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Dolan to lead, gays to march

POSTED ON September 3rd  - POSTED IN News & Views

Dolan jpg

    Cardinal Timothy Dolan

By Ray O’Hanlon

Cardinal Timothy Dolan will lead the 2015 New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade and for the first time since 1991 the parade will include a gay marching contingent, though this time with the approval of the parade organizing committee.

In a statement released in advance of Cardinal Dolan’s formal elevation to lead the 254th march, the parade committee announced that a group made up of gay employees at the NBC television network would take its place in the parade line of march.

The statement said: “The NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade has celebrated Irish culture, heritage, tradition, and the faith of St. Patrick since 1762. In its 252-year history, the parade has included individual marchers of every political and personal persuasion, including members of the gay community. Indeed, in recent years, we have encouraged all New Yorkers and gay participants to join with any of our 320 marching units as a symbol of our inclusiveness.

“At the same time, organizers have diligently worked to keep politics – of any kind – out of the Parade in order to preserve it as a single and unified cultural event.

Paradoxically, that ended up politicizing the Parade.  This grand cultural gem has become a target for politicization that it neither seeks nor wants because some groups could join the march but not march with their own banner.

“To address that and move forward, Parade organizers welcome the LGBT group, ‘Out@NBCUniversal’ to march in the 2015 NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade under its own banner.  WNBC TV has long been our broadcast partner in televising the NYC Patrick’s Day Parade around the nation.

“This change of tone and expanded inclusiveness is a gesture of goodwill to the LGBT community in our continuing effort to keep the parade above politics as it moves into its 253rd year, all the while remaining loyal to church teachings and the principles that have guided the parade committee for so many decades.”

OUT@NBCUniversal, according to a New York Post report, is “a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender affinity group at 30 Rock.”

The group will be the only gay marching unit in the 2015 parade but other gay groups will be eligible to apply for a place in future parades, the report stated.

It added that OUT@NBCUniversal had applied to be in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, this according to Craig Robinson, executive vice president and chief diversity officer at NBCUniversal.

“It wasn’t immediately clear why OUT@NBCUniversal was chosen or if there were any other openly gay groups that also applied,” the Post report stated.

“We welcome the parade committee’s decision to accept OUT@NBCUniversal’s application to march and enthusiastically embrace the gesture of inclusion,” Robinson said.

“Our employees, families and friends look forward to joining in this time-honored celebration of Irish culture and heritage,” he said.

A spokesman for the parade said that Cardinal Dolan was “very supportive” of including gay groups in the event.

Dolan will be the third cardinal archbishop to lead the parade since 1995 when the late Cardinal john O’Connor made parade history by being the first archbishop to lead the march up Fifth Avenue. Cardinal Edward Egan was the second archbishop to do so.

The last time a parade included a gay marching group marched in the parade was 1991 when the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization  marched with Mayor David Dinkins and members of AOH Division 7.

The rumbling row over the participation of a gay group marching under its own banner would cast a long shadow of the parade for a number of years afterwards and would lead to the Ancient Order of Hibernians relinquishing a controlling role and leading it to the independent parade committee.

Last year, newly elected New York Mayor, Bill de Blasio, chose not to march because there was no gay group in the parade – as opposed to individual gay marchers who were never excluded from the march.

And in a blow to the parade effort in recent years to attract more needed corporate sponsorship and funding, Guinness withdrew its sponsorship from the parade.

Guinness officials layed a role in brokering the deal that brought OUT@NBCUniversal into the 2015 parade, reported.

At Last, An Oscar for Maureen

POSTED ON September 1st  - POSTED IN News, News & Views

Maureen OHara




By Ray O’Hanlon

It’s the news that her legions of fans around the world have been waiting for.
Actress Maureen O’Hara is to be recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with a life time achievement Oscar.
Admirers of the Dublin-born O’Hara, who is currently living in Idaho, have been campaigning for years to have her stellar career properly acknowledged by way of an academy award.
O’Hara, who is 94 and told the Echo in an interview a few years ago that she was determined to live until one hundred, will receive the award at the Academy’s 6th Annual Governors Awards in Hollywood on November 8.
“The Governors Awards allow us to reflect upon not the year in film, but the achievements of a lifetime,” said Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs.
The award, an Oscar statuette, is intended “to honor extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy.”
O’Hara enjoyed a long and distinguished film career with movies such “How Green Was My Valley,” “Miracle on 34th Street” and of course the classic “The Quiet Man,” one of a number of films in which she starred opposite John Wayne.

It’s Kansas, but not as you know it

POSTED ON August 25th  - POSTED IN News, News & Views

Find the PDF version here: Irish Echo August 20, 2014 page 9



By Evan Short

It’s a little known fact but Kansas City, Missouri, is a city with a huge Irish American heritage and a staggering 250,000 people living within its confines tracing a history back to the old country. So it’s no wonder then that the annual Kansas City Irish Fest (KCIF) is among the best attended Irish American festivals in the fifty states, with 90,000 people expected to attend the 2014 event from August 29-31. Although it has only been going around 11 years in its current guise, KCIF has been able to establish itself as one of the foremost events in Irish America. There is no one more proud of how far the KCIF has come in a short time than Craig Duke.

This year’s president was born in Belfast, and moved to the U.S. at the age of 23. He says becoming festival president has been a dream come true, and he is particularly looking forward to the Labor Day weekend’s events as the North of Ireland has been chosen as the festival theme for 2014.

