Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Lyons T for Trouble? Mayo's D-Day is Here

The reaction in Mayo to what is expected to be a rubber-stamping of Tommy Lyons’ appointment tonight as the new Mayo senior team manager by the Mayo County Board has been varied.

Storming the Bastille
On the one hand, there are those who wish to storm An Sportlann, headquarters of the Mayo County Board, just as French stormed the Bastille in the name of liberty, before they made their way to Killala to spread the same gospel of freedom here.

And on the other hand, there are those who just want the pain to stop, like that clapped-out boxer on the telly who yearns for the old one-two that one only gets from Uniflu™. Think of the prisoners on the Moorish ships in Chesterton’s Lepanto, who find their God forgotten and seek no more a sign. You get the idea.

There are very few who welcome Tommy Lyons’ appointment and the one emotion that the Bastille-stormers, busted boxers and prisoners-broken-by-years-of-adversity share is a deep and dark dread towards what the future may hold under a Lyons stewardship.

It’s not about Tommy Lyons personally, although it can’t be said he helps. Mouthy metropolitans are seldom welcome back the heathery mountain. The big problem that people in Mayo have with a potential Lyons appointment is the way the appointment was made.

Heartbreak and Bitterness
After the heartbreak and bitterness of John O’Mahony’s Second Coming the Mayo Board was in humour to salve wounds. They promised a process through which a new man would be appointed, divisions healed, new processes set in place and the Good Ship Mayo pointed to a brave new tomorrow.

Everyone who got involved in that process now seems to have been sold a pup, as horse-trading went on behind the scenes. The result is Tommy Lyons. The stories about the nature of that horse-trading vary, but the bottom line is that there are very real fears that the Lyons appointment will happen for reasons other than what is best for the county team.

Liam Horan has been put in charge of a Strategic Review Committee but Horan’s first job as chairman of that committee will be to explain how exactly it’s the case that Tommy Lyons has a better chance of having a Mayo team still playing football in September than James Horan, Denis Kearney, Anthony McGarry or John Maughan. Or Mick O’Dwyer, if it comes to that. Because it’s not at all easy to see right now.

A lot of this has to do with the responsibility of the County Board. What is their duty? Is it towards the clubs, the debt on McHale Park, or have they also a duty to field the best team they can in the senior inter-county football championship?

There is no doubt – except, perhaps, in the addled minds of the GPA – that if there were no clubs there would be no GAA. But the county team cannot be treated in so cavalier a fashion as to appoint a manager for reasons other than his being the best man for the job.

In Memory of Our Fathers
People live and die by their county teams. This is true for all counties, of course, but – and An Spailpín must confess a certain bias here – it seems especially so in Mayo where the people are so defined by what the football team does. The very notion of the team, of a Mayo style, of the unique colours, has a resonance for people that transcends a game or an organisation. The notion that there is a Mayo team out there, playing football, is a part of people’s souls. It helps people understand who they are.

For instance: a great and good friend of the blog was at the 2004 final, and he got talking to the man next to him. The guy next to was from Limerick, but he had hunted down a ticket and come up anyway, because of his father.

His father was a Mayoman and had died earlier that year. The son was making a vigil to Croke Park to do honour to his father’s memory, to see a Mayo victory that was no longer possible for his father but that would have meant so much to him had he lived. The Mayo GAA scene meant nothing to this Treatyman, but the very idea of Mayo was vivid and clear in his head.

He went home disappointed, as did we all. But that man, whoever he is and where-ever he is now, deserves better than this. He did honour by his late father’s memory, and he deserves better. The poor deluded fools who travel on Sundays for FBD League games and National League games as well as the glamorous Championship games of high summer deserves better than this.

The gobdaws and buck eejits and helpless innocents who daydream at least once a week about what it will be like when Sam returns to Mayo deserve better than this. The ludramans and the mentally unbalanced who compose greatest-ever Mayo teams drawn from men who never played senior club football in their heads to pass the time deserve better than this. Or else it’s time for us all to wonder just why we invest so much emotional energy to just get smacked around by an ungrateful lover. Again.

