Race week, but not as we know it

Thu, Jul 23, 2020

Am here for the races…In Galway... there’s no kapin’ me away from Galway at this time of the year…Social distancing me…whole summer I’d been planning me stay…near panicked when thought it mightn’t be on…savin’ since I got back from Cheltingham so I was…never said I was ovah cos everyone was looking me quare like as if I had some sort of disease… but am here now, like that Boris Johnson lad, head on me like an explosion in a bloody mattress factory…normally mad for road I am……this year mad for cycling lane more like...The clobber on me right out of Peaky Blinders, the kinda clothes me fadder’s fodder would have worn like 150 year ago…looking like an extra on the Irish RM…town is strange…something strange about every wan in the streets like, as if they’re kinda sober or something. Haven’t seen anyone throw a slap at all at all...Families and foreign tourists from overseas like; what are they doing here in Race Week…do they not know ‘tis a week for the likes o’ me having a serious blow-out like...total carnage...a week like for showing after the watershed...sort of Normal People without the Leaving Cert and Trinity...sort of like the lads who were yer man’s friends back home in Normal People...not the soppy stuff like. So anyways here I am...sun rises in the capital of culture…ate a clock in the mornin’…I wake up with a head on me…flat out like Eamonn Ryan during a vote…in a crumpled hape...Went to bed looking like Donal Og Cusack, woke up looking like Dunphy...open shirt buttons and spray deodorant under arms one squirt for each oxter and one for the road with a shot for the lads below…ya can never take any chances like at the Galway Races…could be hit by a bus or a quare wan…make me way around the square…no buses heading out to Ballybrit…Invite only...Did ya ever hear the likes...Town all zoned off into different zones - Serious Drinkers; Maggoty Drunk Drinkers; Absolute Beginners; and Pioneers...One of the lads said he was goin’ to rock up to Ballybrit with a horse and trailer and see if he’d get in...crazy idea to kape us out...’twould never have happened if Fianna Fail were in by themselves...so have to find a base for meself in town like…to watch it on a screen...the new normal…the new nonsense more like...I’m RacingMan…RacingMan…seriously discommoded like by these restrictions but am making the best of it...thinking of me country...pulling on me green jersey and all that...fellas in welder’s helmets pullin’ your pint like…where’s your mask mate, he says to me and I never meetin’ him before in me life…no masks with me, so next day I use a pair of the spare jocks, get a scissors and a stapler and I’ve me mask with a big Y on the front…why would ya be wasting money on a blue nappy for your face when ya could be spending it on skullin’ pints and lashing into beef rolls...Starving…looking at the menu boards outside like… rakes and rakes o’ hummus everywhere cos those woolly feckers in the arts festival and the film thingy were not here this year… hipster fella with a beard asks me do I want brunch like. Says he can do me advocate toast or something strange sounding like that...throw back the lugs and dive in...twas muck...like eating a squashed apple through a sock...try to walk sober like, wan foot then the udder, repeat...I’m Racingman, I’m wide out…I’m part of Galway. I’m Racingman, the boyoh, unleashed for the week…the Welder, I’ll call him Dermot... served me another pint…I asks him are there any quare wans in town this year…jockeying for position for the best apartments…the dominatrix like…Lads have quare wans’ mobile numbers from the Google… A wan called Ivana Legova tells them she want 200 notes for an hour of the socially distanced bould thing...lads laugh when I ask for group discount and take out me social services card….an hour I laugh, an hour of drinking time wasted...she says for 400 she’ll bate me with a whip ’til I cry and give me a happy ending…told her I can get a batin’ for nawthing outside the chipper…and if I want a happy ending, I can watch a video of the 2017 hurling final…and the lads laugh…Am great for the auld repartee, me, cos I’m Racingman. I walk down the street like Travolta in Saturday Night Fever ‘cept without the can o’ paint…baby shakin that ass... they’re looking at me, the wimmen, can’t get enough of me...nawthing like a pair of skinny jeans (no ballroom dancing for me) and a mismatched jacket and tweed jacket and braces and cap to get them going...down the square check out paddys ladbrokes boyles get the odds... and ends..too early to go out to Ballybrit yet...then I remember I can’t, so I sit on bench and look at the pretend fountain that’s never on…sit on steps, legs sprawled...what’s Galway city centre in race week unless ya can get out of it...Galway without getting to the races is like getting to Pisa and finding a pile of rubble; or going to EuroDisney and not matin’ Mickey Mouse. I’ll do it this year...for me country...but next year I want to be out there in person, the sound of the horses, the smell of the people...Hear a shout...Mon is it you...Am hailed by my taxi lad friend from Lagos, sitting bored at the rank, says he’ll me take out to Ballybrit anyway for a look at the gate and then back again, for auld time’s sake...says he knows a farm shed and a ladder at Castlegar where we can go up on the roof and watch the racing and bet online with the wifi from the passing buses...so here we are...not in the Moet or the Killanin but the Corrugated Stand holding me phone to the sky and roaring me head off. See ye next year...because what do they do say, like ya feel after a bad curry, remember, this too will pass. G’luck.