“Every year we pick something to concentrate on that that would be from the Irish woman to sports, stuff like that. This year, with me being from Belfast, that was one thing I pushed on them, to try and emphasize Northern Ireland. “We are going to cover everything from medicine, science, industry, the Titanic, Massey Ferguson – people don’t realize the tractor was invented in Northern Ireland. Then you have the inflatable tire invented in Belfast by Dunlop, and writers like CS Lewis and Jonathan Swift.”

The jewel in the six counties showcase will be the DeLorean motor car, he says. “Stuff like that. People don’t realize it was made in Belfast.” The pride in Craig’s voice as he talks about the festival is evident.

Craig DukeAlthough he has a demanding day job, as Senior Deputy Chief of the Kansas City, Kansas, Fire  Department, the married father of two says the hours spent working on the festival are a joy. “That’s something I really enjoy. The KCIF has been going on 11 years. It started off as two smaller festivals in different parts of town, and then we thought we would do better if we joined forces and became one big one. “The new one, singular, now does more to expose people to the cultural side of Ireland.” Modern Ireland features to a greater extent that the fairy tale image of the country, he says. “Last year we opened up an area called the Cultural Café. We hooked up digitally with the Omagh Jazz Festival on the Internet. People were Skyping and able to questions – there’s a huge Irish contingency here.”

Keli O’Neill Wenzel from the KCIF organizing committee says the focus on contemporary Ireland helps to keep relationships going, as generations become further removed from their relatives who emigrated 150 years ago. “We want to hit on facts that are contemporary, and not just about history. We always have a lot of heritage and culture and genealogy which is very important, but one thing our festival is really trying to pick up on is more the contemporary, and Ireland today. “That’s so the younger folks are connecting. For example, I am a fifth generation, so it’s so far beyond me that it’s now more about  loving the culture as saying ‘that’s where I’m from.’” Craig says that this is how they are able to keep the young people engaged with the festival. “We are one of the biggest festivals in the States, but at 60 I’m the oldest on the board, the rest are all young people. That’s a big strength.” For more information visit

Galway hurlers end 25-year wait

POSTED ON August 21st  - POSTED IN News & Views

By Frank Bradycup

Galway 3-18

Long Island Gaels 2-15

As it is 25 years since their last triumph, the Galway hurling club in New York will be enjoying this particular win for many weeks to come after a splendid performance that saw them end that long wait in style in Gaelic Park on Sunday.
The Galway club have endured a tough time in recent years and certainly had to work for their championship win over a gallant Long Island Gaels side. In truth, though, the Tribesmen controlled this game for long periods and were certainly worth their 6-point winning margin.

The game started off at a blistering pace with Clara man Keith Hogan posting two long-range frees to put the Gaels two points ahead after three minutes. However, this was to be the last time the Gaels would lead the game and within three minutes Conor Cooney had the Tribesmen in front with a goal and a point in quick succession. Tadgh Haran posted another point for Galway before a Lee Chin point and a further brace from Cooney left Galway 1-06 to 0-2 points up after 15 minutes. Keith Hogan responded for the shell shocked Gaels with three further frees but he could do little to prevent the onslaught and by half time Galway had three further points from Cooney as well as scores from Brian Glynn, Robbie Jackson and Haran with only an additional Hogan free in reply for the Gaels to leave the half time score Long Island 0-6 Galway 1-11.

Eight points down at the half, the Gaels to their credit responded well in the second half and early scores from O’Dwyer and David Burke gave them a lifeline but it wasn’t to be with Tadgh Haran in particular in sensational form for John Kelly’s men posting 1-03 in the second half, his goal in particular leaving the game beyond doubt with 12 minutes still to play. Further Galway points from Jackson, Harte, Trevor Vaughan and a superb goal from Wexford man Lee Chin put the icing on the cake while the Gaels responded through points from Jack Skelly, Hogan, Conor Gough and Tadgh Slevin and consolation goals from Skelly and O’Dwyer reflected the effort the Gaels put in over the 60 minutes but it mattered little in the end as the game was all but over with 10 minutes to go.

For the Gaels there were too few big performances on the day though Keith Hogan, Skelly and Matt Keating did give their utmost to the cause. There were performances all over the field to pick from for the tribesmen with Brendan Bugler, Conor Cooney and Tadgh Haran the stars on show on the field Jackson, Chin and Cohen also made huge contributions but in this authors opinion the Most Valuable Person in the cause today was Clontusker’s own John Kelly without whom there would be no Galway hurling club given the Trojan work the man has put into the club over the last number of decades.

As the final whistle blew the emotion was clear for all to see and hear with a huge cheer from the crowd the biggest cheer reserved for the man himself, John Kelly the Stalwart of the the Galway hurling club who captain Robbie Jackson paid particular tribute to in his victory speech.

Galway: Richie Gaule, David Healy, Johnny Cohen, Aidan Harte (0-1) Brendan Bugler, Ciaran Hoyne, Liam Butler, Lee Chin (1-01) Robbie Jackson (0-2) Conor Cooney (1-05) Tadgh Haran (1-04) Brian Glynn (0-1) James Nolan (0-1) subs Aaron Farrell, Trevor Vaughan (0-1) Con Butler , Thomas Foley, Alan Joyce, Rob Lowery, Johnny Power, Gary Brownan.

