Some Articles and Reviews

Some Articles and Reviews

I’ve been neglecting my blog lately.

Instead, I’ve been finishing off a crime novel. Honestly.

I’ve also been writing some book reviews and sport-related pieces for The Irish Examiner.

Here’s the proof (I haven’t been slacking), in reverse chronological order. Continue reading “Some Articles and Reviews”

What I Feel when I’m on The Pilgrim Path to Croke Park

What I Feel when I’m on The Pilgrim Path to Croke Park

All of the 71,000 souls who took the pilgrim path to Croke Park yesterday to live the moment in Limerick’s exquisite win over Cork experienced a scatter of emotions. Not just those who travelled, either – but hundreds of thousands of others who watched or listened in. Here are some of mine before the game.

A sense of intention, of purpose, when I wake in the holiday home five minutes before 6am. Up and at ‘em. Here we go, here we go, here we go, and all that. Mount Brandon is stretching itself up into clouds, as it usually does. The gate leaves a creaky grumble when I free the latch. The water on Smerwick Harbour is a slate grey, waves flecking the surface. Continue reading “What I Feel when I’m on The Pilgrim Path to Croke Park”

To Win Just Once – The Game Is On

To Win Just Once – The Game Is On

So, anyway, I wrote this book. I got down off the ditch and into the game. Great view from the ditch, you can hold forth in high judgement and you can hide there, in the crowd. Not easy being inside the white lines, against tough opposition, making a show of yourself with everybody looking at you. Nowhere to hide. But I did it, anyway. Continue reading “To Win Just Once – The Game Is On”

Admiration, Wonder, Joy.

Admiration, Wonder, Joy.

Sport is about emotion. I’ve said this before. Other things too, but mostly emotion. And sometimes the emotions aren’t good but we seek them out anyway. We make ourselves vulnerable to them, we put ourselves out there. We let ourselves be open and exposed. Not a common stance for men. We stick our unprotected heads above the parapet in the full knowledge we could get our blocks knocked off. Continue reading “Admiration, Wonder, Joy.”

A Child Watches Cork Play Limerick in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, June 2018

A Child Watches Cork Play Limerick in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, June 2018

Cork are playing Limerick. It’s your first time in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Your cousin Sean was there before, and for the Clare match too, but he’s seven and you’re only six.

Your friend Conor is coming too. He’s the best hurler in your class but you’re faster at running.

You spend the whole day pucking your sliotar against the wall of the house, scoring goals for Cork. You can’t wait for half-past four, that’s when your dad said ye’ll be leaving. You run into the house loads of times to check the kitchen clock. Continue reading “A Child Watches Cork Play Limerick in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, June 2018”

An Emigrant Watches Clare Play Cork in Hurling

An Emigrant Watches Clare Play Cork in Hurling

I watched the Clare Cork match on Sunday (May 22, 2018) in an unlikely place, in the town of Cherokee, North Carolina, near the Tennessee border. We’re on holiday down South and we’ve come to walk in the Smoky Mountains and drive up The Blue Ridge Parkway.

And, sitting here in this Welcome Centre, so far from home and Páirc Uí Chaoimh, I’m struggling with that familiar feeling of guilt when I’m not around to cheer Cork on. As if my presence in the Páirc today would make one iota of difference today among 25,000 others, but that’s just how it is. I’m struggling too with GAAGO’s intermittent signal, and I’m thinking of Irish emigrants all over the world, for many of whom this is a regular summer Sunday experience.

I imagine Cillian, a young Clareman in Melbourne, Australia. Continue reading “An Emigrant Watches Clare Play Cork in Hurling”

Sporting Emotions at the Páirc Uí Chaoimh Official Opening

Sporting Emotions at the Páirc Uí Chaoimh Official Opening

Sport is all about emotion. It’s why we watch it and participate in it. And yesterday, on the day of the official opening of the new Páirc Uí Chaoimh – on the day too when the Cork senior hurling and football county finals were decided – there were many emotions for those lucky enough to be present and experience them.

My first time going to the new Páirc was in July when Waterford and Wexford played in the All-Ireland hurling quarter-final and on that day, when I turned the corner of Maryville to walk down that familiar hill to the ground, I felt pride. It was a kind of Cork pride too, since I was among Wexicans and Waterfordians. This is ours, it’s special, and here you are visiting – enjoy. Continue reading “Sporting Emotions at the Páirc Uí Chaoimh Official Opening”