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Kilkenny hurlers in trouble after going down to determined Galway

POSTED ON February 17th  - POSTED IN Archive

The incident packed Nowlan Park encounter provided the crowd with just about everything apart from that much needed Kilkenny victory. Along with the defeat has come the realization that their league ambitions have now surely disappeared.
In order to have any chance of reaching the final, Kilkenny would have to win their remaining games against Limerick and Waterford and hope other results go their way. It’s more realistic to attempt to get their house in order before trying for that fifth-in-a-row All-Ireland title.
As always, manager Brian Cody refuses to get in any way downhearted, no doubt conscious that some of the big names will soon return. He said: “It wasn’t a great performance by us and Galway deserved to win. But it’s not the end of the world. It’s one extra game if we get to the league final, that’s it. We approach every game with the intention of winning. We have been beaten three times, so obviously we don’t deserve to be in the league final.”
The frustrating aspect for Cody is that Sunday’s Nowlan Park encounter is a match Kilkenny could so easily have won. The game ended with Galway’s replacement goalkeeper, Colm Callanan, diving to keep out TJ Reid’s goal bound shot.
Then again, Galway would have felt very hard done by had they lost out; it was that sort of game. Galway were much the better team in the first half, establishing a 0-13 to 0-9 advantage.
But the Tribesmen then gave signs of another second half collapse, similar to the one experienced against Tipperary a few weeks ago. The match seemed to have turned when Galway goalkeeper James Skehill was caught in possession and TJ Reid tapped the ball into the net for a gift goal.
Suddenly the situation had changed with Kilkenny scoring 1-6 and conceding just one point to lead 1-16 to 0-14. But the introduction of Galway subs Kevin Hynes, Iarla Tannian and Richie Cummins was to have a big impact, as did the dismissal of Kilkenny wing-back Paddy Hogan for a second bookable offense in the 47th minute.
Tannian scored 2-1, Hynes contributed two points, while Cummins also caused major problems for the Kilkenny defense. To add to the drama, Galway goalkeeper Skehill was knocked unconscious after an accidental collision with Aidan Fogarty.
Fortunately, Skehill regained consciousness later, but there was considerable concern as the game was held up for eight minutes. That, however, was about the only time the action stopped.
Galway hit back with points from Ger Farragher and Hynes before Tannian got in for his first goal to reduce the deficit to 1-18 to 1-17. There was nothing in it until the finish, with Tannian taking advantage of some great work from Cummins to secure his second goal and put Galway 2-20 to 1-21 up.
In those dramatic closing stages the defending champions got back to within a point of Galway, but sub goalkeeper Callanan’s save in the final minute from TJ Ryan was to end their hopes. And the good news for Galway is that while Kilkenny’s chances of making the final seem to have gone, they are very much in the running.
They are now just a point behind leaders Cork, a very satisfactory situation for manager John McIntyre. He said: “To beat Kilkenny in the manner we did is a big turning point psychologically. It is always good to beat Kilkenny, especially down here, but we are also conscious that all it does is put another two points on the board.”
Cork stayed in front by virtue of a 0-17 to 1-11 Parnell Park victory over Dublin. They were never extended by a Dublin outfit which once again failed to deliver.
Tipperary and Waterford stay in third and fourth spot following a 1-19 to 2-16 draw at Semple Stadium. Waterford’s Eoin Kelly pointed an injury time free to earn his side a deserved share of the spoils after trailing 1-17 to 1-12 at one stage.
In the remaining game, Limerick somehow put their problems behind them to very nearly upset Offaly. In the end they went down by a point, 2-17 to 3-13, but at least the performance did something to boost the reputation of the troubled county.

Charges filed over Phoebe Prince suicide

POSTED ON February 17th  - POSTED IN Archive

“It appears that Phoebe’s death on January 14 followed a torturous day for her, in which she was subjected to verbal harassment and threatened physical abuse,” said Northwestern District Attorney Elizabeth Scheibel at a press conference Monday following completion of her ten week probe into allegations that Prince was bullied for months by a group of students at South Hadley High School in western Massachusetts.
“The investigation revealed relentless activities directed toward Phoebe to make it impossible for her to stay at school,” Scheibel said. “The bullying for her was intolerable.”
Scheibel also revealed that some of the bullying had occurred in front of school staff, who did virtually nothing to stop it. She said that Prince’s mother had spoken to at least two staff members about the bullying, to no avail.
Although she concluded that the inactions of the staff did not rise to the level of criminal conduct, Scheibel called their behavior “troublesome.”
Three of the accused teens are unnamed because of their age. The six who are named include Sean Mulveyhill and Kayla Narey, who are charged with violation of civil rights with bodily injury resulting, criminal harassment, and disturbance of a school assembly. Mulveyhill and another boy, Austin Renaud, are also charged with statutory rape, the circumstances of which Scheibel declined to discuss.
Ashley Longe, Flannery Mullins, and Sharon Chanon Velazquez are charged with violation of civil rights with bodily injury resulting. Mullins and Velasquez are also charged with stalking. The accused teens will be summoned into court at a later date.
Phoebe Prince, originally from County Clare, had moved to western Massachusetts with her mother last year.
The Boston Herald, in a report, stated that “the emotionally shaken small town of South Hadley” was anxiously hoping for justice for Phoebe Prince, this before the district attorney announced the charges.
“There needs to be some punishment for those kids. They need to be held accountable. If nothing is done, nothing will change.” Jeannine O’Brien, a South Hadley mom told the daily.
Prince faced not only physical bullying but also, according to reports, psychological and emotional bullying on Facebook.

