|Saturday, November 24
May 14, 1990 THE IRISH EMIGRANT Issue No.171
Editor: Liam Ferrie Circulation: 729
The sudden and untimely death of Cardinal Tomas O Fiaich over- shadowed all other events this week. It was on Tuesday evening that the news came through from France that the Cardinal had died while leading a pilgrimage to Lourdes. From that time on the media devoted much of its resources to giving details of his death, his life, his concern for others, his achievements, his opinions, his background, the reciprocated love he had for his "own people" and the problems he had with some sections of the British media. In this week's edition I devote a large section to the Cardinal and I believe this is a fair reflection of the coverage given in the press and on radio and television.
The week had started with the prison protest in Mountjoy. This lasted for a little more than twenty-four hours and came to a peaceful end. First the prospect of talks, and later actual talks, between the Northern Secretary and Unionist leaders attracted much attention although there were no great break-
throughs to report. Indeed, the way things are progressing it is not clear that these talks have any great future. Fianna Fail senators were back in the news again and four of them were asked by the Taoiseach to resign from their posts. This time there was no hint of scandal; just a matter of party discipline.
CARDINAL O FIAICH
The 9:00pm news on Tuesday surprised and saddened the Nation by announcing that the death had occurred of Cardinal Tomas O Fiaich in a Toulouse hospital an hour an a half earlier. The Cardinal had been leading a pilgrimage to Lourdes from his Armagh Diocese. On Monday night some of his priest colleagues and pilgrimage doctors expressed concern for his health but he assured them that he would be fine after a good night's sleep. During a concelebrated Mass the following morning he still looked unwell and afterwards agreed to be examined by a doctor. On the instructions of the doctor he was admitted to a clinic in Lourdes but when his condition worsened in the afternoon he was taken by helicopter to a hospital in Toulouse. It was here, some hours later, that he died from a heart attack.
The Cardinal's remains were taken back to Lourdes on Thursday and lay in state at the basilica of St Pius X for two days before being returned to Ireland. The cortege left Dublin Airport early on Saturday afternoon and arrived in Armagh about five hours later. Crowds turned out to pay their respects along the way and short prayer services took place in Drogheda, Dundalk and Crossmaglen. His body will lie in state until Tuesday when he will be buried in the grounds of St Patrick's Cathedral after Requiem Mass, which will be concelebrated by five Cardinals and fifty bishops.
There is widespread sadness at the Cardinal's death at the early age of 66. Nowhere is this deeper than in his native Armagh. From the many comments made by church and political leaders, Cardinal O Fiaich was clearly greatly admired by all who knew him. He was recalled as a man of many talents and virtues; an historian, a linguist, a scholar, a teacher, an ecumenist. The one attribute which all cited was his humanity. He always showed great compassion for his fellow man and avoided all the pomp which often goes with such high office. It was said that he was happiest when he was with his own people of South Armagh. As an historian he was an expert on early Christian Ireland and his particular interest was the Irish saints who travelled Europe in that period. Many also cited his love of Ireland and all things Irish, particularly the language, the music and the Gaelic games. This did not prevent him acknowledging the other tradition on the island and the BBC was able to play a recording of him singing the "Ould Orange Flute".
The Pope described the Cardinal as a "man of deep faith who passionately loved his country", President Hillery expressed his "deep regret and shock", the Taoiseach described himself as "devastated" with the news, the Northern Secretary was "deeply saddened", Alan Dukes said he "was a man of great strength, and a leader of great determination", the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Caird, felt his death "a personal loss" and the Archbishop of Canterbury referred to him as "devoted and staunch churchman who I counted as a friend". One or two Southern politicians couched their expressions of regret with statements which distanced themselves from the Cardinal's often expressed desire for an Ireland which would see Protestant and Catholic united as Irish men and women.
The leader of the Ulster Unionist Party merely acknowledged that the Cardinal's death "will come as a great shock to Roman Catholics throughout the whole of Ireland". The Rev. Martin Smyth, MP, mourned his passing but hoped his successor would provide more positive spiritual leadership and a less republican stance. "The mallet of Rome against the Protestants of Northern Ireland" was how he was described by the Rev. Ian Paisley. Virtually all other published comments were fulsome in their praise of the accomplishments and personal qualities of the Cardinal. His Church of Ireland counterpart, Dr Robin Eames, with whom he had established a very friendly relationship, spoke warmly of him. However, I felt that a short talk on BBC Radio from the Rev. Dr Gordon Grey of the First Lisburn Presbyterian Church was one of the most moving tributes paid to the Cardinal. It was also a measure of the man that both sides of the loyalist controlled Armagh Council stood in silence as a mark of respect and then adjourned their meeting when the news came through.
