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Hurling win high short- lived as fishermen perish at sea -- Reality intrudes into a happy occasion

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Galway Cork All-Ireland hurling semi-final
Galway Cork All-Ireland hurling semi-final
I wrote last week of the fun and games at the Rose of Tralee and it was a time of great celebration, but I want to take you back to the week before that. It was one of tremendous highs and wicked lows.

I was in Croke Park on the Sunday for the Galway Cork All-Ireland hurling semi-final. After Galway’s great win over Kilkenny in the Leinster final the question on everybody’s lips was could they keep going at this pace.

Galway for the past few seasons could go either hot or cold in equal measures and most people know that. Cork doesn’t like to be left out of the hurling limelight for too long and I thought they were going to pull a fast one.

Being from Kerry most people would ask me if I have an interest in hurling, which I find very strange. Just because Kerry isn’t a powerhouse in hurling! There are parts of Kerry that only play hurling and not football, mostly in the north of the county. Anyways to answer the question, yes I do following hurling and love is equally as much as football.

Then the next question is who do I follow? Like a person needs to follow a team to enjoy the game. I do have a grá (love) for Kilkenny and you’d have to, unless you’re from Tipp, Cork, Wexford, Waterford, Limerick, Galway and Antrim. This list can be disputed!

I always liked to see Limerick do well, but since I moved to Galway I shout for them. In saying that I’ve only gone to see them play a handful of times. Croker was alive and the maroon and white colours were all over the stadium. It was a great game to be at, actually the game was better in Croker than it looked on TV, I watched it again that night. I think emotions get to people at a live game and I certainly got swept away with the Galway crowd.

Joe Canning gave a display of hurling not seen for a long time. The 23 years could do no wrong, every ball he hit landed over the bar, while every side line cut found a Galway player. For the first time in a long time the players around Joe worked well around him too. It gave to whole of the west a boost.

Everybody was in great form and that’s always a good way to start the week. This high was short lived when I hear that two fishermen were gone missing off the coast of Clare, I knew one of them and had met the other. The bodies were found as the whole village of Quilty and all her neighbouring parishes fell silent in respect and sadness.

I went to West Clare for the funerals. The houses of the men who drowned are separated by a house in-between. You’d have to ask the man above how he could bring so much grief to such a small place.

Tommy Galvin brother of Michael, who was one of the men, said ‘that the sea was like a lake on the day and can’t make out how things went wrong’. The families were distraught but found solace in the fact the bodies were recovered. It must be very hard to find any ray of light in such a situation not to mind to find solace. I think it’s only the people of the sea who totally understand this.

When the sea takes one if its own, many communities are affected and not just the locally either. This would have hit hard in all the fishing communities all over. Boats came up from Waterford to show respect and a great and gallant show from the Irish Navy. This show of strength and solidarity means a lot to people. This same week tragedy struck of the coasts of Cork and Mayo where more lives were sadly lost. In old Irish mythology things happen in three, I wouldn’t dispute this one. Beannacht Dé leo siúd ar fad a ghoid an fharraige uainn, God bless all those who the sea stole from us!

So that was the week before the Rose of Tralee for me with highs and lows, where the lows far outweighed the high.

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