Anxiety, Sport, Maeve, Sadness, and Ukraine

Hope you’re all doing well. It’s a tough time. Again. On the Zoom the other day Adrian said: ‘First we had to deal with Trump. Then we had to deal with Covid. And now this.’ He was, of course, referring to Russia’s brutal and barbaric invasion of Ukraine. We talked about watching or not watching the news. Doomscrolling. The pitfalls of getting sucked under by the horror. Or ignoring it and not being informed. I said I’d watched the BBC news on Monday night and it featured an item from a children’s cancer hospital in Kyiv. Unspeakable horror. Last Friday I got news that my friend Maeve was dying. Poor Maeve. It’s too sad to think of her, so I try not to. But of course I do. And her poor family. And everyone in our book club, which Maeve has been a member of for over 30 years. Earlier

Loss, forgetting and hope: the cycle of sport

February, 2021. Column in the Irish Examiner, where I write about loss, forgetting and hope in sport. In that order. Why a bad memory is one of the most important qualities to enjoy sport, year in, year out.

A Tale of Two Cities, Rivalry and Loss

January, 2021 Column in the Irish Examiner, where I write about the Liverpool and Manchester United rivalry and what it has meant to me down the years. I also pay tribute to my great friend Tom Abernethy, whom we lost in March, 2020 and whom I miss terribly, especially when United are playing.

Remembering an Old Team Mate and Friend

It’s been a great few weeks for UCC and for sport in the college. It’s wonderful to see photos of young people with smiles on their faces and silverware in their hands. As someone who was once lucky enough to have my hands on such silverware (The Fitzgibbon Cup, many moons ago), it’s bringing back a lot of memories. I know I’m not the only one thinking back, and I know I’m not the only one remembering old team mates and friends. I know too that I’m not the only one remembering one special person in particular these days – that special person being Paul O’Connor, whom we lost in 2012.

The Dingle Diaries. 1: Arrival, Feeling Raw

I’m in Dingle. I nDaingean Uí Chúis. It’s no hardship to say those particular words. Whether it’s February or August, wet or dry, cold or warm. I’m trying to write. And walk, between bouts of rain. After the few days I’ve had, with the funeral and everything, heading off on Sunday morning had a surreality about it. Any journey has a leaving behind, but this one – well, death is final, it’s the last ending so it’s hard to look forward at all, but we must. Mostly, we can.

Good Friday, 2018. Reminders of Dermot.

The day has greyed over from the sunny frost of early morning when I go out to the car. A discomfort in the cold northerly wind, its bite on my face. I don’t close my coat. Colum phones just as I am parking on Cove Street, and we talk a bit about work. He’s trying to contact Eileen to call up to her before he heads home to South Kerry. Which is a reminder of Dermot, not that I need one. I’ve been trying to write something about his funeral – only four days ago, which is as impossible to believe as the fact that he’s gone. Trying and failing; the words – nebulous to begin with – wisping to nothing somewhere between my mind and my useless fingers on the keyboard.