Cardinal O Fiaich was born in the village of Cullyhanna near Crossmaglen. He studied for the priesthood in Maynooth but his studies were disrupted for a year when he became seriously ill with pleurisy. When he recovered he completed his studies at St Peter's in Wexford and was ordained in 1948. In 1974 he became president of Maynooth College. It came as a surprise when, in 1977, he was appointed Archbishop of Armagh. It had been assumed that one of the existing bishops would have been successor to Cardinal Conway. Two years later he was named as a Cardinal by the present Pope.
A TALK SHOP, BUT WHO'S LISTENING
There were just three senators in the Chamber when the Minister for Justice, Ray Burke, presented amendments to the 1916 Larceny Bill. Unfortunately for him none of the three was a member of Fianna Fail. When one of those present put forward an amendment to the legislation it was carried unanimously. A second amendment was carried before Fianna Fail senators started to return to the Chamber. By that time the damage was done and the Bill will now have to return to the Dail to have the "offending" amendments removed.
All of this was considered highly embarrassing for the Fianna Fail Party and the Taoiseach called the party's Senate leaders in for a little chat. By the time he had finished talking to them he had extracted four resignations. Those who resigned were; the Leader of the House, Mick Lanigan; the Chief Whip, Paddy McGowan; and two assistant whips, Willie Farrell and G.V.Wright. They are still senators but no longer party officials. Their replacements will be announced later today.
TALKS ABOUT TALKS ABOUT TALKS
The Northern Secretary held his long-awaited talks with the leaders of the main Unionist parties. After a three-hour session Mr Brooke was reluctant to make any comment. Mr Molyneux and the Rev. Paisley were less reticent and held a news conference. They claimed that they now had a firm commitment that the Anglo-Irish Conference could be replaced with a new agreement and that, for the duration of negotiations, there will be no meetings of the Conference. They are still insisting that the Maryfield Secretariat be closed while negotiations are taking place and that the civil servants based there are sent back to London and Dublin.
This latter condition could prove to be a major obstacle as, within hours, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Gerry Collins was reiterating the Government's position that there could be no question of the Secretariat closing. While the talks were going on, an SDLP delegation led by John Hume was in Dublin for talks with the Irish Government. Down here the Government is getting conflicting advice about what concessions it should make to encourage talks. The left wing parties believe that it would be quite in order to close the Secretariat while Fine Gael is looking for an assurance that this will not happen.
Peter Brooke and the Unionist leaders are to meet again in two weeks time.
> > > > > > > > > BITS AND PIECES < < < < < < < < <
- The prisoners at Mountjoy timed their roof-top protest very badly. After the warm days and balmy evenings of the previous week it turned much cooler and by Monday evening the last of the prisoners came down from the roof. In light clothes they had to deal with driving rain and temperatures as low as 3C. Those who took part in the protest were segregated in a section of the prison reserved for those diagnosed as HIV-positive. One report said they wanted an end to the mixing of HIV-positive with non-infected prisoners but elsewhere I heard that they were demanding an end to such segregation. Four of the ten protesters did not have the infection.
- The weekly competition in the Irish Times asked readers to compose the most unlikely newspaper headline. Some of those submitted were, "Ulster says Yes", "President Robinson assumes power as Haughey resigns" and "Taoiseach Paisley greets Pope at Knock". However, "Farmers are happy" was declared the winner.
- As if to confirm the judges' decision there have been many moans about the price of lambs this season. Fine Gael politicians were quick to carry the farmers' complaints into the Dail. The party's agriculture spokesman, Paul Connaughton of East Galway, claimed that the price had fallen £25 per head and that butchers were not passing this on to the consumer. For persisting to talk out of turn on this he was told to leave the House. Lest anyone thought that he did not care, Padraig McCormack, his colleague from West Galway, took up where Connaughton left off until he too was thrown out of the Dail.
- The damaged bulk-carrier, Tribulus, which was taken to Bantry Bay for repairs has only now left for Rotterdam, three months after it was damaged in an Atlantic storm.
- Gardai found cannabis, with an estimated street value of £250,000 in an English registered car at Dublin Airport. There was no mention of any arrests.
- There has been a $5m drop in income at the Vatican. This is being blamed on reduced "Peter's Pence" offerings from Ireland, Italy and Germany. Personally, I believe that this is not an indication of any decline in religious belief in this country but rather a further symptom of the burden placed on the PAYE taxpayer!.
- Four bishops in England are being talked of as favourites to succeed Dr Robert Runcie as Archbishop of Canterbury. It is now considered unlikely that Dr Robin Eames, the Irish Primate, will be selected.
- I was in England during the week when a news item about the high pre-tax cost of cars in Britain attracted much attention. Earlier in the week a report was issued here which showed that the pre-tax price of a car in Ireland was greater than anywhere else in the EC. We appear to assume that such a situation is quite in order as this story only merited a few column inches on an inside page of The Irish Times.