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Fantasy Football round 38 preview

Thu, Jul 23, 2020

This Sunday will see the Premier League season of 2019/20 brought to conclusion, 353 days after it kicked off on August 9 2019. It is unlikely that many would have foretold what the campaign would entail when Michael Oliver blew his whistle to open proceedings at Anfield last year but we are nearly there and what a day we have in store.

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Fantasy Football round 37 preview

Fri, Jul 17, 2020

There are only two rounds of the Premier League left and while the race for Champions League remains no clearer and the fight to stave off relegation continues, what we do know is that Liverpool will not reach the magical 100 point mark because of a 2-1 defeat away to Arsenal on Wednesday night.

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Not the same craic or interaction as technology takes control

Thu, Jul 16, 2020

This week Galway Races chief executive Michael Moloney looked out his window, which overlooks the parade ring at Ballybrit. He struggled to believe one of the greatest race meetings in the world, The Galway Races Summer Festival, had fallen victim to Covid-19.

The ground should have been buzzing with activity - food and beverage suppliers on the go, marquees and tents being erected, thousands of workers on site preparing for the 151st edition of this iconic event. Instead Moloney found it difficult as he viewed a very different scenario. A vacant Ballybrit - something so surreal, hard to accept.

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Fantasy Football round 36 preview

Tue, Jul 14, 2020

Game week 35 came to a close on Monday night with a strike from Irish striker Michael Obafemi in the 96th minute to dent Man United's Champions League aspirations. The round saw plenty of upsets and action with West Ham, Watford, Bournemouth, and Aston Villa earning crucial wins in the fight against relegation, Sheffield United and Wolves clawing their back into European contention and Norwich City being confirmed as the first team to succumb to the drop.

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New spaces for a new society

Thu, Jul 09, 2020

Over the years in this game, there has been many a fanciful idea that has been mooted and gave us all great headlines, but which ultimately come to nought. There was the much vaunted Corrib bridge from Knockferry to Kilbeg that would have diverted thousands of cars daily from near Headford to Connemara without ever bringing them into the city.

There was the plan by the late Dr Patrick Geraghty to construct a massive concert arena that would have seen the likes of Garth Brooks and Metallica playing to thousands in a massive shed in Glenamaddy. It was the be the Point for the West...or Westpoint.

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Enjoy round 34 with food and a pint from Monroe's Tavern

Tue, Jul 07, 2020

With Monroe's Tavern announcing that it will open its doors to the world in late July, punters do not have the opportunity to watch round 34's matches in the pub's pleasant surroundings. However, the next best thing is available with Monroe's Takeaway and Dial-a-Pint service. Operating Wednesday to Sunday, simply call (091) 583 397 to place your order for food and a pint and the team at Monroe's will deliver right to your front door.

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Enjoy Fantasy Football game week 35 with food and a pint from Monroe's Tavern

Tue, Jul 07, 2020

With Monroe's Tavern announcing that it will open its doors to the world in late July, punters do not have the opportunity to watch round 35's matches in the pub's pleasant surroundings. However, the next best thing is available with Monroe's Takeaway and Dial-a-Pint service. Operating Wednesday to Sunday, simply call (091) 583 397 to place your order for food and a pint and the team at Monroe's will deliver right to your front door.

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Fantasy Football round 33 preview

Fri, Jul 03, 2020

The big news of round 33 has to be West Ham's dramatic victory over Chelsea on Wednesday night. Andriy Yarmolenko's 89th minute winner earned The Hammers a massive three points while dealing a hammer blow (see what I did there) to Chelsea's top four hopes.

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We shouldn’t need Ministers to develop the west

Thu, Jul 02, 2020

We have had many types of politician represent us over the years. Those who have made us proud, those who have entertained us; shamed us; those who you wouldn’t with any confidence send to the shop, and those who have delivered in spades for the region. All of them had their merits, their demerits, their strengths and failings, all obvious only to the differing eyes of the beholders.

