. She put her heart and soul into every song. I always particularly liked hearing her singing ‘Natural Woman’ and another sweet one she sang often, ‘I Say a Little Prayer for You’. She was a tortured soul, both in her upbringing and in her life, and it showed in her singing. She poured it all out, and you felt a kinship with her as she sang of her torment and her longings, and shared them with her. God rest you, Aretha, and thank you for all the enjoyment you gave us.

The only political news swirling around us all now is the upcoming presidential campaign. Every day you wake up you hear on the radio of a new candidate, and each one seems more far-fetched and unrealistic than the one of the day before. So far, there is no one I’ve heard of to touch Michael D, but it would be another matter entirely if Seán Gallagher decides to put his hat in the ring. Somehow people feel he was done out of it on the last occasion and that it is his turn now. Each week in the Sunday Independent he visits a small industry around Ireland and he has a page of lovely pictures, conversations and ideas about that industry. He’s been doing that now for almost two years, and I am sure it has made him known and indeed in many instances endeared him to the small business community throughout Ireland.

Many of the county councils are having a special meeting next Monday or the Monday after to allow any candidates who have declared to come and sell their wares, so to speak, and to answer questions from the councillors. County Meath and County Westmeath are next Monday, so we will see who turns up there and how they get on with their interaction with the county councillors.

I am glad, and many are, that there is to be a contest, because that is good for democracy. It remains to be seen if there will be some really worthy candidates in the field.

I hope many of the readers watched the Miriam O’Callaghan documentary 1968: The Long March. It was a terrific programme and a great overview of what happened during all of those tumultuous years, both in the US as they fought for full freedom from slavery and full rights for black people there, and here in the North of Ireland the civil rights, ‘one man, one vote, one house’ and all that entailed. Viewing it on RTÉ and thinking about it, you wonder again at the great work Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair and John Hume and so many others put into getting peace in Northern Ireland. Viewing the turmoil and tumult, it was a truly marvellous achievement to obtain and sustain that peace.

I have talked above about some of the amazing documentaries we have had home-produced in Ireland, and yet there is a huge number of repeats going on right through the summer, shows we’ve seen once, maybe twice before suddenly pop up on your TV, and that makes for very unsatisfactory viewing. Of course the weather has been good and I suppose the heads of RTÉ and BBC mostly say ‘Well look, they’re all out enjoying the sunshine; it won’t matter if we fill the programme with a few also-rans.’ But I am looking forward to the autumn and winter schedule, where we have promise of some very good shows to come.

The Leaving Cert results have come and gone. The first round CAO offers have come and gone, and so far there is very little panic throughout the land!!

Of course the main event all of this week is the lead-up to the Pope’s visit in Ireland over this weekend, both to Knock and Dublin. I hope he gets a good welcome, I’m sure he will, and I know he will speak from the heart. There is a great feeling of love and regard for him, but there is also a huge need for him to come out and say what the Vatican will now do, and the rules they will lay down, to deal with the worldwide epidemic of clerical abuse and the cover-up from all of that. The people of Ireland expect words like this from the Pope, and I’m sure we will hear them.

That’s my lot for this week. Talk with you all next week.

In the meantime go safely.

Slán go fóill.

Mary O’Rourke

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