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Innocent days when we felt we’d always be beating Kerry

Francis Farragher

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Johnny Geraghty ushered in a new era in terms of goalkeeping in the GAA with his agility and spectacular dives a feature of the three-in-row era.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

There was a time, believe it or not, when Galway would normally beat Kerry in the All-Ireland championship but alas it’s from a bygone era, that for me evokes, childhood memories of times when my first sighting of a maroon jersey was in glorious black and white.

Galway’s emergence as a football power through the early and mid-1960s largely coincided with the start-up of the national television service in 1961, and what a revolution it set off in terms of being able to watch your sporting idols on what tended to be hugely moody, sometimes unreliable and always ugly looking Bush, Pye or Philips black and white TV sets.

The innate difficulty though, through the mid-60s, when as national school kids we all believed that Galway would win the All-Ireland every year, was in getting access to a house that had a television set, but where there’s a will there’s a way, and by the Summer of 1963, most of us in the area knew of ‘safe houses’ where we’d get in and be welcomed for the matches.

Before Galway’s three glory years of 1964, ’65 and ’66, there was a bit of trauma to be endured in the run-up to the three-in-a-row. Galway had gone on a good championship run in 1963, and my first memory of the black-and-white TV days, was of one ‘Pateen’ Donnellan punching the ball to the Kerry net in the All-Ireland semi-final of that year.

On a late September Sunday we had crowded into the house of a somewhat reclusive but welcoming bachelor in full expectation that Galway would surely beat the Dubs in the final. Our host though, given his somewhat shy nature, must have been slightly traumatised on that Sunday afternoon as humans of all ages sat on chairs, bits of stools and the floor. Nothing mattered though only to see the match and as long as the television held out and Galway won, we’d all be happy.

That day, only two out of three wishes worked out. We saw the match okay and the television did hold out but Galway were denied victory by a goal from Gerry Davey, and during the following week, I listened intently to conversations between my father and neighbours as to how Galway had been ‘robbed’. (Does anything ever really change?).

The kernel of their complaint was that Gerry Davey was in the Galway square when he fisted the ball to the net and there was talk of the Wicklow referee – a man by the name of Eamon Moules – having ‘connections’ with the big Dublin full forward John Timmons. And as young lads we cursed those rotters who had denied us an All-Ireland title back in the Autumn of ’63.

There was very little television to be viewed over the Winter as the long trip back to the ‘television house’ during the dark nights would be strictly out of bounds for any six or seven-year-old.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Country Living

A little lament for a forgotten friend – our country ‘local’

Francis Farragher

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

There was an old mate of mine long since gone to his eternal reward who I often used to give a lift home from the local on a Saturday night. A decent, hard-working man, the salt-of-the-earth, as they’d say. He wasn’t a man to be out every night of the week but Saturday night was especially precious to him for a game of cards and a check on the births, deaths and marriages of the parish.

The odd Sunday evening, he might ‘escape’ too or occasionally on a week evening if there was a local funeral and there was a lift going handy.

Saturday though was always his night for the extra ‘one or two’ and on the way home he would invariably break into a verse of a song, that never really reflected his current happy predicament.

Our little chat would always cease half way back the road when he’d break into verse:

“Well it’s lonesome away from your kindred and all

By the camp fire at night

Where the wild dingos call

But there’s nothin’ so lonesome

So morbid or drear

Than to stand in the bar of a pub with no beer . . .”

He ‘had the lot off’ and three or four minutes would pass outside his house before the first verse would be repeated to wind up the song that was made famous by Australia’s Slim Dusty way back in 1957, a year close to my heart!

I’m not really sure whether Slim Dusty had any more hit songs – if he had I never heard of them – but this ditty now stands as a valued nugget of Australian song and folk history.

Of course, when my old friend used to give his weekly version of the song, we always felt reassured that it would never come to pass in our neck of the woods that we’d ever see the daywhen we’d come across a pub with no beer.

It never did come to pass for my buddy, as he journeyed off to the after-life some years back, but there have been nights over recent weeks when I nearly had to pinch myself and say: “There’s no local to go to anymore.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Country Living

It’s taken a while to purge the ghosts of our past life

Francis Farragher

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1960s Ireland: Far different times at school than today. Photo courtesy of Irish Times.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

A few years back, I was overwhelmed by a huge wave of enthusiasm to go on things like Twitter and Facebook. There was a novelty about it but one day the penny dropped that maybe there were other and better things to be doing with my life. An issue also arose when I thought I was sending a ‘message’ on my mobile only to discover a few minutes later that I has sent it to ‘half-the-country’ via Twitter.

Still technology and social media is the way of the world that we live in at present and it is extremely useful to stay in touch and find out at the click of a keyboard or the touch of a phone some key piece of information. ‘Ould hacks’ in the trade like myself, are trained to double check things from a couple of sources, and that’s a great help, in never believing the first piece of scary news that you see on social media.

Any journalist worth his salt will try and reliably establish if something stands up or not, and key question always to be asked about something or someone can be summed up in one very short sentence: “Is this true.” So, whether we’re journalists in local papers, local radios, RTE, the Irish Times or Independent News and Media, that basic tenet of our profession – to establish the truth – must always be the guiding principle. Something akin to doctors and the Hippocratic Oath.

There are various little free offers of news from reputable sources that can be accessed by a daily email such as WebMD which will tell you every way you can try and avoid the common cold as well as keeping your muscles limbered up, or the New York Times newspaper, who will email you a daily briefing of world news at 6am every morning, not that I’m at my desk at the unearthly time of the morning.

The daily snapshot of news from the New York Times would make you wonder about what kind of country America is, not that we should be too surprised after four years of one D. Trump and all his antics. And he’s not finished yet!

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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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Country Living

Seeking out little solaces from gloom of November

Francis Farragher

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Advent is on the way in what has turned out to be a full year of penance!

Country Living with Francis Farragher

NOVEMBER is probably one of those months that’s akin to Patrick Kavanagh’s famous line on dandelions ‘growing on headlands, showing their unloved hearts to everyone’.  I’ve yet to meet someone who told me that November was their favourite month of the year, but like the dandelions, it won’t go away and despite the efforts of rugby people to give in an autumn status in terms of titling their international games, for me it will always be that time of darkest Winter.

Mind you, it’s not so bad once you accept your lot with the month. The sunrises, whenever we’re lucky enough to see them under clearer skies, have now slunk back to after 8 o’clock, while each evening the sun’s indecent haste to retreat often ushers in darkness shortly after 4pm.

Our current predicament hasn’t been helped by what’s going around us and by the greyness of the weather, so overall it is a bit of a battle to ease the gloom of November. However, in the midst of all those dark clouds, for those of us who are fortunate enough to have shelter from the elements and who can sit in front of a glowing turf fire, the month does have its little consolations.

Gone are the long evenings when the ‘to do list’ of outdoor chores stretched all the way up to double digits; and now at least there’s the consolation of not feeling one ounce of guilt at getting comfy on an armchair, opening a bottle of Peroni, and listening to the Atlantic tempests belting against the windows.

For those of us lucky (or unlucky) enough to have an interest in sport, there are some real television treats like the hurling and football championships (admittedly not much of a consolation last weekend if you’re of maroon extraction); the Masters’ golf from Augusta; and the rather less-attractive sight of our Irish soccer team getting a mauling from the ‘Auld Enemy’ at Wembley.

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.

 

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