Perhaps the biggest trick that Ministers of the past carried out was the multiplication of their truth in the role that they played in diverting back to us the money that was justly ours. We all know of Ministers who ‘delivered for their area.” We saw the signs that “you are entering X country”; we know of caricatured TDs who are able to convince their constituent they were delivering, by catering for them on a one by one basis.

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Fantasy Football round 32 preview

Fri, Jun 26, 2020

Can you believe we have two game weeks completed already? Yes, the return to football means games are coming at us thick and fast and this weekend sees the added bonus of the four FA Cup quarter-finals thrown into the mix.

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Mad for road — the beginning of the new beginning

Thu, Jun 25, 2020

And so here it is, a wonderful glimpse of the appetising uplands to which we looked forlornly for so long since we put up the shutters in mid-March.

Around the country, the sports pitches are once again filled with the sweat-scented sounds of exertion, the beans in the coffee machines of cafes are awakened from their slumber as people seek a little bit of the old normal to ease themselves into the new normal.

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The Club Championships are Right Around the Bend

Thu, Jun 25, 2020

Sport might be back at last and GAA action is said to be right around the corner. There are some concerns that need to be ironed out though. The first issue is with the time frame. It looks like some countries may need to decide between codes and this may mean that football is going to lose out. Counties are going to be forced to choose and this could cause a lot of problems between clubs. This is not going to be a problem for counties such as Tyrone, Donegal and even Kerry though. That being said, there may be problems for Galway and Cork. 


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Fantasy Football round 31 preview

Tue, Jun 23, 2020

I think it is fair to say the Premier League did not exactly return with a bang. Many of game week 30's 12 outings were characterised by slow build-up play, inaccuracy, and an all round lack of sharpish.

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A man who made everyone feel they were Boss

Thu, Jun 18, 2020

I haven’t walked around the streets of the city for about three months now. Any trip into town left me dispirited in the early days of lockdown, the grass long in the Square, the grey walls even greyer, the colour you associate with that time of year drained from everyplace. And everyone.

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Fantasy Football round 30 preview

Tue, Jun 16, 2020

It's back baby! Yes after 100 days without Premier League football, Fantasy managers must get back to their drawing boards as we head into the final nine rounds of 2019/20 season.

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A nation holds its... buffet

Thu, Jun 11, 2020

What is a nation if its citizens cannot hang over the buffet station with a hangover? Or stand at the juice machine topping up the glass until just the pips remain. What sort of life awaits if the joy of pub socialising has to be accompanied by the forced consumption of a carvery dinner, which you throw back while looking at your reflection of a perspex screen. What chance have you of getting an extra ball of mash if you are not there yourself, urging the chef, go on, go on, yes....and all the veg. Potatoes, chips, roast and mash please...

If the queuing for the loos involves a traffic light system, will whole hordes of female revellers have to wait for green at the same time to share their opinions, or can you get a group pass? Can anyone get drunk anymore if they have to book a state of advanced tranmsmogrification online three days before?

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5 Fun & Productive Activities To Enjoy Together At Home

Tue, Jun 09, 2020

Practising responsible social distancing means spending a great deal of time together at home, maybe only leaving once a week or so for groceries or other necessities. This may sound like a recipe for boredom or even disaster but there is no reason not to make the most of the opportunity everyone has been forced into. Sharing activities not only passes the time in a positive way but it also helps people grow closer together. There are also many useful guides and articles online that can show you how to keep busy while in isolation at home. They include useful tips such as keeping in touch with your friends and family, keeping fit, and organising the perfect home office setup. Whether you are in lockdown with your partner, your children, or your parents, here are some fun activities that you can all enjoy at home together.

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Have patience with those re-emerging

Thu, Jun 04, 2020

Imagine if you can, that you have been hibernating in the far end of the chamber at Newgrange all year, wrapped up in the darkness, comfortable with your own forced comfort, and only stirred and woken by the advancing light of that solstice sun making its way like an orange sabre, as if it is setting fire to the dusty floor until it rests at last at your bare foot.

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Backing the businesses to rebuild your community

Thu, May 28, 2020

I remember someone saying to me some years ago during a brush with mortality, that normality is one of the most underrated aspects of our lives. And how true that is. There is a wonder in surrounding ourselves with those lived experiences and situations that give us comfort and familiarity. In truth, we might bask away a good share of our lives surrounded by the cushion of normality.

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