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Eamonn Fitzgerald: Micko, Paudie Lynch and the 1980 All-Ireland

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Most readers will readily recall September 1982 when Kerry were robbed of a deserving five-in-a-row of All-Ireland titles. On reflection, I feel that Kerry should never have been in that position. The Dubs have that honour and only for the coronavirus fallout they would win six-in-a-row (no, I don’t expect any All-Ireland intercounty championship this year).

In recent weeks you will have read in the Killarney Advertiser reports on the All Ireland wins of 1978 and 1979. I argue that it should have ended there. Kerry should never have won the 1980 All-Ireland final against Roscommon. Look back to the semi-final v Offaly where Matt Connor gave the greatest personal scoring display I have ever seen. He scored 2-9 giving Mick Spillane a real roasting, but Offaly still lost 4-15 to 2-10.

The Kerry forwards were so good that they had to keep scoring to make up for leakage at the back.

Matt Connor was a brilliant forward, yet he won just one All-Ireland medal, in 1982. What I admired about him was the way he was able to sort of stroll around the field. He had this languid style – his head was kind of pushed forward a little bit, the shoulders pushed back and he just had this incredible way of kicking the football. Nicknamed 'Immaculate Matt' by commentator Micheál O'Hehir, he was on duty as a garda on Christmas Day 1984 and when he was on his way home for his dinner at one o'clock, he crashed the car. He was paralysed and ended up in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. I can still recall hearing the chilling account on the six o’clock news. I was a huge admirer of the Walsh Island clubman. What a great personal loss and a loss to us all missing such a talent from the green fields.

Back to 1980. Mick O'Dwyer had a problem facing Roscommon in the final, including the great Dermot Earley, but it wasn’t the big army general that was bugging him. How was he going to shore up the full back line? Michael Finneran was in the corner, top scorer in the run up to the final with an impressive scoreline. He scored 1-8 in the semi-final win over Armagh. He couldn’t put Mick Spillane in there again after the semi-final roasting and there was really no ready-made option of a good tight marker in the subs bench.

Re-think Mick. Go back to Beaufort where the Lynch brothers lived and use the plamás which he had in abundance,  along with native cunning and affable roguery. Brendan of the lethal left leg had won three All-Ireland medals and at the age of 25. He was the oldest player on the famous 1975 All-Ireland winning team. He retired in 1976 and was working in England as a doctor in 1980, but Paudie was younger.

Paudie Lynch was the man and Micko took the gamble. It mattered little what the other selectors thought. There was one big problem, though. Paudie hadn’t played one match with Kerry that year and how could you expect him to be up to the pace of an All-Ireland final? But he knew Paudie's pedigree. He played with him in the 1972 All-Ireland and he must have already won four All-Ireland medals. He starred with Beaufort, Mid Kerry and UCC, and most of all he was versatile. He could easily play at wing or corner back as well as at midfield. He was very quiet, but he was a tight marker, as tough as nails and very competitive. Pick him. He won’t let you down. He didn’t.

I have a clear memory of the final. The weather wasn’t great and Roscommon got off to a flying start. John Jigger O'Connor scored a goal after 36 seconds. My mind shot back to the 1962 All-Ireland, again Kerry v Roscommon, when Brian McMahon scored a goal after 34 seconds, also against Roscommon. That was the record for the fastest goal ever scored in an Al- Ireland final. Does the record still stand? I think so, but I must ask Brian’s brother Eoin next time I meet him.

Roscommon were motoring well after Jigger’s early goal. Was this going to be the day when Dermot Earley, one of the greatest players ever not to win an All-Ireland, would finally win the elusive medal he deserved? It looked ominous for Kerry but scores weren’t coming that quickly for either side. Then of course Páidí Ó Sé cleared a ball off the goal line. How did he stop this certain goal? Was it with his forehead? It matters little, it was a match-winning save and he thundered out having stood in ‘the bearna baoil’. After the match Micko Dwyer congratulated Páidi. His reply was succinct, "Micko, sin an fáth go bhfuil geansaí a cúig ar mo dhrom agam".

Roscommon resorted to heavy tackling, while Kerry held their head and won 1-9 to 1-6 in a very poor game. Paudie Lynch delivered and held Michael Finneran to a point or two, an amazing achievement and a great stroke pulled by Micko. Jack O’ Shea went on to win the Texaco Player of the Year and Ger Power climbed those hallowed steps of the Hogan Stand collecting The Cannister for Kerry’s 26th title and the three-in-a-row was secure. On to 1981...

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COMMUNITY AIR AMBULANCE TASKED 512 TIMES DURING 2021

The Irish Community Air Ambulance has yet to receive any sort of government funding despite being called out on 512 missions in 14 counties during 2021. Last year was the ICAA busiest year since the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) Air Ambulance launched in July 2019. There were 490 taskings in 2020. The organisation is […]

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The Irish Community Air Ambulance has yet to receive any sort of government funding despite being called out on 512 missions in 14 counties during 2021.

Last year was the ICAA busiest year since the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) Air Ambulance launched in July 2019. There were 490 taskings in 2020.

