Friday, 23 September 2011
It's five days since Dublin won the Sam Maguire Cup and I'm still smiling. Indeed I've never seen so many people with smiles on their faces as I did last Sunday.
The celebrations went late into the night and there was another session the next day in the local GAA club in Clondalkin and at the homecoming event in Merrion Square.
It'll take me a bit to explain why Dubliners are so delighted with this victory.
The first one is that we haven't won the All Ireland in 16 years. But even in 1995 and the time before that in 1983 the victories were controversial and left a bit of a sour taste.
In 1983 three Dublin players were sent off, Brian Mullins for elbowing a Galway player in the head and Ciarán Duff for kicking another in the head. Depending on where you were from the players became known as the the 12 Apostles or the Dirty Dozen. I'm not sure when the 'Dirty Dubs' tag got attached to the county but it's been around for as long as I remember and I'm sure that game added a lot to it.
In the 1995 final Charlie Redmond was sent off for headbutting a Tyrone player, but managed to stay on the pitch for a few minutes in one of the most bizarre episodes in GAA history. This incident led to the introduction of yellow and red cards in the games. The awarding of a free out against Peter Canavan in the dying minutes of the game as Tyrone were about the equalize and the accusations that the referee had favoured Dublin also cast a shadow over the victory.
Even though the Dubs did win in 1995, that team should have won at least two other All-Irelands, but they never lived up to their potential. They could and should have won all of the four games against Meath in 1991 but failed on each occasion.
Since then bad luck and nerves have plagued the Dublin team. Look at the record at this link to see what I mean.
In the past ten years there was the epic draw against Kerry in Thurles after we were ten points down, the free kick in the last minute that came off the post against Armagh in 2002, the physical pressure we buckled to against the same team next year, the eight point lead we lost against Mayo in 2006, the shameful capitulations against Tyrone and Kerry in 2008 and 2009, and the one point loss against Cork last year.
One of the best things about the win this year is that it was against Kerry, the team that has gotten the better of us eight times since 1977.
They destroyed Dublin in 1978 and 79 and made a laughing stock out of Paddy Cullen in 1978.
They were the better team in 1984 and 1985 but Dublin were unlucky in 2001. They were the better team again in 2004 and 2007, but you can't fault Dublin's great effort in the latter year.
The worst loss came two years ago. After Tyrone had trounced us in 2008 the team looked like it had recovered and were favourites to win against a Kerry team that was playing terribly that season.
Dublin totally bottled it however, and lost by 17 points.
Pat Gilroy was in charge of that team, and things didn't improve at all at the start of the 2010 Championship. The games against Wexford, Meath and Tipp were the worst performances by a Dublin team I'd ever seen. I was just hoping that my fears about Gilroy's management were wrong (thankfully they were).
I was so despondent about the team that I was almost ready not to go to the next game against Armagh. One of the things that persuaded me to go was the fact that the Dublin hurlers were playing Antrim beforehand, so I was thinking that we'd at least have one victory to celebrate.
Then the hurlers threw away a comfortable lead and lost in the last minute! The time between the end of that game and the victory over Armagh was the darkest in the entire time I've been following the Dubs.
Now I'm going to forget about all that heartbreak!
Last Sunday the Dubs did things they hadn't done for many many years. They beat Kerry, they won a game that was slipping away from them and they showed incredible bravery and composure. The dramatic manor of the victory only adds to the celebrations.
I used to watch clips on Youtube from the 1977 victory over Kerry every so often, but now we have a successor. I've watched the glorious last nine minutes of the 2011 final on the RTÉ Player a few times since Monday, and I might just watch it a few more times in the future.
As well as that I've been watching clips of the last minute of the game, some of which are below. Fans from counties who haven't succeeded on the big day like Mayo and Kildare can take some inspiration from them, for the Dubs...enjoy!
Thursday, 22 September 2011
Tá sé ceithre lá ó bhuaigh Baile Átha Cliath Corn Sam Maguire agus tá an meangadh gáire fós ar m'aghaidh. Go deimhin féin ní fhaca mé an méid sin daoine le meangadh gáire ar a n-aghaidheanna is a chonaic Dé Domhnaigh seo caite.