Long Island Gaels: Ray Murray, Cian Morris, Luke Mullaly, Matt Keating, Conor Lynam, Barry Mulligan, Tadgh Callagahan, Conor Gough (0-1), Jack Shelly (1-1), Keith Hogan (0-8) David Kenny, David Burke (0-1) Ryan O’Dwyer (1-1). Subs Cian Hayes, Danny Breen, Danny Masterson, Jake McMahon, Cleon Murtagh, Tadgh Slevin.
With additional reporting by Simon Gillespie.

Fans look ahead to 2014/15 Premiership

POSTED ON August 14th  - POSTED IN News & Views

Stephen Boland, works for UPS; originally from Longford, supports Liverpool

stephen boland

We’ll miss Suarez. How can you not miss Suarez? But I don’t think he would had as brilliant a season at Liverpool this year as last. And the team have shown they can win without him. I think that Sterling will pick up a lot of the slack. We have some new players who will take time to adopt to the [Brendan] Rodgers system.

Manchester City are the team to beat. City are strong. They have the same players and have got the experience. United will improve, but I don’t see them in the top four yet. But they have the advantage of not having to compete in Europe. Arsenal will be closer.

John McKiernan, designer, Belfast Media Group, Northern Ireland; supports Arsenal

I think we’re going to be stronger than last season, with a top-3 finish. Theo Walcott returns and looks to be our top player. Olivier Giroud looks to continue to make a big difference for the team. The perfect signing for Arsenal this summer has been Alexis Sanchez. He has pace, skill, he can finish and is an all-around great player.

Terry Goodfellow, tech support at Amulet Hotkey; originally from Yeovil, England, supports Manchester United

I’m more optimistic than last season. But I’ve been reading reports that [manager Louis van Gaal] is getting rid of five or more key players, and until I know who those players are, I don’t know how optimistic. Rooney has performed very well in the games in America. The trouble is he’s so unpredictable.

I’d be happy with qualification for Europe for 2015/16 and also if they got some silverware, the F.A. Cup or the League Cup.

I’m a huge fan of [assistant manager] Ryan Giggs. It would be awesome if he became manager in a couple of years, because he’s spent his entire career at the club.

Kieran Quilligan, originally from Cork, supports West Ham United

Hopefully we’ll be around mid-table. Andy Carroll injuries do not help the situation, but Big Sam’s new signings might do the trick.

Mark Taylor, painter; originally from the city of Liverpool, supports Everton

The most important thing this summer was retaining the current squad. Having Coleman, Barkley, Baines, Stones and Martinez all signing extensions, plus adding Lukaku, Barry and Besic. We have a great balance of young and old containing some of the top young prospects in football.

This year I think a top-6 finish would be great considering the amount of money our rivals are spending. Especially our friendly neighbors. I may have a few dollars on Everton finishing above Liverpool, by the way. Mr. Rodgers doesn’t have a great record in the transfer market – Allen, Aspas, Borini to name a few.

If we can get off to a good start, Chealsea, Arsenal in our first three games then who knows? We may shock a few people. If our young players can kick on then and they continue to buy into Martinez philosophy, I think next season will be very interesting. Players to watch: Barklay, Lukaku and Stones are the obvious ones, but I think Besic may turn out to be a very astute signing.

Out of the other teams, you can’t look past Chelsea or Manchester City for the title.

Rosie Schaap, writes the “Drink” column for the New York Times Magazine; a New Yorker, supports Tottenham

Rosie Schaap (c) M. Sharkey


If it really is the hope that kills you, not the despair, I resolve to have no hope at all at the start of most Spurs seasons. Kafka helps: “There’s hope, but not for us.”

After the brief, unpleasant reign of Tim Sherwood, I welcome new manager Mauricio Pochettino and must put my faith in him to reenergize the club and develop a strategy that will help a team with plenty of individual talent but a shortage of cohesion perform better together. But after a half dozenmanagers in a decade, Spurs fans can’t help feeling a bit of manager fatigue. I hope he’ll be given the time and latitude to build.

And my worst fears: that we might lose our brilliant keeper, Hugo Lloris, and our other MVP, the creative, exciting midfielder Christian Eriksen, did not come to pass. So nix the Kafka. There are some glimmers of hope, but I’m not holding my breath for a top-4 finish.

Jay Mwamba, the Echo’s boxing and local soccer correspondent; originally from Zambia, supports Chelsea.

Has Jose Mourinho lost his mojo? That’s the question many a Chelsea fan was asking after the Blues’ gaffer ended his first season back at Stamford Bridge without a trophy last May. In my estimation, Mourinho completely lost the plot.

He griped over the lack of punch upfront and yet exiled and antagonized his most promising striker, Romelu Lukaku.  He similarly sidelined and then sold Juan Mata, Chelsea’s best player in the two previous seasons, while three other mainstays of past campaigns, John Obi Mikel, Ashley Cole and Ramires, equally fell out of favor.

The 2014-2015 season offers Mourinho a chance to make amends and he’s done a fair bit of business on the transfer market to suggest that.

The purchase of forward Diego Costa, who lit up La Liga with Atletico Madrid, last year, appears to be a significant upgrade upfront. There’s also the intriguing return of Chelsea great Didier Drogba which adds a sentimental touch to the forthcoming campaign.

In midfield, Cesc Fabregas’s acquisition, undoes the damage done by Mata’s unwise sell. The former Arsenal and Barcelona playmaker could turn out to be another Gianfranco Zola.

