Tag Archives: together

May 12, OFFALY VERSUS GALWAY

Tullamore was a town I had not been to before. I arrived there about an hour before throw in and made my way towards the pubs where the fans were hanging out. The first guy I met was Denis Duggan. Denis told me the first GAA match he ever went to was the football final of 1982 between a Kerry side gunning for a record five-in-a-row and an Offaly side hoping to avoid back-to-back final losses. As first matches go, I said, there cannot be betters ones that. 100%, he said. It was magic! When defeat looked certain for Offaly, up popped Seamus Darby to break Kerry hearts. I’ve lived off that moment whole life, he said. And we beat ye in 2000, he said, reminding me of 2000 when Offaly beat another reigning champions: the Cork team of 1999, and then to add salt to the wounds he would not stop laughing. What’s so funny, I asked. It’s your accent. I think it’s hilarious. They say you always remember your first, and for me, Denis was a gas man, and just look at that smile.

Denis Duggan

The great thing about Tullamore is that the Bord na Mona stadium is in the heart of the town and a short distance from the pubs where the fans congregate before the game. Walking up from the main street I met with more fans. John Daly and son Stephen who were excited to see the start of another championship year and told me they were hoping to see Galway in Croke Park together again. Did you see them do it together there last year,  I asked. We did and with the help of God, it won’t be another 28 years before we see it again. 

John and Stephen Daly

Hanging around the bridge as the crowds began to stream into the stadium, I stopped and got chatting to a few Offaly fans on their way to see their hurlers entertain Galway. No, I don’t go to all the games, Padraig Mahon told me, but tonight I have to come out and support the lads. 

Padraig Mahon

Making my way over the Grand Canal bridge I was stopped by a member of the local GAA club. There was a raffle for a heifer in their prize draw. What would I do with a heifer, I told them when they approached me. You could take the cash prize instead, they said. But that’s a fine looking heifer, I said.

A Pedigree Limousin Heifer

Just before I could put pen to paper and to get my chance to win the heifer, one of the Faithful County’s most famous supporters caught my eye: the former Taoiseach, Brian Cowan. Not wanting to miss out on the chance of my first celebrity portrait for the project I asked him if I could take his photo. I asked him who he was going to the match with and he said Tony. Get Tony in for the shot, I said. Do you always go together to the games? We always do, the former taoiseach told me.

Ex-Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Tony his friend

Tom Kilgarriff’s son Paul was born in 1988 when Galway were reigning champions. He would be 28 years old before they would become champions again in September last year. Did you go together, I asked. We did and it was special. Really special after all these years. I asked Paul did it mean more because you got to share it with your dad? Oh, yeah of course, he said.

Tom and Paul Kilgarriff

I got into the stadium just after throw-in. Galway eventually made light work of it, but Offaly were still in contention at half-time. I spent most of the match looking for photo opportunities. One of the beautiful things about sport is that we want to share the passion we have for it; to pass it on to our children, to keep it alive. This is so evidently beautiful when you meet people like Joe Clancy. Joe brought his little boy JJ to his first championship match. No, he told me, it’s not his first game. He’s been to two league games already. Why is it important to bring him, I asked. Well, he said, it was 28 years. It could be another 28 years before he sees them as champions again. Joe told me the first match he was at was in 1985. An All-Ireland hurling semi-final between Cork and Galway. A match Galway won to defeat the then All-Ireland champions Cork. I could begin to see a pattern emerging in the stories people were telling me. I had better start telling some of my own.

Joe and baby JJ Clancy

At half-time Galway led by ))))))). The crowd spilled out of the stand and out to tunnel below to use the toilets, calm the nerves with a cigarette, or if you are Martin Lawlor and Tom Errity it was time to for a few pucks of the sliotar while the teams had their break. Both Martin and Tom are in the Offaly development hurling squad. Do ye dream of playing for your country?, I asked. Of course, Martin told me. Why? It’s the pinnacle of everything, he said.

Tom Lawlor and Martin Errity

The second half started and with that Galway went through the gears and began to pull away from Kevin Martin’s men. Still the crowd enjoyed the spectacle. After wandering around the stand I came near the sideline and decided to take a rest and take in the remainder of the game. Galway were on the attack and narrowly missed a scoring chance which was met with loud exclamation of disappointment from the elderly lady sitting next to me. Surprised at her intensity, but at the same time intrigued, I introduced myself and told her about my project. What followed was gold.

I’ll tell you, she said, last September, who were in the final? Galway were, yes. And I was due to fly to New York to meet my brother on that Sunday, but did I go? No! No, I cancelled it. I was not going to miss the final. Did you go to Croke Park? I asked. No, I didn’t. I watched it here in Tullamore. And they won. And you cancelled your flight to  your brother in New York for it? I did and I would do it again.

This information took a while for delivery, as it was punctuated with Mary giving her Galway team encouragement and appraisal to every puck of the ball. Mary told me she was originally from Athenry, but had come to Tullamore many years ago, but had never lost her love for her home county. When the final whistle sounded, she let a little yahoo out of her and with a big smile and fist raised, she said goodbye to me. 

