The minutes silence started with a ripple and broke into a sustained round of applause in Croke Park on Sunday before the Kerry verses Donegal All Ireland Senior Football semi-final.
In the new look Stadium it appeared to rise from an area halfway back between the goalpost and the sideline in the lower tier of the Davin Stand at the Cusack Stand side of the field. From there it spread like a flood or a Mexican wave throughout the ground. Diagonally across the ground on the Giant screen on the Nally stand Con Houlihans face looked back to that exact same spot on the old Canal end where the Ard Rí of sportswriters always anchored himself. From his position there generations of sports followers received reports of epic encounters that also broadened the mind as they were sprinkled with quotes from Mythology and great sports occasions and events from across the world.
For those born far from the smell of turf smoke at home, making tea in the bog and fishing in mountain streams above Castelisland he encapsulated his many tales with strands of his life experiences on rugby fields, studying, reading, teaching and traveling with tales from the myriad of events he attended and the famous characters and unsung heroes he met. For Con there was no sporting ban or national boundaries as the stories drew together strands from the theatre, emigration, philosophy, nature and hardships all into the one column. For the Kerryman journalist who hit national prominence when his back page column graced and even sold the Evening Press, queues often appeared in his adopted city for his thoughts and observations after the big sports occasions. Read, re-read and re-quoted by his followers Con created an interest and awareness in a wide variety of sports and subjects and later wrote for many media outlets. He invariably ended his latest contribution with the inevitable line to highlight another event or happening. It was led by the single word, Fógra!. Fógra eile: Con rang the house almost twenty five years to this week to speak to the hurling brother of the family on the impending championship. As he was away training at the time Con on hearing the news and belying his great stature and very quietly and shyly speaking, said he would call again!
FIFTY SHADES OF GREY - In years past the graveyard Mass in Windgap was often celebrated in brilliant summer sunshine amongst the forty shades of green to be seen from its lofty site above the village street.
On Friday evening an early shower set the scene as the heavens displayed almost fifty shades of grey. Up above a swift breeze moved clouds of many shades, sizes and shapes at different speeds and at varying levels and often in conflicting directions. As the cloud banks continually altered they changed the landscape as they cropped, hid and then displayed again the local hills. In addition they gave ever changing hues of green to the grass and vegetation and when breaks occurred in them azure blue sunlit skies were to be seen. With the graveyard tucked into the shade of the Hill from the evenings prevailing southerly wind many in the congregation sought additional shelter in the shade in of the path side Yew trees in anticipation of further showers. Higher up the choir were seated for shelter on the hurling club seats beneath the giant Beech trees that flank the entrance to the hilltop Calvary Grotto walk. Watching the activity a herd of over thirty Friesians stood motionless looking back across the Gap of Bearna Na Gaoithe from the shade of the forestry trees on the opposite peak on Carraig Na gCapall. In between the rare sight of fireside smoke was seen emanating on a mid summer evening from many of the row of village chimneys. Another shade of grey it rose just a couple of feet before it was swept in wisps straight up the street at rooftop level. Ranging in size and shape from small to six foot tall the chimneys varied form an older style just astride of the ridge tiles to ones with red brick trimmings or plastered and capped with an array of chimney pots. Down below on their hearts their buildings told an array of tales. At the incoming end of the street a wildlife style plant display bedecked the former village carpenters William Jackman’s residence. Next door smoke from the chimney marked the old site of John and Rodney Tobin’s house where Ann Houlihan was preparing for her sixty fifth birthday celebration later that evening. Across the road on the site of the John Walsh’s old village forge there was no sign of the village’s traditionally most active chimney that dispatched the smoke of the bellows and furnace. Gone too was the added fragrance of the steam from the cooling trough that had been dipped with the red hot iron and smell of burning hoofs. On the evening its place was taken by a colorful rainbow that appeared to descend directly in front of the stand of sycamore trees behind the site. Along the street the scene was repeated as the chimneys of the new houses added motion to the scene as the rain stayed away and the concelebrated Mass was closed by a procession of six alter servers led by Fr. Flavin as he blessed the graves in the picturesque undulating cemetery. After the event and the unveiling of a plaque for Fr Cleere at the church, a business scene returned to the upper end of the street for the first time in a generation when a stall was opened by volunteers selling home produce to support the purchase of defibrillators for the community. In the brisk and banter of the buying and selling the deepening grey slowly changed to darkness as the evening closed in.