The organisation is Ireland’s only charity-funded HEMS Air Ambulance. It works in partnership with the National Ambulance Service and responds to serious incidents and medical emergencies from its base in Rathcool, near Millstreet, in Co. Cork. Each helicopter mission costs an average of €3,500, all of which has to be raised or donated.

The CEO of the Irish Community Air Ambulance, Micheál Sheridan said that they engaged with the Government and regional political leaders throughout 2021 to secure some State support for the vital service.

FUNDING

Micheál Sheridan said, “The HSE is releasing funding to private Ambulance firms to provide support during the continuing crisis yet the Irish Community Air Ambulance is still entirely funded by public donations. The increased number of taskings during 2021 show that we provide a vital service,” said Mr Sheridan.

“The cost to run the charity during 2022 is expected to be €2.1 million which is a significant amount of money to raise. We are so grateful to all our supporters who help us to bring hope to those in emergency situations but we will continue to engage with the Government to provide funding during these uncertain times.”

There were more calls to cardiac arrests, farming-related incidents and falls from heights during 2021. Cardiac arrests accounted for one in five calls with 103 taskings last year, that’s up from 81 during 2020.

July and April were the busiest months of the year for the service with 57 missions completed each month. Cork, Kerry and Tipperary accounted for the majority of taskings. The Irish Community Air Ambulance was also tasked to Clare, Limerick, Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny, Mayo, Galway, Offaly, Laois, Wicklow and Kildare.

One in every three taskings required an airlift to hospital. There were 111 transfers to Cork University Hospital during 2021 which equates to 66% of all transfers. University Hospital Limerick accounts for 20%.

TRANSFERS

Micheal Sheridan added, “There were also transfers to hospitals in Kerry, Tallaght, Galway, Temple Street, Crumlin and The Mater as we saw an increase in the number of times we were required to transfer children and young people to specialist paediatric hospitals in Dublin. We cover an area of 25,000 square kilometres and treat some of the most critically ill and injured patients, bringing them to the hospital that is best suited to their life-saving needs, not just the closest hospital geographically.”

SERIOUSLY INJURED

Diarmuid O’Donovan from Cork was seriously injured when he was thrown over the handlebars of his bike while cycling around Slea Head, Co Kerry in May 2021. He said he needed to be brought to a dedicated Trauma Centre quickly.

“A moment of carelessness saw me hit the road. I was on my own but thankfully it wasn’t long before I was found. Paramedics, a local doctor, the local Fire Service and Gardai all responded,” he explained.

“I was drifting in and out of consciousness and it quickly emerged that I needed to be at Cork University Hospital as soon as possible. I wasn’t in a suitable state for a two-and-a-half-hour journey by road so the Irish Community Air Ambulance was tasked and landed in Ventry. The journey to CUH by helicopter took just 30 minutes. I had 28 different bone breaks including my spine, shoulder and ribs as well as a punctured lung. I underwent several procedures that evening and spent 12 days in hospital. I believe it could have been far worse if I had not been transported to CUH so quickly and that my recovery has been much faster as a result.”

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Now is a good time to plan features in the garden

Now is an excellent time to have a look at your garden and plan any new beds, water features or seating areas. With relatively little growth, it is easy to take measurements and mark out where your new project will take place. There are a few things to bear in mind when planning new features. […]

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Now is an excellent time to have a look at your garden and plan any new beds, water features or seating areas.

With relatively little growth, it is easy to take measurements and mark out where your new project will take place.
There are a few things to bear in mind when planning new features. First, the practical: are there water pipes, septic tanks, gas or electricity lines etc in the way?
Or, if planning a feature where construction is required, is there access to water and electricity?
Secondly, if you are planning a new bed, what is the soil like in that area, or have you better ground elsewhere which can be exploited?
I have learned over the years that the best thing to do with an area of bad soil is to cover it with paving!
On the other hand, if you are planning a patio, should you excavate the topsoil for use elsewhere? Planning a new bed or planting area is a lot of fun, and I always think it is a good idea to take the time, close your eyes and give your imagination free reign. Consult magazines, gardening websites and social media!
Have a look at a friends’ or neighbours’ gardens for ideas.
Decide how much time you have to maintain it, and keep in mind Irish weather, commitments and other hobbies.
Often we take on gardening projects which we think, at the time, we will have time for. Say you want to commit to, for example, three hours of gardening a week – Saturday morning is the one time you have free.
Guaranteed one of those Saturdays it will rain! Then there is a morning spent mowing. Weeding will take up another few hours. Time flies, no matter what you do…and with age, I am coming to realise we have to work realistically with the free time we have. Gardening should not become a job you are forced to do.
Plan what the new area will be used for, and again, keep time in mind. Maybe a mixed area is better than a single purpose one.
What I mean by this is, you may have decided this year is the year to grow vegetables. Rather than planning out half your garden as a rotating vegetable garden, it may be better to plan out two small beds and a seating area, surrounded by an area of wildflowers.
This can then easily be converted to a larger veg garden if you feel the trial run went well, or converted entirely to a patio. In my experience, it is wise not to commit to a large scale project, especially if you are new to it.

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