Billy Keane: Johnny Sexton's dad in long-johns and Bundee's bodhrán led the way on memorable weekend
The weather was so cold the polar bears in London zoo wore long-johns and the penguins donned a second pair of socks. So did Jonathan Sexton's dad.
The weather was so cold the polar bears in London zoo wore long-johns and the penguins donned a second pair of socks. So did Jonathan Sexton's dad.
Ellie Mac is more than just a horse. She is a young boy's dream.
The snowmen are melting in Kerry this morning. Ours has lost his nose and soon enough the carrot will be in the pot. We dressed him in green and gold, and there's no image that expresses the...
We are on top of the Six Nations now and every game day is a national holiday. This is the spring of the Six St Patrick's Days and the six no longer long Good Fridays.
The street-scape changes forever when a small-town street man dies. I see him now rushing from his van - the one with the road visible under the floor, and the sliding door that wouldn't slide.
There was a national obsession with the prevention of the swelled head when I was a boy and well beyond that.
Nearly 11,000 came to Killarney. Kerry were missing 19 players. Donegal finished up with 13 men; Kerry ended with 14, and won by just one point.
When we saw the state of the pitch, with pools of water, and a puddle up the middle, some of us thought there would be little chance of scoring four tries on such a bad day.
Mick O'Dwyer had us dreaming of glory days. Players have their day, managers come and managers go, but Mick O'Dwyer went on forever.
We are gathered here today, dearly beloved brethren, on this the first Monday after the 12 days of Christmas. The work of the prophet is not confined to Sundays.
The main resolution for 2018 is to become 'an awful man'. You're in the pub. Some lad you know is sitting nearby and you send him over a pint.
For years I thought Boxing Day was so called because lads went walloping each other late at night on the Feast of St Stephen. Boxing Day is so called because this was the day for giving...
It was tough. It was tight. We got a fright. But Munster won in Leicester, the Munster of England.
Munster will be up far past their play-time next Saturday when they take on Leicester in the Champions Cup.
The 1997 Kerry team met up in Paidi's and, within a few minutes, the players slipped back in to each others company as easily as a favourite fireside chair.
It's been a bad week for sports fans in this country. The Danes got even for Clontarf and the French bought a World Cup from the greedy Celts.
I was that long up on the couch yesterday, Herself was going to send for the fire brigade to bring me down. Like as in if a cat got stuck up a tree.
World Rugby placed Ireland third of three. World Rugby didn't get the value of bringing rugby back to the people.
The friendly Kilkenny village of Ballyragget has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
I have never heard so many expressions of support for the men and women who define our GAA borders.
Munster have just escaped from Castres with an unlikely draw. We could easily have been two penalty tries down and two players short before thirsty men who take a long time to pee had time to take up their seats.
When we were kids everyone had his or her own place at the dinner table. And yes dinner was in the middle of the day.
Mom slept at the foot of Mike Shine's bed every night, and when she died his toes were cold in the winter. But what Mike missed most of all was the best friendship.
It was barman's dawn. And I was still in the cot at 11 o'clock, worn out from talking s**te and pulling pints.
Dublin won the three in a row on a sunny autumn Sunday in Croke Park and so it is that this team joins the ranks of the football immortals.
I can hear the clattering of bottles being stuck in to their coffins down below in the back yard. In a few hours the doors will open for the biggest week of the year here in Listowel.
When I was a boy, listening away in the bunk -bed bedroom up over our pub, I used to think the song I heard from down below was the Boston Burger, but it was really the 'Boston Burglar'.
There were mistakes and misses on a rainy day, but what this game did have was valour, four goals and the best Andy Moran dancing since Gene Kelly, of Mayo stock, ran up the walls in Singing in the Rain.
There's no lamentations out of Big Mick Barrett, the man who jumped the Walls of Limerick.
The co-ordinates of time, place and people are never forgotten when our team wins big, but there's no come-all-ye yet for the Irish heroines of Marcoussis.
They were hardy souls, those old poets. A good few of them used to come in to the pub and they didn't hate the drink.
This is written live. From a house at the foot of The Conor Pass. If I went to Croke Park for the Kerry-Galway game, I would have had to miss the after party of my daughter's wedding.
The cast-aside footballers of Cork reclaimed the rebel within and Mayo as ever showed they are by some way the most resilient team that has ever played the game.
St Patrick was counting sheep to get to sleep when Carlow had their last long run in the All-Ireland championship. There was no nodding off in Netwatch Cullen Park on Saturday night. Carlow put it up to Monaghan, who were in mortal danger for over an hour, and if there's glory to be had in defeat, well then this was a glorious defeat.
The new drink-driving bill is on the way in and many of my friends will lose their businesses as a result of the reduction in the drink-drive limits.
Off came his Lions jersey, for the last time, in the Paradise Lost of Eden Park. Jonathan Sexton was still trying to figure out if a draw was a victory or defeat.
My mam said to me, not long before she died, that one morning when I was an even smaller small boy than I am now, I told her there were pictures on my pillow.
The DUP is back up on the high horse looking down like King Billy at the Boyne.
The Lions haven't even a song or an anthem of their very own.
The Continuity KGB were caught rotten when they went interfering in the US presidential election, and Moscow is trying to sneakily nick bits of the countries next door like a greedy turfcutter moving barbed wire fences in the bog.
The journey over the big river was well worth the crossing and the togging out in winter onesies. Clare gave Kerry plenty of it.
I'm not sure if I would like to go on the summer holidays to a place where it rains and the cold gets in to your bones. Thousands upon thousands have gone off to New Zealand to cheer on the Lions.
The ball tiptoes almost apologetically towards Simon Zebo, standing alone just inside his 22-metre line.
I'm thinking right now that the best thing about getting a good hiding is you know where you stand. There are no ifs, buts or maybes. Down we are, but not for long. In Munster the fall is the beginning of the getting up.
The Munster team tried their best to hoist Donnacha Ryan up on their shoulders for a farewell lap around the ground.
The feed was banged on top of the table, without so much as a word. The new diet had caused some friction.
Kerry played Laois in the Leinster Championship in Austin Stack Park in Tralee yesterday. Yes, Tralee is in Leinster. New York and London are in Connacht and The Glens of Antrim are part of Greater Leinster.
The only day we get to stroll through the dark parks and pathways in the company of old and new souls is almost upon us. ‘Darkness into Light’ is the annual walk through the darkest hour of the night, the hour just before dawn when the black of the sky gives way to lighting up time.
There was a time when queens defeated their opponents by beheading them downtown in The Tower. Katie Taylor, the Queen of Boxing, cut up the bloodied German Nina Meinke at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.
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 in the Six Nations.
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 the gate open.
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 took his last breath.
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. There's a huge trench as deep as a well, with men working day and night.
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 a calm appraisal, the All-Ireland football final of 2016 will go down in history as one of the greatest games ever played.
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.