Tuesday 24 April 2018

Billy Keane: Time to accentuate the positive after raft of good news stories

Billy Keane

Billy Keane

They say bad news sells papers. I'm not so sure. Today it's all good and we'll start with the story of a Westmeath man who proved conclusively you don't have to be a drinker to be a writer.

Believe me, I have tried writing under the influence on occasion and the deleted-in-the-morning pieces were full of self-pity, filth, libel and worst of all, misplaced commas.

Bernie Comaskey, who hails from the hurling enclave of Bracklyn in north Westmeath, packed in the booze years ago. He has written a GAA novel and there's sex in it and infighting and rows at matches and coups against the board, and more personality clashes than you'd get at a cabinet meeting on Budget's Eve.

In other words, your typical GAA club. The book is called 'The Team' and you will recognise most of the characters even though you have never met them.

Eamon Lawlor made a lovely speech and he confirmed what we all knew to be true – Bernie is one of the good guys.

I truly hate shopping other than for books and back in the days when credit cards were fool's gold, I dodged Harrods.

It's the heat. There's no place to sit down and women touch hundreds of things. They have no notion of buying them and they knock you down if you get in their way and the toilets are so high up there's no need to flush.

This council man was cleaning the Knightsbridge streets in the rain. Rollers and Jags pulled up and a man with a tall hat opened the doors for the owners. The postman was passing by and he said to the council worker: "Well done mate, nice job." It always stayed in my mind.

It was the 'nicenessness' of it.

Now it's time to say 'well done mate' to a postman. I played football with Vincent Carmody. He was coming to the end of a distinguished career and I was nine stone and 16-years-old. The one they hate around here most is the cheeky townie, and did I suffer.

The refs back then would have given more protection to a Black and Tan on the run. Vincent was always looking out for us young lads. He became secretary of the club and as is the way with ex- Emmets players, Vincent produced his share of books.

His latest is to be launched in the Listowel Arms Hotel on Sunday next by Judge Bryan MacMahon, another Emmets stalwart who has written many erudite law tomes. Vincent's story is a street history told in billheads and is probably the most beautifully designed book I have ever seen.

There's more good news and it is this – the budget is over for another year. We hope.

The bad news – there was no tax on handpassing.

And more good news again. Kate Middleton is over her bout of morning sickness. Oh but Kate, girl I feel your pain. I often got a dose of it myself.

Another Kate, Katie Taylor, is staying amateur. Hoorah.

And here's a question that was posed at Listowel Badminton club's annual pub quiz by Mark Loughnane and Junior Griffin, who is well over 90.

Name the Irish sports person who attracted the biggest audience at the London Olympics? By the way, the TV viewing figure was a billion. Not that far short of legendary Donegal crooner Daniel O'Donnell's Christmas special.

Donegal in Scotland was the scene of another big win for the county. Celtic are through to the last 16 of the Champions League. The final few minutes took hours. Jim McGuinness was incensed. The referee wouldn't let him play 15 men behind the ball when Celtic went a goal up.


Neil Lennon wears not only his heart on his sleeve, but a tricolour on his lapel. The sacrilegious bigots and the football terrorists tried to break him, but he was not for breaking.

Lennon stood up to them all and if there were times when he lost his cool, it was only because he was driven to it by men who hate as much as he loves his club and its traditions.

There is no better place to be than Celtic Park on European nights.

This is about community and place. It's about a sense of belonging to a Gathering, away from a homeland many Celtic people have never visited, but they are as Irish as we are. And more so.

More good news on the way after the break as they say on The Joe Duffy Show. Ha ha.

Is the tea made? We'll kick on so. The answer to the quiz is Scott Evans, the Irish badminton player, who took on Lin Dan of China in the Olympic badminton.

The last of the good news is the mid-life crisis delusions and the dose of male menopause that has plagued me since puberty are as good as cured.

As was said at the start of the First World War: "It will be all over by Christmas."

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport