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Home Explore An-Focal-October-2021-Final


Published by Kevin Dunne, 2021-10-18 08:00:00

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Edition XXVI  October 2018 The University of Limerick is currently facing an unprecedented student homelessness crisis. Continued unsustainable growth of the student population by the university, without an increase in the number of on campus beds available has led to students commuting hours to lectures, sleeping on floors and paying hundreds per week for a roof over their heads in hotels. Speaking to An Focal, UL Student Life President Cillian O’Donoghue and UL Postgraduate Student Union Vice President Louis Pemble both assessed the situation. “This [accommodation] shortage has been on the cards for the last number of years but is really starting to come to the fore now,” the Student Life President said. The ULPSU VP said, “the real crux of the matter is that student numbers in UL Authority meeting around the campaigners that given the pattern of newly-elected student have gone up by the 1000’s BY KATIE MARTIN accommodation crisis in mid- officers not wanting to get off over the last number of years to an aggressive start in their November. relationship with UL, each new and the accommodation hasn’t professionals moving back to so stressful for students. It’s not team starts their terms being right” Despite O’Donoghue’s polite and ends it by taking grown with it, be it on campus Limerick and they’ve taken up firm stances. He elaborated The Student Life President Position as President of UL that this meant that in cases of or off campus, there has been no rooms that weren’t occupied added that the idea of reliance multi-annual issues, the union’s on the external rental market Student Life, he stated that “we aggression would effectively student housing built.” by students during Covid. is “crashing down” and there reset after each election, will be a need for purpose built are not in the position really meaning that UL just had to sit According to Pemble, the Unfortunately, these houses that student accommodation both tight and the problem would go on and off campus. to make demands” [of UL], away. Scanlon’s conclusion? University has been made aware they’re renting were actually Making demands of the There are currently no plans although he sees the union as university is the only way to of the situation by the PSU and occupied by students before. So in place for more purpose built make progress on serious issues. student accommodation at UL. being capable of raising issues asked to stop expanding but it’s just added to the shortage The Student Life President continued on page 2 alongside the Welfare Officer with the university. This stance, “they’ve said it is not an option really,” O’Donoghue said. Seán Ó Maoilchiaráin who both sit on UL’s Governing Authority coming in the light of the last because that’s the model they’re He stressed that this is the have highlighted the issue and requested they provide a piece of union activism before using, that’s how they [UL] pay worst crisis we’ve ever seen plan for the next Governing the COVID lockdowns being the bills.” here in Limerick and that the union’s successful campaign The pressure of COVID-19 students are missing out on against UL turning single and work from home has vital university experiences as bedrooms into double rooms put additional strain on the a result. in on-campus accommodation, local housing market, leaving “I spoke to students who were seems surprising. students at a loss for off campus paying €380 for a week in a During that campaign, Student accommodation. hotel in Limerick until they President Jack Scanlon told “There’s a lot of working can find a room which is just What’s inside? Lockdown Fuinneamh Womends pg 5 pg 10 Rubgy pg 20

an FOCAL 2 Halloween Edition Student Homelessness continued... Now it seems that just 18 rather than later, and whether President is working with UL find accommodation because I versus its silence on the recent months later, the union now finds plans get put in place or not, the Global for a solution. don’t know, I genuinely cannot “No Keys, No Degrees” making demands impossible. ULPSU VP knows “there could say that there is accommodation sleep-outs in front of the Dáil, be another 24 months, or a Similarly, the ULPSU VP​ available for them” O’Donoghue expressed “100%” The Student Life President while yet” for action so keeping outlined that international verbal support for USI and its said that “If it [the provision the pressure on UL is going to students don’t have the network O’Donoghue added to make allies’ “brilliant campaign”, but of more accommodation] does of people locally that an Irish sure you assess your situation declined to commit the union’s happen, it won’t be for the next resources to protests until he three years, it’s going to require I genuinely cannot say that there is hears UL Governing Authority’s government funding. We need accommodation available for them plans, stressing that if he is solutions for the long term and unhappy with the response from short term.” be important. student might have so it is very and drop into Student Life the university he will be pushing Pemble added, “A student hard for them. before making any decisions for a strong response from the He added that Student