At the back, the return from loan of the outstanding Belgian shot-stopper Thibaut Courtois, one of the best goalies in the world today, should further cheer Blues fans.

Chelsea and Mourinho’s Premiership prospects couldn’t be better.

John Spinks, artist; originally from Newcastle (though born in Ennis), supports Newcastle United

Mike Ashley remains at the helm. The club is his cash cow. It’s his business, not his passion. To keep it viable and in the black they have to remain in the Premiership. The transfer activity can usually be likened to the purchase of unlabeled tins in the supermarket. However this season some of the tins have come with labels and there is a note of optimism.

Cabella, Riviere and de Jong are all seasoned pros, and the defender Janmaat had a good World Cup with Holland. There’s a slim chance that Joel Campbell who made such and the defender Janmaat had a good World Cup with Holland. There’s a slim chance that Joel Campbell who made such an impression for Costa Rica in the World Cup might be signed. We live in hope.

The squad has some continuity from last season and is reported to be “happy.”

As told to Peter McDermott



Exploring the New York Irish brand

POSTED ON August 14th  - POSTED IN News & Views

olivia barry

Olivia Barry has graduated with a master’s degree in professional

studies specializing in branding at the School of Visual Arts.


By Peter McDermott

Catherine Hamilton arrived in New York via an ocean liner and saw the World’s Fair of 1939. Actually, the West Cork woman really came to visit two daughters who were Dominican nuns, but on the trip took in the pavilion of the Irish Free State, which was selected by an international jury as the best at the event.

That’s just one episode in a 100-part project being done by her great-granddaughter Olivia Barry on Tumblr, the micro-blogging site.

“For 100 days, I will seek to uncover manifestations of Ireland/Irish in New York,” she wrote on Céad Léiriú ( “This will help me to build a story around my identity and what it means to be an Irish person living in New York.”

The project is concluding business from her master’s in professional studies at the School of Visual Arts. She and her 24 classmates last month officially graduated from the college’s Master’s in Branding program, which is taught by professionals in the field.

“The class was a diverse group,” said Barry, who is from Rathgar in Dublin. “Some had more of a design background and wanted more experience in branding. Some had a business background and wanted more experience in design.”

Barry did some work on branding when studying for her undergraduate degree in business and sociology at Trinity College Dublin. She kept up and developed her interest in it when working in corporate communications for various New York companies from 2009.

She said her intention had been to do a master’s degree at some stage, but it wasn’t an easy decision to leave the world of work last year.

It helped that the SVA master’s program in branding, established in 2011, was the first of its kind in the country.

“Because I was so interested in it,” she recalled, “that pushed me to go for it.”

For those, however, who want an easy definition of branding, there isn’t one. Indeed, one of Barry’s classmates elicited 100 pithy and not so pithy definitions from marketers, designers, strategists, writers and others.

For her own 100-episode project, Barry undertook to do a photograph with accompanying text each day. That proved somewhat optimistic, given the logistics. Still, she is up to 84, having started in April.

Writers from the 19th century’s Dion Boucicault to Colum McCann in the 21st are featured, as are business innovators from Alexander Turney Stewart to Ronan Ryan. Stewart, who was born in Lisburn in 1803, made his first New York trip to sell Belfast linen. When he returned, he built the city’s first department store. The Dubliner Ryan is a more recent arrival. The chief strategy officer and co-founder at IEX is featured in Michael Lewis’s recent book about high-frequency trading, “Flash Boys.”

Institutions as diverse as the Chipper Truck in Woodlawn and Glucksman Ireland House are part of the mix, too.

Several of her people entries are in sculpted form, such as those two near neighbors at Times Square, Fr. Francis P. Duffy and George M. Cohan. Additionally, sculptors themselves are also represented. One is Isamu Noguchi (1902 -1988), whose mother’s father, Thomas Gilmour, was from Coleraine; another is Patricia Cronin (born in Massachusetts in 1963). His “Red Cube” is on Broadway in Downtown Manhattan, while her “Memorial to a Marriage” can be found in Woodlawn Cemetery.

John Phillip Holland, the submarine engineer from Liscannor, Co. Clare, and Commodore Barry both get a mention, as does another John Barry, the great-grandfather of Céad Léiriú’s author. He was an agent for the White Star Line in Ballydehob, Co. Cork. One story that has come down through the generations is his sale of Titanic tickets to three young immigrant females. “Happily, all three survived the shipwreck,” Barry writes.

“I avoided anything too stereotypical,” she said when interviewed. A few pubs, for example, are there, but mainly because they have some other significance beyond the consumption of alcohol.

“I’ve a better understanding now of the impact that the Irish have had in New York,” Barry said. “The perception, here, is that it is a very positive one.”

She has found, too, that people with at least some Irish ancestry strongly identify with it.

“Americans really want to connect with you in that way,” she said.

Over the past year, Olivia Barry has been able to forge another type of bond.

“It was a really great experience meeting my fellow students,” she said. “We had that common interest in wanting to learn about branding.”

Some of those newly minted masters in professional studies are now in the market for jobs with companies that have a department working fulltime on branding, while others are seeking out companies whose business is branding.

“New York is a great place to be for that,” Barry said.