- A schoolboy from Firies, Co.Kerry, was awarded £825,000 in the High Court in Dublin. In 1986, Gregory Breen received serious head injuries when he stepped out from behind a school bus and was hit by a truck.
- Judges appear to be prepared to take a lenient view on those who can convince them that they were drunk at the time they committed their crimes. A Co.Monaghan man made this plea after killing his brother with a shotgun from point blank range. He was given a 10-year suspended sentence. Two Dundalk youths were given 3-year suspended sentences after they pleaded guilty to the unlawful killing of a man whom they kicked on the head in the course of an altercation. They had been drinking a mixture of cider and the Greek liqueur, ouzo.
- The Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia led a large delegation to Dublin this week. He met with Mr Haughey who acted in both his roles as Taoiseach and President of the European Council. In the first he was able to offer help through personnel and training but in the latter was unable to give a commitment that Czechoslovakia would become a member of the EC within ten years.
- Also here was the Chancellor of Austria who is seeking membership of the EC on condition that his country can retain its neutrality.
- The backlog in driving tests has built up so that it now takes more than a year from the date of application to the actual test. In an effort to correct this the Minister for the Environment has drafted civil servants from other departments to be trained as driving test examiners. In addition he is now proposing to use personnel from the Automobile Association as examiners.
- If you are an Irish speaker who uses computers you might or might not be delighted to hear that An Gum has published a new dictionary entitled Tearmai Riomhaireachta. All the jargon you have been used to now has an Irish equivalent.
- Two boys aged eight and five died in a house fire in Ballyfermot, Dublin. Another child was rescued by a neighbour. The parents were not in the house at the time.
- After last week's report that hospital waste was found on beaches on the Donegal side of Lough Foyle there is an item in The Sunday Independent about human organs, such as kidneys being found in the same area. This is being denied by the hospital authorities in Derry.
- This was the week of Spring Show at the RDS. After last year's lowest ever attendance, a major effort to attract people was successful with a 50% increase in the number of visitors to the show. A number of new attractions which were introduced, including a garden festival.
- Two more of the quintuplets born at the Coombe Hospital have died. The remaining one, a boy, is on a ventilator.
> > > > > > > > > NORTHERN NEWS < < < < < < < < <
- A week ago on Saturday there was a spectacular pageant in Derry's Guildhall Square to commemorate the Siege of Derry in 1689. Sean Davey composed a symphony for the occasion and this was performed by the Ulster Orchestra. A fireworks display over the Foyle brought proceedings to a close. The event was sponsored by the nationalist controlled City Council.
- The Namibian authorities have dropped a murder charge against Donald Acheson, who is believed to be a former loyalist paramilitary from the North. He had been accused of shooting the highest ranking white member of SWAPO.
- The Upper Bann by-election takes place on Thursday with eleven candidates fighting for the seat of the late Harold McCusker. With the DUP not putting forward a candidate it is expected that David Trimble of the Ulster Unionist Party will have a comfortable win. The most interesting aspect of the election will be the performance of the Conservative Party candidate, Mrs Collette Jones.
- Some prison officers have had to leave their homes as a result of attacks and threats from the Ulster Freedom Fighters, a loyalist paramilitary group. The Rev. Ian Paisley has called for a stop to such attacks.
- The Rev. Paisley joined John Hume and a number of others to launch a campaign for the retention of the London-Stranraer rail link which connects with the Stranraer-Larne ferry service. British Rail claims that hundreds of thousands of pounds were being lost each year as the average number of passengers was in single figures.
- Mrs Thatcher reaffirmed her desire that the North remain part of the UK when questioned in Parliament by Seamus Mallon. He thought that, with barriers falling across Europe, it was an anachronism that the border between North and South should continue to exist.
- A newly published survey claims that 50,000 homes in the North have a serious debt problem.
- On Sunday evening a group of protesting loyalist prisoners made their way on to the roof of Crumlin Road prison in Belfast.
> > > > > EMPLOYMENT AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS < < < < <
- 168 people were laid off in the wake of the Institute of Clinical Pharmacology going into receivership. The receiver is hopeful that he will find a new owner for the company in a matter of weeks. In February the company's shareholders were told of an order book worth £10m but the subsequent cancellation of a major contract with a Japanese company triggered the collapse of ICP.
- A dispute at B&I caused all of the ferry company's Irish Sea services to be cancelled for four days during the week. While agreement was not reached the seamen agreed to go back to work to allow talks to take place.
- Mr Tom Reynolds, the managing director of the Construction Industry Federation, has forecast an increase of 4,000 jobs in the industry this year on top of the 5,000 which he says were created last year.
