Lions 2021 Tour Go Ahead

The Lions tour of 2021 to South Africa has been penciled in to still go ahead in July and August 2021.  There will be 5 warm up games and 3 Tests with a very tight schedule between each game of 3 and 4 days.

It will be a very tough couple of weeks given how long the new season will be after the suspension of this year’s season where each season will restart over the next few weeks and then you’ll have a short break before the new season will begin.

It is great to see the organisers putting a plan in place as 2021 will be an extremely busy 12 months for sport as a large number of sporting events will take place across 2021, namely the European Championships, Olympics and The Ryder Cup that will now take place after being cancelled in 2020 due to the ongoing Covid 19 emergency.

The chief executive of South African rugby Jurie Roux hopes that the Tour will take place as scheduled in 2021 but one suspects that health experts along with the South African Government will have an impact on that but let’s hope that the original date that all concerned are hoping to use will work out and it will be all systems go in 12 months time.

There will be big opportunities for many players to put down early markers at the end of this campaign and all the way through the new season that will kick off at varying times over the next few months.

Many players have said that they have enjoyed the time off but now want to get back to training and then hopefully playing games in the near future. Warren Gatland has had a tough run in the new Super Rugby Aotearoa thus far and will want to finish that competition with a few wins before he will set his sights on South Africa in 2021.

Over the previous 3 tours, it’s a loss in 2009, a Test series win in 2013 and a draw in 2017 in New Zealand. Gatland will want to end his time with The Lions with a 2nd Test Series win after he masterminded the Test Series win in 2013.

Supporters will want to know exact details for certain as many will want to plan their trip accordingly. Sky will broadcast a 7th straight Tour after securing the broadcast rights.

Now that the current season will come to an end in the next few weeks and then the new campaign will kick into gear after a few short weeks of a break and then it will be full on until the Tour of 2021…

Thanks

 

I just felt it only right and proper to put a quick note of thanks together to all who took the time out to wish me a Happy Birthday. Over the last 2 months life as we know it has changed and we will stay with the “new normal” for another while.

Many families haven’t been in a position to meet each other face to face for weeks and from May 18th, the restrictions put in place by the Government and National Public Health Emergency Team will begin to be eased but for the next two weeks we as a nation will need to continue with the restrictions for another while.

Turning 30 in Lockdown wasn’t too bad as with apps like Skype, Face time, House Party etc it is very easy to stay in touch with people. Of course just sending a text or making a phone call is just as effective.

This period is extremely tough for people, this situation doesn’t just affect one age group and so everyone needs to do what they can to help themselves and others. This is a strange time at the moment but also it is a time for people to take stock of their lives and priorities for the future. Maybe make that call or text you wanted to but never got around to doing…

It is a very testing time for so many and as I have so often said when I have written many pieces about my life and the struggles I have faced. There will be light at the end of the tunnel… It is much easier stay in touch with people in 2020 than it was when other crisis happened throughout the world.

Make the most of this time, get to know people by talking to them, we will get through this and get out the far side of it… To anyone who has lost a loved out over the last while, my condolences to you all.

We have always been seen as a resilient nation, it really is time to show that quality and that is easy to write down but let’s just see out this testing time and we will be hopefully be out the far side of all of this soon…. PS To anyone who will celebrate a birthday at this time, from me Happy Birthday !!!

Arsenic and Old Lace

The Tarbert Theatre Players returned for another well received play named Arsenic and Old Lace by Joseph Kesserling in Tarbert Community Centre. This play was brought to life by some well known faces like Yvonne O Keeffe Fox, PJ Normile, Shane Wall and Cormac Wall they were joined this year by a newcomer in Jerry Scanlon who looked very comfortable in his Tarbert Theatre Players debut.

This play is dark with real moments of hilarity where you have a family namely the Brewster’s who seem hell bent on wiping out a certain generation of people with a well tested game plan where they offer the unsuspecting guest a drink and within minutes they have clocked up another unfortunate victim.

You see the daily toils of each family member and we see the development of the on/off relationship between Mortimer Brewster and Elaine Brewster played by the fantastically matched duo Tom Stack and Mag O Donnell. It really is a will they / won’t they saga.

