The Ulster club football senior championship semi finals take place on Sunday at Healy Park in Omagh and The Athletic Grounds in Armagh respectively.
The former is the game that Donegal GAA followers and especially the people of Glenswilly will be focused on. Their opponents will be Roslea of Fermanagh while the other match sees Ballinderry of Derry and Kilcoo from Down do battle for a place in the Ulster Final.
As mentioned last week, I am not too familiar with the Roslea team except that I know that Peter McGinnity is their manager and that they beat Ballinagh in their previous game.
I knew a lad from Roslea one time who worked in a hotel with me in a different life. He was a massive Big Tom fan. I checked him (not Thomas Mor) for being late one morning for his shift. I said to him that he should have started at 7am not 7.30am. He told me had been to a Big Tom concert in Monaghan the previous night.
Who could blame him for being late? If I would have been to a Big Tom concert I would have stayed in bed all day!
So that’s my total knowledge about Roslea. I’m sure that our Democrat GAA correspondents will give you an in-depth synopsis on the Roslea GAA team.
I’m still wholeheartedly behind the Glenswilly men. I have a quota of permitted space so let’s move on to something less tedious. I just want to see Glenswilly win. I believe that there will only be a kick of the ball between the two teams which should be an absorbing contest.
The other game between Ballinderry and Kilcoo will also be a keenly contested game. On paper, these two teams seem to be much stronger than the aforementioned Glenswilly and Roslea. Games are not won on paper though. Kilcoo beat Crossmaglen who were chasing their fourth Ulster title in a row.
Ballinderry, for their part, are former Ulster champions and beat another formidable team, Scotstown, in the Ulster Quarter final.
If Glenswilly do succeed then they will face strong opponents. Kilcoo, who had to beat Crossmaglen in a replay and after extra time, may suffer the consequences of such a heavy schedule. Ballinderry will surely fancy their chances. Hopefully they, too, will tire in the process leaving Glenswilly or Roslea with a great chance of winning the Ulster title. It’s all to play for as they say.
There was a very touching documentary on RTE One last Thursday evening (Part 1) about Aine Lawlor, the broadcaster, who talked candidly about her illness, ‘Facing Cancer’. The second instalment airs tonight. I’m sure that we all know someone who has had or has cancer. It’s a topic we do not like talking about because it scares us.
One has to admire these people who face the cameras to open their hearts and pour out their souls to viewers.
Majella O’Donnell had her head shaved live on the Late Late Show to raise money and create awareness about cancer. John Hartson and Stiliyan Petrov, both former Celtic players, are also high profile personalities who have helped to create awareness. My late father passed away due to cancer. It was slow, sometimes painful and very difficult for our family to watch such a strong man dwindle in appearance, but never in spirit, to such a debilitating disease.
New drugs are always emerging in an effort to fix cancer but as yet no cure has been found.
I often sit at my laptop with an empty head and pondering the content of my column. Today, I didn’t have such a void. Since watching the documentary last week about Aine Lawlor, the subject hasn’t escaped my mind. She describes her treatment as “brutal”. She was born in 1961, the same age as this writer.
“A lot of people don’t like getting older. I love getting older . . . I want to see all those things that show I have lived a life,” she said in an ‘RTE Guide’ interview.
She said she now looks forward to growing old. Perhaps today you will spare a thought for those who do not have a high profile, those who have not lived a full life or those who suffer alone and sometimes abandoned by ‘friends’ who do not know how to deal with the illness or what to say to the sufferer. Since I was a boy I watched heroes emerge through sporting greatness. As we grow older, life becomes more difficult and we change our perspectives. The real heroes and heroines are those who endure those terrible illnesses such as cancer. I alluded to my father’s great spirit in suffering. He was happy to go for he knew he had lived a long life and fulfilled much of what he set out to achieve but, most of all he had a great faith. St. Peregrine is the Saint for cancer. Perhaps today, you will have a word with him. Thank you.