Billy Keane: Munster bravehearts beaten but not broken
I'd nearly have left out wasp food for him from the pet shop if Munster had beaten Saracens and made it through to the European Champions Cup final.
I'd nearly have left out wasp food for him from the pet shop if Munster had beaten Saracens and made it through to the European Champions Cup final.
The British Army weren't likely to be caught out for a second time on this day 100 years ago. The year before, in 1916, the army were on the lash at the Irish Grand National in Fairyhouse when the rebels were taking over Dublin.
The Kerry-Dublin story never ends. The story is one of heroism, glory, skill, drama, conflict, controversy, victory, defeat and yes, respect too.
The Man Who Knows Everything tells me Kim Jong-un has missiles at the ready to bomb the United States. "All he has left to do is to pick the colour of the paint," my acquaintance says.
I knew for sure Munster would win when my spotter noticed the cut grass lying down for ripening in a field too tiny for silage.
There I was, alone in the sitting room where broken lives are fixed, and stories never told before are told for the first time.
I searched Dublin for Welsh soccer fans on Thursday last. There wasn't even one to be found on the eve of battle.
The words redemption and forgiveness come straight from the lexicon of the Catholic Church. So do we forgive all sins, or none, or some? The first part of the Catholic process of forgiveness is sorrow and the second part is to make amends.
The Hill came on tour to Tralee on a night when their team moved mountains.
Bishop Eamonn Casey was laid to rest in Galway on Thursday, but where will he end up? Let us imagine then we are sitting there in The Court of the Pearly Gates watching his case unfold. The case for the prosecution is strong.
The Dubs never bring their own sandwiches. And they don't own tea flasks or hip flasks either.
This is a story of love, bullying, pecking orders, post-traumatic stress, betrayal, the abandonment of monogamy - if such a concept ever existed - death itself, and the shortest foreplay ever.
The moon over Cardiff was washed in a passing grey cloud formation but it was still possible to make out the all but full shape.
It will be Friday before we know it, goes the oft-spoken Monday morning consolation. And as you chip away at the quarry-face, remember it's only five days to go to Friday, as it always is on Mondays, Five days too is the journey time to Ireland versus Wales...
The Irish people have the hump over the straw that broke the camel's back.
I was watching an Attenborough from the sofa, which is a very safe place to be, unless there are bins to be put out.
I'm pretty certain sex had to be given up in the old days. I do know weddings were banned during Lent. Definitely dances weren't allowed either by the Church.
I travel the world here on this couch. It is my Tardis and I am a latter-day navigator who steers with the aid of a remote control. My chart is the TV page and I can cover a million miles in minutes. There are no soft or hard borders.
Brian Jaffray's new heart was stitched in to his chest 25 years and a few days ago. Brian isn't quite sure exactly who is the longest surviving heart transplant patient in Ireland, but he's right up there.
I'm not long home from the last night of Bernard Brogan's honeymoon. It was at the áras Mhuire Valentine's Ball here in Listowel. Bernard's wife Keira was only gorgeous and declared three wasn't a crowd.
Valentine's Day falls on Tuesday next and Tuesday is not a romantic day. No one sends flowers on a Tuesday. No one makes love on a Tuesday. So today, being a Saturday, is really Valentine's Day.
Princess Anne went around to all of the Scottish players before the game. She had a word for every man among them and the princess doesn't even have to run for election.
I'm here reporting from the frontline on Ireland's only overseas colony. It's Lanzarote and the old town of Puerto Del Carmen to be exact. The old town is just like small-town Ireland with two-storey pubs, restaurants, shops and a full house for Mass on Sundays.
Last week in the Seanad there was fine talk about the teaching of history. And the consensus was history is a handy thing and very interesting too.
The next two months of the Six Nations will be a great escape from the terrible news of the week. There are more wars than ever. Donald Trump is building walls and Theresa May might send troops to guard Newry.
Thomond is sold out. Limerick is booked out. There will be more visitors in the city than in Washington for the inauguration and if Donald Trump was a long shot well so too were Munster.
Michael Shanahan is eight feet tall now, with some inches to spare, and he's looking out at the world over the top pane of the nursing home window.
Oh the days of the Kerry dancers. We will start today's missive with a review of Aidan O'Mahony's stellar salsa performance on Dancing With The Stars.
The man selling the manic Indian Runner ducks and the pointy- beaked, big red hens came all the way from Macroom to the horse fair in Listowel. There were goats, too, and puppies, horses and ponies, a llama called Larry and donkeys with sad eyes. Noah must have left...
If there's such a thing as a month's mind in rugby, well then this it. Munster are back in Paris to play Racing Metro in a match that is more than a game. On this very day Racing Metro host a memorial service for the late and present Anthony 'Axel' Foley in the place where he...
The year is only a day old and already I've broken several New Year's resolutions. The first broken resolution was to refrain from writing about sex in 2017 on account of the fact it drives so many people mad.
