independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

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Further to the correspondence as regards Celtic Football Club, my father-in-law Tom Doherty from Bunbeg, Co Donegal took the 'Derry Boat' to Glasgow in 1938 aged 22. The arable lands of East Scotland and later the urban developments of post-war Glasgow created the economic situation that sustained many Irish families.

Those working people found Parkhead a welcoming focal point which was a home for native Irish speakers. Parkhead and the Celtic football team have always been a tremendous source of community and pride to the Scottish-based diaspora.

Some years ago, when the pitch was being laid in the newly developed Celtic Park, the sod was taken from the heart of Gaeltacht Ireland in Donegal.

This gesture reinforced the long and powerful connection between Ireland and the club that was founded by Brother Walfrid.

Thank God Tom is still with us, and long back in his native place. In his 97th year he still follows, with great spirit, the trials and tribulations of the great Glasgow club.

Johnny Corcoran

Celtic links are wee bit obvious

Celtic FC were founded by an Irish-born Brother to raise funds for poor Irish people in Glasgow, have flown the Tricolour for many years, have supporters who sing Amhrán na bhFiann at matches and whose majority shareholder is Dermot Desmond and you think it's bizarre that they have a special place in Irish hearts. Why so?

John Ryan

'Bizarre' opinion doesn't stand up

I'm just sitting here listening to Willy DeVille's Southern Politician, showing my age and having a flick through the sports section of the Sunday Indo and I came across 'Barca's Irish links are worth following'.

The well-worn example of the guy in the Celtic shirt holding the "No Foreign Games" sign – is this not a crass example of lazy journalism?

I also looked up the real meaning of the word "bizarre" and I came up with the following definition: "Conspicuously or grossly unconventional or unusual".

Now pray tell me what is "conspicuously or grossly unconventional or unusual" about Glasgow Celtic being considered Irish in the broadest sense?

Rather than waste time in giving you a pocket history of Celtic FC, may I refer you to the following publications, The Official Biography of Celtic - Graham McColl (Headline Publishers) and a section of the Where Green is Worn - Story of the Irish Diaspora by Tim Pat Coogan, and you might become more enlightened.

As regards Barcelona FC and Don Patricio, well I think that most long-time admirers of this famous club are familiar with the man who once played with Man United and Belfast Celtic and who befriended Frank Ryan and other Irish members of the International Brigade during the Spanish Civil War.

If I'm not mistaken, O'Connell was the first South of Ireland player to play for United.

It is also very poignant to think that this man, who was at times controversial, died virtually destitute in St Pancras in London on February 27, 1959.

A little research is important folks. You should take example from your colleague Mr Sweeney or people like Hugh McIlvanney.

It's time, even for an insomniac like myself, to retire.

Nick Condon

Joyce always a football genius

Your piece on Pádraic Joyce is spot on. I've admired his skill for 22 years ever since we brought an under 21 Tuam Stars team into Jarlath's for a Sunday norning challenge and he destroyed us (he was 16).

For years I've tried to explain to people his genius at Gaelic football but always knew I fell short of adequately describing his pure skills and magical movements.

Thanks for giving me some words to get it across better.

Seamus Kelly, Tuam

There's no bull in Sweeney's field

Just want to say how much I enjoy reading Eamonn Sweeney's page in the Sunday Independent. Some of his articles on Gaelic games and soccer have been fantastic.

It such a relief to read well-constructed and insightful pieces in an age where we are just fed on a drip feed of hype and bullshit.

I felt I had to particularly commend his article on Chelsea's disgraceful behaviour towards Mark Clattenburg, but this is one of many great pieces over the last number of years, although I did disagree with his attack on the great Dunphy and Giles. You can't win 'em all!

Keep up the good work.

Conor Walsh

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