Counselling – Thoughts and Feelings

Counselling – My Thoughts and Feelings

I started counselling back in January of this year (2017), I was put in touch with somebody that had worked very closely with Fr Pat Moore over a number of years. I have been through counselling over the last few years for a number of reasons that I have already spoken about through a number of pieces I have written since I began to speak openly about the issues I have had the in the past and still continue to battle from time to time.

It is amazing how counselling works, you are given free reign during each session to express yourself in whatever shape or form you see fit. I have to say I have never had trouble speaking or talking but until 2014 I didn’t really talk about the things that matter, things that trouble you or members of your family

I am speaking from a male perspective of course, I have seen how well most women can express themselves when it comes to the important stuff and I have to say that I am still bowled over by the way women face each challenge that is presented to them.

Not for one minute am I saying that men cannot approach an issue with the same empathy that I have seen from nearly every woman I have spoken to over the last number of months. It just seems to me to be the maternal instincts kick in almost immediately in a time of crisis.

Back to counselling, I have to say I had to take my time before making the decision to seek out the help of a counsellor because I had to get my head around all that went on last September before I could even think about bearing my soul to a person I did not know. But thankfully as soon as I took that step to speak to someone everything became a small bit clearer in my head and my mind.

I have to say that if I decided to try a deal with what happened last September on my own I don’t want to imagine what might have happened. Looking to the future now, I still have a couple of hurdles to clear before the 1st year is over. Do not ask me to explain where that now near 12 months has gone, it has gone by so fast I have hardly had time to blink.

Counselling has saved me from cracking up under the pressure of what has to be the biggest blow of my life to date. I realise it is extremely tough for someone to admit they may need help and support from more than just family and friends but trust me , the support of a good counsellor will help you through the times where you may feel there is nobody out there who understands your pain and suffering.

I have almost 7 months of counselling under my belt and this particular avenue has helped me express the different feelings I have felt, and I have gone through a few stages from pain and despair to anger and laughter. It is truly amazing when you open yourself up what comes out.

To anyone in need of help and support, if you feel that talking to family and friends won’t help then reach out to your nearest counsellor…. Contact your GP for details.

I wrote this late last year and thankfully after a number of sessions I was able to move away from counselling…

I am putting this up as a thank you to Fr Pat Moore who passed away in May 2017 and his 1st anniversary will fall later this week. His support and encouragement was a massive help to me… Thank You Fr Pat….


Cian Mc Gibney




Tarbert Fun Run 2018

Tarbert Fun Run 2018

This Sunday will see large numbers of Runners and walkers and all the people in between descend on Tarbert for the First Annual Fun Run that will have three separate races to accommodate all comers with a Ten Mile Run for the experienced runners kicking off at 10am at a cost of €25 and that is for Over 18s only. A medal and a T shirt will be awarded to the first 150 registered participants. Trophies will also be awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd.

The second race will be for over 16s only, This event is a 10km run and like the first race will have trophies rewarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. This race will also have a medal and buff awarded to the first 150 registered participants. Both of these races are still open for registration and will cost €20.

The third race does not have an age limit and will be open to all ages and abilities and as it says, you can walk, run or even crawl whatever takes your fancy…. This race will see a good local turn out you can be sure of that and if the weather is up to scratch it will bring large crowds out to support all the participants. The fee for this race is €10 and will have a 5k medal for the first 150 registered participants.

Huge work has gone into organising this event and let’s hope it is the beginning of something that like all the recent events that have been started up and revitalised in Tarbert can be continued and build upon and made bigger and better into the future.

To all who will take part in any of the three races this weekend, well done and here’s hoping the weather holds up and that this event on Sunday will be a massive success…..


Cian Mc Gibney


Leinster and Munster Fixed Fortunes

Munster / Leinster Contrasting Fortunes

After the weekend we now know the two teams that will contest the Champions Cup Final in Bilbao on May 12th. Leinster and Racing 92 will face each other in what will be a cracking Final if the evidence of the two Semi Finals is anything to go by.

Leinster have proven yet again this year that they can play several different ways to gain victory, they can go wide, go through the forwards or kick for territory. The return of Robbie Henshaw was a massive fill up for the squad and Jamison Gibson Park made light of the fact that Luke Mc Grath was absent through injury.

You can be sure that the Leinster medical staff will do everything to have Luke Mc Grath fit for the Final. He will be given every chance to be fit. James Lowe missed out due to a rule that means only one New Zealand or Australian player can be in the match day 23 of any of the European side.