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Disaster strikes in crumbling system

POSTED ON August 8th  - POSTED IN News & Views

Darragh McKeon_credit to Ana Schecter

Darragh McKeon. PHOTO: ANA SCHECTER       


Page Turner / Edited by Peter McDermott

In a run-down Moscow apartment block, a 9-year-old piano prodigy practices silently to avoid disturbing the neighbors. In a factory, his aunt makes car parts, hiding her dissident past. In the hospital, a talented surgeon buries himself in his work. And in a village in Ukraine, a boy wakes up to a sky of deepest crimson. The scene is set in Darragh McKeon’s debut novel “All That Is Solid Melts Into Air.”

McKeon’s encounter as a teen with some young people who’d traveled 1,000 or so miles from the East – from a city most Westerners had never heard of before 1986 — led to something of an obsession. In adulthood, he spent years researching a subject that now features prominently in the book.

“It’s set in the USSR in the mid-1980s and is centered around the Chernobyl disaster,” he said. “It follows a group of people whose lives are falling apart as the Communist system crumbles around them.”

McKeon, who is from a farming background in the Irish Midlands, spent most of his 20s in the theatre director with companies as Rough Magic (Dublin), The Royal Court (London), The Young Vic (London) and Steppenwolf (Chicago).

His branching out has won approval. As they’ve done before, two of Ireland’s best established novelists are happy to introduce a new talent to the reading public. Colum McCann said McKeon’s debut “marks the beginning of a truly significant career,” while Colm Toibin praised it as a “daring and ambitious” novel that blends “historical epic and love story.”

Early U.S. reviewers also like what they’ve read. “McKeon’s thrilling narrative is matter-of-fact but emotionally powerful,” said the Library Review’s critic, “And his convincing characters depict precisely the perseverance of the human spirit in the darkest of times. A promising debut; highly recommended.”

In another starred review, Kirkus Review described “All That’s Solid Melts Into Air” as a “leisurely paced novel intended for those who like serious and thoughtful fiction.”

Darragh McKeon

Date of birth:  1979

Residence: New York

Published works: “All That is Solid Melts Into Air” (HarperCollins)


What is your writing routine? Are there ideal conditions?

I write in an office near my apartment. I need a clean space, a window and silence.  Thankfully, I can read anywhere, so I can get a lot of research done when I’m out and about.


What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Read Rilke’s “Letters to a Young Poet” and take on board everything he says.


What book are you currently reading?

“Antarctica” by Claire Keegan.


Is there a book you wish you had written?

There are many, many I respect and value, but I wrote the book I wrote.


What book changed your life?

“Underworld” by Don DeLillo.


What is your favorite spot in Ireland?

Connemara. I lived there for a couple of years. It’s a place where time passes at a different pace.


You’re Irish if…

You want to be buried there.

Kerry/Donegal win 1st Faherty title

POSTED ON August 8th  - POSTED IN News & Views

Eileen McKenna and Caoimhe Mohan celebrate after the game 31/8/2013

 Eileen McKenna and Caoimhe Mohan, celebrating a win in Ireland in 2013, were among Kerry/Donegal’s key stars in the cup victory at Gaelic Park at the weekend. [Click on picture for larger image.]

NYGAA By Frank Brady

Kerry/ Donegal 2-13

Na Fianna 1-11

There were scenes of great jubilation at the final whistle as Kerry/Donegal captured the Sean Faherty Cup to become New York champions for the first time. It was not just a case of third time lucky, they had lost the last two finals, but they fully deserved their sweet victory. Victory did not come easy as they endured a sin-binning, and it was only in the last quarter it looked like that they would finally shed the Sergio Garcia syndrome.


Critical to their victory was the performance of Eileen McKenna at midfield and Caoimhe Mohan on the “forty”, while their full forward line also had a very productive hour. Meanwhile Kerry/Donegal took off at top speed and they had four points on the board after eight minutes. Caoimhe Mohan, the most impressive player in Gaelic Park in recent times had three, while veteran Denise Dunnion curled over the other after a fine pass from Linda McKeon.


Eventually Na Fianna moved into Kerry/Donegal territory, but their first few efforts were off target before Brianna Tierney pointed after Mary O’Rourke delivered the pass. Na Fianna were now on their A game as Molly O’Rourke landed two points with good support from Kelly Mc Cormack and Katie Murphy, before the very busy Kim Flood leveled up with a free. Na Fianna were now cutting paths through the Kerry/Donegal rearguard as Heather Durkin sauntered in for a goal while Flood added two points, one from an acute angle, and the other from a free after a powerful run by Brianna Tierney was illegally impeded.


On twenty minutes Mohan lifted the siege with a pointed free after Sara Sorahan was fouled, and Linda McKeon cut in for another. Though Eileen McKenna was winning the lion’s share of possession, wayward and irrational shooting was not helping the scoreboard. Both sides hit a further point to leave the score at 1-7 to 0-7 in Na Fianna’s favor at the break. On resumption Mohan landed two spectacular points, and both teams spurned good chances before Na Fianna hit a brace. Shannon Spillane finished a good move involving Flood and Murphy, while Molly combined well with Durkan and Stephanie Tierney for the other.


Na Fianna were still ahead by a goal approaching midway, but then came the turning point. A long ball from Eileen McKenna was fielded on the edge of the square by Dunnion, and in the blink of an eye the trusty left boot had the ball in the net. Perpetual motion Mohan set up Courtney Traynor for the lead score, and Traynor was unlucky not to goal on the next play as the shot hit the post. However, Dunnion was now playing with a vigor and verve that belied her years as she hit a brace, while setting up Sorohan for another minor. Na Fianna’s strong running Flood and ever the dangerous Molly were still keeping their team close as they hit over two.


