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Topics - Syferus

With the news that Captain Stroke has decided to continue on as Cork sectrary despite every rumour saying he was shuffling off, I think it's time he had his own thread.

He deserves a book or two to be written about him.
GAA Discussion / Croke Park - Bags and Shít
June 20, 2017, 03:23:04 PM
Ban on bags in Croke Park just announced. Obvious reaction to events in England and elsewhere, but is it too much?

A4-sized bags or smaller only or the high vis (wo)men come out in force..
Contrary to popular belief, the Connacht final hasn't been played yet..
General discussion / Drink
May 12, 2017, 11:17:14 PM
It gets a bad rap.
General discussion / Gorse Fires
May 10, 2017, 09:14:26 PM
What sort of jackass goes out into the countryside to set fire to it?
General discussion / The Perfect Paddy's Day
March 16, 2017, 08:05:48 PM
What the key to a top notch Paddy's?

Start on the drink before or after the parade? Find a good spot for the club finals? And when do you have the tactical meal to keep the train rolling?
GAA Discussion / Challenge Matches Thread
December 17, 2016, 07:46:49 PM
Ros 2-08 Meath 1-09 HT in Kiltoom. The real AI final.
General discussion / Best Cocktails
December 15, 2016, 11:43:47 PM
Two teams who beat Sligo well in their last wins but Clare coming in with the momentum and the form. Will take something to lift the lads' heads after yesterday.
A team without a defense against a team without a heart. Intriguing.
General discussion / Johan Cryuff RIP
March 24, 2016, 04:23:16 PM
Surely worth its own thread. The father always spoke about him as one of the all-time greats. What he did in bringing the Ajax academy system to Barcalona changed football off the field too.
Note the change in time from the original schedule.

Hard not to look forward to this one. Should be a bumper crowd from both counties. Mayo needing the win to stay in the race for survival, Roscommon with a chance to put the knife into the neighbours' long run in D1.

We were in a similar situation last year at home against Galway and fell very flat. I'd hope regardless of result the performance is a step above that one.
Critical game for both sides. Our best chance to ensure survival of our four remaining games and one honestly we would have down as our best chance of two points heading into the league. Down will need to win here to have even a faint hope of survival themselves.

I'd expect them to fire everything they have at us, especially after last year. For us we just have to look at games like Laois, Galway, Sligo and Fermanagh to see situations where we followed up champagne stuff with flat Cidona. We made a step in the right direction backing up the Kerry result but it will mean feck all if we don't win start winning the ones we're supposed to be winning as well.
Time for the next one. As McStay said, a nice handy one.. ;D

Looking forward to this one. Aiming to be as competitive as yesterday and we can take whatever comes from there. Question marks over Shine, Conor Daly and Diarmuid Murtagh. If all three were fit it would change the makeup of our team in some key ways, not least of which allowing Enda to move to his best position on the wing rather than filling in at midfield.
Time to start thinking about the start of the real stuff. Monaghan winless in the McKenna but resting most of their key players. Don't think pre-season form will have much bearing on this game. For us this may be a must win game if we want to have a chance at staying up.
General discussion / GAABoard Hunger Games
March 07, 2015, 12:49:42 PM
Ran a text-based simulation of the Hunger Games with GAABoard names. Pleased enough with my performance and kills..

GAA Discussion / Cake Curran Retires
October 04, 2014, 03:51:19 PM
If ever there was a man deserving of a GAABoard thread..

Keith Duggan and Cake. Great combo. Time to find a book store. If they still exist.

QuoteColourful nonconformist Shane Curran always ready to think outside the box
Veteran goalkeeper's story of life inside and outside the GAA in Roscommon makes for a fascinating autobiography

Keith Duggan

First published:
Sat, Oct 4, 2014, 01:00

1971 is celebrated as a year of rare vintages – the prized Petrus in Bordeaux, the Brora single malt from the Douglas Laing distillery and, in the outskirts of Castlerea, a ginger youngster named Shane "Cake" Curran was born – he became probably the most uninhibited and certainly the most talkative Gaelic footballer to emerge from the haze of Charles Haughey's Ireland.

This year he must be, at 43, the oldest man playing senior club football in Ireland. He will line out again for St Brigid's in the Roscommon senior final on Sunday week, his fourth final since turning 40. He says his place is under pressure now from Shane Mannion, a cousin of Dublin footballer Paul Mannion and the Roscommon minor goalkeeper for the past three seasons.