The old year is in its last day and the New Year is ready and waiting. Men and women who never get kisses will be kissed tonight. Love is in the air and the New Year is the time for renewing our vows to make the most of our lives.
Mush Frenston was praying the roads would clear of snow and he would be able to get to spend the allotted two hours with his son Andy on Christmas Eve.
The message couldn't have been clearer: "Go on son, ate up another dollop of pandy."
Every Christmas for the last few years, I have tried to decide if this was the year I could tell the embargoed story. I had to make a call. Had enough time passed from the occurrence of a story I was asked to tell by a man who made a mistake?
It's a December Sunday in 2014 and the winning team of a quarter of a century ago march on to the field in their low shoes.
The emigrant told me of a Christmas night in New York when he was heartbroken for home. He was asked over for the traditional Christmas dinner by some friends and they had a lovely day.
There is optimism out and about in Munster these days. The team that Axel built so carefully is ready now. The young lads know what it is to be Munster and the team is playing with the do-or-die attitude we need to beat the very best.
So the Pope is coming back next year. If only I knew then I was going to become a newspaper columnist years later, I would have gone to all of the papal gigs.
First of all, the nickname 'Star' was no ego trip. The name came from The Greyhound Bar in Tralee. The pub was owned by his mother's cousin, 'Uncle' Aidan O'Connor, and Kieran Donaghy was the barman. A talkative barman.
I stopped at The Wild Geese restaurant in Cork just outside Mallow. Then the sign hit me. The sign that changed my way of looking at life forever.
There was a man we knew by the name of Jimmy Boylan who returned to the confessional after an absence of some 50 or more years. You might well imagine then that the confession might take some time what with such a backlog of sins to be confessed.
The call came through late on that Saturday night, just over a month ago. I was working in the bar. We were busy. The Brownes were singing and could be heard lilting over the chat like bird song above bee buzz.
The Haka is a declaration of war. The All Blacks are hurtin', hurtin' bad. I know this sounds like cowboy picture lingo or even presidential rhetoric but the words are true.
The Trump Inn,
There's no need for a guide book or a session on an analyst's couch. Believe me, all you need to know is right here.
The fiddle player over in Chicago played 'Ireland's Call' before we beat the All Blacks for the first time ever, after a 111-year wait.
My friend Eoin Moriarty, who celebrates his 60th today, pointed over to Lake Michigan and stated "you could put the whole of Ireland in to that lake and you wouldn't spill a drop".
The hole lore is the only topic of conversation now that we can't face talking about since Dublin beat us in the football back in August. Sane Dave tells a fellow customer the drilling they hear is from a dentist who lives next door. It's like The Somme outside the front door.
I'll go for a pint with you, Jose. It's not easy, this moving jobs business.
Two small boys sang for their dad. They sang for all of us who were looking for a sign that Anthony Foley lives. I have been here in the sailboat stadium of Thomond for the miracle matches, but there was never anything to match the sing-song after the game on Saturday.
Olive Foley spoke in words of love and honour. It was as if she was repeating her marriage vows up at the high altar beside her husband's casket.
Anthony Foley wore his heart like a crest on his Munster shirt and in the end the heart that beat so strong in the heat of battle gave out on him.
There's a lot going on in Ronan O'Gara's sporting and professional life this weekend. We will get to the cortisone controversy - the corto-versy - later. When I was a small boy I always put off doing the hard lessons until the end of the homework.
I GOT a bit mixed up over the Budget. It usually starts at three, but this year the tax news was moved to one o'clock, which is a bit unfair on those who stay in bed for half the day and get paid to do it by the State.
The American visitors were deeply touched, they said. I had dug myself a hole and I kept on digging. The lady cried a little tear when I told her.
I couldn't rightly concentrate on anything else only football and hurling. My brain has only the one in-tray and the same number of out-trays.
Mayo of the great heart, you went so close to winning. Dublin, you made a town out of your city. You can feel the lift all around Dublin this morning. The rest of us, though, bled for Mayo. It was as if our own county had been beaten. And when all the drama gives way to...
The Mayo build-up has being going on longer than the construction of a Pharaoh's tomb. But today is the day. Never has a game been more hyped and never has a game been more analysed.
Just to warn you, before we go any further, there's sex in this column. And 'women's troubles' too.
Dublin were saved by their women. The ladies football final will be held tomorrow between a feisty Dublin side and Cork, the team of the century so far, and probably for the next 84 years as well.
The old boy with the twinkly eyes, the long white beard and a word for everyone parked his festooned and very bored donkey on the main road to somewhere scenic.
The smell of candle wax in the Basilica at Knock is stronger than the night Madame Tussauds burned down, and the unmistakeable aroma of the essence of incense brings the Lord in to every nostril.
They said she was just an ordinary person who saved lives. Joan Freeman founded Pieta House, the suicide and self-harm charity, when she lost a loved one.
David 'Classy' Fitzmaurice has come up with a segregated women-only bus. It's mostly to do with heels and I'm sure there's no problem with the issuing of boarding cards to men wearing stilettos.