With just three minutes left on the clock Kerry/ Donegal came with the knockout score. A timely interception by Linda McKeon, followed by a strong run at the Na Fianna defense set up the speeding Courtney Traynor for a major strike. Na Fianna launched late attacks but sterling defensive displays by Lilly, McGovern, McVann, Britton and with McKeon dropping back to bolster the defense, they repelled the best efforts of Maloney, Molly Flood and the Tierney sisters. There was no way the trophy was going to be snatched from their grasp this time.

Kerry/Donegal: Deirdre Maher, Sara Roche, Niamh Britton, Michelle Dowd, Amanda McGovern, Louise Lilly, Michelle McVann, Eileen McKenna, Anita McKenna(capt), Linda McKeon(0-1), Caoimhe Mohan(0-6), Jenny Moran, Denise Dunnion(1-3), Courtney Traynor(1-1), Denise Sorahan(0-2). Subs Niamh Curristin, Laura McMahon, Petra McCafferty, Aoife Gill, Jenny Kirby, Sarah Walsh, Michaela Rodican, Aisling Daly, Edel Fitzgerald, Kathleen Enright, Ciara O’Neill, Shannon Walsh.

Na Fianna: Lisa McIntyre, Cait McQueeney, Cliodhna Maloney, Imelda Mullarkey, Shannon Spillane(0-1), Stephanie Tierney, Katrina Lynch, Heather Durkin, Kim Flood(0-6), Katie Murphy, Brianna Tierney(0-1), Kelly Mc Cormack, Mary O’Rourke, Molly O’Rourke(0-3), Michelle Brennan. Subs Kayla Coughlin, Mairead Durkin, Mairead McNamara, Kiera O’Connor, Karen Buckley, Laura Cooper, Sarah Treacy. Referee Yvonne Duffy, Player of Game Caoimhe Mohan.


U-21 final tied


Rangers 0-17 Rockland 3-8

The under 21 final ended all square despite extra time being played. The first half was a low scoring affair as Rangers led by 0-5 to 0-3 at the break. Rangers started impressively as Kevin Daly opened with a superb point and Sean Moore had a shot cleared off the line before Kieran Moran pointed for a foul on Adrian Jusseppi.

Shane Durkan brought Rockland into the game with two fine points, but Rangers were having the better of the exchanges as Ryan O’Neill pointed after a good pass from Donnacha O’Dwyer, while Moran was on the mark with a free. As the period wore down, Rockland were winning a lot more possession through Durkan and McIntyre, but poor finishing kept their tally low.

However both sides finished out the period with fine points, with Sean Moore on the mark for Rangers, and Ronan Curry for Rockland. On resumption Rangers knocked over three points, but they were soon negated by a superb goal from Garvin Lee. On ten minutes another goal from Paul Prendergast had the Rockies ahead.

Now the exchanges were becoming more intense as Moran leveled up, and Prendergast forced a great save from keeper Tansey at the expense of a point. McIntyre then looked set to goal after Lee put him through, but the shot was outside the post. Moran and Durkan exchanged points to leave Rockland ahead by the minimum with two minutes left on the clock. However a foul on Ryan O’Neill enabled Moran to level with the free. In extra time it looked as if it was becoming the Kevin Daly show as he hit three points on the trot, but Ronan Curry quickly stole his thunder with a goal to level at the end of the first period.

On the restart Brian Twomey coolly shot over two points, but Mike Vince and Kieran Walsh kept the stalemate with a brace. Brendan Hynes put Rangers back ahead with a fisted point, but Mike Vince equalized after he latched on to a good delivery from Aidan Weir to set the scene for another encounter as the final whistle sounded. Unfortunately an engaging and absorbing game was marred by an ugly brawl at the end.

Rangers: Aidan Tansey, Chris Sheridan, Liam Coyle, Emmett Clarke, Liam Butler, Jack Becker, Matt Minniter, Donnacha O’Dwyer, Brendan Hynes(0-1), Ryan O’Neill(0-1), Kieran Moran(0-5), Kevin Daly(0-4), Sean Moore(0-1), Adrian Jusippi(0-2), Brian Twomey(0-3).

Rockland: Conor O’Sullivan, Joe Joyce, Danny Duggan, Tim Furlong, Andrew Guarino, Conor Madigan, Andrew Duggan, Denis Michalak, Shane Durkan(0-3), Conor McIntyre, Garvin Lee(1-0), Stephen Maroney, Mike Vinci(0-2), Paul Prendergast(1-1), Kieran Walsh(0-2). Subs Austin O’Toole, Ronan Curry(1-1), Brandon Healy, Aidan Weir, James Stephens, Ryan McNamara. Referee Peter McCormack.

