'Con' -- 1925-2012
• There are tears in the south west wind tonight,
As they fall on you and me,
From the haunts of Castleisland,
To the pavement of Burgh Quay.
They weep for a giant who has fallen,
A lover of sport and the pen,
A true Irish patriot and expert,
On moor land bog river and glen.
But the fogra now reads that your body is dead,
But your spirit can always be found,
In a pub not so loud, in the roar of the crowd,
For horse for ball or for hound.
Dunshaughlin, Co Meath
• Ar dheis De a anam dilis, Con. Another part of what made the real Ireland great slipped away to his heavenly reward at the weekend. My introduction and love for newspapers and sport were greatly aided and abetted by the Kerry bard.
He wrote prose like poetry and whilst getting the message across gone was the vitriol we now see in punditry where the bigger the insult you can impart equates with the bigger pay cheque.
Con Houlihan was a giant. I used to see him wandering around Portobello years ago and I envied his ease, his carriage and above all his mastery of the word. Big, broad and hands like a shovel, Con was the countryman's representative in the Big Smoke.
Rest easy, kind sir, and you have now a front seat ticket for all the games no longer confined to the terraces and Hill, where you wrote your finest words. I wonder in that puzzle palace of excess and mirror-gazing aka RTE, did anyone ever consider big Con for 'The Sunday Game' or the soccer match? I thought so . . .
Slan, fellow western sea board bard. Ni fheicimid a leitheid aris.
Dunboyne, Co Meath