Life is a process and every day people pass away causing heartache and sadness while others come into this world bringing joy and happiness. Last Friday 26th October a man called Hughie McDermott from Ballybofey ran his final race. I met Hughie in Jackson’s Leisure Centre many years ago. He was in retirement but living life to the full. I know his family quite well, especially Gerard who co-managed McCumhaill’s senior football team with me a few years back.
Hughie was a sportsman through and through. He was involved with the Finn Valley Athletic club at a time. He loved all sports but his main priority was Finn Harps. He and I used to be on two treadmills side by side in Jackson’s gym. We talked incessantly about sports and politics. He had a hearty laugh and Hughie always could see the bright side of life. He was a great inspiration for me and must have been an even greater inspiration for his family.
I would like to offer my sincerest sympathy to his daughter Rosemary and his sons Gerard, Pauric, Pearse, Fergal, Ronan and to his extended family. May he R.I.P.
Tir Chonaill Gaels won their 17th London senior football championship in Ruislip last Sunday after a replay against holders Fulham Irish. They now go on to face Roscommon’s Clanna Gael in Hyde Park on November 4th. London and especially Ruislip is a favourite stomping ground of mine. I am particularly pleased for Glen’s Seamus Carr and Tiny Vaughan from Downings who were more than good to me when I visited London for my book launch in December 2016. Apparently, it was Tir Chonaill Gaels’ home-grown players who did the damage in last Sunday’s final. Liam Gavaghan, Killian Butler and Ryan Elliott, a trio of London-born players scored a combined total of fourteen points.
I know that this paper, the Donegal Democrat, is widely read in the Irish and particularly Donegal communities in and around London. Winning a senior championship is a major boost for any club but particularly in London where players are living and working in a foreign land. Many Irish families emigrated decades ago and London is now home. Friendships have been forged with other Irish people. The GAA remains the strongest social outlet for the Irish in London and it is particularly pleasing for Donegal people to have such a strong club in Tir Chonaill Gaels. The club has represented those of us at home for a long time now and must be congratulated on their great victory last Sunday and for keeping the Donegal flag flying.
You have to forgive me if I have been remiss about GAA matters in recent weeks. My weekends have been taken up with all things wedding related. If the week started with the sad news about a friend’s passing then it will end with a happy occasion. Donna, my eldest daughter will get married tomorrow Friday. It’s the first for me and I’m looking forward to it immensely. The ceremony and celebrations will take place in Sligo. I have been very much a hands-on father of the bride in the preparations for the big event. To be honest, I didn’t have a choice. However, it has all been very enjoyable and exciting. It’s not every day that a father’s daughter walks down the aisle. Donna’s husband to be is called Rob. He will be mortified when he reads this but, I have to give him a mention. Rob from Claregalway is reserved and carries a modest temperament. A few years ago, he came to Donegal to meet the Fockers. Unlike Robert de Niro in the film, I didn’t interrogate Rob. I found him to be respectful and mannerly. Well, welcome to the Reid household Rob!
As for Donna, she has put a lot of work into ensuring that the wedding is an enjoyable event for the families and friends. If I forget to mention on the day how fortunate that Rob is to marry my daughter, then I better mention it now. You are a very lucky man Rob! My favourite wedding speech is the one that the comedian Brendan Grace does during his show. He thanks everybody for the wedding presents except two people who didn’t and he says that he won’t mention names. “But they are the two who got no dinner here today”, he continues.
It’s so much easier to write about a joyful event. Too often, I find myself discussing negative aspects of society. Family and marriage are the cornerstones of society but our socialist politicians and elitist intellectuals are pandering to the Eurocrats in Brussels whose objective is to destroy the family. But, I’m not going there today. I read a beautiful quote about marriage recently by a man called Dave Willis which goes: “Marriage is a sacred bond between two imperfect people made possible by a perfect God, and held together with limitless love, unshakable faith and undying devotion to one another”.
Keep the faith!