Cork 2-10   Monaghan 0-10

Cork did enough without being spectacular or overly consistent in this senior football clash to see off Monaghan’s challenge. Monaghan started well and they had two points from Paul McArdle and Ross McKenna in the first five minutes. However for the next quarter the Rebels took over to put 1-4 on the board, the goal a great individual effort from Mickey Lenaghan. Monaghan surged back into the game with four unanswered points as Cork appeared to sit on the ropes. Paul O’Hara started the Farney scoring spree, and then three defenders came up to hit the target. Jason Kelly ended the drought before the short whistle to leave them ahead by 1-5 to 0-4. On resumption Cork opened the throttle again to hit four unanswered points, a brace for Jason Kelly, and singles from defenders Morrissey and Flynn, plus Alan Hearty saved well from Shane McCarthy. Then Cork, similar to the first half, whether resting on their laurels or the ropes, Monaghan punched back with three points, plus Gary Lowney did well to stop Ross McKenna’s shot. However Cork showed who was boss after Lenaghan and McArdle exchanged points as David O’Callaghan goaled on a counter-attack to close out the game.

Cork: Gary Lowney, Keith Scally, Paul O’Connor, Michael Furlong, Adrian Flynn, Ciaran McCartan, Adrian Morrissey, Alan Raftery, Conal Kelly, Jason Kelly(0-2), Shane McCarthy(0-1), Sean O’Neill(0-1), David O’Callaghan(1-0), Hugh Curran(0-3) Mickey Lenaghan(1-1). Subs. Derek Courtney, Darren Walsh, John Power, Ian Jones, Caolan McLoughlin.

Monaghan: Alan Hearty, Fergal Malone, Sean Kelly, Paul Lambe(0-1), Liam Deane(0-1), Mickey O’Regan, Paul Farnham(0-1), Gary White(0-1), Paul McArdle(0-2), Shane Bogue, Ross McKenna(0-1), Kevin Connolly(0-2), Paul O’Hara(0-1), Kevin Smith, Caoimhin O’Callaghan. Subs. Eugene McPhilips, JC Connolly, Fergal McPhilips, Rory Molloy, Rory Connolly. Referee Sean Jones, Man of Match Mickey Lenaghan.


Leitrim close

after break


Leitrim 1-13

Cavan 1-7

There was little between the sides in this local derby as Leitrim led by 0-6 to 0-4 at the break. However by midway in the second period Leitrim had surged ahead by 1-10 to 0-5, mainly on their midfield supremacy, their defensive tenacity, and an effective front unit. Cavan’s case was not helped by Ronan McGinley’s black card, a yellow would have sufficed, plus their late goal put a better gloss on the scoreboard. Though Leitrim were not as spectacular as the last day, they still gave a solid performance, but as the statisticians would say, they regressed towards the mean. Still Frankie and the ball-players are moving in the right direction.

Leitrim: Aidan Tansey, Lonan McGuire, Paddy Maguire, Ronan O’Flaherty, Ronan Gallagher, Nathan Breen, Cian Maher, Damian Moran(1-1), Brian Connor(0-2), Darren Freeman(0-3), Shane Moran, Keith Quinn, Eoghan Carew(0-3), Paddy Kelly, Ciaran Brennan(0-1). Subs. Dan Doona(0-2), Aidan Power, Conor Moley(0-1), Andy Grey, Malachy Gallagher.

Cavan: Gavin Joyce, Ronan McGinley, Ciaran Shields, Shane Hogan, Liam Fleming, Fergal Ellis, Michael Reilly, John Comerford, Richie Morgan, Michael Ireland(0-1),Tommy Warburton, Sean Dalton(0-1), Conor Harrison(1-4), Harry Silke. Subs Brian Thornton, Michael McVerry, John McCullagh. Referee Dean O’Connor, Man of Match Brian Connor.

Maine Irish find kin with DNA

POSTED ON August 8th  - POSTED IN News, News & Views

     BeckyHitchcock 20140728_185731 

July 30, 2014

By Máirtín Ó Muilleoir

Maine Irish prove that blood is thicker than water with DNA research

A pioneering Irish American Maine group is encouraging its members to turn the other cheek in order to explore their Irish roots.

For in one of Irish America’s most ambitious heritage projects, mouth scrapings containing the DNA — the unique genetic code of all humans — have now been collected from over 200 members of the Maine Irish Heritage Center.

Billed the Maine Gaeltacht program, the initiative has helped trace relatives of many of the Centre’s members both in Maine and in the Conamara Gaeltacht in Co Galway, once home to the majority of the Pine Tree State Irish, and has helped adoptees identify their birth parents.

“We have made fantastic strides in a short time,” says project facilitator Margaret Feeney LaCombe who is heading up the DNA research — and has spent the past 20 years digging up her own past! “We strongly feel that this project is of significant importance to the Irish community both in the United States and in our native Ireland. Researching Irish roots can prove to be very frustrating due to so many records having been destroyed. The genealogy team at the Maine Irish Heritage Centre began the DNA project with the simple goal of helping us to connect with living relatives that we were unable to locate using the old fashioned paper trail. We are overwhelmed with the progress we have made.”

Based in the former St Dominic’s Catholic Church in the West End of Portland, Maine — once a solidly Irish area of the city — the Maine Irish Heritage Centre was taken over by the Irish community in 2003 and re-opened in 2008 as the epicentre of all things Irish in a state where one in six trace their roots back to the Emerald Isle. Arguably, the most beautiful Irish American centre in the country, the preserved St Dominic’s Church is now home to regular Irish events as well as the groundbreaking DNA project.

“Our Library and Genealogy Center is proud to house over 2,000 volumes devoted to Irish genealogy, history, art, literature and language,” says Feeney LaCombe. “Our volunteer genealogists have assisted people with researching their roots since the Center was opened in 2003.To further the study we travel to Ireland each year to gather targeted DNA within the confines of County Galway.  In this way, we are able to connect the Maine Irish with the Irish who remain in Galway.”