- Management at Waterford Crystal expressed disappointment at the decision of union leaders to continue a ban on workers entering the plants to maintain the furnaces. It is claimed that it will now take nine weeks to get the furnaces running again after the dispute is settled.
> > > > > > > > > POLITICS & POLITICIANS < < < < < < < < <
- The Progressive Democrat's annual conference was attended by 1,500 delegates in Galway's Leisureland complex over the weekend. The topic in Des O'Malley's presidential address which attracted most attention was his call for a change in the extradition laws. You are probably aware that he wants to remove the plea of political motivation as a means of avoiding extradition. His stance was considered important enough to be the lead story on Sunday morning's BBC Radio news bulletins.
- The Minister for Energy, Bobby Molloy, has announced that the mineral exploration licence for the Croagh Patrick area will not be renewed. He has told the company with the current licence that further exploration or mining will never be allowed on the mountain. Shrewd politician that he is, he made this announcement at the PD's annual conference on Saturday.
- Nelson Mandela will address the Dail when he visits this country in July.
> > > > > > > > > TRAVEL AND TOURISM < < < < < < < < <
- Waterford Airport has been taken over by Ryanair and a group of local business people. The new owners are looking for an additional £1m in share capital to help fund a £2.5m development programme. The airline has plans to open new routes to Stanstead and Amsterdam.
- Aer Lingus is to increase its fares by 4%. This is less than requested but the Minister for Tourism and Transport said that any increase should not exceed the rate of inflation. He also told the airline that it must decrease overhead costs by £5m.
> > > > > > > > > EDUCATION < < < < < < < < <
- Students at the University of Limerick are seeking to have the Senate franchise extended to their college, Dublin City University and other third level colleges. At present only graduates from Trinity and the National University of Ireland can vote in the elections for the University seats in the Senate. Such a change will require a Constitutional amendment which can only come about with a national referendum.
> > > > > > > > > MUSIC < < < < < < < < <
Reporter: Liam S. Ferrie
- Good news for fans of Irish rock is that 2FM DJ, Dave Fanning, is planning to release some of the old session tapes his programme has recorded over the last ten years. Bands involved include U2, Hothouse Flowers, Philip Lynott, Something Happens! and The 4 of Us. The back catalogue actually includes 500 sessions, so there should be something for everyone.
- Former Aslan singer, Christy Dignam has teamed up with hard-rock guitarist Conor Goff to form a new band, imaginatively named Dignam and Goff. Also involved are Matt Spalding, formerly of In Tua Nua, on bass, and Jeff Collier who used to play drums with Cactus World News.
- Tullamore is to be the scene of a big rock festival in August. It will be modelled on the Reading and Glastonbury festivals and will be held over 3 days. Bands tipped to headline are Hothouse Flowers, The Pogues and the Waterboys, with Deacon Blue, Something Happens! and The 4 of Us as special guests, and more bands to be announced.
- Wexford band Cry Before Dawn have split up after being dropped by their record label, CBS. Their second album `Witness For The World' was critically acclaimed but failed to do the business when it came to shifting units. CBS ploughed a lot of money into the band who they expected would appeal to the same market in the U.S. as bands like The Cutting Crew, but they obviously decided to cut their losses rather than weather the storm. A number of the members have expressed interest in following solo careers.
> > > > > > > > > THE ARTS < < < < < < < < <
- A major exhibition centre for modern art is to be developed near Skibbereen. A German art dealer, Mr Veith Turske, who owns the 180-acre Liss Ard estate, plans to open the non-profit making centre on his property in two years.
> > > > > > > > > BUSINESS NEWS < < < < < < < < <
IRISH POUND May 11 May 4
Sterling 0.9760 0.9685
US Dollar 1.6404 1.6053
Deutschmark 2.6760 2.6841
French franc 9.0443 9.0073
Dutch guilder 3.0087 3.0180
Belgian franc 55.46 55.37
Italian lira 1974.06 1966.49
Spanish peseta 166.68 167.99
Japanese yen 251.26 254.60
Swiss franc 2.2875 2.3213
Canadian dollar 1.9288 1.8695
Australian dollar 2.1556 2.1271
- R&H Hall is unhappy with a takeover bid by IAWS. A revised offer which valued R&H Hall at £44m was considered unacceptable.
- European Leisure has successfully taken over the British company Midsummer Leisure after a protracted battle. This story has been closely watched by the media here although I am not sure that I understand the Irish interest. As far as I remember, a group of English investors purchased the Edenderry Shoe Company as a quick way to get a stock exchange quotation and then changed the name of the company to European Leisure. The shoe manufacturing business was later sold back to the original owner.
- The Jefferson Smurfit Group has increased its profits by 3.8% to £245.5m. The group also had an extraordinary profit of £324m from a financial restructuring which took place in 1989. At the end of January the group had a cash balance of £464.3m against borrowings of £195.4m.