After the injury to Fergus Mc Fadden, there will be a push on to see can he be fit to take some part in the Final or in the knock out stages of the Pro 14. The Leinster performance on Saturday was very reminiscent of the performances that saw them win three European crowns.

The new breed of Ringrose , Leavy and James Ryan have had a major impact along with Stuart Lancaster. His attention to detail has helped Leinster rediscover the winning formula. He has also helped Leo Cullen and will surely want to see the side he has helped to mould over the last two years beat Racing 92 to win the Champions Cup.

From a Munster perspective, it is yet again more disappointment at the Semi Final stage in the Champions Cup after defeat last year to Saracens. There will be huge questions to be answered about how another Semi Final has ended in defeat !!

While Racing 92 were the better side like Saracens last year , this will still not solve the issues of why Munster started so slowly , this has happened a few times in recent years going back to the 2015 Pro 12 Final under Anthony Foley , then the 2016 Champions Cup Semi Final under Rassie Erasmus along with defeat in the Pro 12 Final in Dublin against the Scarlets.

You can point to all the injuries Munster have suffered losing Chris Farrell , Jaco Taute ,Tyler Bleyendaal  and Chris Cloete to name a few but the team didn’t seem to learn the lessons of last season when they were beaten in the Semi Final by Saracens after being 6-3 down at half time in that game.

“The Top Two Inches” is another cliché that is used far too often in rugby and yes like all clichés it is true but in another knock out game Munster came out second best and it now a new group of players who at this point have been around for long enough to know what they need to do to win a big game.

A massive issue for Munster again this season is the lack of consistency in selection at out half, yes injury again ruled Tyler Bleyendaal out but Ian Keatley and JJ Hanrahan have enough big game experience build up in the red of Munster to know when a big game is required.  Several facets of the Munster game plan faltered yesterday and they yet again were not able to come up with the answers until 20 minutes before the end.

Racing 92 stopped CJ Stander and others on the gain line time and again using the same tactic as Saracens did last year. Time and again we hear that you have to learn from your mistakes but yesterday proved that even in the world of professional sport, this particular message can be lost in translation.

 The lack of imagination in attack has been  another issue that will take time to fix , people can and will say I am just pointing out the negatives and that Munster are doing well to be at this stage every year but as Peter O Mahony said yesterday , he is tired of having to “ learn lessons from defeat”

The players face an interprovincial derby next Saturday against Ulster and they will need to try and find a way to finish the regular season on a high before the Pro 14 play offs begin….

This defeat will leave a bitter taste in the mouth, but the one way Munster can salvage the season is by standing up and being counted and they did that in the final 20 minutes yesterday and that can hopefully be a launch pad for the rest of the year……

Do I know what can get rid of this mental block when it comes to the knock out phase of games in both Europe and the Pro 14, my answer at this moment is no I don’t and it is as it always is up the players, staff and all involved with Munster to stand up and be counted and make sure that this campaign does not just fizzle out.


Cian Mc Gibney


Leinster and Munster Champions Cup Final Bound ??

Munster / Leinster – Potential Champions Cup Final

Munster and Leinster take on The Scarlets and Racing 92 this weekend in the European Champions Cup Semi Finals in Dublin and Bordeaux. Both Irish teams will be buoyed by the Irish team winning a Grand Slam back in March. Given the fact that both sides were in the same position last season before being defeated by Saracens and Clermont Auvergne.

So many times in sport, we hear that teams will learn from their defeats more than they learn from wins and this weekend is the ideal chance for both provinces to show how far they have come in 12 months.

 Leinster are first into action on Saturday afternoon playing The Scarlets in the Aviva Stadium and will hopefully have the services of Robbie Henshaw who may return from injury for the game this weekend. Questions remain over Sean O Brien but the fact that Dan Leavy has played so well along with the return to fitness of Jack Conan , Leinster should be well stocked in the back row.

Leinster played very well against Saracens and have given the majority of that 23 the chance to rest up with one eye on this Semi Final. The strength of the squad has been well documented in recent times even though they were beaten by Treviso last Saturday evening.

Leo Cullen and Stuart Lancaster have Leinster playing a very physical brand of rugby and they seem to be at the races in defence also this two aspects of their game will be severely tested by The Scarlets like it was in last year’s Pro 12 Semi Final in the RDS. On that occasion The Scarlets managed to win and went on to secure a maiden Pro 12 title win.

Wayne Pivac will demand those same high standards this weekend and if they reach the same pitch as they did against La Rochelle at home, then who knows where they will end up. Leinster  are three times winners of this competition last winning in 2012 and you can be sure they will want to have another crack at winning the title but first they will need to be at their very best to see off the Scarlets.