The Eleventh Hour
James Horan - the Flying Kiwi from BallintubberToday the eleventh hour, but it’s still not too late. The Board can still turn away from the Lyons candidacy and appoint James Horan, one of the stars of the first John Maughan team of the mid-nineties and the current manager of Ballintubber, now contesting a county final for the first time in their long and proud history. Horan has galvanised the anti-Lyons feeling and become the people’s choice. It’s up the Board tonight to do the right thing. God be with them.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Vote Bono. Because He Likes Money Too.

There may be a point to Bono. The man may be finally fit for purpose. Bono’s attitude to money is exactly in synch with the spirit of the nation, and we can all come out together in our fecklessness and greed by acclaiming the U2 frontman as Ireland’s Greatest in the TV gameshow of the same name. He is who we are.

At first glance, John Hume would seem the obvious candidate to win from the five nominees (James Connolly, Michael Collins and Mary Robinson (Mary Robinson!) being the three others). Hume’s inclusion among so motley a crew is rather like seeing Mr Lionel Messi on the first eleven of the Dog and Duck in the Sunday League, or Ms Nigella Lawson, pre-Raphaelite tresses confined to a hairnet, heaving bricks of lasagne onto the expectant plates of the masses in the Kylemore Cafe, all the while smiling and saying “Mmm, scrumptious!”

But John Hume doesn’t need some penny-ante TV show to tell him he did his country some service. John Hume doesn’t need to try out. Best then to use the show to come to terms with the real two faces of the nation, and who better to do that than The Fly himself?

Money has always been closer to Irish hearts than either rock or, indeed, roll and Bono’s hare and hounds attitude to lucre is perfectly in synch with the genius of the Irish nation. The music doesn’t matter – as a friend of mine delights in pointing out, the real star of U2 is David “The Edge” Evans, because he has to not only play his own guitar part but he must cover for the hopelessly incompetent bass-playing of Adam Clayton as well. Busy man.

Bono’s attitude to money, like everyone else’s in Ireland, depends on whether the money is his own, or whether it is someone else’s.

When the loot in question is someone else’s, the coin gushes hither, thither and yon, with no-one stressing very much about where it goes or what it does. Consider the story in the New York Post and last week about one of the many charitable causes to which Bono is devoted. Bono’s ONE Campaign, based in Washington, DC took in $14,993,873 in donations in 2008. From that fifteen mil, it gave $184,732 in donations.

That’s 1.2% percent of the loot, for those who are scoring at home.

The ONE Campaign has responded by saying that they are an advocacy group, rather than a wealth redistribution group. What, then, happened to the other $14,809,141? Well, eight million went in salaries. The other six million clams must got have got redistributed somewhere else.

When the money is Bono’s own, however, we discover a horse of a different colour. Edun, the for-profit ethical charity fashion house run by Mr and Mrs Bono has a mission statement to raise awareness of the fashion possibility of Africa, but the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that 85% of Edun’s 2010 fashion lines were made from materials from either China or Peru. And as soon as the taxman started eying the artists’ tax exemption here U2 famously decamped to the Netherlands, the better to hang onto their guilders.

Bono spends other people’s money like a sailor on shore leave but hangs onto his own just a badger will hang onto a wellington once his teeth have sunk home. One life, but we’re not the same, as it were. Who else so exquisitely sums up the State as we’ve been running it?

Vote Bono. You know there's no alternative.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Na Gaeilgeoirí ina dTost

An bhfuil deighlt mór ann idir lucht labhartha na Gaeilge agus an lucht atá Gaeilge acu? Tá Gaeilge ag i bhfad níos mó daoine faoi láthair ná mar a bhíodh agus an Spailpín ina bhuachaill scoile. Tá an pobal níos múinte ná mar a bhíodh, táid níos bródúla as ucht na Gaeilge ná mar a bhíodh, tá mean cumarsáide nua-aimsíoch againne chun tacu leis an nGaeilge.