Life around the future of your union including protests. are “very happy to work with village isn’t going to get built “We direct them to the academics or dropping out. UL and Limerick City Council in six months, we’re realistic accommodation office but In a recent exclusive interview but ultimately it comes down about that. So that’s why, it has the fact of the matter is the With the current crisis comes with ULFM, UL’s President to government policy,” so if the to be something a bit outside accommodation office more a lack of infrastructure for the Professor Kerstin Mey pointed government isn’t favourable to the box,” giving credit to staff often than not, doesn’t have growing campus community out that the accommodation new student accommodation, it members that have taken in anything. If the house or room and a need for more staff, crisis is a sectoral crisis due to is the students who will suffer as students and encouraging more is advertised on rent or daft, it restaurants, lecture space, and the lack of housing across the a result. to do so. goes so, so, quickly.” study rooms, O’Donoghue country, not just Limerick and stressed that this is a hugely that we have to be “very creative Meanwhile Pemble has O’Donoghue and Academic Pemble advised students to worrying part of his job as to find ways of supporting our been applying pressure to Officer Alice Hynes also be flexible, consider living President. students.” CAMPG (Covid Academic spoke to CAMPG and outlined somewhere a little bit further Monitoring Planning Group) that students should be away, but on the bus routes and “I don’t see evidence of that Both the Student Life to accommodate student accommodated with online the main thing is to get a roof happening from UL and that’s President and ULPSU VP are facilities and requirements in a resources, lectures and course over their heads. why we’re really working on in agreement that the current post COVID-19 environment; materials, especially those who trying to fix the problems that homelessness crisis is a primarily accommodation and are facing homelessness. The Student Life President have happened over the last 10 disappointing consequence at study spaces on campus. said “it’s very difficult to tell years from the lack of planning, the hands of the university’s Issues such as Erasmus students not to give up on finding etc.” growth without pre-planning “It’s our responsibility to keep students who can’t get credits accommodation” compared to and adequate solutions. the pressure on the universities from their home university previous years but this year is However, he is not yet ready to get it solved, ASAP,” he said, if they can’t come to college especially valid, highlighting to commit to protests. When The PSU VP also noted that noting that UL has only set in Limerick due to the lack of how bad the situation is. questioned about UL Student the message from UL about this aside capacity for 324 students accommodation have also been Life’s historic support for semester is “back to normal,” in study spaces, many of which addressed and the Student Life “I don’t feel comfortable nationwide USI-run protests and from what he has seen, are in noisy areas such as Red telling students to keep trying to this semester is not up to the Raisins [note: this interview standard of the last normal was conducted before the recent semester in Autumn 2019. changes to the Library capacity.] Hopeful to get answers sooner Nuacht

an FOCAL 3 Halloween Edition Is There A Stigma Around Being A Student? BY ADAM LEAHY Garda presence set for like cap-and-gown-wearing you can go out [and] have a it’s silent. Radio silence. Not Despite the common Castletroy’ and ‘Limerick feral raccoons? The truth is, everyone is going to wreck a conception many may hold of Gardaí shut down 35 student they’re probably somewhere couple of drinks without all place. Not everyone wants to be students – unproductive and house parties in Freshers’ in between. As we all are. going mad every night. Some antisocial agents of chaos Week crackdown’ of course. these looks from other people.” of us just need a place to sleep. hurricaning through the streets Yes, there are clearly problems in a malaise of cans and It’s not just the media either. around antisocial behaviour Emma isn’t the only student “As soon as you mention the contraceptives – it has to be One local Limerick councillor, in university towns and cities. word ‘student’… Blank. Nobody said that, like the rest of society, the Green Party’s Seán Hartigan, Of course there are. For many, who feels this way. Some have will reply. They’ll tell you, the studying class haven’t had could be found on a recent universities are where the first ‘Oh, we don’t want students. the easiest time of it lately. instalment of Live 95’s Limerick steps into independent living noted feeling an unwelcoming It’s not suitable for people Today with Joe Nash saying: are taken. As institutions, they like that’. People like what? I The COVID-19 pandemic saw “You’d be afraid to drive on provide a very specific time and aura from publicans and other just need a bed. I’m currently students across the board barred the road [in Castletroy]. You’d place for social trial and error. living in a hotel and it’s not the from campuses and classrooms be afraid to leave your children hospitality business owners, as nicest but what can