I feel Leinster will have learned from last year in Europe and domestically and they will book a one way ticket to Bilbao for the May 12th show piece.

Munster who are now under the stewardship of Johan Van Graan will want to go one better than last year and even after all the upheaval of earlier this year where they had to contend with Rassie Erasmus moving onto South Arica in November and Johan Van Graan coming on board with a quarter of the campaign behind them. But they bounced back very well in the few weeks after Van Graan took over. They now have the chance to make first European Final since 2008.

 For the first time since 2009, there is a real opportunity for both Leinster and Munster to get to a European Final  and we can only but hope that both teams will gain victory this weekend and give Irish rugby the perfect finish to what has already been a terrific season that saw Ireland win a third Grand Slam.

All the best to both teams, coaches and supporters this weekend….. Roll on 3.15 Saturday


Cian Mc Gibney


Ireland Vs Netherlands 2019 World Cup Qualifer

Ireland Vs Netherlands

The toughest challenge of the Women’s World Cup Qualifying campaign came in Tallaght last night when the European Champions came a calling to take on Ireland after Ireland managed to escape there last contest with the Dutch with a prized point. They were expecting a tough contest and by god the Dutch delivered a splendid performance build on a solid team performance where possession is king very reminiscent of the Dutch side of the 70s.

The Dutch scored two goals in the opening half with a goal from Lineth Beerensteyn and a penalty from team captain Sherida Spitse were enough to see the Dutch team home.  The Irish side decided early on that they were happy to try and nick a goal on the break but the Dutch kept the ball and made this job extremely tough. Leanne Kiernan led the line and had the hard job of chasing down every ball that came into the Dutch half.

To this end Kiernan was assisted by Denise O Sullivan and Megan Connolly who worked hard to try and pick out the key pass that would unlock the defence and bring Ireland forward to try and lift the siege on the Irish goal. Ireland reverted to 5 across the back like they did in November 2017 with a three in the centre of the defence being Louise Quinn, Diane Caldwell and Niamh Fahey. The full backs were Karen Duggan and Sophie Perry –Campbell .

Ireland went with O Sullivan , Mc Cabe and Connelly in the midfield with debutant Amy Boyle Carr being asked to sit in behind lone striker Leanne Kiernan and try a mop up the scraps that  fell there way if any.

This game as was said in the build up was going to be very difficult and any sort of positive result was going to be a bonus but the Dutch showed why they are Champions in Europe by keeping the ball and teasing the Irish team to be pulled out of position and then they were able to get in behind the back four and trouble Marie Hourihan.

From an Irish perspective, they were intent on playing out from the back when they could and although they did use the long ball to try and relieve pressure they also kept the ball on the ground and tried to cause the Dutch some issues and also the tireless work of Denise O Sullivan and team skipper Katie Mc Cabe.

This performance may not have delivered the desired result but what Colin Bell is doing is admirable , he was shorn of a few key cogs and will hope to have them back in harness when Norway visit Dublin on June 8th before an away tie in Norway on June 12th.

They are still in a strong position to qualify for France 2019 and will now just rest the clock for two tough ties against Norway home and away. The support the girls in green over the last week was phenomenal  and let’s hope that support does not desert them for the Norway game.

Players like Denise O Sullivan, Louise Quinn , Katie Mc Cabe and Megan Connelly are the star turns in this squad but all the players who are in and about the National side are working toward the ultimate goal of qualification for a major tournament under the guidance of Colin Bell who is in charge until 2021 at the very least , a good move by the FAI to tie him to a long term deal to build on the work of the last 12 months.

All the very best to all the squad who go back to club commitments, work and college before returning in June to face the next challenge of Norway….


Cian Mc Gibney


Ireland Vs Slovakia

Ireland 2-1 Slovakia

Ireland have managed to nick a 2-1 win with a late Amber Barrett goal enough to secure all three points in their World Cup qualifying group and they now lead the group by three points with the Netherlands facing Northern Ireland later this evening.

Colin Bell has plenty to work on before they play next Tuesday evening, in the opening half Ireland dominated possession and territory but could not find a way around the Slovak defence. The use of the long ball with the aid of a stiff breeze didn’t pay off as a number of chances went astray and as the first half moved along Ireland were struggling to make the dominance pay, players like Denise O Sullivan, Katie Mc Cabe and Megan Connelly worked tirelessly in midfield to try and spark something while Leanne Kieran worked her socks off to try and open up the Slovak defence but to no avail. The score was 0-0 at the break

Throughout the game , Ireland try to use the long ball tactic while on a number of occasions the two centre halves Diane Caldwell , Louise Quinn tried to play the ball into the centre of the field where Ireland had the upper hand but several times the long ball tactic was used with no desired effect.