Cén fáth, mar sin, nach labraíonn níos mó daoine an Ghaeilge? Cén fáth nach bhfuil dúil Gaeilge níos laidre ann, maidir le nuachtáin, le leabhair, nó le cláracha teilifíse? Craoltar rugbaí as Gaeilge arís ar TG4 le déanaí - an bhfuil éinne sásta le seo amach ón Spailpín? An bhfuil an lucht rugbaí bródúil as, nó an bhfuil geanc arís orthu nach bhfúil na cluichí ar Sky Sports?

Bhuail na ceisteanna seo arís orm agus mise ag smaoineamh ar an méid páistí a gcuirfear chun Gaelscoileanna in ionad gnáthscoileanna an Mean Fómhair seo, mar a gcuireadh níos mó agus níos mó acu leis na blianta le déanaí.

Tuigimid go léir cúrsaí an tsaoil, agus tá fios maith ag an saol nach gcuirtear an chuid is mó páistí Ghaelscoileanna chun an nGaelscoil ar son na Gaeilge, ach mar bíonn an tuairim amach go bhfuil oideachais níos fearr le fáil i nGaelscoil ná mar atá i ngnáthscoil.

Ach cé nach bhfuil meas ag gach tuismitheoir ar an nGaeilge ar dtús, beidh Gaeilge ag an leanbh má leanann sé nó sí leis an nGaelscoil go dtí an Ardteist. Ní fhéadair ealú uaithi tar éis na blianta fada. Agus má tá an méid daoine seo ann agus Gaeilge chomh mór sin acu, cén fáth nach labhraíonn siad as Gaeilge? Cén fáth nach glcoistear 'sna tithe tábhairne é, nó 'sna sráideanna, nó ag cluiche nó in áit ar bith?

Bíonn drogall ar daoine nár tógadh le Gaeilge Gaeilge a labhairt mar is cuimhin leo go breá soiléir an náire nuair a rinneadh amadáin uathu sa scoil. Ach tá na leanaí na Gaelscoileanna ag labhairt gach lá sa scoil le ceathar bhliana dhéag. Cén fáth nach labhraíonn siad lena cheile as Gaeilge agus iadsan ina ndaoine fásta?

Bhíosa ag caint le cara agamsa le déanaí maidir leis an mbrú atá ar thuismitheoirí anois chun a leanaí a chur chun Gaelscoil. Tá na Gaelscoileanna éirithe chomh láidir sin sa tsaol. An é an scéal in Éirinn inniu ná go bhfuil an pobal Gaeilge is láidre ón ndrochsaoil ann in Éirinn faoi láthair, ach go bhfanann siad ina dtost? Cén fáth nach bhfuil tionchar níos mó ag an nGaeilge orthu? An bhfuilid ar an dtuairim go mbaineann an Ghaeilge le cúrsaí na scoile amháin, agus nach bhfuil sí tuilte le cúrsaí an domhain mhór?

Nó an bhfuil drochmeas na dtuismitheoirí níos tábhachtaí ná mar a shílfeá? An bhfuil a fios maith ag na leanaí nach mbaineann leis na Gaeilge ach bréagaíocht, cleas a h-imirt ar an lucht ísle atá amach ó geataí na nGaelscoileanna? Is cús buartha é más fíor é. Tar éis na blianta fada ag seasamh ar a son, ba chóir nár labhróidh focal Gaeilge riamh in Éirinn arís mura bhfuil ann ach claí chun na compordaigh a choinneáil níos compordaí arís.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Cork Ascend into Glory

Story of the game - O'Leary shuts down ClarkeCork 0-16
Down 0-15

After so many years of bitter disappointment, Cork ascended into glory when they won their seventh All-Ireland football title with a win over gallant Down in a wet Croke Park yesterday.

Down travelled under the weight of expectation drawn from the five teams before them who had never lost an All-Ireland final. Cork’s weight of expectation was even higher; had they fallen on Sunday, how could this generation have ever risen again?

For the first half-hour of the 2010 All-Ireland final it looked as though the day could only end in more rebel tears. Erratic shooting into the Hill saw Cork squander their early advantage in possession, while the Down forwards foraged for scraps and made the most of whatever came their way.