- Profits at IBM Ireland Ltd fell £2.7m to £1.56m in 1989. There was a marginal increase in turnover and the company had to meet exceptional costs with the early retirement of some senior staff.
> > > > > > > > WEATHER < < < < < < < < <
As promised the hot spell came to an end on Monday. Those who reverted to the heavy sweaters had it right. Temperatures dropped dramatically and were at least 10C below the previous week's average. It rained also but things improved more quickly than the forecasters suggested. We have had long hours of sunshine for the last four days and although it wasn't quite as warm as last week there have been no complaints.
Around Menlo the hawthorn is in full bloom and the great patches of white which this creates have prompted much comment.
Latest Temperatures: Day 17C............Night 4C
> > > > > > > > > S P O R T < < < < < < < < <
> > > > > > > > > G.A.A. < < < < < < < < <
Munster Senior Hurling Championship:
Clare 1-5 Limerick 2-16
Ulster Senior Football Championship:
Monaghan 3-17 Antrim 0-8
Leinster Senior Football Championship:
Louth 3-8 Carlow 2-7
All-Ireland Colleges Football Final (Replay):
St Patrick's 1-11 St Jarlath's 0-13
Vocational Schools Football Final:
Dungannon 1-13 Moneenageisha 2-5
Last Sunday's games in New York:
Football: All-Stars 1-10 Cork 0-12
Hurling: Kilkenny 0-18 New York 0-9
- John "Tull" Dunne, who captained Galway footballers when they won the All-Ireland in the thirties and coached the Galway "three-in-a-row" side of the sixties, died on Sunday at the age of 78.
> > > > > > > > > SOCCER < < < < < < < < <
FAI Cup Final:
St Francis 0 Bray Wanderers 3
- There was to be no fairy tale finish to the season for non-league club St Francis although some would say that getting to the final was in itself a fairy tale. John Ryan scored three times for the Bray team, the first and last from the penalty spot. By all accounts the team from the Liberties put up a spirited performance in front of a crowd of 29,000.
- The row over the hotel which the Irish team will use when in Sardinia was finally settled this week. The Italian authorities were unhappy with the party using a hotel just four miles from the English team's hotel. Minister for Sport Frank Fahey visited Italy with members of the IFA and the team will now stay in the hotel of their choice.
- The Irish team will play Finland at Lansdowne Road on Wednesday. This is a testimonial match for Liam Brady as well as being further preparation for the World Cup. Ronnie Whelan has his leg in plaster and will not be playing but will be fit for Italy. Brady is donating £50,000 of the proceeds of the game to combat the abuse of drugs among young people.
- A Dutch TV presenter has made a record in support of his country's soccer team. Looking for a suitable piece of music to which to put his lyrics, he came across an old Jim Reeves song and used that. The song is now in the Dutch charts, however most Irish supporters will probably not recognise the Jim Reeves connection as the music is usually associated with the traditional song, "Danny Boy". - [Ken Merrick, VNS Sports Desk]
> > > > > > > > > SPORTS SHORTS < < < < < < < < <
- GOLF: Ronan Rafferty did not improve his position in the Benson and Hedges International in England. A final round of 74 left him down the field. Philip Walton returned a 69 and collected a Stg£12,000 cheque for finishing joint fifth.
Rafferty was the only Irishman whose score was worth a mention in this weekend's Belgian Open. He was ten strokes behind the winner, Ove Sellberg, and finished in joint sixth.
Before the Belgian Open was played Eamon Darcy was the only Irishman in the top ten of the European Order of Merit. He was in 8th position with prize money totalling Stg£63,000. Ronan Rafferty was in 11th position with Stg£2,000 less.
- TENNIS: Ireland went on to win the Davis Cup match against Ghana and will play in the European first division of the Davis Cup next year.
- ATHLETICS: Jerry Kiernan won Monday's Belfast Marathon in 2 hours, 18 minutes and 59 seconds.
- RUGBY: Philip Rainey has announced his retirement from representative rugby. Rainey was capped 46 times.
- SNOOKER: World Amateur Champion Ken Doherty has gained automatic entry to the professional ranks next season after the withdrawal of Canadian Paul Thornley.
- CRICKET: The touring New Zealanders had two easy wins in one day matches against Ireland on Wednesday and Thursday. At Downpatrick, Ireland batted first and New Zealand matched their 151 score for the loss of just three wickets and with more than thirteen overs to spare. At Ormeau, the Irish team was still 40 runs behind the NZ total of 203, at the end of the fifty overs.
- CYCLING: The FDB Milk Ras is taking place these days. At the end of the second stage, from Mullingar to Westport, Declan Lonergan was in fourth place overall, behind two Frenchmen and a Belgian.
