Last Saturday we were on the 6.30 am train from Oranmore, Galway to Heuston, Dublin with a 10 minute stop at ‘The Fields of Athenry’. At Heuston, named after one of the signatories executed in 1916 we jumped an Airport Express to catch a Ryanair flight to Glasgow, the mad rush of the morning was over at security and we sailed through.
We met More than 90 Minutes Editor Andrew Milne as we tracked along to Gate 113. The flight was delayed an hour, then it wasn’t as Michael O’Leary produced another 737 from Belarus or somewhere exotic and we were off.
We took a taxi to the 10 Hotel on the southside of the city but by this stage it was 2.30pm and we decided to give the game a miss as I was carrying a Golf injury to my leg and I was struggling.
Andrew, being the intrepid sort he is, jumped a cab and witnessed the 7 goals we missed. Well we might have missed them in the flesh but I had the game on my IPad courtesy of Celtic Pass and so with an afternoon lunch and a few beers we settled into the hotel bar and enjoyed the demolition of the Saints before the More than 90 Minutes Annual Dinner which kicked off at 7pm.
As the the guests arrived they were all in great form after such a quality performance from Celtic earlier. The evening at the No. 10 was hosted by Andrew and Celtic poet Erin Boyle, I loved her ‘poe-yums’ as they pronounce it in Glasgow.
There was a great mix of people there helping to raise funds for The Kano Foundation and The Paradise Steps. Both charities had representatives in attendance who spoke about the work of both groups. One making football free for children and the other feeding children in Malawi.
Andrew then introduced each themed table they came from Cork, Donegal, Glasgow and from all over all with a common love of Celtic. Players, Writers, Boxers, Politicians and Publicans all enjoying each others company.
Our table, ‘Celtic Soul’, had writers Liam Kelly ‘Our Stories & Our Songs’ & ‘The Holy Grounds of Glasgow Celtic’; ‘Paul McQuade, ‘Celtic Daft-Johnny Doyle’ & ‘Said Lizzie to Philip’; 1980’s Anti Fascist Action members ; and myself with my latest book, ‘Armed Struggle to Academia which is on sale at Calton Books just getting that plug in and indeed the book sold on the night and I thank everyone who bought a copy, much appreciated.
The meal was beautiful dinner and the wine and conversation flowed. We had the pleasure to listen to Celtic legends John Fallon and George McCluskey regale us with stories from days gone by and get their opinion of the current crop of players and the Ange effect.
John of course part of Lisbon Lions squad and that famous 1969 final when Celtic obliterated the bears. George will always be remembered for his deflected goal from a Danny McGrain shot which won the cup in 1980 and led to the infamous battle on the pitch après match as the bears like their counterparts in the 6 counties decided that Celtic fans couldn’t celebrate on the pitch or walk ‘their’ streets.
The replica European Cup was in situ for patrons to get photos with although photos with the only man to touch the real one back on that famous night in 1967 were more popular. As always with Celtic nights the great sum of £4760 was raised for deserving charitable causes.
The ethos of the Sligo Marist priest Andrew Kerins aka Brother Walfrid is well and truly ensconced in the Celtic tradition carried on by More Than 90 Minutes in true Celtic tradition, led by another Andrew in the modern era flying twice a week to every game, home and away, from Drogheda to Dublin and then to Glasgow and onto where ever Celtic may be playing.
A route well travelled over the years by so many like minded Celts following the same route of the Donegal Irish from Famine times which then made this club what it is today.
The tricolour flying proudly flying over Paradise, we always know who we are.
Paddy was born in Belfast with Donegal and Tyrone parents. He spent the 70’s in Long Kesh. He has been going to Paradise since the Benfica game in Nov. 1969. He lived in Donegal for 30 years but now lives in Galway. He returned to University at 50 and became a secondary school teacher of history and English.