you do?” for the full 2020/21 academic out with the amount of glass.” Does that excuse the antisocial year. Some, even in the new behaviour? Of course not. Monica Pazejova, another first Yes, students make silly academic year, have seen fit to Castletroy locals seem But cognitive dissonance of mistakes as they take their first defer their studies on account to feel the same way, with the kind outlined above goes year student at UL, points out: steps into adulthood. Antisocial of the continuing pandemic one resident commenting to a long way in creating a very behaviour is prevalent in and, to a larger extent, the the Independent that “for a real stigma; not just around the “Whenever we go out, people student towns and cities growing national housing crisis. middle class area, Castletroy student lifestyle, but around the precisely because there’s a is slowly turning into a slum.” very state of being a student. are more careful to let us into large concentration of humans Life is uncertain for students, making mistakes and finding many of whom are at a firm Classist overtones in that last The Kids Aren’t Alright. bars. When we went into pubs, their social legs and thresholds. crossroads between waiting statement aside, who are these Many students now feel there This isn’t an anomaly, this for life to begin and still monsters who, in four years’ is a very real, very loaded they would look at us weird is a statistical likelihood. figuring out what life is. time, will suddenly become preconception surrounding productive, tax-paying members student conception of identity. before they let us in. I think If you go into a room where One thing that has remained of society seemingly overnight? “There’s a lot of stereotypes a large number of people constant for students, however, is around being a student,” says it’s like they’re making sure are learning to walk, you’re their portrayal in the media. That, Finding the Monsters. Emma Brady, a first year student going to see an equally large you won’t be surprised to read, We seem to be at peak cognitive currently sitting a Bachelor that we wouldn’t do anything. number of people falling down. is still decidedly anti-student. dissonance when it comes to of Arts in Criminal Justice at who we as a society believe the University of Limerick. They’re more careful about What we as a society need to That’s Limerick City. students are and what we believe “You know, you’re in sixth not lose sight of is why students Limerick is a fascinating we can expect from them. year and you worked really us, even though we don’t do are where they are and what the microcosm of the student The University of Limerick hard, and then suddenly end result of that is. Productive, situation. It’s a compact city proudly boasts about being you’re seen as like a bad anything. So it’s pretty plain.” tax-paying members of society but houses no less than six among the ‘top 200 global person in society. You just soon to be among the most third-level institutions. Pound universities for graduate want to have a night where Another UL student, Wiktoria employable in the world. for pound, one of the highest employability’ yet also population-to-institution ratios enacts strict no tolerance in the country. And how does policies for student antisocial the media at large engage with behaviour in the community. Limerick’s student population? Are UL students a beacon With headlines like ‘Increased of employability or are they savages eating from bins Nowak, believes the widely- held stigma may leave some students “scared to go out”. Housing Discrimination. For another segment of Limerick’s student population, the stigma around being a student has even impacted the ability to find adequate housing. Aislinn Ní Ruairc, another first year Criminal Justice student at UL, feels that her student status has kept her from securing permanent accommodation and forced her to live in one of Limerick’s premium-rate hotels. “As soon as you mention the word ‘student’ to landlords, Emma Brady, Monica Pazejova and Aislinn Ní Ruairc Nuacht

an FOCAL 4 Halloween Edition Three Girls 300 Miles Outside Their Comfort Zone BY JODY COFFY Tralee, Co. Kerry where patients chemotherapy. I know myself whatever you’re into. Just know in your own way – by setting can undergo their chemotherapy that even walking through the that you will be raising money up your own fundraiser or Unfortunately, we have all treatments in a safe, private doors to a hospital can fill me to help people who are going signing up to be a donor. and comfortable environment. with anxiety. Imagine how through, probably, the most been affected by cancer in our much of a difference a new challenging time of the lives.” When Erin’s mother, Lorraine building with ample privacy lifetime in some way. Whether Flanagan, was diagnosed with and comfort would make.” Comfort for cancer this year she experienced Chemo Kerry’s it be personally, or someone first-hand the devastating She praised the staff at Kerry mission is to impact this disease can have. University Hospital for taking raise five million we know or love. Cancer has Struggling with the fact she such good care of her mother to build an equip was living on the opposite side while she endured chemotherapy state of the art taken so much from us, but it of the world during Sydney’s these past few months, but if this