Bailout billions

POSTED ON February 17th  - POSTED IN Archive

Irish taxpayers, who now find themselves the lender of last resort, bankers to the bankers if you will, got an inkling Tuesday when Irish finance minister Brian Lenihan announced in the D_il the first acquisition of toxic loans to be taken up by the government-created National Assets Management Agency.
NAMA, as it is known, will acquire more than 1,200 property loans with a value of

Telling the story of the New York Irish Community

POSTED ON February 17th  - POSTED IN Archive

At the moment, I am spending my days reading about the history of the Irish in New York and conducting research. I meet with people on a regular basis who are part of the Irish community in New York. Some are very connected and involved with all aspects of the Irish scene here, while others only drop into the Irish circle at this time of year. I am writing a book (Ph.D) regarding the different ways in which the Irish-born Irish and American-born Irish express their Irishness throughout the five boroughs, from hanging flags and displaying shamrocks outside apartments and houses, giving children Irish names, researching both their family’s history and Ireland’s history, taking annual trips to Ireland, joining Irish clubs and organizations such as county organizations, the GAA, Comhaltas Ceolt

Tough times require tough-minded art

POSTED ON February 17th  - POSTED IN Archive

Tipperary-born Deirdre Scanlan, Casey’s successor as Solas’s lead vocalist, also sang conscience-pricking songs, such as Antje Duvekot’s “Black Annis” and Tom Waits’s “Georgia Lee,” each about a cruel loss of innocence by a child or adolescent preyed on or neglected by adults. Though these two songs deftly employ metaphor and poetic obliqueness to avoid blunt, balky editorializing, they are nevertheless meant to prod the apathetic, the complacent, and the timorous.
On Solas’s new album “The Turning Tide,” Kilkenny native Mairead Phelan, the band’s current lead vocalist, sings three songs of indignation or outrage partly expressed through biblical imagery and references.
Nowhere is that more powerfully in evidence than in “Sorry,” composed by Scottish singer Karine Polwart. The album’s most assured song interpretation by Phelan, it contains this indicting chorus: “For you may lay down your guilt on the altar / You may nail your remorse to the cross / But it’s not enough these days to say sorry / No, sorry won’t pay for this loss.” Other references to “blood on your hands” and “confess to the crime” suggest a retrial and recrucifixion of Christ by those charged with conveying his precepts but willfully ignoring them themselves. This song takes on greater pertinence and stokes greater anger in light of new revelations about child abuse, negligent oversight, and cover-up in the Catholic Church. Probably prompting the album’s title is this line: “No, sorry won’t turn back the tide.” Solas and, in particular, Phelan invest this song with the unflinching, quietly building fervor it deserves.
In his intriguingly allusive song “A Girl in the War,” Josh Ritter uses two biblical characters, the apostles Peter and Paul, to discuss the suspension of the gospel and its rules in time of war. Clever wordplay surfaces when Paul tells Peter to “rock yourself a little harder” (“Peter” comes from the Latin word “petra,” meaning rock) and “pretend the dove from above is a dragon and your feet are on fire,” a line urging more action and less talk. A menacing dragon and flaming feet may be the only way to get Peter–and us–moving. Folded within that plea to overcome paralytic helplessness is a love story with political implications: “I gotta girl in the war, man, I wonder what it is we done.” This is a call to action song without bullhorn browbeating, and Phelan’s breathy, whispered, low-register singing style suits the temper of the lyrics.
The one song interpretation that does not work on the album is “The Ghost of Tom Joad.” Composer Bruce Springsteen took his inspiration from John Steinbeck’s classic 1939 novel “The Grapes of Wrath” and John Ford’s equally classic 1940 film of it, starring Henry Fonda as Tom Joad. This song also carries a biblical reference: “Waitin’ for when the last shall be first and the first shall be last.” But the soul-suffocating struggle described in Springsteen’s song, linking Dust Bowl-era hardship with more recent economic distress (“Shelter line stretchin’ round the corner / Welcome to the new world order”), gets glossed in Phelan’s airily delivered vocal and lost in relatively dense instrumentation.
The album’s other songs are Richard Thompson’s “The Ditching Boy” (“The Poor Ditching Boy” was the full title on Thompson’s 1972 album “Henry the Human Fly”), “A Sailor’s Life” (found on “Unhalfbricking,” the 1969 album by Fairport Convention, featuring Richard Thompson), and “Sadhbh Ni Bhruineallaigh,” a humorous song in Irish about a boatman asking a young woman to elope with him that was previously recorded by Galway singers Lasairfhiona Ni Chonaola and Joe Heaney. All are ably sung by Phelan with stout support from her bandmates.
Instrumentally, Solas still performs with astonishing skill and imagination. The album-opening “Hugo’s Big Reel,” composed by Seamus Egan, reminds us that the band has preciously few peers in unpacking a melody. Egan on nylon guitar, tenor banjo, flute, whistles, mandolin, and bodhran, Winifred Horan on fiddle, Mick McAuley on button accordion, and Eamon McElholm on guitar and piano constitute a tuneful tour de force. Originality is the common thread in McElhom’s inventive “The Crows of Killimer / Box Reel #2 / Boys of Malin / The Opera House,” Horan’s swinging “A Waltz for Mairead” that features a tight interlacing of fiddle and mandolin, McAuley’s stirring “Trip to Kareol,” and two more Egan tunes, the percussive “Grady Fernando Comes to Town” and the contemplative “A Tune for Roan.”
In many ways, this is a bold, even courageous album for Solas. All nine tunes were composed by band members, and the songs “Sorry,” “A Girl in the War,” and “The Ghost of Tom Joad” (despite the miscalculation in its treatment) confront the troubles of today without tepidity or timidity. After nearly 15 years of recording and touring, the band continues to take creative risks. “The Turning Tide” provides ample proof of that, fortifying Solas’s reputation as an Irish traditional band still making a difference.
The album (cat. no. 7-4530-2) is on Compass Records, 916 19th Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37212, 615-320-7672, www.compassrecords.com.

