Darren’s Diary – Kicking The Habit (Week 11) – Tuesday, 8th May 

Galway Daily news Revenue agents seize over €7,000 in tobacco products in Galway raid

We’ve finally hit the stage of 2018 where it’s safe to go outside once in a while without a jacket.  You’d still want to bring it with you!  But a sun is appearing and it blessed us for most of the Bank Holiday Weekend even if there were still regular reminders that we live in Ireland. 

Has been a very busy few days and a strange long weekend where we didn’t even venture out.  Now we had a couple of cans and some wine.  Especially on Saturday night when Barry Hawkins and Mark Williams were determined to keep us up until the early hours.

It was one of those crazy sessions at the end of a fantastic match where nothing would go right for either player.  And we remembered how quick a bottle of wine can be drank while I discovered that Carling is not necessarily my favourite beverage.

I think I’ve mentioned before how much I love the snooker, especially the World Championship, and it’s the two weeks of the year I’ll get in as much of it as I can.  I even resorted to bringing the laptop down to the sitting room so I could watch it while I work.

But to see a final this year between two players enjoying a renaissance was something special.  And it reminded us nearly 40-year-olds that there is still time to achieve major things.

The last winner over 40 was Ray Reardon in 1978, the year I was born.  And 12 months ago, Mark Williams didn’t even qualify.  And now he’s the World Champion, 15 years since his last victory.

It was always going to be a historic night and fair play to him for bouncing back and taking his opportunity.  It’s one of those sporting stories that will be remembered fondly.  And it was a cracking match with John Higgins in a similar boat.  Unfortunately for him, it was two final losses in-a-row.

My weekend was bookended by two good Galway football wins.  And in between, I had the privilege to watch six Feile camogie finals in Loughrea and Duggan Park and the entertainment on show was fantastic.  There is great work being done at club level throughout the county.

Shamrocks and Craughwell served up the game of the week in the A1 Final.  Shamrocks were nine points clear before Craughwell hit three goals in as many minutes.  But Shamrocks managed to get over the line.

And Davitts won the overall title on Saturday in another quality match.  They had to dig deep to get three goals in the final quarter.  Abbeyknockmoy, who wouldn’t be considered a traditional force, made their mark and only for some bad luck with two injuries, who knows?

Speaking of Feile, I was honoured to be in the Duggan Park today for the National Feile launch which takes place in Connacht, Westmeath and Longford in June.  No different to the Community Games, it’s a great coming together from all over the country to participate, compete and make friends.

We had the Presidents of the GAA, camogie and handball associations in attendance and it was great to meet the new National Camogie President Kathleen Woods.  She spoke very well to the children in attendance and I look forward to seeing her impact on the game over the next three years.

Also, there were hurlers Jack Canning, Donal Mannion and Ronan Glennon and Galway camogie star Niamh McGrath.  Chatting to Niamh reminded me of her own Feile triumph just 11 years ago.  It’s great to see young established names coming back to meet the future players.

It was great to see children from 16 different schools there to enjoy the occasion even if I managed to interview some who might be a bit young for this year’s event 🙂

Now, I’m not ignoring the elephant in the room regarding the Sunday Independent concerning Athenry.  I think it’s important to let whatever procedures necessary be sorted in proper order and let’s just hope that happens before the event.  It would be greatly unfair if those young players were to miss out.

I could give you the spin that all is great after such an exciting week but yes, there was a return to some heavy cravings this week.   I think we were all expecting this before the three-month mark.

Funnily, it doesn’t bother me at all when I’m around smokers anymore.  I think I’ve past that point even if I do joke occasionally about taking a whiff.

It’s the times when I’m on my own and you just get the feeling I’d love just one.  I know I’ve said that before in previous entries.  And it sounds pathetic to say I sometimes feel bored of quitting them.  But likewise, I have absolutely no desire to put one in my mouth again.

I think when this phase passes, I’ll be home and dry.  I like being able to breathe and I’ve noticed extra energy during the day.  Now, I’m also getting tired much quicker at night but going to bed at 11pm or slightly after won’t do me much harm I think 🙂.  I find getting up in the morning much easier.

So, I think that’ll do for the night and yes, you’ve guessed it!  We’re going watching the Eurovision 😀.  No, neither Sinead or myself think we have a hope of qualifying for the final or, wait for it, winning the damn thing.  But then again, we didn’t think Mark Williams would win the snooker.

But we’ll enjoy the craic and some of the other countries.  Last year, we debated between Moldova and Romania.  Both were catchy tunes and no doubt we’ll pick two more to battle over before the weekend.  And we won’t be the only ones 😉