20th June, 2002

Well folks, the World Cup party is over, but what a party it was!. I don’t want to go into the Keane/McCarthy saga, leave that to the matchmakers to sort out. Will we ever forget Robbie Keane’s goal in the 92nd minutes against Germany? Or the German referee who saw Niall Quinns shirt being pulled almost over his head in the penalty box in the game against Spain? The joy that our team brought into every home in Ireland as they fought with spirit and courage to get those equalisers. No team ever beat us in the World Cup of 2002 - we lost, but we were not beaten. Like the toss of a coin, we called it wrong, and Spain got through. As usual, the Irish supporters were a credit to their country, making lots of friends in Japan and South Korea. I’ll miss the excitement of locking the Douglas Weekly office at 12.20pm and rushing home to watch our lads in action, and going back to work two hours later, drained, but happy. Ah, but we’ll have the memories. Incidently, good luck to England against Brazil, and to the good ol’ USA, with team members names such as O’Brien, Donovan, McBride. It’s as close to an Irish team as we could hope for!
Emer O’Kelly wrote an interesting piece about the World Cup in last Sunday’s ‘Independant’. She wrote, “That it’s depressing that something as trivial as football can reduce the country to such insanity”. She then mentioned that the Credit Unions were not doing their members any favours by “winking at a lie”. It seems that there were thousands of loan applications a few weeks before the games started. The vast majority of loan applications were for ‘home improvements’. She continues, “At least the Credit Unions will try to be sympathetic when their customers (the title is members, Emer! - The banks have customers, the Credit Unions have members, there is a difference!) default on their loans, as many will”. That’s a bit presumptous, isn’t it?
She goes on, “Our parents were happy to spent a fortnight in a caravan in Rush, Co. Dublin, or Tramore, Co. Waterford - as I’m sure most of us in Cork were when we holidayed in Myrtleville, Crosshaven, Red Barn, Garrettstown, etc... but those days are gone. Blame Jack Charlton, he started it all a few years ago when Ireland because a member of the World Cup club.”
Emer tells us as she passed pubs that there was a surge of noise, and it did not sound genial. The fans were getting into a belligerent mood (she must live in a dodgy neighbourhood!). Then she asked, “How many of them got into their cars later, and transferred their drunken belligerence to those lethal weapons> She finally ends by stating that “children won’t have shoes to put on their feet because of the huge debts piled up by the world cup parents”.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of Credit Union members (not customers) take out loans to go on holidays, to all parts of the world - America, Australia, Canada - and they usually have a great time, and then they return home and the following week it’s down to the Credit Union with their book and money to payback. Then at the annual AGM the people with loans get a dividend, which means that we all get money back. It’s our money that we put in, it’s our money that is given out, and at the end of the day, that’s the essence of community. So if you want to go to a tiddlywinks world championship in Outer Mongolia, GO, because at the end of the day, you only get one ride on the roundabout!
Are there any other people out there, like me, who are sick to death of Channel 4’s Graham Norton? Talk about ‘over-exposure’ - this camp character belongs next to Kenneth Williams in a 1960’s ‘carry-on’ movie. Not to mention ‘Big Brother’ - do people still watch it? Come on, think of it, television has gone to the dogs lately. TV3’s Law and Order is being repeated - tonight’s show was shown a few months ago. On the Discovery channel, the FBI files, Medical Detectives - all repeats. Last night (Sunday) there was nothing on any of the channels worth watching. A documentary on Ronald Briggs, shown on Discovery last night, was a repeat. One would need a box of Rennies now watching TV, there are so many repeats on!
What about the weather? My daughters and their children spent a week in a mobile home in Barleycove (last week in May, cost €350). They’re improving now, with a steady supply of Prozac, and they should be back to normal in the near future. My son and his family went to Portugal for two weeks, and they’re just back. Air fares and apartment - €450 each. Sunshine, fresh Sardines sold on the beach, beautiful meals costing about €10 each. I’m going away for a few days holidays this week, the West of Ireland, with my umbrella, raincoat, wellie boots, and my daughters left over supply of Prozac.
Finally, for some good news. Our Douglas Weekly Miss Cork beauty contestant, Kathy O’Donnell, is through to the final in the Silversprings hotel on July 6th. I went down to the hotel last Friday night to see Kathy taking part in the heats. I want to thank the Galley hair salon, in the East Village, for styling Kathy’s hair for the night, and also thanks to Stephen Foote of Laura’s Ladies Fashions, Douglas West, for the gown, shoes, bag and jewellery. The people of Douglas are always great to support local. Thanks again.
Thanks to Ger O’Regan, from Ballinlough, for his wonderful articles on times past. Keep those memories coming in Ger. Good luck to Douglas GAA Camogie club as they travel North to hopefully bring back some silverware to the club. I’m sorry about the missed photo session on Monday night, I fell asleep watching the news and woke up at 7.00pm when Leonard Lynch phoned me for a snooker game (I had to let Leonard win - he owns O’Brien’s Irish Sandwich Bar in Douglas). It’s the only way I’ll get a free cup of coffee from him.
So, I’m off on Wednesday, with my Prozac and supply of Iodine tablets. If the weather doesn’t get me, Sellafield will! See you next week.
Bye for now,
Michael O’Hanlon.

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