CALLAN is smoldering and is a potential powder keg as people prepare for a momentous occasion in the town’s history. Others will preview, analyse and opinionate about the up-coming All-Ireland club junior junior hurling final in Croke Park 72 hours hence, but the occasion lends itself to much more than a game.
Many who will not be in the famous arena will surely be looking benevolently on a club’s efforts from a seat nowhere near a Hogan or Cusack Stand, a club to which they had given the very marrow of their being for years, a lot longer than anyone had a right to expect.
How people like Mick Joyce, Seamus O’Brien, Sean Holden, Jack Gardiner, Danny Roche, Johnny Donovan, Liam Bergin, John Roughan, Paddy Meagher, Jack Lyons, Harry Bryan, Johnny Tobin, Powers’ and Lynches’, Kenny, Gardiner, Hogan, Morris, Egan and the much-loved Martin ‘Boxer’ Lynch would dearly love to be on the M9 on Sunday morning to give rendition to the war cry “G’wan the Lockes”. But I’m sure if ever the spirits of good hurlers could exert influence on a match, one could visualize Mick Kenny or Martin Lynch, or others of the above brigade, dropping the metaphoric cutting bar to the floor to get the Callan lads over the line in front.
Never in the horizons of many Callan people could a scenario, now unfolding, be in their sightscreen. Over the last 20 years or so Callainn na clampar (Callan of the ructions) yo-yoed from tremendous potential to commendable achievement, to a low tide watermark.
It has won trophies from youths to adult levels, but they have never been consistent. Their schools records have been moderate, even though the CBS has churned out some of the greatest hurlers this county, or any other county, has seen. Power, Hickeys’, Ryall, Byrne, Herity, Cleere, Roche, O’Sullivan and more.
The town basked in the reflected glory. It was great to be around when those lads were winning. Central to much of that were the exertions of Bro Damien Brennan and Tom Walsh. But on Sunday......this is different.
On Sunday it is a community thing. It is about Callan people, marching behind their sons and grandsons, their brothers, their uncles, their cousins, their neighbours, their friends, the lad with whom you mitched from school, the lad you took your first puff of a fag with underneath the by-pass bridge, the lad from whom you got your first bottle (alcoholic), the lad who brought you home from a disco when you hadn’t a clue about your origins or identity, the lad who is doing a line with your sister, the lad with whom you had your first fight and others with similar qualification.
The common denominator.......................they are all on the one road with a common mission.
It has taken a lot to get to this glittering occasion and the people before this who made a contribution are still all part of it. One thinks of people like Barry Hickey, one of the finest club secretaries in any club anywhere; one thinks of Fr Jack Kennedy, what a benefactor; Paddy and Kitty Ryan and their family too were mighty ’Lockes people.
There when needed
John Vaughan was there when needed, and more. Tom and Bea Donovan too gave much for the greater good; Johnny Wall and Nell (no better club supporters abounded) will want the ’Lockes to do well and one remembers Joe and Bernie O’Dwyer and Paddy Stapleton God Rest Bernie and Paddy and John Phelan, a sturdy and loyal Conahy man, who brought great élan to his adopted town.
We could go on and on, mentioning Fr Liam Dunne, Bro Jacob, Fr Liam Cassin, Pat ‘Diamond’ Hayden, Tom Walsh, Fr Tommy Murphy and after every name mentioned, you could insert the notation - he made a contribution.
Even though time has somewhat dimmed the contributions of many, nevertheless their acorn has continued to contribute. Their input made a difference.
As the old Polynesian proverb would state: “Whatever you do in life you do it for the next seven generations.”
Well, not seven maybe, but ……..
This column wishes the town in which we all live, absolute realization of it’s every dream on Sunday.