Football, Life, Reach Out, Uncategorized, Writing

On Writing 2.0

As I write this it is 18:37 on the 16th of September 2016, you could be anywhere. Alongside of me; in the Amber lit sitting room turned kitchen, my Nan potters on. The kettle is filled and the television drones on in the background like a far off sirens. 

You could be anywhere. You could be anyone. You could be reading this five years down the line in a cafe in some thriving metropolitan cafe or a sleepy and silent cafe, wondering, “whatever happened to him and his stories” . You could be at home and seeing this on facebook and wondering where is this going. You might be laughing at me, cringing, crying or actually interested. Whatever, where ever you may be: hello. It is nice to talk.

I hope your well. I hope your tea is warm and sweet. I wish you a world of walks through fluttering autumn leaves and reading books in the rain. I wish you all the friends and family in the world to write and text you at every moment, to smother you in support and good wishes and never a fret of tomorrow’s worries. I wish for your time.

Time. You can neither see nor touch. Yet, you are the worlds oldest friends, the most bitter of enemies. Time moves on. Time is never sits still. Time is the girl who got away. Time is the goal that never will be. Time is the punchline you will never get.

This year. I’ve gotten older. But, for once in my life I’m not looking back with a wince but a smile. It has been a good year. A nice year. In 12 months I went from the awkward bumbling City fanatic to the bumbling writer who even once got called “successful”

It has been a year since I made the decision to write part time. A year since John and John took on my work at the Evening Echo as a freelancer. A year of breaking Rob and Brian’s heart week in week out. Another day of pitching and working with the Irish Examiner. 

I don’t know where to go with this. But, in a great grand hall of moments. This was the day, the actual moment where I can say that I became the person I wanted to be. 

I remember being in schooland feeling like a broken Lego block. I couldn’t sport. I could do maths or spell or Irish, I scraped by as someone who was average. Standing out was making a fool out of yourself.

For some reason now I’m a writer and get to dress like a writer and get to sip really pretentious coffees in little coffee houses in back streets and lanes that my mother best not know of. The Express have become family. When you wake up and grow into your shoes it’s scary. 

What’s even more scary is the time. It’s 18:55 now and the news has finished. Words have been written and stories have been told. If you’re still reading; I thank you. To everyone who has read me: thank you. To everyone who called and greeted me: thank you. 

Someday I will write something cool and happy and it will be funny and sweet with little heroes and villains in even littler houses in streets with nothing more than a loaf of bread. Hopefully we will all laugh and shake hands and feel a bit happier going to sleep at night as we tuck it away. Until then they’ll be even more god awful poems and endless match reports.

Time is boring. Let’s stop the clock and tell a story.

Thank you. It has and always will be a pleasure.



Living the Dream

When people say the expression “Living the Dream”, what comes to mind?  I’ll be frank with you here, I never really knew what it meant. Usually when someone says to me they are “Living the Dream” I smile and nod politely, completely lost to what they are on about. Can things really be that perfect? Can a person really reach a point in their life where they are happy content with what they have achieved and have reached the peak of  all their wants and goals?

After much thought and deliberation, over fine details and this and that. One name sticks out in my mind more than anyone else; Steven Gerrard.

Whenever it was out in the park between two jumpers or two bins on a crowded housing terrace, we all imagined in our heads we where playing in the Champions League final, making a vicious comeback; trying to claw ourselves back into the game and hopefully beat our friends to the much coveted trophy. Has anyone ever done it though? Broke through from the terraces to the tunnel? Gone from finding the ball under the car to finding the best place to stick a penalty in Old Trafford?

Steven Gerrard was born on May 30th 1980 in Whiston Merseyside in England, where he grew up on the cobbled streets of Liverpool supporting his local football club through thick and thin. As a boy, he lived and breathed for football; getting up each morning to play out on the streets between the cars imaging he was one his heroes; Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Souness or local lad Phil Thomson. At nine years old he began playing for Liverpool Youth’s; a feat which many young men across Liverpool did; but so few made. After bouncing around from trial to trial across England, he eventually signed his first senior contract with the Reds on the 5th of November 1997.

Throughout his career; spanning 706 games for the Reds across the Premier League, Champions League, UEFA Cup. Europa League, FA Cup and the League Cup; it is a safe bet to say Steven Gerrard lived the dream. He captained the side through thick and thin, from the Miracle of Istanbul, to the Gerrard Cup Final in 2006… and unfortunately, the infamous “slip” …

But, in fact forever, title or no title, Steven Gerrard still won where we all lost out He’s a man who led his boyhood club, from FA Cup matches away to Mansfield to away to the greatest stage of all in the Ataturk Stadium. So if you ask me, honestly and truly; Steven Gerrard has lived the Liverpool dream.



Football, Life, Writing

On Writing

As most of you know, or I’ve most of you pestered into knowing; I love to write. Since I was 4 years old I’ve been writing; little fact books, stories, poems, novels, comics, you name it I wrote it. So recently, I thought I’d pick up Stephen King’s On Writing to keep me company over tea at lunch. So long story made short, it has got me thinking about writing. I’ve never been the kind of guy to hammer out three or four stories a night and seventy novels a year and to have my picture up in the library for everyone to see because I won ever competition going. So I had to ask myself, “why do I write?” and probably the strangest, “What does it mean to me?”

