All curses are off!

After Irish victory over All Blacks, no excuses for Mayo

All curses are off!

After one-hundred and eleven years of trying to beat the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team, Ireland finally made the break-through last Saturday afternoon in Chicago. It is ironic that this superb victory took place in the city where their own baseball team, The Chicago Cubs smashed a 71-year curse by winning the World Series last Thursday 3rd November.

So, the Mayo Gaelic footballers have a chance to lift Sam after all. The Chicago baseball team was apparently jinxed by the curse of a goat for over seven decades until last week. The supposed curse on the Mayo team can now be put to bed as an excuse for failing so often in All-Ireland senior football finals in recent years.

More locally and especially in the Glenties, the Kilcar senior team lifted the Democrat Cup and league title after beating Naomh Conaill last Sunday afternoon. This will make help ease the pain for the in-through men after their surprise defeat to Glenswilly in the Championship final. It would be remiss of me not to mention Kilcar’s latest All-Star winner Ryan McHugh. Ryan deservedly won his All-Star after a brilliant year for Donegal. Not only is Ryan a great footballer, he is more importantly a great lad in all respects. He is a credit to his family and to himself. Well done Ryan.

Apparently, there was a ‘coming together’ of players from both Kilcar and Glenties near the end of this game. We will have to await the referee’s report to find out what damage was done and find what punishment will ensue.

I went to Convoy to watch the county U-16 final between St. Eunan’s and McCumhaill’s last Sunday. The Letterkenny youngsters proved too strong for their opponents and ran out eventual winners by eleven points. One couldn’t but be impressed by the high standard of football served out by a very strong and balanced St. Eunan’s team.

From a Finn Valley perspective, it was great to see the Twin Towns team competing at this level. I know that a lot of work has gone into under-age teams in the McCumhaill’s club and I’m sure that they will contest many more finals in the future. It was difficult to single out players on this St. Eunan’s team because they were so powerful in all sectors of the pitch but I did enquire about the number 15 on the Letterkenny team and I was surprised to learn that he was a son of Ciaran O’Donnell, alias ‘Duck’. The young duck is certainly one for the future. He impressed me greatly with his pace, accuracy, technical skills and especially his ability to kick with both feet.

St. Eunan’s are dominating the underage competitions in the county having contested the U-13, U-14, U-16 and minor finals. Their future at senior level looks secure with an abundance of talent on the horizon.

I would like to express my thanks and appreciation to those who have sent me messages regarding my biography ‘Confessions of a Gaelic Footballer’ just launched recently. I met a gentleman in a shop in Ballybofey this week who said “there’s something in it for everyone”. That was my intention. A lady stopped me in my local village at The Cross recently and suggested that we were the same age because of the stories I told about Dromore N.S. I did not want to offend her but, she is older than I am, not that it matters! It was just that I was sent to primary school at a very young age to be kept out of my mother’s way.

Another lady obviously feeling nostalgic hugged me as a came out of the butcher’s and said that she cried when she read about my parents. “Reading the book has brought back so many happy memories” she enthused. I am genuinely so grateful for the kind remarks. Many people have told me that they laughed heartily at some of my stories.

Most people though, are genuinely taken aback by the mental health issues which I dealt with as a young man. Believe me, there are many people in despair and without hope out there. We rarely hear about them because of many factors. People do not like to admit that they are struggling because they think that others will perceive their illness as a weakness. Young men especially who are in trouble mentally, like to pretend that everything is well with them. Perhaps they are married or in a relationship and do not want to burden their spouse or partner.

Depression does not discriminate. All types of people from differing backgrounds can be affected. It is no coincidence that I have linked my autobiography to Pieta House. Please open their website and learn what they do. I’m sure that everyone knows someone who has lost hope or who is struggling with life. I urge you to be proactive and do something to help.

Thank you.