> > > > > > > > > SAILING < < < < < < < < <
Reporter: Tom Foote @ILO
After a good start in Fort Lauderdale last Saturday NCB ran in second place for some time. Over the weekend however, she dropped back into her customary middle of the fleet position.
Going into her second night at sea on the final Atlantic race home, the powerful New Zealand ketch Steinlager 2, skippered by Peter Blake, had once again established herself at the head of the 22-strong Round-the-World fleet.
Given the fast reaching start, with an early average speed of over 11 knots, the yachts could make it back to Southampton in a record 15 to 16 days for a spectacular grand finale to the 32,000 mile marathon.
NCB Ireland appeared at first to make a poor start to leeward of the fleet who bunched at the weather end. However, powering through the more inshore course along the Florida coastline, she was an early leader with The Card. While it was more favourable to move offshore into a stronger north flowing tide, it meant sailing a longer distance to the turning mark before the fleet headed out into the Atlantic.
By Monday 7th May NCB had improved her position to 7th place and the lead had been taken by Fisher & Paykel with Steinlager just ten miles astern. Meanwhile, both the British sloop Rothmans and Gatorade were in trouble and back in 20th and 21st place respectively. Rothmans was forced to put in to Georgetown to replace a broken intermediate shroud, while Gatorade diverted to Jacksonville to repair a spreader.
On Tuesday the reports were most encouraging with NCB powering into 2nd place for the first time. NCB was enjoying variable breezes and a warm northerly current and using them to advantage. Rothmans was then 250 miles behind the leaders with its chances diminished.
Wednesday saw NCB slip to 4th position with Fisher & Paykel still leading 11 miles ahead of Merit. Steinlager was in 3rd position just 19 miles ahead of NCB.
On Thursday NCB returned into 3rd position just 4 miles astern of Steinlager in 2nd place to Fisher & Paykel. The yachts are now fairly widely spread on the water. The two Kiwi ketches are on opposite sides to the column of yachts heading north eastwards up the Atlantic. NCB is the farthest North and West roughly centred and close to Fisher & Paykel. Both sides of the course have been favoured by the weather at different times. The surge of Rothmans through the tail-enders has slowed now that she is in the same wind, but she has moved up to 15th position. The Italian Gatorade is now lying 18th.
So all in all a very good week for NCB. She now has 2,658 miles to go and so far has averaged 10 knots.
Dateline May 11th 1990, Worcester Mass. U.S.A.
The Boston Celtics came back to their "Garden" last Sunday night 2 games apiece with their arch-rivals the New York Knicks, in the 'best of 5' first round play off action in the NBA championship. The C's were hot favourites to clinch a berth in the next round, and a tilt against the Champions, the dreaded Detroit Pistons. The C's were dumped out of the competition at the same stage last season. This year proved no better, as an inept performance saw a mediocre N.Y. team advance. In contrast, the fabulous Boston Bruins continued their skilful and spirited performances of the NHL regular season. This week they advanced to the Hockey Finals, and a Stanley Cup play-off meeting with either Edmonton or Chicago, by virtue of a superb 4 games to 0 thrashing of the Washington Caps.
I followed the fate of both these famous clubs from Fontainebleau near Paris, a small town full of lush and beautiful parks surrounding the magnificent Palaces of the notorious Louis'. I gleaned the play-off information from CNN News and the International Press daily. I also leased a special 'red line' to Worcester for news of events in that other major American Competition, the Indoor Soccer Championship. I got immediate reports on the progress of New England's famous and favourite immigrant team, the Wild Geese. It delighted me that events unfolded so as to allow me to get back to the States in time to witness (and provide coverage of) the final stages of the championship.
Tuesday night saw the meetings of tournament favourites the Hornets versus the Scottish lead Legal Aliens. A good sized crowd saw the confident Hornets race into a 3 goal lead. To the surprise and joy of all but the Hornet fans, the Aliens fought with great determination and skill to recover and press for one, two, three and then the fourth and lead goals. Time told on the brave Aliens and eventually the Hornets regained complete control and ran out easy winners. It was a courageous effort by the Aliens, and the performances of their Scottish stars Lyle and Walker (Tea and Whisky), were observed with great interest by the Wild Geese owners via satellite in Europe.
The stadium filled to overflowing for the second part of the double header, the other championship semi-final, the meeting of the Misfits and the Wild Geese. The Misfits held the advantage over the Geese in the regular season with an emphatic win in January and a draw in April. They finished one place ahead of the Wild Ones in second position in the league. The Geese welcomed back the Great One for the game and looked to the interchanging partnerships of the League's highest goal-scorer, the ...ing Stalwart, the Wee Jammer and Country Joe to pierce the Misfit defences. Krafty Keith (the Lively Lambert), The Hammer Kavanagh and the Great One lined out in front of J.W.K to defend. The Brazilians combined to produce critical reserve support.
