Euros 2012 fever is beginning to abate and those of us with only a glancing interest in soccer can reclaim the telly.

I thought that it would be timely to put up a little post about soccer.

Firstly I am going to share with you a piece by my favorite sports writer, Con Houlihan, which he wrote about someone who had as much natural talent as any footballer ever but unfortunately, mishandled his talents and became more famous for his antics off the pitch than on it. I speak of course of George Best.

Folk memory has forgotten that, towards the end of his career, George had a brief unhappy sojourn on “the banks of my own lovely Lee”.

“George Best, like Brendan Behan, came from a family whose
closeness made the arrows of exile all the sharper.

Brendan Behan was the kind of child on whom grannies and
aunts and assorted auld wans dote – so  seemingly was George Best.

Such indulgence makes for a pleasant childhood — but when
eventually you sail out into the open sea, you may find the going a bit rough.


I have a particular little cause for being ill disposed
towards George Best.

It concerns a Christmas week some years ago when I was
spending a well earned holiday in the bosom of my family.  (The well earned etc part  is what low-grade correspondents in the
Kerryman say about some dosser home for a few weeks from England.  ) 

There I was on Saturday night, 28 December 1975, eating a
little piece of Christmas pie and drinking a mug of lemonade, when word arrived
over  the electronic wire ordering me to
be in Cork on the morrow.

The reason for this dramatic message was the rumoured
appearance of wee Georgie in the colours of Cork Celtic in a League of Ireland

At that stage of wee Georgie’s career everything was
rumour.  But I  turned up — so rather amazingly did he.

And so did the greatest gaggle of small  boys and indeed small girls seen at large
since the Pied  Piper of Hamlin turned
debt collector.  The winding little lane
that leads down from the city to Flower Lodge was almost bursting its banks..

 I find it hard to
forgive George Best for his display that day.

Lo and behold — George was back for the next match (against
Shelbourne at Harold’s Cross).  A big
crowd came to that game too — and went away less than gruntled.

George appeared one more time for Celtic — and people
stayed away just because his name was on the team sheet.

An old truth had been illustrated — you don’t pay twice to
see the same fat man in the circus sideshow.


Now I’ve rifled through Listowel Celtic’s website to bring you these old photos of soccer closer to home

The early days: a 1960 Celtic team:

back row(l
to r) – Noel Downey, Jack Carmody, John Croghan, Mike Brennan,

Joe Guerin, David Shaughnessy, Michael McEvoy

l to r )- Michael Sugrue, John Leahy, Owen Beechinor, Jerry Griffin 


Back Row..Jackie Carmody, Pa Kennedy, Daithi Carroll, Toddy Scanlon, Leo Allman, Tony
Carey, Henry Molyneaux, Jack Kelly, John Bunyan, Denis Bunyan.

Front Row..Mike Casey, Paddy Lynch, Paddy Hannon, David Fitzmaurice, Declan Sheehy,
Gerard Tarrant.


Back Row…Tony Carey, Gerdie Collins, Mike Canavan, Nix Riordan, Liam Canty, Dobs
O’Brien, David Mulvihill, John Chute, Sean Carey, Pat Carmody,Tom Walsh.

Front Row…Declan
Leahy, Mickey Kelliher, Maurice Hannon, Gerard Tarrant, Fergus Houlihan,
Tommy Sweeney, Declan Sheehy, Jimmy Dore, Alan Grimes, Colin Grimes.