Jerry Scanlon certainly comes into his own and the rather dim and unfortunate Teddy Brewster who is somehow convinced he is Theodore Roosevelt and he is the President of the USA in the 40s at a time when Hitler was at his peak. This part was smartly cast and Jerry did very well in portraying this character.

Helen Enright and Danielle Considine did a fine job as Police Officers Brophy and Klein as did Cormac Wall who played a fortunate house guest of the Brewster sisters Abby and Martha and then pulled on his officer gear to play Officer O Hara.

Shane Wall and PJ Normile provided laughter and danger in equal measure as Dr Einstein (No not that Einstein) and Jonathan Brewster. Both men certainly used their own friendship to help bring these two slightly twisted characters to life.

John Dowling and Padraig O Connor played Lieutenant Rooney and Mr Witherspoon the local Superintendant and you also had Jerry O Connell playing The Reverend Dr Harper who again drew on family connections to help him as the softly spoken Reverend Dr Harper.

A word for the sisters from hell namely Abbey and Martha Brewster played by Yvonne O Keeffe Fox and Maureen Considine. These are two women you wouldn’t leave your worst enemy with. They are well versed in how to kill you off and bury the evidence as well. It’s one house this author would not enter in a hurry…

Well done to all the cast and crew for putting on two great nights in Tarbert Community Centre. It will be interesting to see what 2020 will bring for Tarbert Theatre Players….

Maurice Hartery – Limerick Man and Northampton Saints Team Manager

Maurice Hartery

Hi Maurice, It’s great to get the opportunity to speak to you about your recent move to take up the Team Manager role with Northampton Saints.

How did the move to Northampton come about ?

I saw the post advertised on Twitter said I would chance handing in my CV. Got called for an interview and got the job. It came as a surprise really but it was something I was actively looking at.

 

What role’s did you fulfil with the clubs you were involved with here at home ?

I had been manager of Thomond RFC for 4 seasons as well as Ireland clubs for 3 seasons. I also managed Munster U18 for a season and was Manager of SCT in Castletroy for 2 years.

 

When did Northampton approach you about taking on the Manager role ?

As mentioned above they didn’t approach me, I put in my CV and got called for an interview, which I did in South Africa when I was on honeymoon. When I arrived back from South Africa, they flew me over to Franklin’s Gardens to meet the relevant people.

 

Do you work closely with the coaching team including head coach Chris Boyd ?

I would work very closely with Chris, more so than the coaching team. He is an unbelievably nice man and is very laid back and easy to get on with.

 

Can you explain your role on match day ?

Most of my work is done before matchday to be honest. I’ll come in maybe 3 hours before Kick Off, make sure the dressing room is correct and everything is in order. The players will start to arrive about 1pm and from then on it’s helping them in anyway I can. The main one is ensuring that their tickets are available for collect by their family members so they aren’t receiving calls taking their focus. Once the match starts I am in charge of the technical area and making substitutions and ensuring all rules are followed.

What sort of qualifications would a professional team like Northampton look for when recruiting a member of their staff ?

Like all businesses they would be looking for the most suitable person available. There is a young staff in place right across the club which is excellent.

How have your family settled in to your new surroundings ?

I have moved over on my own for the time being. My wife flies over for all the home games or close away games. It is a massive burden on her but I will try to get back to limerick when I can later on in the year.

 

During the week, what do your day’s look like ?

During the off-season it was crazy. You could be pulled left, right and centre with small issues but now that the season has started it is more structured. I try to get in for 7.30am and from there it depends on the daily schedule. I try to get on the field for training every day if possible.

What has the reaction been like here at home when people heard you were taking up the position of Northampton Saints Team Manager ?

Shock was the main reaction. But in fairness people have been unbelievably nice with congratulations etc. castletroy college were fantastic and allowed me take the opportunity by granting me a career break.

 

What do you hope to achieve in your time with Northampton ?

Enjoy it. I can’t control any results on the pitch but working in an environment like Pro Rugby is a privilege and I am learning new things every day.