And then, the five minutes that changed the game as Cork laced over three quick points before the whistle to cut Down’s lead to three by half-time, 0-8 to 0-5. After struggling so hard to score in the first half it was like had Cork clicked into that higher gear that they’ve found so hard to find since losing to Kerry last year.

For Down, the writing was appearing on the wall, and it didn’t spell good news. They hadn’t made the most of their dominance, and Cork looked like they had found their form after a year’s search from Malin Head all the way back to their own Bantry Bay.

In the second half, the sands finally trickled out for Down. Martin Clarke, Down’s master of puppets, became less and less influential as the game wore on, shepherded by Cork’s imperious and talismanic Noel O’Leary.

The program tells us that O’Leary is a tree surgeon by profession – An Spailpín likes to think that O’Leary eschews the chainsaw to pull oak and cedar up by the roots with his bare, and think nothing of it. Yesterday, O’Leary took his instruction from the Book of Ruth, deciding that wither Martin Clarke goeth, Noel O’Leary doth also go.

But O’Leary was just one part, if a very important part, of what was the ultimate team triumph. This was the fundamental difference in the teams – Down could not live with Cork in terms of depth of talent. Look at the players who rose from the Cork bench – Graham Canty. Nicolas Murphy. Derek Kavanagh. Veterans of many campaigns, who were not going to let another summer end in disappointment.

It is to Down’s eternal credit that they still hung on as the waves of Cork pressure battered them, and a case could be made that Down were unlucky not to snatch a draw at the death. But for Cork to be denied would have been unjust and they well deserve their seventh All-Ireland football title.

FOCAL SCOIR: Croke Park is really going to have to look at its interval entertainment. Drumming is not music. Thirty seconds is bearable, in its context; Twenty minutes is criminal.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hoarse Sense - The Taoiseach Has a Duty to Engage with the Nation

The controversy over Brian Cowen’s interview on Morning Ireland yesterday is about judgement, not drink. The nation is sufficiently steeped in booze to know the difference between a hangover and a headcold.

Drink isn’t the issue. At the height of the Celtic Tiger, the nation was at its ease on Saturday nights knowing that our Teflon Taoiseach was swallowing well earned pints of Bass in Fagan’s of Drumcondra as quickly as the barmen could pull them.

Fifty years before, Pat Lindsay famously realised that the first inter-party Government was out of touch with the people when he discovered that James Dillon had never been in a pub other than his own and John A Costello had only been in a pub once, and hated it. This distance from pub culture put that first inter-party government seriously at odds with the nation. Paddy likes a pint.

Nobody in Ireland is going to hang Brian Cowen because he likes a pint, a smoke and a song. But what is going to cost him his position and, potentially, his legacy is what is either his inability or his refusal to engage properly with the nation who will sit in judgement on him very shortly indeed. Yesterday’s interview on Morning Ireland was another example of a golden chance to address the people that was not only wasted, but a self-inflicted wound.

Brian Cowen seems to hold the media in contempt on the odd occasion he thinks about them at all. He may very well be correct in his assessment. The problem is that Brian Cowen is not currently in a position where he can decide whether or not he likes the media. He stuck with them. He can’t do without them.

As Taoiseach, Brian Cowen has a duty to engage with the nation he leads and it’s only through the media that he can do that. For the leader of any democratic Government to despise the media to extent of only ever dealing with it at arm’s length is like a farmer despising cows. He can’t do it and be a farmer anymore.

Brian Cowen does very few media appearances and when he does do them he insists of speaking in nonsense jargon – the modalities of the situation moving forward in their totality, and so on and on and on. And this isn’t good enough.

The country is mired in recession, and people don’t know what’s going on. They’re frightened and confused by what they’re reading and the more they read, the more frightened and confused they get.

This is a quote from an Irish Times story last week about Irish bond yields: "The spread between the benchmark 10-year bond and the German bund was 372 basis points this afternoon, while the yield earlier rose sharply, by over 30 points, to a new euro lifetime high of 6.011 per cent at one stage, before falling back to 5.98 per cent at 5pm."