But he doesn't appear too worried about it either. Curran is an irrepressible bundle of contradictions. He is warm and easygoing but constantly buzzing, plotting, thinking. He is sharp as a tack but conspired to fail the Leaving Certificate and cheerfully admits that accidentally blowing up the science laboratory of Castlerea Vocational with misappropriated chemicals was his chief contribution to Irish education. He is ostensibly one of the victims of the building boom but never stopped smiling.

"It was cracked," he assures you of that period. "Jesus, it was cracked. It was cracked stuff, now. It wasn't a construction business as much as a destruction business. There was a 20-day working month. I can honestly say I didn't have to work more than four, five hours a week. It was a party. It was great crack, like.

Ruined lives

"The work was simple. I used to go around the small towns and villages and these estates going up left, right and centre. Cootehall! Tulsk! Frenchpark! Where were all the people going to come from? I remember saying to someone around 2004: 'this thing is going to f***ing blow up sometime. But hopefully not in the next 12 years and we will get a good touch out of it'.

"I was dabbling meself in property and you no more had a few pound made than you spent it on something else. And look, it did cause a lot of destruction. It has ruined lives. A lot of good people have . . . killed themselves on the back of pressure from banks and from having been high-fliers and not being able to cope with life on Mean Street. Money was too easy to get.

"I was two years in before I realised it. I remember this fella owed us a couple of hundred thousand . . . there was a better chance to get a 747 to come down O'Connell Street. He was gone: finished. It was like a tap that just dried up. People getting liquidated left, right and centre."

Everything about Curran is in there: the energy, the humour, the sharp eye, the implicit understanding and a refusal to be beaten down. Curran is resolutely optimistic and forward thinking and yet, in outlook and reference points, is rooted the Ireland of his childhood, when 1970s Roscommon was still populated by living, breathing figures from the 1943/44 All-Ireland winning Primrose teams.

Larry Cummins, corner back on those teams, worked with his father in the power house of the psychiatric hospital.

"Everyone deferred to him, not just the men in the engine room but the medical staff and patients too – doctors, administrators, everyone."

He was at the perfect age to be influenced by the aura which winning an All-Ireland medal can carry in counties where that feat is singularly rare. Stories of the county's golden age must have fuelled his own ambitions when he wore Roscommon colours through more prosaic years, which he captures vividly along with the writer Tommy Conlon in his richly entertaining autobiography, Cake.

If you are going to write your life story, it helps to have the patent on one of the all-time great GAA stories and Curran's first real brush with notoriety is just that. He made national headlines in the most unlikely theatre – the 1989 Connacht minor football final, in which Roscommon and Galway met in MacHale Park.

The Rossies were a point down in the last minute and were awarded a penalty. Jimmy Finnegan, the manager, indicated that Roscommon's free taker Peader Glennon should pop it over the bar. Curran was unhappy: a dashing and free-spirited forward in those days, he wanted to go for broke. Lorcan Dowd, Roscommon's best player, had been sent off and Curran doubted they would win the replay without him.

Divine inspiration

Glennon placed the ball and went through his free-taking routine. Galway's Seán Óg de Paor, standing beside Curran, said to nobody in particular that the ball was going over the bar. "It's not going over the f***ing bar," Cake advised him. "Watch this!" And overcome with divine inspiration, he dashed past Glennon and walloped a shot which flew past the stunned Galway goalkeeper for the most unexpected goal of the decade.

Only Seán Kilfeather, there to cover the senior match for The Irish Times, noticed what happened next. "The referee recovered the ball from the net, placed it on the penalty line and crossed his arms in a gesture which nobody understood. He then took the ball and ran from the field, hotly pursued by the several Galway players who believed he had awarded the score."

That belief was general. The ecstatic Roscommon teenagers were presented with the cup, watched the senior final – which ended in a draw – and made their way to the Travellers Friend for a victory banquet. Soup had hardly been served when two delegates from the Connacht Council materialised – "blazers and good bellies and red faces on them", Curran recalls in the book – and without any explanation took the cup and left the room.

It turned out the besieged referee had produced what Kilfeather described as "the fastest referee's report in the history of the game". He had decided, because free-taker Glennon had been standing within 13 metres of the ball when Curran hit it, the score must be disallowed. The team headed back to Castlerea, literally in the dark, where they were hailed as martyrs. They were in Fitzmaurice's pub when the nine o'clock news came on and Curran was shocked to see it was the lead story. "This was when the IRA was going fairly well. You wouldn't expect it."

The outrage – and fun – was only beginning. Roscommon was up in arms. Everyone wanted to solicit Curran's view on the matter. "I wanted to just hide at that stage. My mother was besieged at the house so we went to a disco on the Sunday night. Then there was a rally at the Hyde. The senior team were threatening to pull out of their replay in solidarity."

