Billy Keane: 'Noel keeps the green and gold flag flying in word and in deed'
Noel O'Connell is a talker but his voice is too weak for the phone. He speaks in writing now. This is a talking column.
Noel O'Connell is a talker but his voice is too weak for the phone. He speaks in writing now. This is a talking column.
The Basques, the Celts, the Vikings, the Normans, the Spanish, the Scots, the French and the English have all invaded us.
So what does the homophobic Australian rugby player Israel Folau have to do with the GAA, the IRFU and the FAI?
The man at the bar told me his life story. He is The Badly Wronged Man.
Kerry beat Clare on a wet night in Ennis.
Leinster gave their all. We can ask no more. In the end Saracens won by 10 and Leinster had to defend like the heroes they are to keep it at that.
I am all for the Government's plan to bring broadband to all of the people, all of the time.
We will generously share our insider tips with Leinster. If Leinster win the European Champions Cup on Saturday next, they will become the first team to win five stars
The man I knew well was in a bad state but he still managed to crack a joke. "I would jump off a cliff," he said, "but I'm afraid of heights."
The news came through that Ruby had retired with immediate effect.
I would like to share just a few memories from the last time Munster played in Coventry. There are also a few memories I can't remember. Munster won after a dour struggle against Saracens, the...
The man asked me to talk about buttons and as you might well expect I focused almost exclusively...
Jimmy Duffy from Blennerville pedalled the famed Ring of Kerry charity cycle on an old-fashioned, throw- your-leg-over-the-bar bicycle.
'A skip is therapeutic," said the man collecting the big skip from outside the back of our pub. The skip was full of piled-high rubbish which was in a...
Mayo of the so many sorrows found joy unconfined on a winning final Sunday. The bravest team of them all beat Kerry to win silver at last in Croke...
This old man came into our pub in the company of a matchmaker. The old man was a well-off farmer. The matchmaker was a bad man. My parents were wary.
When the Leinster evaluators look back on the season of 2018/19, the marks will be high.
The old travelling man came in to our pub on a slow day and my dad was writing away at the counter.
Munster were well beaten on Saturday. Game over, ball burst for this year.
The Woman Who Hasn't Had Sex For 39 Years told me her late husband has confirmed, through a series of knocks, he is still alive.
Patrick Quirke faces life in prison. Bobby Ryan was murdered. Lives are in ruins, there are no secrets - and all over a few fields. There have been many day-trippers who travelled to Dublin to attend the most talked-about show in town. The Tipperary murder trial could have been named 'The Field 2'.
The news came through that Ruby retired with immediate effect.
The Sniff Sniff smells people. Sniff Sniff is the English translation for the new Japanese invention known as Kunkun.
Billy Vunipola is a homophobe. Vunipola is one of the best rugby players in the world. He is an England international who is key to his adopted country's World Cup hopes. Vunipola was awarded man of the match when his club Saracens defeated Munster in Coventry on Saturday in the semi- final of the Heineken Champions Cup.
I didn't notice any great burst of repairing or decorating in the pubs yesterday, which happened to fall on a Good Friday.
The Irish in Britain came to Edinburgh in their thousands. Inside the red jersey beats the heart of home. Munster, as ever, turned an away game in to a home fixture.
They're all at me and I'm at myself too.
Mickey and Barney's circus pitched their big top just down the road from Dr Hyde Park.
It's been a while now since we brought you an update on the activities of The Woman Who Hasn't Had Sex for 39 Years.
St Patrick spent a good bit of time in Mayo as a shepherd slave or doing penance on wet mountains. Our patron saint inspired Mayo people for generations and one of his many accomplishments was his perseverance.
I hope the environmentalists don't turn against St Patrick because he kicked the snakes out of Ireland.
Ireland gave France the kind of beating they used to give us when I was a boy. French rugby was a cut above back then.
Bob Dylan's 'Blowin' in the Wind' asks a series of questions and the gist of it all is when will we ever learn?
It's the same as snakes wearing St Patrick's Day badges, which is stolen or adapted by yours truly from the one about turkeys voting for Christmas.
The unprecedented success of high yield, financially viable horticultural produce has hit the headlines in recent times.
Rome has seen its share of turmoil over the centuries and at half-time yesterday it looked as if Ireland would flood the Tiber with tears of grief.
We speak a number of different versions of the English language in this country. Our linguistic log started in Cork city. We travelled from there to west Limerick and ended in John B's, when Derry came to Kerry.