What does spread mean? What is a ten year bond? Why is it benchmarked? How many other bonds are there? What is a bond in the first place? What is a German bund? Is “bund” the German for “bond”? If it is, why doesn’t it have a capital letter like all German nouns? What are basis points? What is a yield?

Ten questions from one sentence. A question mark for every five words. And that is what people have been bombarded with for three years, incessantly, with no hope of respite. Who could possibly keep up?

People want to be told what’s going on in language they can understand. The nation can deal with being in a heap, if we are in a heap – eight hundred years of foreign oppression builds up a certain resistance. But there is an absolute duty on the man in charge to tell the people what’s going on. Brian Cowen is the man in charge.

Brian Cowen needs to treat with the media. He needs to tell the people he leads what’s going on in language they can understand. The best thing Brian Cowen could do this week is to return to the Late Late Show this morning and say the following:

"1. The country is in big trouble, and we’re all going to be cutting back big style for quite some time.
2. Fianna Fáil are to blame for the mess. We were in charge, we should have cooled things down and led the nation, rather than following an international herd.
3. Having broken the country Fianna Fáil are now fixing it. Ireland is still better off than it was in the past, and our position in the EU, the fact we speak English and our attractiveness towards foreign investment means that we can recover relatively quickly if we take our medicine now.
4. I don’t play golf, chess or bridge, go to the opera or put ships in bottles. I like to relax with a drink and a smoke and I don’t think I’m the only one. Not only that, but once this interview is open, I plan to go home to get to the Brewery Tap in Tullamore for a few scoops before closing. If that’s a problem you may express disapproval at the ballot box in the next election. I gotta do something to keep myself sane.
5. On the way to Tullamore I will stop off in the Park to ask the President to dissolve the 30th Dáil and call a general election for four weeks’ time. It’ll be a long campaign to give the nation time to decide as a nation if we want to be fiscally responsible, or if we want to do whatever it is the other crowd want to do, as they don’t seem to have a plan."

That’s what I’d advise Cowen to say. He’s the leader of the country. He has to show leadership. Ordinary people are very scared for their future and need to be reassured in language they can understand, rather than have jargon mumbled at them by a man who’s acting like he’s at the dentist. Their Taoiseach owes them that.

The Morning Ireland interview yesterday was an opportunity to do just that. Instead, he’s made it worse, and given ordinary people more to worry about. We didn't need that. We have enough to worry about as it is.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fergus Finlay is Ready for His Close-Up

President Finlay meets The Wolf in the ParkIs Fergus Finlay the Quentin Tarantino of Irish politics? An influential director of the 1990s who now dreams of the spotlight himself?

It’s never easy watching Tarantino act. To echo William Goldman, Tarantino craves the Bogart part, but he is the Elisha Cook, Jr, part. Will Finlay be as successful in the shop window as he was behind the scenes?

Certainly Finlay launched his campaign quite smoothly, with interviews on Morning Ireland on Thursday and with Ivan Yates immediately afterwards on Newstalk.

Finlay, a man known to be touchy, sounded quite avuncular, except for letting a cloven hoof pop out with a winsome quote from Chairman Mao at the end of the Morning Ireland interview, when he must have thought himself home and dry. It’s hard to see a Maoist head of state as being as step in the right direction for the Green Isle of Erin. Who needs another famine, after all?

Finlay seems to place great store in his time on the Mary Robinson Presidential campaign as good experience for his own Presidential run. Is that entirely a good idea? Robinson’s campaign slogan was “A President with a Purpose” – does anybody remember exactly what that purpose was?

At the time, the purpose was almost certainly solely to soften a Fianna Fáil cough but over the twenty years since, the Presidency seems to have evolved into being the Mammy of the nation.

Robinson was the Beta Test, a matriarch like one of those fearsome old Victorians whose issue would be presented to her by their governesses at bedtime for the one minute’s quality time with Mamma. Mary McAleese, by contrast, is the Mater Ne Plus Ultra, the Mammyiest Mammy of them all. And good luck to them both but if Fergus Finlay thinks he can emulate that he’s backing the wrong horse. He’d have to lose the whiskers at the very least.