Galway offered a replay: Roscommon won it thanks to a last-minute goal from Eddie Ennis, a young player Curran has never met since." It was the 25th year anniversary of that episode this year," he marvels now. That story somehow contains the kaleidoscope of all the glories and perversities which are the life blood of the GAA – the passion, melodrama and sheer bedlam running concurrently with precise and obscure rules.

"I didn't think about it that way but yeah, the politics and the drama and the bullshit," Curran says, buttering toast on a damp morning in the Hodson Bay hotel. "I do think similar incidents could still happen. To a certain extent you don't understand it or want to understand it. And I suppose it has defined my career to a degree."

It certainly made him a household name around Connacht, as if the flame hair and flamboyant attacking style were not enough. The book is piercing on the pure brutality habitually meted out on Gaelic fields in the late 1980s. The atmosphere at club games is described as "toxic" and in one passage Curran describes a sickening incident in which a team-mate was so badly injured by a thump off the ball that he never played the game again.

But kids like Curran were fair game. Eamonn Sweeney of the Sunday Independent recently wrote a wonderful description of Curran's fondness for embellishing his attacks with off-the-cuff commentaries a la John Motson, even as he was on the ball. It may at least partly explain why so many leaden-footed, ageing defenders felt the urge to hit him a clip.

"It was thuggery," he says seriously. . . There is a parochial level of jealousies that it is a part of Irish life, be it sport, politics or business. If certain people don't measure up to skills or standards, they will find a way of trying to down you. . .

"I do think the GAA has changed – although when you see what happened to Paul Galvin you would wonder. In the late 1980s though, there was a lot of pure . . . thuggery is the only word. It was ugly. There were guys masquerading as footballers who just wanted to take guys out of it. I would have been one of the better players in Roscommon then and the level of dogging you got was unnatural – auld thumps around the back of the head, no manliness to it. . . . And in my mid-20s I lost my edge. I couldn't get up for a game. Referees seemed to take delight in seeing you bet around the place. And if you did retaliate then they would take greater delight in showing you a red card."

The constant attrition may have helped his move to goalkeeper, his first choice as a soccer player with Athlone Town. And it was from there he acquired the flair for eccentricity that culminated in the famous tribute by the comic actor (and former Roscommon minor goalkeeper) Chris O'Dowd: "He was gangbusters." He brought to keeping goal in wintry National League games the kind of manic energy which Robin Williams brought to big screen movies. On his day, Curran could tower over the occasion itself, with disguised kick-outs, alarming sallies upfield with the ball and spectacular saves .

His closing act in last year's Connacht club final was the quintessence of Cake-ness: a burst up to the 50-yard line with the ball where he is clattered by Richie Feeney and pulls a hamstring, a fast hobble back to goal where seconds later he executes a sensational diving save which does for his other hamstring and sees him collapse in agony and, after prolonged attention, is unceremoniously carted over the end line by a combination of players and officials with such lack of due care that those watching must have feared he had expired.

Dedicated goalkeeper

Curran accepts his approach is unusual but is earnest in his explanation that it was never for show. "See, anything that is different is seen to be off the wall or mad. I scored a 1-1 in the championship in 2004. I think I am still the only goalkeeper to score a goal in the All-Ireland championship. I saw an article afterwards in which the journalist was saying that this was just wrong, immoral: to have the temerity to kick scores. Six years later and Stephen Cluxton is doing it and it is applauded. Rightly so!

"The game will change and the goalkeeper's role will change. You will see far more goalkeepers doing what I was doing then. In 10 years' time you may not see a dedicated goalkeeper in Gaelic football – and you certainly won't see one in hurling. People say my style is mad and eccentric but analyse it or talk to managers and I have never really cost my teams scores."

He won a Connacht senior medal in 2001 when Gerry Lohan scored a last-minute goal for Roscommon. But Curran's book is a portrait of life with the underdog and is brilliant on the stink and security of the dressingrooms where he has served so long. There are times when the hurt of losing with Roscommon can be plainly heard on the page and Curran is terrific when describing his frustrations at seeing the talents of team-mates going unnoticed, particularly Frankie Dolan.

"He would be held in the same regard as the Gooch. Absolutely. The greatest players I ever played with were Pádraic Joyce and Frankie. I remember going back 30 years ago two great hurlers in Roscommon: Tommy Dolan and Frank Carthy. Brilliant stick men who made Railway Cup teams when Galway won All-Irelands. Had they been born in Kilkenny, everyone would know them. Had Henry Shefflin been born in Roscommon, who would know about him? He would still be an outstanding hurler but wouldn't have 10 All-Irelands. And I think the same argument can be made for Frankie and a couple of other players who are just genius with a football . ."