 

Lastly Maurice, For anyone who may read this and think they may want to follow in your footsteps. Have you any advice ?

Be yourself. I have had this question a lot since people heard the news but if you are doing this job you are more than likely organised and outgoing anyway. The key is just be yourself and enjoy it.

Thank you for taking the time out to chat to me Maurice. All the very best for season 2019/2020….

 

 

Ireland vs Russia WC Match 3

Ireland managed to beat Russia 35-0 after stumbling for well over 60 minutes. This win will do nothing to convince the masses of Ireland true credentials to finally make a Semi Final or even for the bravest of Irish fans a place in the World Cup Final.

The late withdrawal of Joey Carbery will also have people concerned although Jack Carty’s cameo in the 2nd 40 minutes will ease concerns over both Sexton and Carbery as Sexton was replaced at half time although kicking coach Richie Murphy has said it was a tactical change rather than an enforced change.

The hope that this game would lift the gloom after the loss to Japan was mistaken as this performance will have done little to help the squad. The lack of a Plan B was missing again today as on a few occasions when keeping the ball in hand looked to be the better option players like Andrew Conway, Rob Kearney and late on Jordan Larmour all needlessly kicked away possession when holding onto the ball and trying to attack Russia with width looked to be an easier option.

Russia for their part played very well although being niled would say it wasn’t the best day at the office but twice they had a man in the sin bin and only conceded one try over the 20 minutes they were down to 14 men.

The most concerning aspect was the real lack of imagination in attack, numerous times the ball was knocked on or lost in contact which will disappoint Joe Schmidt and the lack of imagination is again a issue there is a real sense of de ja vu with this aspect of play and we are now in a situation where there is no more time to fix this before the competition as we are 3 games into the Pool.

On the plus side Ireland did get the required 5 points to push clear at the top of the Pool and are now on 11 points with a +52 points difference and now the focus will be back on Japan when they play Samoa on Saturday morning. Japan will look to regain control of the Pool with a bonus point win that will push them onto either 13 or 14 points heading into the final round of games where Ireland face Samoa on Saturday week with Japan facing Scotland both games will be extremely interesting as to the outcome of the Pool.

For Ireland, it will be a extended break of 9 days before they play Samoa where a few players will hope that there knocks clear up with Robbie Henshaw the only member of the travelling 31 still looking for match minutes and it may also see others players join up as recently arrived Jordi Murphy may yet be on his way home depending on the severity of his rib injury. Men like Tommy O Donnell or Sean Reidy may look to dust off the passport as they may yet receive the call to head for Japan.

Here is the XV I would select to play Samoa in 9 days time. I realise players may not make it due to injury or something else cropping up over the next week and a half.

15 Andrew Conway

14 Keith Earls

13 Gary Ringrose

12 Robbie Henshaw

11 Jacob Stockdale

10 Jonathan Sexton

9 Conor Murray

8 CJ Stander

7 Josh Van Der Flier

6 Peter O Mahony

5 James Ryan

4 Iain Henderson

3 Tadgh Furlong

2 Niall Scannell

1 Cian Healy

16 Sean Cronin

17 Dave Kilcoyne

18 Andrew Porter

19 Tadgh Beirne

20 Rhys Ruddock

21 Luke Mc Grath

22 Jack Carty

23 Chris Farrell

2019 World Cup Match Day 1

Here is my XV for Ireland’s opening game of the 2019 World Cup against Scotland. I am taking into account the fact that a few of the Irish squad may not be available through injury.

15 Andrew Conway

14 Jordan Larmour

13 Gary Ringrose

12 Bundee Aki

11 Jacob Stockdale

10 Jonathan Sexton

9 Conor Murray

8 Jack Conan

7 Josh Van Der Flier

6 Peter O Mahony

5 James Ryan

4 Iain Henderson

3 Tadgh Furlong

2 Rory Best

1 Cian Healy

16 Sean Cronin

17 Dave Kilcoyne

18 Andrew Porter

19 Rhys Ruddock

20 Tadgh Beirne

21 Luke Mc Grath

22 Jack Carty

23 Chris Farrell

Here is the 23 I would select for the opening game of the 2019 World Cup for Ireland at 8.45am on Sunday morning.

