Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us

A Different View

Davy Fitz’s greatest victory – beating his childhood bullies

Dave O'Connell

Published

on

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

Grandparents are the glue that became unstuck during Covid

Dave O'Connell

Published

on

Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

IT goes without saying that lockdown has been hard for everyone – with the possible exception of hermits – but few have felt it more than grandparents, confined to barracks and deprived of those hugs from the grandchildren.

Looking at them through windows may only have made it worse, because little kids don’t understand why nana and granddad won’t come out; they don’t realise they want to, more than anything in the whole world.

This pandemic has given us plenty of time to reflect; a chance to remember what is truly important and what we should cherish instead of taking for granted.

And arguably, grandparents should be on top of that list.

You’ll have heard it said that being a grandparent is like you’ve been given a second chance; an opportunity to spend time in retirement with the next generation that work deprived you of when it came to your own.

There’s also a notion espoused by some of those grandparents that you love them more than your own kids, because this time, when you’re finished playing with them, you can give them back.

I never knew any of my four grandparents, because they were all dead before I was born. My own sons never knew my parents because they too had long departed before the next generation arrived.

But thankfully they did grow up with two grandparents as an integral part of their lives – and not just minding them, which they did with a commitment for which we will be ever grateful.

The measure of success in this department is that your children see your parents as just a part of the family; there’s an easy familiarity every time they meet, just like picking up the pieces without a second thought.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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.

 

 

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Home is still full of memories even when it’s an empty nest

Dave O'Connell

Published

on

Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

We’ve all heard the phrase – and perhaps dread the concept; the empty nest, after the fledglings take flight and you’re left rattling around in a quiet house with just memories of those days of pandemonium and noise.

The social policy-makers would tell you that this is the time to downsize; save yourself the steps of the stairs and the cleaning, and cut down on the heating bills to enjoy your autumn days in accommodation more appropriate to your reduced needs.

And from a purely economic perspective, there’s merit in that. You have a house that’s now too big for you, and others can’t find a home of any size, let alone one sufficient for a full family – but that’s only one side of the argument.

The other is that your house is your home, and not because of its size – it’s because of its location, and your familiarity with its every nook and cranny. It’s also where those fly-away chicks still see as home, even if they’re now no more than occasional visitors.

As you grow older, familiarity is more important than ever; without the beautiful distraction of children, you grow even more dependent on neighbours and your community and the facilities you know on your old doorstep.

You know how long it takes to get to the shops or to the pub; you know you to give a spare key to in case you’re out when a delivery is due – or later on, if there’s a fear you might have a fall.

Your lifetime’s treasures – except for the children – are in your home; the sort of stuff others might see as clutter, but to you they are memories of holidays or graduations or births or marriages…those glory days that marked the chapters of your family life.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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.

 

 

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Authors’ pot luck – or insight into predicting a terrible future

Dave O'Connell

Published

on

Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It’s eerie how some people can appear to have an ability to see into the future; forecasting an event or a phenomenon, years – sometimes even centuries – before it comes to pass.

Much was made this year of a number of books and movies that anticipated what we now know as the Coronavirus pandemic; predictions that even led to renewed interest in publications like Daniel Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year that goes back to 1722.

Edgar Allan Poe described a fictional epidemic at the centre of his short story, the Masque of the Red Death.

“No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its avatar and its seal—the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains and sudden dizziness and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution.”

More recently, Albert Camus’ the Plague explored the human toll of epidemics back in 1947 – and of course, the end of the world has been the subject of more movies than almost anything else.

But that’s not really suggesting they have some incredible insight into the future; Dystopian plots or backdrops are almost standard fare, and the spread of some toxin or virus is the easiest vehicle for writer’s to plot.

That doesn’t mean the reader or viewer isn’t stopped in their tracks when they come across a piece or a film that appears to have predicted the future.

One such slim volume that fulfils that brief is really just a long essay, entitled Here is New York.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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.

 

Continue Reading

Local Ads

Local Ads

Advertisement

Weather

Weather Icon
Advertisement

Facebook

Advertisement

Trending