Mary Horan

With the evening slowly beginning to darken the match ended. Galway had eased past Offaly and secured their first two points of the new format championship. As is customary, the fans, mainly kids,  ran on to the pitch at the end to greet their heroes. I followed. I found the star attraction, Joe Canning, in the centre of a huddle signing autographs on sliotars and shirts and hurleys and posing for photos with young fans. Soaked in sweat he stood there for ages without a hint of impatience as the light faded and the wind picked up. I imagine Joe did the same thing himself as a kid. I was tempted to ask for his autograph too, but settled on shaking his hand and telling him I was delighted he won his medal last year. He thanked me and nodded in appreciation.

The great Joe Canning

I left the stadium with a warm glow after the first match of my own journey to Croke Park. I had been a little apprehensive about how this first weekend of my to the heart of hurling photography project would go; would I be able to get good shots, talk to strangers and get their stories? To be honest,  there’s not a lot to it. I love talking hurling and I love photography. Put the two together and I am in my element.

Come back tomorrow for my blog on the dramatic Dublin and Kilkenny match.

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Posted in Brendan Ó Sé. Brendan Ó Sé photography, GAA Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

February 3 2015

One of my best friends passed away today. He was someone who loved life and loved to share it. I learned a lot from him. One time, when I was heartbroken and afraid as I faced into the unknown, he sent me a message saying:

“It is better to forget and be happy, than remember and be sad.”

It jolted me and propelled me forward, kissing that future. Six months passed before I saw him again, but in that time I’d got over my heartbreak and had many adventures. He travelled to see me and we spent 10 days out gallivanting, enjoying life, having the craic. Happy memories. Events conspired in such a crazy way during those ten days that had he not been with me then I would never have met my future wife two months later. How strange life can be!

That message he sent me arrived at the right time and had the right affect on me. Now, with him gone, I think of it. I know I will never forget him, but I will be happy when I remember him.

With love always, Liam. Love always.

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Sun softly soothing

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On the right side of always

Posted in Daily posts to Flickr, iPhone Also tagged , , , |

December 24 2014

Here’s wishing you all a very Happy Christmas. Thanks for all the visits and support.

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas

Together

Together

Posted in Daily posts to Flickr, iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

September 27 2014

My parents are fifty three years married and fifty five years together. They married at the average age for their generation, an age which would be considered crazy for today’s generation. I, myself, got married when I was 38 and in hindsight it was about the right age. If I reach the milestone of fifty three years of marriage, I will be 91 years old. Wow! When we see young couples demonstratively showing affection for each other in public, it is slightly irritating, but when we see an elderly couple displaying affection there is a such a tenderness to their love. A love that has withstood the storms of time. I am truly blessed to see the love my parents  share through the years. I have few real ambitions in life, but one would be to raise my family with my wife by my side and for the love we share to deepen and strengthen. If I could inherit one thing from my parents, it would be the key to a happy marriage. This is probably not something I will inherit, rather something I have grown up in and been a part of.

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Love

The iPhone image brings us back to Daegu, Korea. Taken of a girl on a bus. The reflections and the eye contact. Have a good weekend!

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In and out of consciousness

 

 

 

Posted in Daily posts to Flickr, iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

His eyes look like speech bubbles

You may think  sharing a bed with an imaginary friend would be a great thing. Ya, at times it is, don’t me wrong, of course it is. Nights can be long, nights can be lonely and he can be – hell, he is, great company. That is until he gets cranky and demanding. Whining like a dog about how unfair it is that he is the imaginary one. That I should be. That he was here first. It can go on for hours.

Why we argue like this, I just do not know. For years, we got on so well. Sharing our little secrets, hatching our plans, and ya, of course, bemoaning our lot and putting the world to right. I think it all changed the day I brought Julie home. I made the fatal mistake of ignoring him. Locking him in the bedroom with the light out was not a good idea. I spent the night running back and forth from the room, speaking in whispers, pleading with him to stay put, to stay quiet. Julie was nice about it all. She was a caring girl and patient with me. When she asked about who he was and I told her, I thought she was a little jealous to begin with.  But it was the way she looked at me, searching in my eyes that told me she wasn’t jealous at all. It was just she did not like him. And I couldn’t blame her.

We didn’t sleep that night. We shouted and screamed. I left the house at 4 and did not return until the sun had come up. Turning the key quietly in the lock, I sensed he was there, behind the door waiting for me. And he was. He said nothing. Looked at me, with his head slightly titled to the side. His eyebrows raised, making his eyes look like speech bubbles which I had no trouble filling in. Sorry, I said. And that was it. A smile came to his face as his eyes softened. We slept right through to the afternoon.

I’ll go out with you in future, he said. We’ll go out together, he said.

Go out? I said. Out of the house? Together?

Ya! he said. We will, ya. OK?

OK. I said. But you have never been outside before.

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Julie would not like you

I know, he said. We have never been outside before. 

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We have never been out together before

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