The other remarkable trait of the Robinson Presidency was that Mary Robinson is the only President of Ireland to vacate her post before her term of office was up, having traded up to a nice UN job. It’s a free country of course, but goodness, I don’t think the people would be happy to elect someone to treat the office like that again.

Perhaps Fergus Finlay will be able to use the coming year to tell us what exactly he hopes his purpose will be. Because the single most bizarre thing about the inchoate Finlay campaign is that he’s launched it so early.

The Presidential election isn’t due until of next year, fourteen months away. Who thinks the Government will last that long? It’s rather stunning to think that they’ve lasted so long in the first place. The General Election and the state of nation are what preoccupy the nation now; the tenant of the Vice-Regal Lodge seems rather small beer in comparison.

Last week we had hourly Twitter updates from The Journal about the fluctuations in the yield price of Irish ten-year bonds as the country teetered once more on the precipice. There are grey haired men in grey suits in grey offices in Frankfurt and Washington, DC, who look at Irish balance sheets and wonder whether or not it’s time to send in the Heavy Mob. Who in earth gives a toss right now about who’ll be President in 2011 in the light of that grim reality? It doesn’t matter who’ll open schools once the IMF have halved the number of them in the state and wished half the teachers a sweet fare-thee-well.

But Finlay has ploughed on regardless and now, instead of sweating what will almost certainly be the toughest budget since 1929 the much put-upon citizenry have this dog and pony show to further muddy discussions on who we are and where we’re going. There is only good thing from all this and that is that at last, Fergus Finlay and Bertie Ahern have something in common. They are both ready for their close-up.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Tipp Back on Top

When Lar Corbett cut through the mists of a rainy Croke Park to blast home his first goal of the afternoon in Sunday’s All-Ireland hurling final, PJ Ryan must have felt like Roy Scheider in Jaws when the shark suddenly loomed up from the seas. Kilkenny, like the Amity’s Chief Brody, were going to need a bigger boat.

The most astonishing thing on a day of general astonishments was that despite every Tipperary blow finding its target and Kilkenny losing their talismanic Henry Shefflin after a quarter of an hour, Tipp only led by a point at half-time. It was reminiscent of last year’s final, where Tipperary got off to a flier but still somehow couldn’t find a chink in the black and amber amour and were put down in the end.

But there the comparison ended. In the second half came the deluge. Tipperary went into a seven point lead again and suddenly Kilkenny didn’t reel then back in as usual. Mortality claimed the cats for their own while the Hurling Gods remembered that Tipperary were the team that stood up to Kilkenny in a League final 2009 that not only meant nothing in itself but that put the bigger day of a Munster Championship game in a month’s time at Páirc Uí Chaoimh at risk.

It was all seen as less important than showing Kilkenny that Tipperary were not to be pushed around by God, by Man or by the Devil and eighteen months later Tipperary were rewarded for their pride and heroism on a day when it counted for nothing with victory on a day that counted for everything.

The 2010 All-Ireland hurling final was played in an extraordinary atmosphere, not least because of the intensity of the challenges on the field. Had it been football, there would have been three red cards at least. But because it’s hurling, men took and gave their belts.

How odd it was to see a Tipperary forward being returned his helmet after the punches had died down, and then both Noresider and Premierman turning around to face the ball, like nothing more violent had happened than bumping trolleys in Tesco.

When John Wayne was filming The Quiet Man, he was taken to a hurling match. They asked the Duke if he’d like to be out there with a hurl himself. Wayne said he wouldn’t like to be out there without one. Should the shades of John Wayne or Victor McLaglen have drifted over Dublin 7 on Sunday, they would have liked what they saw.

As did we all. The singing of the Galtee Mountain Boy at the end was, in its way, almost as magical as Joe McDonagh’s famous West’s Awake – can it be? – thirty-one years ago. The crowd’s accepted that the days of the pitch invasion were over, and just sat back to admire those gallant men who kept the flag flying high.