Using $99 swab kits to collect DNA samples from inside the cheek, the Maine Irish Heritage Center has now fed the DNA of over 200 members into the Maine Gaeltacht project database with the world’s largest DNA genealogy site Family Tree DNA. The results can help families in Ireland trace long-lost relatives whose ancestors travelled to the US and help the Maine Irish identify their own family connections.

Adds project co-ordinator Deb Gellerson: “Each year, our members return to Ireland to collect more samples in the Conamara Gaeltacht. Our volunteers have tromped through fields in Ireland collecting DNA samples from farmers and sheep herders.  They take the test willingly, feeling proud that they are able to be part of gluing together the bond that binds us all.  They have shared with us that they are glad that we are preserving their heritage and they thank us for being proud to be Irish.”

Readers can find out more about the Maine Irish Heritage Center and the Maine Gaeltacht genealogy project, at

‘Calvary’ and Gleeson a must-see

POSTED ON August 7th  - POSTED IN News, News & Views







By Áine Ní Shionnaigh

link to page 6 here

On Thursday last I attended a special screening of Calvary as part of the Tribeca Film Festival in conjunction with Craicfest

It is important to clarify what the movie is not about: it’s not about the Catholic Church, it’s not about child abuse, it’s not about the role of a priest, it’s not about life in a rural West of Ireland community. The central theme of this movie could just as easily be based in the midst of NYC or on a remote hilltop village in Nepal. It runs so deep. It is about the fundamental need within all of us to experience love and goodness in our lives and what happens when we don’t. It also addresses the abuse of power, how a position of privilege can be used to redeem people or destroy them.

The central role played by Brendan Gleeson is that of a priest, Fr James Lavelle. However, the priest’s role could easily be transferred to anyone in a position of privilege.

He is a person people look towards; they also use him as a punch bag literally and figuratively. Interestingly the priest is portrayed as a non judgmental, compassionate person, who has already faced his own trials, he is a recovering alcoholic, he is widowed, and his only daughter is suicidal and feels abandoned.  He faced his own fears and is therefore able to help others face theirs. He’s not in denial himself. He is a man who has been challenged to face his deepest fears. He has been stripped, hence the symbolism of his almost Spartan like existence in a remote fishing village.

The stereotype has been flipped. It is not about sin, it is about virtue. It is the parishioners that need redemption. Through Father Lavelle’s non-judgmental eyes, he can see that fear is at the root of all their inadequacies: fear of abandonment, fear of being unloved, fear of death. They try to fill the void by desperately scratching for love in all the wrong places leading to addictions to drugs, sex, materialism, which only perpetuate their problems. A lesson for all of us how we perpetuate our problems by using denial as a means of self protection. His parishioners are probably where Fr Lavelle himself was a few years previously, using alcohol to numb his pain.

The authentic West of Ireland scenery is spectacular: dramatic and daunting. There is a ruggedness and rawness to the scenery that reflects the internal turmoil in each and every one of us. Throughout the movie, there are various shots of Ben Bulben in all its menacing magnitude, casting it’s huge shadow over the community below, symbolizing how pain in our own lives can completely overshadow us. The ebbing tide of the ocean symbolized for me the continuity of life, how we flow in and out of each other’s lives like waves, leaving each other permanently altered.

What speaks volumes to me in this movie is what it portrays. It portrays the priest in a good light.  Although the opening line mentions the unmentionable, child abuse by a cleric, the movie focuses more on the pain Father Lavelle feels for the abused rather than the anger directed at him in the place of the abuser. The priest tries to absorb the pain of his parishioners and innocently takes the blame of the Church as a whole on his shoulders. Another one of the opening lines is very telling: “I’m going to kill you because you’ve done nothing wrong.” One of the most poignant points of pain in the movie is when Father Lavelle innocently befriends a little girl who is on her way down to the beach. The violent reaction of the girl’s father when he sees her talking to a priest etches a permanent expression of pain into Fr Lavelle’s already furrowed brow. He is at his lowest point.

Gleeson’s presence on screen immediately transforms and elevates any film. He deserves more than an Oscar for this portrayal. His face is like an open wound. What deepens Gleeson’s appeal is his physicality. He stands tall above his community both in feet and in honor. He is a large figure looming above everyone dramatized by the black soutane he wears.  Again he is reminiscent of Ben Bulben, the huge mountain range that dominates the community.  He is broad, barrel chested, protective, fierce almost but kind. Every furrow on his deeply furrowed brow and every whisker on his over bearded face all contribute to his changing expressions of emotions, usually pain which is almost like a flicker of recognition. Every furrow symbolizes a pain of a member of his community. He is genuine. Actors don’t come in a purer form than Gleeson. To compare Gleeson’s leading role in Calvary to his leading roles in ‘In Bruges’ and ‘The Guard’ almost trivialize his role in this movie. Playing Father James Lavelle is a cathartic role for Gleeson.

‘Calvary’ is about the fundamental journey that we are all on: the internal struggle within all of us, pain and fear, isolation and recovery, strength and weakness. It is a beautifully written and produced film, extraordinary in its multifaceted and layered structure. It continually challenges the eternal question, how to maintain hope in a not so hopeful world. It is compulsory viewing.

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