Game of the season followed. For most of the match the Geese with their massive support held the edge. With the aid of another ....ing Stalwart hat-trick, the Irish entered the last quarter with a close, but comfortable, 5-3 lead. The 'never say die' Misfits kept plugging away at the tiring Geese until they finally once, and then twice breached the Geese defences to bring the game into overtime. The extra time period delivered more sensational and heart stopping action for both sets of supporters. The Misfits kept their momentum going into the period and silenced the crowd with an excellent 6th goal with a couple of minutes left. The Geese dug deep but it looked as if they were going to expire as contenders. Then the Great One picked up the ball on the left wing and moved into the Misfits half. He curled a tempting cross deep into the Misfits area, and in dived the brave and mighty Wee Jammer in superb style, to head past the bewildered Misfits defence to score.
The noise was heard as far away as Millis to the South and Gardner to the West. The fans danced in the aisles. The Geese were back! Within a minute the final whistle blew and the game would be decided on penalty kicks. The Geese penalty takers were the Hammer, the Wee Jammer, the ....ing Stalwart, Krafty Keith and JWK. The first Goose shot rattled the net followed by a Misfits score. The Geese converted again. The Misfits shot and.......a save by JWK. Millis folk checked for thunderstorms again. The Geese scored again. Old men cried. Then up went a powerful Misfit defender. He aimed, blasted, and nearly removed the crossbar. It rebounded out. Motorists on the Mass Pike pulled up thinking that there was an earthquake. The Geese shot penalty number 4. Score....... Noise, joy, tears. The Geese were through!
A press conference was hastily arranged for the Clubhouse. The venue was filled to the rafters with Geese and supporters, Press and TV people. Harold sweated but the tills rattled and hummed happily. The Alien pair of Lyle & Walker were welcome guests of the ballclub adding fuel to the speculation about their allegiances for the 90/91 season. The Boss McG beamed in appreciation. The Jammer's goal was recalled in its full majesty and heroism. Golden stuff flowed. News came in that the Celtics had fired Head Coach Jimmy Rogers and his assistant. That did not cause undue concern.
McG announced that he had been contacted by the Club owners and that they would fly in for the cup final the following day led by the Chief, Big Ed, the High King of Ireland and the significant other (Dave) Lawrence of the Area (who had influenced the decision to allow the non-Irish Jammer to play for the club). There was also a view that Herr Werner of Deutchland(s) had also bought a piece of the ballclub in anticipation of the removal of trade barriers by '92, and that he too would make the trip. A special pre-match meeting was arranged for Grill 62 with the shareholders, management and senior players.
The final was expected to be a largely one sided affair. The Hornets were 14-4 humiliators of the Wild Geese just one month previously. They had dismissed an excellent attempt by the Aliens with contempt in the second period of the semi final the previous night, and in fact rested some of their top players for the final quarter. The Geese on the other hand arrived at Worcester with serious injury and energy problems. Krafty Keith (the Lively Lambert) was very doubtful with a number of leg injuries to add to the famous 'left toe' problem, and he could hardly walk properly. The ....ing Stalwart was strapped like a mummy and could promise little. The rest of the side carried the scars and tiredness from their full blooded encounter with the Misfits that included an overtime period the previous night.
What the Geese did have going for them was the crowd. 90% or more of the attendance was cheering for the underdogs. The game commenced in furious fashion with the ....ing Stalwart 'boarding' a Hornet star in the opening minute. The pace was frantic as the supremely confident Hornets went at the Geese. The Irish went at their vaunted opposition with fire and venom in an effort to disrupt their famous short passing game. Within minutes though the Hornets took advantage of their confident start and scored. They made it 2-0 after 10 minutes and the writing was on the wall for the brave Geese.
The Hornets must have slackened a little in their intensity, for the Geese got more and more possession and through this and their continued disruption of the Hornets at every ball, control began to shift a little bit in their favour. At 20 minutes they were denied a penalty by the referee but within minutes a handball inside the area by the pressurised Hornet defence gave the Hammer the opportunity to bring the Geese back into the game. The Carrot Head obliged and that is the way it stayed to the break.
The side was pleased at half time. Despite the obvious impact on the team's mobility due to their injuries, the half time score was a far cry from the 1-9 mid game deficit that faced them against the same haughty Hornets 4 weeks before. McG spurred on his ailing, ageing forces to even greater efforts. From the kick-off he was rewarded with supreme effort from his men. The Hornets were dumped off the ball by their older opponents at every turn. The Jammer was particularly menacing and ensured that the normally offence minded defenders never got very far (safely) with the ball. The initiative moved slightly in the Wild Geese favour and their efforts were rewarded mid way through the thrilling half when the Implement shot from close range to level the scores.
