For those of us with an interest in sport – any sport – these aren’t easy days. We’re all trying to fill that great big hole in our lives that sport normally occupies and I can’t imagine any of us are finding it easy to do this. I know I’m not.
At times, I almost forget that the blog is here at all. It’s like we’ve been transported to another world, a less carefree one, from which frivolous pastimes like sport have been banished altogether. Inevitably, thoughts about sport get pushed into the background, with thoughts about the blog frequently shoved in the same direction too.
I’ve been meaning for a while to do a post pointing to links of things that might be of interest but it’s kept slipping my mind to do this. I remembered again earlier this evening so I decided to bite the bullet before I had the chance to forget it again.
This is just a jumble of things, some of which you may be interested in, others maybe not, but there should be a few things in there to gnaw on as this increasingly tedious – and worrisome – period continues to grind on.
Right, then, here goes.
First up, you may have heard about Chris O’Grady’s quest to walk the distance from Churchtown in Dublin to his native Louisburgh. As a septuagenarian, Chris is cocooned right now but, using his back garden, he’s walking the 267km distance between the two locations and he’s doing it in aid of Cystic Fibrosis Ireland.
According to his Twitter account, Chris is overnighting at the minute near Longford and he expects to be making a virtual Shannon crossing tomorrow. More power to him.
If you want to support Chris on his sponsored walk to the west, you can do so here.
Next, another heartwarming story.
Hot on the heels of being featured on TG4’s Laochra Gael, David Brady has launched an initiative called DB Talks. This is a simple idea but one that packs a real punch as David has offered to chat on the phone to any GAA person in Ireland or across the world who could do with a bit of company in these strange and stressful times.
Dozens of people have taken him up on the offer already, as he explained to Off The Ball the other morning – you can listen to this podcast here. Even better, ex-Dublin star Alan Brogan saw on Twitter what DB was up to and he said he’d be happy to do the same. Malachy Clerkin has a piece in the Irish Times on that – it’s here.
Speaking of the Irish Times, Seán Moran had a good article last week about how we wuz robbed in 1925 of what would have been our first ever All-Ireland title – that’s here. Galway doyen Jim Carney is quoted in the piece as saying that we, not his native county, should be chalked down as that year’s Championship winners. I agree with Jim.
While we’re on the topic of Championships of yesteryear, you might be interested in rummaging through the GAA’s digital archive of past matches. This features footage stretching back to 1961 and for many of these years you can access the full matches in both hurling and football deciders, as well as some club finals.
Three more memories from the past, two GAA-related, the other not.
First, there’s Mike Finnerty’s piece in this week’s Mayo News looking back on Crossmolina’s All-Ireland club title success in 2001 – that’s here. By the way, there’s plenty more in this week’s edition of the paper (digital and paper variants), including a cracking feature piece by the great Seán Rice on the classic 1966 Connacht final between ourselves and Galway.
Next, there was an interesting article the other week by James Laffey in the Western People about the horse with Mayo connections who came close to winning the Aintree Grand National in 1947. You guessed it, though – he came in second. That one, which also features some fascinating Pathé newsreel of the race itself is here.
Finally, inevitably it seems, we end up circling all the way back to the coronavirus. Fr. Tom Scully, who trained the Offaly team that came from nowhere to reach the 1969 All-Ireland final, died earlier this month just short of ninety years of age due to Covid-related complications. Paul Rouse’s wonderful tribute piece in the Irish Examiner is here.