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A Different View

Davy Fitz’s greatest victory – beating his childhood bullies

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A Different View with Dave O’Connell

There are few Irish sportspeople who can polarise opinion like the Clare hurling manager Davy Fitzgerald – he’s loved by his own and often appears hell bent on ensuring the rest of the country can’t stand him.

But that pendulum swung in the opposite direction this week when he again spoke of the bullying he was on the receiving end of as a young student.

On one hand, it may have shown that – at one stage at least – his popularity in Clare wasn’t universal. But more importantly, it saw him soar in the estimation of so many others up and down the land.

It wasn’t the first time that he has spoken about bullying but it was the graphic way he described it that really captured the terror that victims of this most cowardly practice have to endure on a daily basis.

For those who missed it – and there cannot have been many – he was talking to students at the Limerick Institute of Technology and he spoke of those times on the school bus when he lived in daily fear of his oppressors.

It might be hard to reconcile the opinionated, animated, doggedly determined hurling man of today with the small boy who was a soft target for his attackers.

But what was really shocking about his experience was the relentlessness of the attacks – the smashing of an egg into his head, the throwing of his shoes out the school window, the gross invasion of his person by boys who probably through that this was, for the most part, just a bit of craic.

Even now, 30 years on, Fitzy’s own words capture the terror in a way that illustrates just how lasting a mark this behaviour left on him.

“I used to dread getting up in the mornings and going out on the bus, absolutely dread it. I used to sit on the second seat from the front nearly all the time. There was seven or eight guys who used to be laughing at me.

“They’d hit me on the back of the head. They would pull my hair. They put egg on my head. They would pull me back to the back seat – the bus driver wouldn’t know anything about it – they’d open my shirt and start painting on my body. I got my shoes thrown out the bus window. I felt absolutely so low and I tried to figure out what this was all about.

“I went home with a black eye and bruised ribs. I never told my mam or dad anything. To this day, I don’t understand bullying. I cannot understand how people are so insensitive. I cannot understand how you would single someone out and do that,” he told the students.

The difference between Davy Fitzgerald and others, of course, is that deep down he had the determination and will to win that was to epitomise his playing career and now his management style as well.

He had a dream and despite the best efforts of bullies he was not going to be deflected from achieving it. To that end, he was lucky – it is the boys and girls who don’t have that inner strength who fold to a point that their futures are forever tarnished because a few hard men wanted to have the craic.

The caricature of Davy Fitzgerald is that of a squealing lunatic, besieging his charges to go that extra yard; it’s easy for impressionists to send him up – and we all laugh when they do.

I’ve never met him, but there’s a great friend of mine who has known him from the time he first pulled on that Clare jersey – and he describes him both as one of the best friends and one of the nicest men in sport.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

Connacht Tribune

You can’t force the craic at the Christmas Party

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

There’s nothing like the Christmas Party to bring out the little devils who’ve spent their working lives blending in with the filing cabinet; one craft beer too many and they’re up on top of the photocopier scanning images of their tail end to send to the world.

The party animal is often the quiet one who spends the rest of the year in the corner, timidly stepping aside if you pass them in the corridor – but with a few bevvies on board, they’re Lemmy from Motorhead in the middle of a world tour.

Of course there are also some people who dread the Christmas party – or even after-work drinks, if that’s still a thing – and as their worst nightmare comes looming over the horizon, they might take some comfort from a recent court case in France.

Because an unnamed worker has just won the right to be utterly boring after a court ruled that he could not be dismissed, just because he didn’t want to join the rest of the staff in the pub.

Known simply as Mr T – an unfortunate choice of initial if you were a fan of the larger-than-life big guy in the A-Team back in the day – our friend was a senior advisor for a Parisian training firm called Cubik Partners.

One of those typically trendy modern operations, they work on a ‘fun and pro’ basis – which is presumably a variation on playing hard and working hard sometimes too – and part of that outlook involved regular social events ‘to bolster team spirit’.

But Mr T had no truck with the spirits – internal or alcoholic – and didn’t want to hang out with his colleagues for a minute longer than work demanded.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

How to win elections with the promises you can keep

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

The man who was already the world’s oldest prime minister stood for election again last weekend at the tender age of 97 – arguing quite legitimately that he was fully fit for high office on the basis that he was ‘still standing and talking’.

Mahathir Mohamad was already a Guinness World Record holder for being the world’s oldest current prime minister since he became premier of Malaysia for a second time in 2018.

Proving that age is no impediment to ambition, he put himself forward again last weekend – only this time he fulfilled that age-old observation of Enoch Powell, that most unctuous of Tories from times past, who once said that all political lives end in failure…even if it’s a relative thing and you could hardly be said to have been cut down early, at the age of 97.

Adding insult to injury, not alone did he finish fourth of five candidates in Langkawi, a resort island in Malaysia’s northwest, which he had won with a large majority in the previous poll in 2018 – he also lost his deposit.

It wasn’t even an ageist thing; his entire party failed to win a single seat.

And for comfort in his hour of need, he can still look to Laos where the Prime Minister Khamtai Siphandone is still going strong at just short of 99 – although the fact that he is the chairman of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party means you don’t have to actually come up with an election manifesto because, more specifically, you don’t have to stand for election.

But if you do – and accepting Mahathir Mohamad’s weekend disappointment – going before the electorate on a platform of boasting the ability to walk and talk is at least an honest one.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Getting locked away from all the rest can be no bad thing

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

We all got used to a level of confinement during Covid, and if we were honest, occasionally, it was as much of a blessing than a curse; nobody calling unexpectedly to bother you, no journeys you’d prefer to avoid – even if ultimately we were happy to emerge from our pandemic hibernation.

But imagine if you were trapped for days in a pub during a storm – or in Disneyland during a snap lockdown.

Because for the very lucky few, that happened too.

Visitors to Shanghai’s Disney Resort recently found themselves barred from leaving until they produced a negative Covid test after a snap lockdown.

And we can all remember last November with envy, when customers who went to see an Oasis tribute band called Noasis found themselves trapped for days in a pub in the Yorkshire Dales as a result of heavy snowfall during Storm Arwen.

In both cases, quite honestly, it must have been like a dream come true.

The Disney Resort shut its doors all of a sudden after ten cases of coronavirus were discovered in Shanghai itself, with all visitors locked in the theme park until they were given the all-clear.

And while you’d think the reaction would be to kick back and literally enjoy the ride, online videos showed many of the visitors rushing to the gate trying to avoid being stuck in the park.

Perhaps the Chinese have had enough of snap lockdowns and feared they’d literally be on the swings and roundabouts for days on end – because a day earlier, workers at Foxconn, the biggest iPhone maker in Zhengzhou city, were videoed climbing over fences to avoid a similar snap lockdown.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

 

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