Last week in Cork, I met with six runners who were forced to run away from their beloved, but troubled, homelands.
We need to tell you today of how it was An Bord Pleanála refused planning permission for a hospice in Galway, because, among other things, it was worried about the fate of a field.
In a year when silage was cut in January, Kerry and Dublin went at each other as if this was autumn and All-Ireland final day.
Sometimes when travellers describe small places, they say "blink and you'll miss it". They were never in Dunnamaggin and never met Johnny Cahill.
There's a line from the Kris Kristofferson song Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down that springs to mind today: "No way to hold my head that didn't hurt."
The English have landed. Never has an invading force from the other side of the Irish Sea been more welcome.
The best fun weekend of the lot is nearly here and the 'Tut-Tuts' are not happy, as you might expect. The partying begins today, which is traditionally the first day of spring, ahead of tomorrow's Ireland v England Six Nations clash.
The weather, as expected, has turned wintry. Then again, this is winter.
Exeter Chiefs, leaders of the English Premiership, are famed for their clinical execution in the red zone. Late on, the Chiefs were awarded a lineout close to the Munster line.
Seventy-nine-year-old Chris Sexton from Miltown Malbay told Andrew Hamilton of 'The Clare People' he filled buckets of wild field mushrooms over the last few weeks.
Cork County Board chairperson Tracey Kennedy defined Corkness as "that air of confidence just on the right side of arrogance - an unparalleled pride and our insatiable desire for Cork to be the best at absolutely everything."
My best source has been cruelly taken from me by the scaremongering of transatlantic shoppers. It's not like as if there isn't anything much going on. The one good thing about Trump is that you'd never be stuck for a column.
It's that time of the year again, when men and women without any sense make predictions with the certainty of those who are never wrong. I'm lucky in that I am seldom wrong. There's a touch of the Pope about me, with that uncanny ability to be always right.
This is what was said to me by the woman in the underwear department of the big store when I asked to buy a bra and knickers, for myself.
There was no hiding on the rugby field of Thomond and there's no place to hide behind the pub counter either.
The secret marzipan thief is the man who ate the icing on the cake, off the cake.
Gratitude is the big word now. So if Santa forgets to bring you the new Mercedes tonight, well then cheer up and give thanks for the gift that keeps on giving.
Margaret had a bounty on her head. She was dead meat they said. Her days were numbered anyway and the escape from captivity was considered to be no more than a stay of execution.
It was the way Benjamin Urdapilleta looked over at the ref that gave away his guilt.
The word the woman I met in the street used was loco-commotion. It's a new word even though it sounds like an old word for moving, if you say it fast.
Is it a compliment when you criticise a team that have won by 25 points?
The Woman Who Hasn't Had Sex For 39 Years is worried she will lose her widow's pension. Even though Mrs 39 (reluctantly) attended her husband's funeral 27 years ago, she could still be married.
The full name of the game was the Hula Hoops Pat Duffy National Cup Q/F Garvey's Tralee Warriors v UCC Demons.
Jonathan Sexton's famous boots were sold off at €15,500 for the two. There was another 10 grand paid up front by way of bank draft by Betty Boots.
Weeshie Fogarty - broadcaster, writer, nurse, the most loving of husbands and the dearest of dads - died last week, but he did not pass away and he never will.
There is more money around and the recovery has reached rural Ireland. The improvements in terms of income are here at last, but in smaller increments than in the cities.
I know there are those of you who write down things to do before you die.
Chance and Circumstance met on the banks of a fast river in a mad hurry for the sea. And here is the story of that meeting.
This plan is cunning marketing and it may even be illegal if there is no excise duty being paid. The chipper man from way up the country who was nearly gone broke is harvesting the money into round bales. Thanks to the plan. Or so I'm told.
Ireland ran Italy around Soldier Field until the Azurri wore out. This is the way to play Italy who were brave but were as blunt as an old razor blade by the end of the game.
The Woman Who Hasn't Had Sex for 39 Years isn't herself. She's giving out a lot these days but there's always a reason.
The big news came just before the game: Colm 'Gooch' Copper, a man in the autumn of his career, would stay in his tracksuit even though he was named in the starting XV.
I came across a romantic Mills and Boon-type novella the other day and it was written by a friend of mine, under a pen name, at a time when he was badly stuck for money.
There are some of you who have forsaken the delights of alcohol in this Sober October. I'd be a Holy Souls man myself.
Munster came home on the night of the game. There was no pub crawl in Exeter. After a savage battle with the locals, Munster were barely able to walk up the steps of the plane.