For the second night in a row inhabitants and motorists in a 30 mile radius were startled and shocked by the noise and shakes coming from Greendale Stadium in Worcester. The game continued with furious efforts by both sides to get what all felt would be the deciding goal. For the Geese everybody from the super JWK through Country Joe gave magnificent displays. The Jammer was finally sent to the Sin Bin for a two minute penalty with under seven minutes to go for felling a Hornet once too often. The short-handed Geese, with two of their remaining 4 outfield players injured, held out with heroics as the Hornets passed with patience to open up a gap to score. The two minutes must have seemed more like ten to those Geese out there, but they somehow managed to hold out.
As the penalty was up McG needed to change his line-up to rest some of those who had held out the numerically stronger Hornets. In the ensuing moments the Hornets put a string of passes together and caught the tiring disorganised Geese and scored with four minutes on the game clock. From the kick-off the Irish threw their energies into attack but the brave offensive was broken up with the Hornets sealing the fate of the game on the breakaway. The injuries and age had caught the Irish at the finish and there was no comeback possible for the proud Wild Geese.
The scenes back at the Mansion House were not those you might have expected from a losing side and its supporters. It was a proud season, and the Wild Geese were runners up in only their second year in competition. The Clubhouse was filled to capacity by the Irish and their Scottish and German friends. Mid Range Willie, John (Eddie the Eagle) Walsh, the Man From Valbonne, Lyle & Walker (again), Sexy Sue and Sweet Sue, Big Duncan (Doughnut) McKee, Marto Hoary, Shu McEvoy, Irish Mike Coffey, Horse Mischke, Sham Collins, N Poppa Folan, moms and kids, Amen (Beancounter) Fahy, the Jagman Donovan, Long John Flaherty and many, many more toasted the feats of their beloved Geese, with the same passion and good humour as they had supported the club. Past Geese Billa O'Connell, Casanova Cahill, present but absent Geese Noisy and Noname as well as the Faithful (departed and sadly missed) Farragher were among those toasted in their absence.
The Boss McG announced an end of season party for this Friday night at his Gifford Lane residence. The popular McG was not to know what was to happen the following morning (Friday) at a press conference held in Maynard by the caring but bottom line conscious owners. A Club spokesman made the following announcements;
"We the Wild Geese Ballclub TM, wish to announce the following package;"
"* The Wild Geese Club will go into a transition over the Spring and Summer" (there was an immediate and universal diving for cover at the mention of "package" and "transition" at the conference).
"* The Wild Geese Supporters Club will be organised along lines of Business with the Man from Valbonne (Joe Eaton) running the Western Region, and Eddie the Eagle (John Walsh) managing the East".
"* The Boss McG will be sacked because the Celtics sacked Jimmy Rogers"
"* The Wee Jammer (Robbie Stewart) will be blamed for last night's defeat as that was part of our contract with him, and he will be traded to a Scottish outfit".
"* Due to a growing interest ($$$) in the Ballclub by our Scottish partners, and due to the success of the Wee Jammer this year, the Wild Geese Ballclub will open up its membership to Scottish players and supporters for the 90/91 season. A number of Scottish players and would-be players are being considered at this time. They must hold Scottish passports or have equivalent qualifications".
"* The following players will not have their contracts renewed by the Ballclub; Hammer Kavanagh (because he has red hair), The Flying Implement (for scoring a goal in the cup final without getting permission from the ....ing Stalwart), Krafty Keith (for being injured during the season more than once), and Country Joe (for scoring goals that the ....ing Stalwart might have wanted to score himself).
"* Shu McEvoy will continue as Club Shrink".
"Finally, on behalf of the Wild Geese Ballclub TM, we wish to thank our supporters, players, management and sponsors for their efforts during the 89/90 season. We wish also to thank Editor in Chief Liam (don't ever pay the Ferryman) for the use of his celebrated rag as an outlet for our rantings, and also those readers silly enough to read the Sports Supplement. We are glad to announce at this point that there was a $100 annual subscription fee for the supplement for which you will all be billed by our effective Financial Staff (Long John F and Amen Beancounter F). Failure to pay will mean that you will continue to get copies of Tom Foote's Sailing notes with the Emigrant."
I have nothing further to add to that official set of statements from the owners. You must be the judge on their decisions. I will return now to the more mundane work of following the Bruins and Red Socks, and perhaps hope to catch a little World Cup action. I hope for an Ireland/Argentina Final because I would just love to see Wild Goose International the Great One in a one on one confrontation with Maradona. I'd put my considerable resources firmly on the Irish guy.
Have a great Summer, eat much fruit from the Happiness Tree, but for God's sake KEEP OFF THE GRASS.
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* This newsletter has been prepared primarily from *
* press and radio reports. It should not be taken *
* as representing the views of my employer or those *
* of other companies within the group. *
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