In the second half , Ireland kept the ball down and the midfield began to squeeze Slovakia and in turn this made passing out from the back easier , where Karen Duggan and Sophie Perry-Campbell managed to push up field and really help the wide players , Katie Mc Cabe and Denise O Sullivan pushing on at all available opportunities. This particular aspect was very helpful for the opening Irish goal where Leanne Kieran raced onto a through ball from player of the match Karen Duggan where she headed the ball on and fired past the despairing dive of the Slovakia Keeper to make it 1-0.

Less than two minutes later, Slovakia were level thanks to a comical own goal from Marie Hourihan. She miss judged the flight of a cross from the left hand side and it squirmed into the Irish net to level things up at a goal apiece.

Colin Bell acted quickly bringing Amber Barrett in to replace Ruesha Littlejohn in the Irish attack. Less than 10 minutes later this change had the desired effect after another long ball was controlled by Barrett who fired past the Slovak keeper who managed to get a strong hand to the ball but it was not enough to keep it out and Ireland restored there 1 goal advantage. Cue wild celebrations on the pitch and on the home bench. All of the players and staff realised the significance of Amber Barrett’s late intervention. This gave them 3 vital points and top spot in the group until later the evening at the very least.

Looking to Tuesday in Tallaght, Ireland will know they won’t have the majority of the ball and will need to be as cleaver without the ball as they were back in November 2017 and maybe with a bit of luck they may get the same result as on that evening. Roll on Tuesday at 7pm….


Cian Mc Gibney


European Champions Cup 2018

Munster and Leinster – Champions Cup Semi Finals 2018

Munster and Leinster have made the 2018 Champions Cup semi finals where Leinster face Scarlets take on Leinster in the Aviva Stadium and Munster head for France to take on Racing 92.Both teams won their respective  quarter finals in Dublin and Limerick. Munster defeated Toulon 20-19 and Leinster saw off Saracens 30-19.

Both teams have certainly been buoyed by the Ireland Grand Slam win during the 6 Nations. For Munster this is a second consecutive semi final after last season’s defeat to Saracens in Dublin. For Leinster after being beaten last year in France was hard to stomach so both sides will want to right the wrongs of last year and make the Final which is fixed for Bilbao on May 12th.  

This is another chance for Munster to make a first European Final since 2008 and you can only dine out on past glories for so long , Its time this new crop wrote their own piece of Munster history. They will take on Racing 92 who will have Dan Carter and Donnacha Ryan to spear head there challenge. They were beaten by Saracens in 2016 in the City Ground Nottingham.

For Carter it may well be a swansong because he leaves for Japan at the end of the year and for that reason alone he will want to help Racing win a first European crown. Munster have made the last four in the past few years and have always come up short and they will be on their own mission to cross the threshold and make a European Final for the first time since 2008.

Before that both Leinster and Munster have domestic matters to deal with , Munster are in South Africa for two weeks and Leinster are more local starting with the RDS this weekend. European matters will be parked for a few weeks and revisited the week leading into the Semi’s.

Leinster were very creative and sparkled at times as they saw off Saracens who won the title in 2016 and 2017. The likes of Isa Nacewa and Gary Ringrose were dominate in the centre along with the partnership of Ryan and Toner who picked off a number of Saracens line outs where they outclassed Itoje and Kruis.

Men like Dan Leavy and Jordi Murphy dominated the breakdown and also the tempo with which Leinster played the game at. They were full value for their victory and will now go into the Semi Final looking to make a first Final since winning a third European crown in 2012.

Munster left it late on Saturday when Andrew Conway crashed over to set up the chance for Ian Keatley to knock over the extra two that put Munster a point in front and they held on to gain another massive win. Yes they certainly rode their luck but many teams have had to do the same to get top the finishing line.

I was reviewing the game before I sat down to write this and I found myself in the footage as the final scrum is being set up and you can even see the intent and desire in me and I was in the stand now multiply that by 26,000 and you get some idea of the atmosphere in Limerick.

Time now for both teams to push forward and make their mark in Europe, roll on the weekend of the 20th and 21st of April… For now its domestic matters so let’s enjoy the build up and then we can enjoy the Semi Finals….


Cian Mc Gibney