Wheels-o-the wisp

POSTED ON February 17th  - POSTED IN Archive

A recent report on the car rental shortages stated that the number of cars on offer has fallen from 30,000 in 2006 to just over 12,000 last year, the Irish Independent reported.
The manager of Dan Dooley Motors, Pat Dooley, said that the shortages will be felt by visitors over the Easter break but that the shortfall would become even more noticeable this summer.
The car rental industry is asking newly appointed tourism minister, Mary Hanafin, to do what she can to tackle the car shortage as a matter of urgency.

Kelly greets AIF pledge

POSTED ON February 17th  - POSTED IN Archive

The initiative is in support of the envoy’s economic mission in Northern Ireland in which the AIF is an active participant and working group member, stated a release from Kelly’s office.
NISP CONNECT is a non-profit collaboration between the Northern Ireland Science Park, University of Ulster, Queen’s University Belfast and the Agri Food & Biosciences Institute that helps develop new science and technology ventures in the North.
In addition, the AIF and the Northern Ireland and U.S. working groups set up to support Kelly’s mission have agreed to seek support for a new employee exchange program that will provide young professionals affiliated with NISP CONNECT an opportunity to gain valuable experience by spending one year working for a U.S. corporation.
“The endowment will provide additional resources to these companies as they are starting to grow and will help them reach their full potential. The American Ireland Fund is to be congratulated for their leadership in supporting this important initiative,” said Kelly.
“The American Ireland Fund is obligated towards seeking a normalized society in Northern Ireland and helping to give the young people in the region every opportunity to succeed. The launch of an endowment to support NISP CONNECT and the development of corporate mentorship and exchange programs will help build on the recent political achievements and I look forward to working with NISP CONNECT and Envoy Kelly in the weeks and months ahead,” said Kieran McLoughlin, president the Worldwide Ireland Funds.

Church adrift

POSTED ON February 17th  - POSTED IN Archive

Coupled with this there are the widespread cases of church authorities covering up the activities of pedophile priests, this spurred by the self-imposed priority of avoiding public scandal.
Scandal is scandal, whether it is seen or not and it was, to say the least, na

