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”

Why are Writers So Happy?

Why are Writers So Happy?

The question was ironic. The questioner was commenting on the subject matter of the three readings at the Cork International Short Story Festival at Cork City Library, one of which was by me. The event was showcasing the Smoke in The Rain Anthology, the 2017 From the Well Short Story Competition, organised by Cork County Libraries and Arts Service and it was very kind of The Munster Literature Centre to do so.

In fairness my story was probably the darkest, but Mary Rose’s wasn’t all sugar and spice either. Anne’s was a bit more uplifting, about a boy coming to terms with his grief after his father’s death – yeah, I know, says a lot about the others doesn’t it? Continue reading “Why are Writers So Happy?”

On Watching Waterford v Wexford in the New Páirc

On Watching Waterford v Wexford in the New Páirc

I was trying to remember the last time I was in the Blackrock End and I think it was back in the heyday of the Clare v Tipp battles. Those heady days when Clare were a mighty force on the wane and Tipperary were trying to recreate the vigour they used to exude in the early 90s. Maybe 2003. Continue reading “On Watching Waterford v Wexford in the New Páirc”

Cork v Tipperary Part 2   We kept the faith.

Cork v Tipperary Part 2   We kept the faith.

Reader, I cried.

Cop yourself on, says I, it’s only a bloody a match and it’s only a quarter-final, we won nothing. Then I looked over at Martin and a fine big tear dropped out of his eye onto his cheek and I thought, yes, why not? Why not cry after that experience, that communion, that transportation. Continue reading “Cork v Tipperary Part 2   We kept the faith.”

Cork v. Tipperary Part 1 – We keep the faith.

Cork v. Tipperary Part 1 – We keep the faith.

I wrote the piece below in early February, on the day of the first match of the year.

This morning, three months later, we make our way to Thurles to do battle with our great old enemy in their lair. We’re not confident, how hard is that for a Cork person to say, but we’re not. This Tipp forward line is something else, and those Mahers…

Anyhow, now it’s May, not February. It’s warm, not cold. The sod is firm, not soft. And there’s a lot more at stake. It’s championship. There will be blood. Continue reading “Cork v. Tipperary Part 1 – We keep the faith.”