Pauline took this photo of Sean. Looking at it reminds me of picking him up when he was that size. He was always heavier than he looked – solid and well-built. You could easily put your back out if you weren’t careful.
Today is the biggest day in club rugby since Sean died, with Leinster playing Toulouse in the Heineken Cup semi-finals and Munster playing Harlequins in the Amlin Cup semis. The Amlin Cup is a poor second-best for Sean’s beloved Munster, but we would still have watched them and cheered for them, of course. Toulouse are the one team in Europe that we always feared, and we would have been nervous for Leinster, though happy that they have an excellent team and, with home advantage, every chance of making it to the final.
It’s going to be an exciting afternoon. We miss you, Sean.
Tango, photographed by Sean
We already had Pippa when Tango came to us, as a small pup, some years ago. He was a ‘rescue dog’, and had belonged to a neighbour who discovered, on getting him, that she was allergic to dogs. So we took him.
At first we wondered if we’d be able to keep him, as he was a bundle of energy that play-fought with Pippa constantly and got on everyone’s nerves (especially Pippa’s). But he calmed down a bit, and we grew to love him.
Tango is quite a character. We used to say jokingly that he was ‘special’ – meaning a bit dim. He was a ‘happy chappy’, as we said, who lived his life entirely in the moment (Pippa was always able to ask for what she wanted, but Tango never did). Sean used to play with him and laugh at him all the time. Although he loved Pippa, I think he loved Tango more. Tango amused him no end. Continue reading
Sean liked Thin Lizzy … in particular, he regarded the guitar riff in ‘Emerald’ as the best rock riff ever. That was his favourite Lizzy song (it’s in his YouTube ‘favourites’); others he liked included classics such as ‘Whiskey in the Jar’ and ‘The Boys Are Back in Town’.
I wrote a piece on Lizzy on another blogsite a few years ago … here it is …
Thin Lizzy were arguably the best Irish rock band. They started as a three-piece in the early seventies … Phil Lynott and drummer Brian Downey from Crumlin in Dublin; Eric Bell, the lead guitarist, from Belfast.
‘Whiskey in the Jar’ is adapted from an old Irish ballad: I think they recorded it as a kind of joke or novelty track.. They expected nothing of it, but it got them on Top of the Pops and on the road to success, and excess. It’s still a great track, in my opinion … one of those happy accidents that manage to capture and preserve some magic from the place and the time and the people present. Continue reading
Another photo that Sean took some years ago in the Fairy Glen, Rostrevor, Co. Down.
1/6/01 – Sean and Susanna went to the farm later, and had a great time, as usual.
4/6/01 – Pauline cycled to the farm with the kids, and they stayed to help out.
7/6/01 – The kids got themselves up at 7.45, had breakfast and walked to the farm. They have no school because of the referendums … [later] the kids went to the farm yet again … They had been entertaining everyone there by singing Beatles and other songs in the kitchen – Sean even sang ‘Hurricane’, and also did his ‘Yom’ act.
9/6/01 – Martin is here playing with Sean … The kids went to the farm … Sean brought words of Beatles, Dylan and Christy Moore songs, and they entertained their hosts once more. Continue reading
It is six months today since Sean died. That was a Sunday in autumn; this is a Sunday in spring, and the weather is beautiful. The leaves on the Norway maple were turning yellow then; now it has new green leaves.
I visited Sean’s grave this morning: the grass is growing and will need be kept in check. His Munster rugby jersey on the grave is fading, but the Bob Marley t-shirt is holding up well. I had been to mass – singing in the choir for Palm Sunday – and I saw many of the neighbours and friends who were so good to us on 17 October and subsequently. It’s a great community.
Three of Sean’s friends called to see us last Sunday – one of them, Mike, gave us a large, framed pencil drawing of Sean that he had done. I will not reproduce it here as that wouldn’t do it justice. It will always hang on our wall. It is beautiful, and it captures Sean very well. We are very grateful to Mike. Continue reading
This is the ninth song I have written for Sean. Please click here to hear it: No Way of Knowing 2
NO WAY OF KNOWING
I sit at my desk on a bright April day
With a tune in my head that won’t go away
And work to be done though the weekend is here
But I struggle to get my brain into gear
This life is a mystery and we can’t be sure
Of which parts fade away and which parts endure
But we hear the faint notes of a sweet melody
That chimes with our inklings of eternity Continue reading
21st birthday party in Mullagh last summer - thanks to Ciaran for the photo
We have a double CD of Lynyrd Skynyrd somewhere, with a lot of great tracks. Sean liked the band – especially the classics ‘Free Bird’ and, most of all, ‘Sweet Home Alabama’. He really loved ‘Sweet Home Alabama’, and he put it on a ‘rock mix’ CD that we’ve been listening to in the car lately. Lynyrd Skynyrd is one of the bands I mention in my ‘Come Back and See Me’ song – I vividly remember Sean and me singing along to ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ in the car as we went on our way.
That song appealed to Sean, I think, not only because of the irresistible rhythm and riffs but also because it was about being proud of where you come from, and defending it against criticism (Neil Young’s in this case – Sean liked Neil Young but preferred Lynyrd Skynyrd and would, I think, have sided with them). Sean was very proud of where he came from, and identified with the song. Continue reading
Sean's under-14 'Player of the Year' trophy
Report on match played 23 October 2004
Enniskillen 24, Virginia 22
Virginia under-14s played the last of their pre-season friendlies in Enniskillen last Saturday, and were unlucky to lose after their best performance so far.
When Enniskillen’s out-half scored a try in the first minute, which was converted, it looked like being a bad afternoon for Virginia. However, their captain Sean O’Brien soon ran the ball almost to the Enniskillen line before being held up; his pack drove him over for a try. Niall McEnroe then went close to scoring after a strong run. Continue reading
Sean took this photo a few years ago.
He would have been very interested in the Champions League QFs, and would have enjoyed Real’s demolition of Spurs last night. He would have been flabbergasted at the fact of Inter conceding five goals to Schalke at home … he’d have shaken his head in a ‘what’s the world coming to?’ sort of way and said that it could never have happened in Mourinho’s time.
He would have been looking forward to the Heineken and Amlin Cup QFs at the weekend. I would probably have picked him up in Virginia tomorrow and said to him, ‘The Leinster team’s been announced’; he would have said ‘Go on …’; I would have told him and we’d have discussed it on the way home. Very often there was some aspect of a team selection with which Sean and I disagreed strongly … Simon Easterby picked regularly ahead of Alan Quinlan for Ireland a few years ago, for example …
And so it would have gone on. We miss you, Sean. We love you.