DEFIBRILLATOR FUND - The Cake and Fresh Produce sale which was held after the Cemetery Mass in Windgap on Friday evening last was a huge success, due to the very generous response received from everyone. On the evening there was a great variety of breads, cakes, tarts, pies, desserts, home made jams, fresh produce and plants on sale and the committee would like to express their sincere thanks to everyone who contributed. They would also like to say ‘a big thank you’ to all the people from near and far who supported the fund on the evening. The total amount raised was €757.47 including donations and raffle. It is hoped to make this cake and fresh produce sale an annual event to assist with maintenance of the defibrillators and on-going training of personnel to operate them. Further details to follow. CLUB NEWS - The juniors play Graignamanagh in the Southern Championship on Wednesday in Ballyhale at 7.30pm. This Weeks Winning Lotto Numbers were 7, 10, 12, 13 and Bonus number 8. They brought a match three cheque to Margaret Doyle. Next Weeks Prize fund is €8,800.
FR. MARTIN RECALLED - A plague was unveiled outside the Door of St. Nicholas Church in Windgap after the Annual Graveyard Mass on Friday evening in memory of the late Parish Priest Fr. Martin Cleere. The unveiling was carried out by the alter servers and Fr. Nicholas Flavin PP Windgap, Fr. Larry O’Keeffe PP Clara and Fr Larry Wallace PP Muckalee. At the event Fr Cleere’s mother Bertha presented Fr. Nicholas with a set of Vestments made in his memory for the parish.
GRAVEYARD MASSES - Smaller Crowds than usual attended the Graveyard masses in Killamery and Tullahought during the week as the continually inclement weather conditions, annual holidays and emigration had depleted the list of regular faces. In Killamery and Tullahought John Delaney on the accordion accompanied members of the parish choir during the ceremonies after which refreshments were provided for everyone afterwards in The Olde House and Community Centre respectively. In Windgap Nickey Hawe provided the backing to the choirs where the amplification was also provided by the Ryan family. On all occasions thanks were extended by the celebrant Fr. Nicholas Flavin to those who looked after the cemeteries.
WORLD HANDBALL ENTRIES - For Club members to enter the World championships Registration forms can be accessed on http://www.gaahandball.ie/ for Online Entry & Registration by Friday 24th August or by Printed Entry Forms to reach GAA Handball Ireland, Croke Park, by 5pm on Friday 10th August.
HERITAGE WEEK - Commences in Tullahought Community Centre on Friday 17th August at 8.30pm. It is followed by a lecture on the Townlands project undertaken by Alan Counihan involving the recording of the field names in Tullahought and Knickeen and by a traditional Music session. On Saturday the Art Exhibition continues from 1pm with a Lecture on the High Crosses of Western Ossory, with reference to Ancient symbols, Modern Mysteries and a CD presentation of the Conservation Plan for the Crosses that will be shown on the night at 8.30pm. In the afternoon the U12’s Mike Williams Memorial Shield Camogie and Hurling Blitz will take place in Tullahought Sportsfield. On Sunday the events continue with the Art Exhibition, Traditional Craft Demonstrations, with knitting and crochet expertise, butter making and a trip over the Kilmacoliver Loop Walk at 2.30pm.
ART EXHIBITION - An Art Exhibition in Tullahought Community Centre opens from Sunday 12th August to Sunday 19th August in conjunction with Kilkenny Arts Festival. Paintings by local artists. For further details Contact 087 9174354.
GAA GOLF CLASSIC RESULTS - First Place on ninety four points was Eamon Power, Josie O’Gorman, Michael Dempsey, Ollie Power. Second: Barrie Henriques, John Henriques, Jim Dowling, Dan McCarthy. Third: Richard O’Shea, Dick O’Shea, Michael O’Sullivan, Leonard O’Shea. Fourth: Tony Fitzpatrick, Sean Fitzpatrick, Jimmy Flynn, Dick Lonergan Fifth: John Molloy, D Doyle, Conal Murphy, J Bolger. Sixth: Kathleen Phelan, Connie Walsh, Helen Davis, Margaret Comerford. Seventh: Maurice Power, John Power, Robbie Power, Stephen Conway. Eighth: Martin O’Shea, Mary Smyth, Ken O’Shea, Dermot O’Shea. Men’s, Nearest the Pin: Paddy Tobin, Longest Drive: Ken O’Shea, Ladies, Nearest the Pin: Kathleen Phelan, Longest Drive: Helen Davis. The Raffle Winner was Noel Power. The golf committee would like to thank all those who supported the classic by playing in and sponsoring the event and in particular the events main sponsor Pius Phelan of the Kilford Arms Hotel.
CAMOGIE GALMOY/WINDGAP HURLING - Owing to space restrictions reports on the recent Windgap Camogie and the Galmoy Windgap and Windgap hurling games are being held over to the next edition.
NOTES - Contributors and Clubs are invited to email items for publication with a name and contact number to firstname.lastname@example.org by Sunday evenings at 6pm