Drinking at Sports Events

Last weekend I was at Ireland vs. France in the Aviva Stadium, I made my way to my seat around an hour before kickoff nothing strange with that but as kick off approached and everybody made it in time for the 3pm kickoff, and then it began the constant in and out to the bar and then in and out to the toilet.

I realise that a sports event is much more than the duration of a match or whatever the event is, people want to be entertained for the admission price alone. But if you’re going to dispatch someone out to the bar every 15 or 20 minutes to refill your glass, either stay outside or leave the Stadium altogether. There is nothing worse than having to move out of the way to let a patron in and out on multiple occasions to go and refill a glass or empty themselves of the excesses of the afternoon.

Yes I am a non drinker so will never have to wonder what it’s like to want a drink during a game. I am not for one minute complaining about parents who may need a child to the toilet but the majority over the age of 18, It is a constant stream of people and that can annoy people no end not just myself but having asked a few people this week about this situation they have all said it can be a major distraction to the given event.

I realise that people will want a drink while they watch the match but how you can enjoy anything when you’re constantly wondering when will I get my next pint, I think it is then time to decide to go to the game or just stay in the Bar. Not a big decision to make but the majority of punters would appreciate not having to nearly sit on a swivel chair and having to constantly move in and out.

I appeal to everyone to please be on time to the games and please oh please keep the movements to an absolute minimum and come and enjoy the sporting event. If you can’t keep away from the bar, just stay at home……

Ireland Vs France Review 2019

Last night Ireland tasted defeat for the 3rd time in this year’s 6 Nations campaign and off the back of the 47-17 loss, Ireland will now need to beat Wales away from home to stand any hope of finishing in 3rd place in the Championship. The game started well with Ireland replying to an early French try but Ireland got back into the game with an unconverted Ciara Griffin try. It was tit for tat for the opening 30 minutes with Ireland showing up well in close quarters and putting in a strong shift up front.

Unfortunately for Ireland they could not keep playing the game at the same pace as the French whose ball handling skills were a sight to behold when they got into the open spaces with 2018 World Player of the year nominee Jessy Tremouliere playing a key role in keeping France moving forward and moving the Irish defence around and then in turn the French scrum was rock solid and put Ireland on the back foot from the start.

For Ireland, players like captain Ciara Griffin, Claire Molloy, Sene Naoupu and Enya Breen who made her first Six Nations start at outside centre all stood up and were counted even when things were beginning to get away from Ireland in the 2nd half.

The tough questions will again be asked about the basics of taking out the player and then pass but there can be no disputing how strong France were throughout the field and even with the heavy hitting pair of Lena Corsin and Safie N’diaye not in the 23, France still had plenty to spare and they will do everything in their final home fixture and finish in 2nd spot behind England who may now go on and complete the Grand Slam against Scotland away next weekend.

For Ireland, focus will now turn to Wales away next week and the players will have a final chance to find a performance to end the Championship on a positive note.

This Championship has been mixed but one final chance at picking up a morale boosting win is still there and this week although it will be hard to keep up the positive feeling around the squad but that is just what Adam Griggs, Jeff Carter and Mike Ross will need to do and let’s hope they can take out the frustrations of the last two performances out on Wales who beat Ireland in the World Cup in 2017……

Katie Taylor – Childhood Dreams Fulfilled…

Katie – Childhood Dreams Fulfilled….

Having watched the Ross Whitaker directed film on Katie Taylor last night, I think the film did an adequate job revealing all about her life and times and yes it may not have made any new revelations about her career or personal life but it did give us an indication of the thought process with which she made the decision to go from the amateur game which yielded many World and European titles along with Olympic Gold in London in 2012 to the pro game in late 2016.

It examines the strength of her relationship both personal and professional with her father and long time coach Peter Taylor. It shows us the strong faith that she and her Mam have in God. The film reveals that it was a tweet to boxing promoter Eddie Hearn that started the ball rolling to get Katie into the pro game.