Will the astronauts be able to see the Mexican wall from space? Do men suffer from penis envy? That Donald Trump is one gas man. You couldn't make him up. The possible future US president has turned the boring old news into prime-time farce.
We are on the eve of hurling's holy day. The first Sunday in September is All-Ireland hurling final Sunday, the day when we play the greatest game that has ever been played.
I could be wronging The Man Who Knows Everything. I'm fairly sure though that he's guilty.
Dublin right now are invincible. Their attack could open a tin with a toe-nail. And if there was an RSVP in the GAA, most of their opponents would send in a 'no thanks' by return.
The nice lady on Ballyheigue Beach came over to say hello. She was minding kids there on the sunniest of sunny days, with the sea as calm as a wishing well and the ice-cream trickling down along the crispy cone from Mr Softee's ding-a-ling van.
Tipperary and Mayo kids who lived free range all summer are being measured up for school uniforms. But the talk of the day out in Croke Park postpones the inevitable.
Holy Mary is revered in Ireland and the Hail Mary is our favourite prayer. Today is the Feast of the Assumption, the 15th of August, the day some of us believe Holy Mary was taken into heaven.
They were the words he never wanted to hear: "Sorry Paul but you're not going to race again." Paul Carberry was heartbroken.
It will be the 40th anniversary next year. That's 40 years since the woman who hasn't had sex for 40 years last had sex. Or so she told me and I have no reason to disbelieve her. Every time we meet, she tells me her dog is her constant companion now.
There's no doubt but that Dublin are one of the best teams we have ever seen. There is no doubt either but that Gaelic football is boring, arid, slow and far too complicated for its own good.
'The schoolchildren should protest over the ads," said the man with all the bellies in Galway's Shop Street.
There in the bustle that is Galway's Shop Street on Plate Day, the grey man was hustling for the price of a few cans.
I'm told we have a well- stocked Pokémon farm outside our pub and what's more there's another herd of the little hoors grazing at the foot of the oul' fella's statue.
You might say I'm odd - and you'd probably be right - but I often wonder what it is jockeys say to horses. It's hardly horse whispering when the horse is galloping at 40mph and the quatrains of hooves are a chorus of thumping bodhráns.
I have declared a vendetta against spoons. It's either them or me. Yesterday was the last day of the Munster Fleadh Cheoil here in Listowel. The finest of Irish traditional music would wear the soles of your shoes from the tapping and the dancing. For the most part.
The tanned racing men were well dressed. Suits you'd only wear if you were laid out in the funeral home and shirts as well ironed as money kept under the bed.
So I get to thinking too much about things and I'm sure that's not good. Just as bad as not thinking at all. Sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night and it's then that the worries come flooding in. Worries you wouldn't worry half as much about early in the morning.
There's a small parallelogram up near the left corner-back position on this laptop and it's there you will find the font, and not a drop of holy water in it.
The English haven't a clue what to do. Nor do we. Scotland doesn't know either and the Welsh are nonplussed.
We might change The Year of the Monkey to the Year of the Underdog, if the Chinese have no objections. You'd hate to fall out with the Chinese now that England have left us.
Ireland we thank you for your courage, your skill and, most of all, for giving us back our pride.
I had a little cry. Not when we beat the Roman Empire with that late goal from Robbie Brady. Not even when Robbie invaded the fans and his loved ones.
There will be hundreds and thousands all across the wailing island of Ireland who will have to go to bed tonight without a bedtime story.
These Irishmen of the first, second and third generation are enacting a live and living history.
The English are trying desperately to get their independence from Ireland, and we will not let them go. It wouldn't surprise me if the Brexiteers burst into song: "And England, long a province/Be a nation once again."
It's a wonder the Banner never took chance with Muhammad Ali at full-forward. The champ came to visit his ancestral home in Clare a few years ago and he wasn't even running for president.
I did it for the money. Well, maybe there was another reason. I was shy. Didn't want to be the man. You know how it is for us introverts.
Sergiu Ciobanu, born in Moldova, and now a Tipp man, is our third fastest Olympic marathon runner.
It was a race to the train. He was moving fast in his good suit. The clogs of brown brogues didn't help, but the runner made the train in time all the same.
There was a time not that long ago when Connacht was in danger of being annexed. Money men in the IRFU took the Hugh Hefner approach to the business of sport. It was all about the figures.
Some stick with the old holiday company definition of the family. The one where the sun deals are for the mammy, the daddy, and the two kids. We had four and you'd nearly have to hand back a couple of the children to get a good deal.
We met up at Tralee Races for a chat. Kieren Fallon man- whispered that he was in a spot of bother in France.
There's a terrible shortage of sex at the moment. Sex-starved men are the new silent majority. These men are suffering. Something must be done.
Rugby was the ideal game for him back in the days when cage fighting took place in prisons. Rugby players at junior level self- police but there are opportunities for the violent to maim.
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