Bhí oíche go maidin ann dar ndóigh agus seisiún mór eile Dé Luain sa chumann peile áitiúil i gCluain Dolcáin agus ag an ócáid don fhoireann i lár na cathrach. Tógfaidh sé píosa dom míniú cén fáth go bhfuil muintir Bhaile Átha Cliath ag baint an méid seo sonais as an mbua.
An chéad cheann ná nár bhuaigh muid Craobh Uile-Éireann le 16 bliain. Fiú in 1995 agus an uair roimhe sin in 1983 bhí na buanna a fuair muid an-chonspóideach.
In 1983 cuireadh triúr imreoir de chuid Bhaile Átha Cliath den pháirc, Brian Mullins as buile a thabhairt d'imreoir Gailleamhach lena uilleann agus Ciaran Duff as cic sa cheann a thabhairt do dhuine eile. An 12 Aspal nó the Dirty Dozen a ghlaodh orthu ina dhiaidh, agus d'fhan an leas ainm na 'Dirty Dubs' leis an gcontae ar feadh na mblianta.
Sa chluiche ceannais in 1995 d'fhan Charlie Redmond ar an bpáirc ar feadh cúpla nóiméad tar éis gur chuir an réiteoir é den pháirc agus bhí raic ann faoin gcic amach a bhronnadh in aghaidh réalta Thír Eoghain, Peter Canavan, ag deireadh an chluiche. Droch-chluiche amach is amach a bhí ann.
Cé gur éirigh leo an corn a bhaint in 1995, ba cheart don fhoireann sin ar an laghad dhá chraobh eile a bhuachan, ach theip orthu ar an lá mór. Bhí an-deis acu sa cheithre chluiche a bhí acu in éadan na Mí in 1991 ach theip orthu an bua a chinntiú gach uair.
Idir an dá linn bhí idir mhí-ádh agus néirbhísí ag cur isteach ar an bhfoireann sa chraobh. Breathnaigh ar an taifead sa nasc seo le cur síos cuimsitheach a fháil ar an méid atá á rá agam.
Le deich mbliana anuas bhí an comhscór i nDurlas Éile in 2001, tar éis dúinn teacht ar ais ó bheith deich gcúilín taobh thiar de Chiarraí, an liathróid a bhuail in aghaidh an phosta in éadan Ard Mhacha in 2002, an géilleadh a rinne muid don fhoireann chéanna in 2003, an farasbar ocht gcúilín a chaill muid in aghaidh Mhaigh Eo in 2006, na cailliúntí náireacha in éadan Tír Eoghain agus Ciarraí in 2008 agus 2009 faoi seach agus an chailliúnt aon phointe in éadan Chorcaí anuraidh.
Ceann de na rudaí is fearr faoin mbua i mbliana ná go ndearna muid é in éadan Ciarraí. Bhí an ceann is fearr faighte ag an Ríocht ar Bhaile Átha Cliath ocht n-uaire ó 1977.
Rinne siad sléacht ar Bhaile Átha Cliath in 1978 agus 79, agus ceap magaidh de Paddy Cullen in 1978.
B'iad an fhoireann is fearr in 1984 agus 1985 ach bhí mí-ádh orainn in 2001. B'iad an fhoireann is fearr in 2004 agus 2007, cé go ndearna Baile Átha Cliath traen iarrachta in 2007.
Tharla an chailliúnt is measa dhá bhliain ó shin. Tar éis do Thír Eoghain ár a dhéanamh orainn in 2008 bhí an fhoireann ar ais ar a shean léim arís agus iad mar rogha na coitiantachta in aghaidh Chiarraí, a d'imir go dona sa chraobh go dtí sin. Ghéill Baile Átha Cliath sa chluiche áfach, agus bhí 17 cúilín le spáráil ag an Ríocht ag an deireadh.
