Wednesday, June 28, 2006

In yesterdays (27/06/06) Irish Independent GAA journalist Martin Breheny puts forward an argument that last weekend, attendance wise, and thus in terms of popularity, the GAA took on the World Cup and won. To illustrate his point Breheny states that the attendance figure in the Dublin-Laois Lenister Football semi final was 67,790, this he quite correctly states was 1,790 more than attended the second round World Cup clash between Germany-Sweden which took place in Munich the same day. Next Breheny quotes attendance figures for the clash of Cork and Tipperary in the Munster hurling final in Thurles. According to his argument 1,286 more people attended the match in Thurles than attended the England-Ecuador game in Stuttgart. Now lets examine the facts.

Both World Cup games which took place over the weekend were sold out to capacity crowds of 66,000 and 52,000 in Munich and Stuttgart respectively, with tens of thousands supporters outside each stadium with cash in hand crying out for tickets but unable to purchase same, the reason being that the stadiums in both Munch and Stuttgart were full to capacity. Does Martin Breheny honesty mean to tell us that if the capacity of both stadiums was raised by 20,0000 that supporters couldn't be persuaded to come in off the streets of Munich and Stuttgart and attend the matches?

Incredibly Breheny also states that the 67,790 that attended the Dublin-Laois match was possibly the largest crowd in the World that attended a sports fixture that weekend. Given the fact that most major field games, which are played on a global basis, are in their close season means the GAA didn't really have much competition. That Martin Breheny seems to have overlooked this fact says an awful lot. Quite a pathetic and risible line of argument you have there Mr. Breheny.

Overall, Martin Breheny, fine sports journalist that he is, makes a rather fatuous argument. The only reason that Croke Park had 1,790 people more in attendance than were at the match in Munich can be put in concrete terms in that Croke Park's capacity is greater than the Allianz Arena in Munich. If he thinks that a World Cup match in Germany between Germany and any other opposition couldn't fill any stadium with a capacity in excess of 80,000 plus then Martin Breheny is living in cloud cuckoo land.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

This morning I learned an invaluable lesson, never argue with your boss about the World cup, he's always right.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The poem below is entitled "Written in Northampton County Asylum" and is written by John Clare (1793 - 1864).

Written in Northampton County Asylum

I am! yet what I am who cares, or knows?
My friends forsake me like a memory lost.
I am the self-consumer of my woes;
They rise and vanish, an oblivious host,
Shadows of life, whose very soul is lost.
And yet I am—I live—though I am toss’d

Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking dream,
Where there is neither sense of life, nor joys,
But the huge shipwreck of my own esteem
And all that’s dear. Even those I loved the best
Are strange—nay, they are stranger than the rest.

I long for scenes where man has never trod—
For scenes where woman never smiled or wept—
There to abide with my Creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept,
Full of high thoughts, unborn. So let me lie,—
The grass below; above, the vaulted sky.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Here’s a poem by Bosnian poet Izet Sarajlić and is entitled “My Sojourn in Istanbul”. It comes from the anthology, "Scar On The Stones, Contemporary Poetry From Bosnia", edited by Chris Agee. More poems from this anthology to hopefully follow in the near future.

My Sojourn in Istanbul

There are several versions
of my sojourn in Istanbul

According to one,
It was a sojourn of a serious political nature.

According to another one,
it had to do with one of my sentimental novels.

In the third version,
even the selling of drugs is mentioned.

The fact that I’ve never been to Istanbul
did not interest anyone, of course.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Royal Hibernian Academy in Ely Place, Dublin is currently holding its 176th Annual Exhibition. The exhibition will run until July 8th. One of the pieces in the exhibit is entitled “Fatima Mansions, Gone But Not Forgotten #1” by our old friend Chris Maguire. Well done! Big Smile Chris, Big Smile!

Friday, June 09, 2006


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Patrick O'Connell, (pictured left) was born in Dublin in 1887. He began his senior football playing career with Belfast Celtic, playing in the position of full back. In 1908 he joined Sheffield Wednesday and spent four seasons there before joining Hull City in 1912. In this period he played five times for Ireland captaining them in the process.

O'Connell spent one season (1914/15) at Manchester United before signing for Leyton Orient in April 1915. With the First World War raging at the time, football was not the peoples top priority and O'Connell's career was thus effected. He made guest appearances as a player for Rochdale and Chesterfield. After the war he joined Dumbarton before joining Ashington AFC in 1920 for whom he payed till 1922. During his second season at Ashington he was appointed player coach.

In 1922 O'Connell travelled to Spain where he managed Racing Santander where he was to remain till 1929. Untill 1928 football in Spain was based on a regional basis and in this time Raing Santander under O'Connell won the Campeonato de Cantabria on five occasions. It was during his final year as manager in 1929 that Racing Santander joined the newly formed Spanish League.

O'Connell took over as manager of Real Betis in 1932 and in 1935 led them to their first and thus far only Spanish League title. Barcelona appointed O'Connell as manager in the 1935-36 season. Under O'Connell, Barcelona finished runners up in the cup.

With the outbreak of the Spanish Civil war national football activities were suspended in Spain. O'Connell at the time the civil war commenced was in Ireland and immediately returned to Spain to ensure the safeguarding of his team. It was decided by the club directors that in order to safeguard the players and raise some badly needed cash that Barcelona should tour the Ameiricas. So in 1937 O'Connell took his players on tour to Mexico and the United States. Many players took advantage of this situation and opted to remain in Mexico rather than return to war ravaged Spain. By the time O'Connell did returned to Spain only four players remained of the remaining touring party remained.

With war still ongoing in Spain football continued at a local level and Barcelona won the Camiopnat de Catalunya in 1935-36 and 1937-38. O'Connell also led the club to further glory in La Liga del Mediterraneo in 1937, which at the time replaced the Spanish National League.

The final managerial posts for O'Connell were at Sevilla between 1943-45 and Racing Santander from 1947 to 1949. After this O'Connell's permit to remain in Spain was revoked and he was deported from the country.

Patrick O'Connell died penniless, destitute and forgotten in St. Pancras, London in 1959.

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