If you want me to open up, the only reason I got seriously into writing was because it was something I was good at. I mean, as long as my memory stretches back, I was always writing or creating something. Whenever it was a comic strip about a secret agent cat, or a book about facts or even a city made of paper, I was always trying to express and show myself off in some shape or form. Back in primary school you had GAA players, gamers, soccer players, the academics, funny guys and me shoved at the back of class with nothing really to own as my own. I was average, plain and simple. Destined to get normal grades and probably never go on to be something huge. Then in sixth class, when I was growing tired of the cartoons I was drawing and paper chains, I wrote a short story. The title sticks out in memory, “30 Seconds” , so I wrote about someone from a bomb disposal team who is too cocky for his own good. Whatever happened happened and I my next title was about someone leaving. That was all I got, put my own spin on it. So my brain got in gear and before I knew it I wrote about someone running away from a funeral part where he confides in his uncle about how he doesn’t understand funerals and how much he misses his grandmother. The teacher wrote a nice review and took me aside where he politely asked me to, “never give up writing, it’s your talent”

Feeling a sense of purpose I began churning out stories and tales throughout my summer of treasure hunts and heroes fighting villains on strange planets. As secondary school dawned I remained adamant I wanted to be a writer. So the stories came in drips and drabs. When asked to write for my first year English teacher a half a page story, I wrote about Death filling in for Mother Nature. Whatever happened with the stories, happened and I felt happy. There was a corner of the world I could call my own and feel good about myself. I was always the guy being laughed at in PE because he was too slow or always falling over. I would nearly always be getting the C grades and told by my teacher that “I’m a C student, don’t expect anything higher” but by writing, I felt huge, like I could take on the world. Who needed hurling or football? I had all the entertainment I needed creating stories and comic strips with my lunch time.

I’m 19 now, and supposed to be growing up and being mature about things. On nights out I’m expected to go off “pulling girls” but the voice inside me, hanging around will always have me pestered, “there’s a story in this about a nightclub where a person is uncomfortable and people’s thoughts… ” or even when I’m after being slapped in the face with disappointment, I’ll subtly say, “this will make some story some day!” I guess the creative bug to spot and see stories will never leave me.

In some weird way though, writing means a lot more to me than just thinking up ideas too and putting them down on a page. Personally speaking, it is my own was of self-expression, to broadcast how I think and thought to people and to get my ideas and views on the world. Personally speaking, that’s what I believe art is; self-expression, but that’s a piece for another day and time.

Overall, writing and creating is something which is as ingrained into me as waking up in the morning. Not a day goes by where I don’t think I’ve solved what my magnum opus will be, or whatnot. So until the day I have to start work and get a real job, I’ll still write and hammer away, you’ll never know what could happen.


League of Ireland, Real Football, Real Fans?

It’s Friday evening. I’ve finished school for the weekend, finished all my homework and now all but one thing remains. It’s the middle of March, the skies are grey and the bright sunshine of springtime seems a different world away altogether and the only air around is dank and depressing. Yet, in my head my I’m nervous, excited, ecstatic, buzzing and relieved as I make my way up to my Nan’s house.

Every Friday evening begins here. Always has and always will be for me. I’d arrive up, weak and weary of my week of Leaving Certing and my Nan always greets me the same. Whether I’m four years old or eighteen she’ll hug me and say, “Are you excited?” We’d laugh. Have tea. Then dinner would come, the same dinner since I was four years old coming up from junior infants; chicken burgers and chips over Neighbors followed by the Simpsons. Afterwards my Granddad would wrap up warm, hug my Nan for what she was worth and together we’d make our way down to Turner’s Cross for a new season awaits. Could this be our year? Could Cork City win the League of Ireland this year?

We both go our separate ways, my Granddad to his friends and me to mine, awaiting the return of “Ireland’s Airtricity League” a league supposed to be for “Real Football, Real Fans” – but really; is it?

The “Real Fans” is a rather funny question. In Cork people support more clubs than I reckon there are people in Munster from Manchester United, Liverpool (who I do support myself on the side), Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs, Aston Villa, Newcastle, Celtic, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid… the list goes on… which raises the question, does our league have “Real Fans?”

If you have to ask me, honestly; I’m all for someone supporting Liverpool (which I do myself) or Manchester United, as long as someone says, “but I also support my local” that’s the sign of a true football fan. Not someone who watches Liverpool when they’ve won two or three games in a row or a United fan who thought, “well I stopped watching halfway through last season” to which they always reply, “I supported Ferguson not Moyes”.  Usually on the side you also have the fans who spend about £500 pound every six months to go to the Premiership game and then say, “League of Ireland is too pricey”. But when you consider the whole idea that League of Ireland is “Real Fans?” it’s only a half truth. I’m not going to lie there when you have 5,322 crowded into Turners Cross versus St. Patrick’s Athletic versus 579 loosely packed in versus Waterford United in the League Cup only weeks later.

When you look at the statement too of “Real Football?” it’s like comparing theater to television. In television it is fast moving, easy on the eye, attention grabbing and addictive. While theater is slow moving, it will build you up, you get to know the characters before something happens, you can see the struggle, the triumphs the tribulations first hand, how you want to see them, whenever wincing at a penalty at the 90th minute or Romeo deciding he has had enough. Football is meant to be enjoyed, both as a sport and as a social aspect. Unlike certain sports football brings people together. The quality of football in League of Ireland mightn’t be worthy of La Liga style, but the most important thing is that it is ours, like Colin Healy’s goal versus St Patrick’s Athletics or Chris Forrester’s goal for St Patrick’s Athletic versus Drogheda United. We know the players, we see them in Tesco, in the pub, on a night out, they’re real people to us. Not characters in a television show we see once a week and our only personal connection really is on Twitter or on Sky Sports.

In summing up, saying “Real Football, Real Fans” is only a half truth, you would be hard pressed and at the ends of the world to meet a truly 100% League of Ireland fan but the football is our football.