Yonkers-based Hardwick lands Gloves win

POSTED ON February 17th  - POSTED IN Archive

Noticeably absent from the 83rd annual Gloves tournament was another Dublin native, three-time women’s 106-pound champion “Ruthless” Ruth O’Sullivan, who withdrew before the preliminaries because of injury.
Hardwick, who at 25 was seven years older than Newman, went one better than past finalists Alo Kelly, a five-time All-Irish champion from Westmeath, and Limerick transplant Don O’Regan. Both light heavyweights, Kelly and O’Regan finished second in 1998 and 2005, respectively.
A bricklayer representing Yonkers YMCA, Hardwick applied incessant pressure on his lanky southpaw foe to earn the nod after three rounds. Newman had John Duddy trainer Harry Keitt were in his corner.
There were few clean and consistent connects, but Hardwick easily outworked his man. The most competitive round was the last in which the two fighters exchanged shots wildly.
“It was very hard,” the victor said. “He’s fit and he’s got the long reach as well. I was trying to counter his jab.”
On how it felt defeating a man coached by Duddy’s trainer, Harwick, now 5-0, said: “I thought he was well prepared [and] he was definitely here to fight. I take my hat off to him.”
He dedicated the victory to his friend Warren O’Connor, who was murdered in Dublin last January.
“Warren was inspiring me in the first, second and third rounds. He’s inspired me the last eights weeks. I dedicate all this to him,” he said.
Asked if he’ll enter the Gloves again next year, Hardwick, in the United States for the past year, gave an emphatic response: “Definitely! Definitely!”
Trainer Richie Sampogna, one of three coaches that work with Hardwick in Yonkers, spoke glowingly of his charge. “Tom is a workhorse; it’s a pleasure to work with him. He loves to train and a coach can’t ask for anything more. He gives 110 percent everyday and it shows in [fights].”
Arthur Williams and Jim Howard, the latter a former amateur standout who had wins in the unpaid ranks over two of Muhammad Ali’s toughest opponents, Jimmy Young and Ken Norton, are Hardwick’s other trainers.
Touted as the world’s oldest and largest amateur boxing competition, The Daily News Golden Gloves has been the launching pad for many professionals, including world champions Emile Griffith, Jose Torres, Floyd Patterson and Riddick Bowe.

Crown hopes dashed as Ireland disappoint in last Croker game

POSTED ON February 17th  - POSTED IN Archive

But there should be no complaints. This was a poor performance with the added worry of Brian O’Driscoll and Gordon D’Arcy picking up injuries which Leinster must now hope do not threaten their participation in the Heineken Cup quarter-final against Clermont Auvergne on April 9.
The question is whether D’Arcy should have started Saturday’s Triple Crown clash with the Scots. The centre, who has been struggling since the Welsh game with a dead leg, never looked right.
Worryingly, there is a feeling that Ireland got ahead of themselves. While Declan Kidney’s team deserve huge credit for their past achievements, nothing should ever be taken for granted. The Scots represented a real threat.
Most importantly, they had a good scrum, an area Ireland had struggled in all season, and an outstanding line-out. They also had a top class goalkicker in their out-half Dan Parks. Nothing had gone right for them in their previous Six Nations games, and they were due a change of luck.
Paul O’Connell hit the nail of the head when stating: “We needed to play to the best of our ability. We didn’t, they did. It was a poor performance, we didn’t wish to finish on a note like that.”
But even O’Connell could not explain the game’s biggest disappointment, the Irish line-out. What had been a strength in previous matches became a huge weakness. Hooker Rory Best had a bad day with his throwing while there also seemed to be a lack of communication.
Yet, substitute hooker Sean Cronin of Connacht was never brought on. Maybe the Irish coaching team believes he lacks the experience, but surely if he is good enough to be on the bench, he is good enough to play.
Thankfully, the line-out is an area Ireland should be able to solve before the summer tour to New Zealand and Australia. The same, unfortunately, cannot be said of the scrum. Leinster’s Cian Healy is still learning his trade at loose-head, while John Hayes is understandably feeling his 36 years at tight-head.
Their difficulties were all too apparent from the early stages. Although O’Driscoll scored an early try after a quality break from Jonathan Sexton to lead 7-3, Ireland never really looked comfortable. Sexton was having a poor day with his goalkicking, and there were simply too many unforced errors.
One of them was duly punished when number eight John Beattie availed of some some poor Irish tackling to crash over for a Scottish try. With Parkes landing the conversion and adding a drop goal just before half time, Scotland went in 14-7 ahead.
Eventually, Ireland did get level at 20-20 in the second half through Tommy Bowe’s try and a conversion from the touchline from substitute Ronan O’Gara. But you always had the feeling that there was the potential for further disaster, and a minute from time, Parks duly kicked the winning penalty from the touchline.
Not really the way the Irish team had wanted to finish their stay at Croke Park but, rightly, there was an acceptance that the Scots deserved their victory. “We’re here to get results and we didn’t get one.” said Kidney. “We got it wrong.”
To his credit, hooker Best also put his hand up, stressing. ” I didn’t throw particularly well, it’s just one of those things.When things are going grand, you take all the plaudits, now you have to take all the criticism too.”

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