The coaches at Exeter Chiefs and Coventry Wasps were surely shocked by the derby fervour.
The rugby season of 2018-19 is a stag party. The stated aim of a stag party, aside from wrecking the heads of already harassed and distressed publicans, is to ensure the groom gets a good send-off.
I'm lying on a beach out foreign and as sure as the tides come in and the tides go out, so too do the columns.
This Dublin Ladies team have brought the game to a new level of skill and endurance, with plenty of tough but fair thrown in as well.
It's Saturday - the night before the race. Ellie Mac was the first one to bed. She lay down in her stable by the River Feale and slept to the soothing sounds of water flowing over stone.
Dublin is more than a team. Dublin is a fountain of football, a holy well pumping out the water of life.
This is the age of conspiracy and the time of intrigue. We live in the reign of dastardly deeds. Jose Mourinho is the victim of a fiendish and cunning media plot and only I know the how and the why.
If God ever made anything better than the hurling, he kept it for himself. Limerick take Liam at last after another epic poem of a match. Limerick at long last.
Ah, but Monaghan loved and lost but won our hearts. Tyrone were written off and word was that Mickey Harte had lost his magic wand.
After the game Eamonn Fitzmaurice walked out on to Kerry's field with babe in arms. He did the sorry for your troubles and the sorry for your loss. There were hand-shakes and hugs.
I wonder how many Kildare fans will make the journey to Killarney on Saturday for the final game of the 'Super 8s'.
Kerry got out of jail yesterday when the Monaghan guards were distracted by the singing of the Fat Lady. Monaghan drove on from the start, and if there was a drumlin in the way, it was flattened.
Kerry's bubble was just that and the bursting was a Hindenburg. We were outplayed, outfought and out-thought by a rampant Galway. Even the referee was fair but Barry Cassidy is a very slow writer. The game was disjointed with too much scribbling and whistling.
After only the bare fortnight, Newbridge or Nowhere has already become a rallying cry for the dispossessed.
The Russians, who love their spies, are all for it. Soon enough, say the naysayers, there will be no one left to hate, and no ref left to blame.
Old men will think back on the summer of their dreams and reference sunny times. And they will state, as old men often do, "it never rained when we were young".
This is the story of four boots, several extraordinary women, Le Drop, and a panic attack.
It was in the summer of 1988 and Herself was slightly pregnant. The baby was due in July and the Euros were scheduled to start in June.
I travelled to Limerick to check if Mayo were still contenders and to try to find some signs of hope for our near neighbours, the locals. The day was hot. The Bedouin would be eating 99s in this heat.
The Clare supporters came over by boat yesterday morning for the big game against Kerry. The Shannon is all that separates us from the Banner but in another way the big river links us.
One miserable point is all that was between Munster and finally a final. That's seven semis in a row lost and gone.
Leinster had to offer up body and soul as a sacrificial offering in what was a savage game of rugby.
I will stowaway my way through the Basque country of France and Spain with the Leinster fans.
It was time to go, they decided. It was time to start a new phase in life. The jump jockeys jumped, they weren't pushed. The old rugby warrior could have played on for another year. They were the ones who wrote their own P45.
Racing were better, bigger, faster, classier and craftier. Munster were gutsy, and gallant. We just didn't start well and Racing knew where to strike.
How many stories have started out with 'a man walks into a bar'? The man who walked into John B's on Thursday night last is an alcoholic. There's this terrible feeling when someone you know breaks out. Maybe the words should read 'broke in' and the break in is to the prison that is alcoholism.
Seven-year-old Mourneabbey footballer Anna Browne suffers from cerebral palsy. Anna needs an operation, and it will cost a lot.
The resurrection came a day early to Thomond Park. Dead and gone became fresh and fair with only three minutes to go. The Shannon is the Jordan and Lough Derg is The Sea of Galilee. From now on Lent will be 39 days long, and the children will tear in to the chocolate eggs on Easter Saturday morning.
Jacob Stockdale's mother read the lines of her palms like a fortune teller. The poor woman spent nearly all of that Grand Slam match in Twickenham with her head buried in both hands.
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 transient and the ephemeral more than the melting of a snow man.
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 Christmas boxes. We were given the tradition of the day out on the 26th by the English.
It was tough. It was tight. We got a fright. But Munster won in Leicester, the Munster of England.
There's an old saying, which I have just made up this very second, but it does sound like a real old saying. It goes, "when the scraps fall to the floor, the hungriest dog gets more".