Brian Peters who is her manager, took on that job as a favour to her mother Bridget and to look after an aspect of the game that she was never comfortable dealing with and also the amateur game would not prepare you for the rigours of the professional game.

Ross Enamait, who is based in the US is her trainer and their relationship has strengthened in the few years that they have been together. We also see that Katie has re located to the US in a bid to dominate the professional fight game like she dominated the amateur ranks for well over a decade.

Since she has turned pro she has boxed in the USA in Madison Square Garden to name one venue ,Cardiff at the Principality Stadium , in London at Wembley and so on. We in Ireland may be waiting to see Katie box on home soil due to circumstances outside of the boxing world. While Ray Moylette made a return to box on home soil before Christmas although this return wasn’t successful it did herald the return of Pro boxing to these shores.

While boxing did return, the hope of Katie headlining a show on home soil does seem to be a bit of a pipe dream in the current climate. England will be the closet destination to see her live one feels. She is a legend of Irish sport with all she has achieved so far and this may continue into 2019.

A word on film maker Ross Whitaker who took on this project, he also brought the documentary on Anthony Foley to our screens. It will be interesting to see what he has planned for next time….

 

 

 

The Honey Spike

The Honey Spike

So another hugely play was staged by the Tarbert Theatre Players over two dates in Tarbert Community Centre and then over four dates in St Johns Theatre from last Thursday to last night ( Sunday) to packed houses each evening.

This play was penned by Bryan Mc Mahon and tells the story of the Claffey family from who travel from Kenmare in the South to the Giants Causeway in the North of Ireland and back to Kerry so Breda Claffey can give birth in her favoured Honey Spike ( Hospital ).

The play was directed by Mary Lavery Carrig and had a big support crew with people like Trish Griffin on lighting , Helen Enright took on the Sound department with the help of Jack Mulvihill , Eithne Griffin was in charge back stage with Maura Mc Dermott taking up a new role this year as Costume and Make up manager , the set management was controlled by Johnny Block Mulvihill and Danielle Considine. Maureen Considine played the part of MC and this author played a small role as Front Of House.

What the last few months have shown is that hard work and team work do make a winning combination and those two aspects have helped bring this play back to life. This play follows on from the staging of Diarmy a few years back.

The Cast had some new faces this year with people like James Enright , Sean Carrig and Les Pledge coming on board alongside some more familiar faces like PJ Normile , Yvonne O Keeffe Fox and Tom Stack. The Cast numbered 18 in total and that is tough to marry all the different personalities but they managed it perfectly and delivered 6 wonderful nights of entertainment to full houses.

The Tarbert Theatre Players will take a well earned break for a few months and who knows they may be back in 2019, We will just have to wait and see……

The Full Cast was :

Narrator/ Sergeant O Brien : John Dowling

Breda Claffey : Yvonne O Keeffe Fox

Martin Claffey : PJ Normile

Mickle Sherlock : Tom Stack

Poll Poll Sherlock : Priscilla Donovan

Meg Mc Cutcheon/ Traveller Women 3 : Trish Healy

Horan IRA Man : Padraig O Connor

IRA Man 1/ DickeyBird : Shane Wall

IRA Man 2 / Shone Mc Queen : Cormac Wall

British Army Officer : Les Pledge

British Army Sergeant : Sean Carrig

British Army Private : James Enright

Midland Housewife : Niamh Wall

Franciscan Monk : Gerry O Connell

Winifred Mc Queen : Noelle Mc Gibney

Michael Anthony Mollumby : Thomas Mulvihill

Traveller Women 1 : Helen Enright

Traveller Woman 2 : Angela O Connor

Support Crew :

Front Of House : Cian Mc Gibney

Set Manager : Johnny Block Mulvihill , Danielle Considine

Costume / Make Up : Maura Mc Dermott

Back Stage Manager : Eithne Griffin

Sound Manager’s: Helen Enright / Jack Mulvihill

Lighting Manager : Trish Griffin

Director/Producer : Mary Lavery Carrig

MC : Maureen Considine