And even more remarkably, the atmosphere, so intense as to be almost frightening, was utterly good humoured among the supporters afterwards. They wouldn’t be eager to admit it, but the counties are of the one blood, really, and they know they’ll meet again soon. Kilkenny did not win their five-in-a-row, but they still played a Champions’ part in one of the great days ever in Irish sport.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Oidhreacht Mick Lally

Nach gearr crua é cailleadh Mick Lally dúinn? Ní h-amháin gur tharla chomh tobann é, ach gur nochtadh a bhás dúinn chomh mór a bhíodh sé inár saolta.

Ba óg an fear é Mick Lally chun imeacht ar shlí na fírinne - ní raibh ach 64 bliana d'aois. Ach chaith sé leath na blianta sin os comhair an phobail ag aisteacht. Is dócha gur chuimhin daoine go raibh sé ina Gharda sa scannán Poitín, faoi stiúrthóiríocht Bob Quinn, ins na seachtóidí, ach mairfidh a chlú don chuid is mó mar Miley Byrne, feirmeoir agus fear tuath, sa sobalchláir Bracken agus Glenroe.

Deirtear gurb fhuath é ról Miley le Mick Lally. Níor thaitin leis gurbh Miley é in aigne an phobail agus an méid oibre níos fearr aige tar éis Glenroe, ar stáitse agus, ar ndóigh, ar scannán dá chuid The Secret of Kells agus Alexander.

Dúirt fear éigin ar Raidió na Gaeltachta inné go raibh dífríocht mór idir Mick Lally agus Miley Byrne agus is dócha go raibh sé sin crua ar Lally freisin. Fear clíste léite é Mick agus saghas amadáin é Miley. Is fíor é sin, ach níl an fhírinne go léir é. Bhí Miley Byrne mór i gcroithe na daoine mar ba fear uasal é, agus chuir Mick Lally an uaisleacht sin air.

Níorbh fhéidir le aisteoir eile é a dhéanamh, mar níl an saghas uaisleachta sin coitianta sa tsaol. Níl an amadánaíocht ach rud beag; agus dearmad déanta ar pleidhcaíocht tumthéitheora no caorach as láthair ar Domhnach éigin is í uaisleacht Miley, fear a sheas ar rudaí luachmhar mar teaglach, macántacht agus cothrom na Féinne déanta le saibhir agus daibhir, a maireann gach seachtain, gach mí, gach bliain.

Níorbh an uaisleacht a thagann ó rugadh uasal agus tógadh i dTeach Mór í, ach an uaisleacht a thagann ón anam. An uaisleacht a thagann ó fhear atá cneasta macánta le daoine, agus a thuigeann an ceangal idir an duine agus an dúlra atá ina thimpeall. Bhí na tréithe sin i Mick Lally, agus ba é bua Mick Lally na téithe sin a chur isteach i Miley Byrne.

Bhí grá ag na Gaeil ar Miley Byrne, mar thaispeán sé dúinn an Gael mar ba mhaith linn é. Uasal, tuathach, macánta, deas. Sin bua agus oidhreacht Mick Lally - mar fear a rinne an Gael is Gaelaí, an chuid is fearr cine na nGael.

Is cuimhin liom seoladh fheachtais Uachtaránachta Mary Robinson - nó ceann díobh; bhí níos mór ná an t-aon tús amháín aici - ar mullach leoraí i mBéal an Átha i 1990. Maidin Dé Sathairn, Sráid Uí Raghailligh, slua mór istigh sa mballa. Ceathrair an an leoraí - sagairt áitiúil, Dick Spring, Mary Robinson agus Mick Lally. Fuair Mick Lally an gáir is mó ar an lá, i bhfad níos mó ná ceannaire Pháirtí an Lucht Oibre nó an chéad Uachtarán eile agus bean ón mbaile. Mar ba duine dúinne féin é Mick Lally, agus bhí, bíonn agus beidh go deo meas againn air dá bhrí. Ar lámh Dé go raibh a anam dílis uasal.