Anyone who knows the rough trajectory of Dolan's career will understand the sense of manifest destiny about his nerveless late score which secured the All-Ireland club championship for St Brigids in 2013. That long march included an unblinking semi-final collision with Crossmaglen, the standard-bearers of club football.

Curran's influence was immense in both a positive and negative sense: he followed a virtuoso moment of goalkeeping improvisation by goading Kyle Carragher until the young Crossmaglen forward snapped and punched him and was promptly dismissed.

Sporting lifetime

I could be argued that what Curran did was just as reprehensible in its own way as the kind of intimidation worked on him 20 years ago. He will argue it has to be set against the context of a sporting lifetime spent watching the other guys win.

"I don't care if he was 14," he says. "It doesn't matter. Okay, you are picking on a cub but not in a way that is going to destroy his life with a box in the jaw or something like that. Sometimes you say things in games you wish you didn't have to say. But it gives you that extra cut or edge.

"When you have been a loser for so long, that edge hardens. You can't condone it. But it is warrior stuff. I got a lot of criticism around the county here from ex-players saying I shouldn't have done what I did. When he did hit me – I may say not hard but enough to put me down – you are lying there with one eye open. Two minutes have passed, they are down to 14 and you are in the dying embers of the game . . . I would apologise to nobody for it because it may have been the difference between us winning and losing."

His only clear recollection of the aftermath of the match is of his wife Sharon approaching him in tears of joy and of Aaron Kernan facing a few irate Cross' men who wanted words – and possibly more. "The Crossmaglen boys were brilliant, so magnanimous," he says now.

That win – along with Kevin McStay – steeled them into believing they could be champions of Ireland. The rise of St Brigid's ran parallel with the end of Curran's property business and the advent of a new idea which literally dropped from the sky and now has a global potential. Through it all, his spirits never dipped. "You'd wonder at times how we got through it but I've a great wife and parents and if you are healthy, you can move forward and . . . I don't take life all too serious."

At lunch time, he moves on, to go for a swim, make calls and organise a book launch in the Hodson Bay – ideally on the night of the county final. "It should be a good night," he promises. You forget to ask Cake Curran if he's a maniac on the dance floor. But you can probably guess.

Cake by Shane Curran (with Tommy Conlon) is published by Penguin Ireland (€16.99) and is on sale now.
QuoteJames Horan has called time on his four-year tenure as manager of the Mayo senior footballers following the loss to Kerry in the All-Ireland SFC semi-final replay.
After guiding his club, Ballintubber, to a county final appearance, Horan was named as John O'Mahony's successor in October 2010.
O'Mahony's final year in charge saw the Green and Red lose to Sligo in the Connacht championship and to Longford in the qualifiers.
Horan's arrival had an immediate impact as the team regained the provincial title in 2011.That was the first of four Nestor Cups won under his stewardship.
However, All-Ireland success was to remain elusive with defeats to Donegal and Dublin in successive finals.
Hopes were high that Mayo could again reach the September decider this year but they just fell short against the Kingdom in Saturday's pulsating semi-final replay at the Gaelic Grounds.

Kevin Mc the big name, Enda Gilvarry certainly has a case too.. and you can always count on the Tanned One to make a bullock run after the manager's job too.
All to be played on August Bank Holiday weekend:

Roscommon v Donegal
Mayo v Armagh
Dublin v Cork
Kerry v Kildare

The semi-finals brackets are Ros/Donegal v Dub/Cork and Mayo/Armagh v Kerry/Kildare.
GAA Discussion / What's Going on in Parnells?
July 17, 2014, 08:38:28 PM
We've all heard of big clubs getting transfers but what seems to be going on in Parnells is on an entirely new level:

QuoteCiaran mckeever is the latest inter-county footballer to join Dublin senior football side Parnells.

The Armagh captain's transfer was completed on Saturday, with the appeal period for his former club, St Patrick's expiring.

He will now join the litany of county or former county footballers within the Coolock-based club's ranks, including Laois' Colm Begley, Darren Rooney and Michael Tierney, Wexford's Aindreas Doyle and Rory Quinlivan, Conor Mortimer (Mayo) and Johnny Murtagh (Armagh).

Fellow Armagh defender Andy Mallon also joined the club last year.

McKeever's transfer has been confirmed on the GAA's official live transfer list.

The 31-year-old half-back lined out for Armagh in the county's Ulster semi-final draw with Monaghan on Saturday afternoon, where he was integral in earning his team a replay this weekend.

He won an Armagh intermediate championship in 2008 with St Patrick's, Cullyhanna. While last year they reached the senior county final, only to be beaten by near-neighbours Crossmaglen; McKeever played at midfield scoring two points in that game.

It remains unclear whether or not he will take up a coaching role within the Dublin club, as has been the case with similar transfers involving high-profile players and Parnells.

Joe wrote an article on the topic last month in Gaelic Life:

QuoteAS the Brazilian football team took the field to set the ball rolling on the 2014 World Cup, I thought of Socrates and his 1982 Brazilians. That team did not win the Jules Rimet, but their total commitment to the philosophy of the joga bonito – the beautiful game – immortalised them.

Shortly before he died in 2011, this extraordinary footballer, communitarian and social campaigner – he once took the field for Corinthians carrying a placard reading, "Democracy Now. Winning the championship is a minor detail" – was interviewed by an English journalist about his philosophy on the game. He uttered the immortal words, "Beauty comes first. Victory is secondary. What matters is joy."

It is clear that joy is in short supply at Parnell's GAC. Since selling their land for an eye watering €22 million in 2008, the Dublin club has managed to turn gold into dust.

With the money banked, the committee's strategy was to buy their way to success.

The plan was to win a Dublin senior football championship by recruiting the best senior team money could buy. So, in the manner of an American college, they set about wooing high profile players from all over Ireland. The idea was to win big, win quick and become an overnight superpower.

As we have seen with the likes of Man City or Chelsea, this sort of philosophy works OK in professional sport. But when it is applied to the GAA, the result is inevitable: a senior team that is no good and a deeply dysfunctional club.

I am a Trinity man. A year or two after Parnell's had received their windfall, I went down to play in the annual game between the Old Boys and the students. I was surprised to see that the Trinity jerseys bore the Parnell's name.

"What's going on?" I asked in the bar afterwards.

Turns out Parnell's were sponsoring the Trinity team. Over the next few years, a number of talented young county footballers at the university transferred to, you guessed it, Parnell's. The result is that much of their senior football team is now made up of outsiders, who have zero affinity with the area.

Six years into their policy of buying success, the 2014 Parnells' All-Stars played the modestly talented Lucan Sarsfield's in the first round of this year's Dublin senior championship and were beaten 1-7 to 1-5. In a truly dire effort, Parnell's did not register a single score from play.

There is a reason for this. Lads are reared the GAA way. They play with their mates and families in the area they were born. It is an intensely parochial thing and at its heart is our sense of identity. We play together. We socialise together. Our club is the hub of our community. But if this cultural norm is twisted, in the way that Parnells have twisted it, then the team is doomed. Basically, Parnell's seniors are like a gather up that plays in New York for the summer.

It is alien for our players to play in that environment, which is why the Parnell's team does not function. There is no loyalty, no team ethic and crucially, no sense of identity. Many club members are passionately opposed to the outside recruits. Alienated within the club, the outsiders stick together. It is a soul destroying business, both for them and Parnell's.

This stands in stark contrast to the senior hurlers. In the same eight year period they have gone from being a Junior D side, to Senior A championship this year. In contrast with the footballers, they have achieved this the GAA way. They have one inter-county star, Andrew Shore from Wexford, but the rest are almost exclusively locals, who are passionate about their club.

Likewise, their managers and coaches have come from within the ranks. No money has changed hands. The result, a flourishing hurling team and scene that is the pride and joy of club members.

Parnell's Chairman Tony Fitzpatrick says that other Dublin clubs have outside players.

This is true, but there is an enormous difference. When a player does go to Vincent's or Brigid's or Kilmacud, he is going to a club that has a strong sense of identity and self esteem, a club that has the right ethos. Therefore a lad who transfers there is immediately comfortable with the culture.

What many people might not realise is that the GAA owns every club in the country, including Parnell's. Each club has temporary trustees, nothing more.

There is surely an overwhelming case in this instance for the GAA to use its powers to step in and supervise root and branch reform.

There is still time to turn things around. Parnells can go back to being a GAA club and in time become a source of real good in a very deprived community.

But rubbing the members' noses in it by bringing in Ciaran McKeever at a time when there is such discontent in the club, shows that the current committee has lost all moral authority. They do not understand that winning championships is a minor detail.

"Beauty comes first, winning is secondary. What matters is joy."

The Parnell's story is a stark warning of the dangers of putting the principles of commerce above our core ethics. It is one the entire GAA family would do well to heed.