The Old Team

Heaney considered himself a ‘Castledawson boy’ – the village was close to his home at Mossbawn, his mother hailed from there and his maternal grandparents lived at 5 New Row. The soccer pitch on Bridge Street overlooked by Christ Church is still part of the Castledawson village landscape. Both figure in a sonnet inspired by an archive photograph of the local football side that pictured his grandfather as a young man. The sonnet elegises not just grandad McCann. It focuses poignantly on that whole cohort of young men who turned out on Saturday afternoons in all weathers, indeed, on a whole mid Ulster era with its class structure from the local landowner down to those spent a lifetime tied to […]