Bhí Pat Gilroy i gceannas don chluiche sin, agus níor tháinig aon leigheas ar chúrsaí ag tús na craoibhe in 2010. Ba iad na cluichí in aghaidh Loch Garman, na Mí agus Tiobraid Árainn na taispéantais is measa a chonaic mé riamh.
Bhí an méid sin lagmhisneach orm go raibh drogall orm dul chuig an gcéad chluiche eile in aghaidh Ard Mhacha - ceann de na fáthanna go ndeachaigh mé ná go raibh iománaithe Bhaile Átha Cliath ag imirt roimh na peileadóirí, agus bhí mé ag ceapadh go mbeadh bua san iomáint le ceiliúradh againn ar a laghad agus nach cur amú iomlán a bheadh sa lá.
Ansin chaill na hiomáinithe in aghaidh Aontroma sa nóiméad deireanach!
Anois táim chun dearmad a dhéanamh faoin gcrá croí sin ar fad! Dé Domhnaigh seo caite rinne Baile Átha Cliath rudaí nach raibh déanta acu le blianta blianta fada. Fuair siad an ceann is fearr ar Chiarraí, bhuaigh siad cluiche a bhí ag sleamhnú uathu, agus léirigh siad crógacht agus stuaim dochreidte.
Tráth dá raibh bhreathnaigh mé ar sean-fhíséain ón gcluiche cáiliúil idir Baile Átha Cliath agus Ciarraí in 1977, ach tá a chomharba againn anois. Tá an naoi nóiméid draíochta de Chluiche Ceannais 2011 feicthe agam iliomad uair ar an RTÉ Player ón Luan seo caite ar aghaidh, agus táim ag ceapadh go mbreathnóidh mé air anois agus arís amach anseo.
Mar aon le sin bhreathnaigh mé ar na físéain den nóiméad deireanach ar Youtube, tá roinnt acu le feicéail thíos. Do na contaetha nár éirigh leo ar an lá mór ar nós Mhaigh Eo agus Chill Dara - bainigí ionspioráid astú, do lucht Bhaile Átha Cliath - bainigí sult astú!
Monday, 5 September 2011
Revelations about the hundreds of thousands of euros spent by Anglo Irish Bank on parties, corporate gifts and golf outings in the months before they were bailed out will rightly infuriate the public.
The actions of the Anglo Irish bosses and the recent statements by Bertie Ahern show the level of delusion that plagued Ireland's Celtic Tiger elite.
As bad as this waste of money by Anglo Irish was, the wider picture of what has happened in the last few years is even more shocking.
Consider this; Over 12 million people are threatened by famine in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Djibouti. The US estimates that 30,000 children have died so far. The UN says 750,000 people could die in Somalia. Ten children are dying every day in one refugee camp alone.
The UN is seeking $2.4 billion in total to deal with this humanitarian disaster. $2.4 billion, or €1.68 billion. The Irish people have pledged over 17 times that amount to Anglo Irish Bank. As of 2nd September, €1 billion has been pledged to the relief fund, leaving just €675 million to go, or one 43rd of the Anglo Irish bailout.
Unlike the tens of billions we are giving Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Bank, none of the €29 billion going to Anglo Irish is to recapitalise it, to enable it to continue operating and lending to businesses and households. The bank will be closed and the money is going into a black hole to cover bond debts run up by Anglo Irish.
The reason we have to do this is that the rules of international finance have been fixed so that senior bank bonds must be repaid in full or the entire global economic system will collapse, apparently.
At this stage we still don't know how much the banks are going to cost us. The margin of error in the predicting the final bill isn't in the millions or even the billions, it's in the tens of billions, with estimates going from €70 billion to €100 billion.
Given the amounts involved in the bailout, and the number of lives that would be saved, €675 million is virtually nothing. The Irish government could cover the remaining money needed by the UN to deal with the African famine.
If we're going to bailout the richest people in the world to the tune of €70,000 million or more, there should be no problem with coming up with another €675 million to save some of the poorest people on earth from starving to death.