Chemotherapy lockdown, she had no choice but facility had been available to her, Unit for the shouldn’t have to take dignity or to support her mother through she believes the process would people of Kerry. this difficult time completely have been less intimidating. They are always pride from its victims when they online. She speaks about why accepting she felt compelled to help raise A GoFundMe has been set donations on are fighting back by undergoing awareness for this charity. up by these three inspiring their website and young women and has a goal of they provide all chemotherapy treatment. She said, “If you put yourself in €5,000 to reach. Every donation the information the patient’s shoes and imagine helps – no matter how small. about how you Three young Irish women how daunting it is going into can get involved a clinical hospital to undergo Erin added, “Even the price living in Sydney – Erin Flanagan of a coffee - or a cocktail, (27), Aislinn Dowling (26) and Brónagh Shiel (27) – have teamed up to raise awareness and money for a Kerry charity ‘Comfort for Chemo Kerry’. They will each walk 100 miles over the month of October to help raise funds for a purpose built, standalone facility in The Taliban in Afghanistan BY OLIVIA HOYSTED group came onto the scene after rule is promised, respecting the enforced the wearing of the engaging with media that wasn’t A few months ago, the world Soviet Union withdrew troops rights of both men and women hijab. favorable amongst the Taliban. witnessed the resurgence of during the 90s, and at this time as well as living religiously in The Taliban believe that the Taliban forces in Afghanistan. laws such as public punishment, their understanding of Sharia Under the Taliban’s media is powerful in promoting Coming up to the election, restricting girls from obtaining Law. government, all cabinet their reign to the world. many people crossed borders or an education, and banning forms members are male. Males are crammed into any plane flying of entertainment were in place. Since the Taliban came to required to grow a beard and The debate on whether the out of Kabul’s International power, Afghan people have been barbers are instructed not to trim Taliban will stay in power is airport, escaping their fear of In 2018, the Taliban entered trying to determine whether the or shave it. This rule contrasts dependent on their actions and Taliban rule. For most Afghans negotiations with the US and new regime plans to implement to the regime in the 90s. the reactions of their opponents. though, the Taliban is now the agreed that they would prevent former laws from their reign in Barbers were ordered to stop The Taliban also have tensions type of governance in power. ISIS attacks towards the US the 90s. Although the Taliban fashionable styles and had to cut with the ISIS-K or the Islamic While they promise a milder and some other countries if have always planned to strictly hair in regulation with Sharia State- Khorasan. According to rule to their earlier reign during the US withdrew troops from adhere to their Islamic faith Law. They were obedient in the Institute for Economic and the 20th century, there is much Afghanistan. From 2018-2020, when implementing laws, their order to avoid the fear of public Peace’s Gobal Terrorism Index, uncertainty over what rights the process of withdrawing rules have some difference to persecution by the Taliban. by 2018 ISIS-K had become one Afghans may be entitled to troops went underway and after, their prior reign: of the top four terrorist groups under this new regime. the Taliban were quick to rise to The regime in the 90s saw the in the world. This group claimed power, outweighing the artillery In the late 90s, women public executions of criminals responsibility for the suicide The Taliban are a group and intelligence of the Afghan couldn’t receive an education in stadiums with audiences. The bomb at Kabul’s International of Muslims from Pakistan Government. Within days, under Taliban rule. Education Taliban wish to revert to this airport back when the Taliban who strictly adhere to their Afghanistan woke up to find for women was restricted and method of persecution insisting were trying to take power. understanding of Islamic that they were being ruled by the many women couldn’t be that “no one will tell us what our (Sharia) Law. Historically, the Taliban except this time a gentler employed. Similarly, women in laws should be. We will follow It can’t be denied that the Afghanistan have lost their jobs Islam and we will make our Taliban have adapted their rule laws on the Quran.” The Taliban from its regime in the past but under the new regime because have considered amputations despite this, the government of “security reasons.” Even as “necessary for security” and still has a lot to do to prove though the Taliban delayed will enforce execution laws to the people of Afghanistan their decision on women’s relating to crime. that they have changed. The education, they have UNHCR and other agencies are allowed women to study The Taliban, contrary to their supporting many Afghans with in schools. They must be former rule had allowed media aid. The future of Afghanistan taught by a female teacher and entertainment such as will depend on the government and if a male teacher is foreign radio stations, television and the decisions they make required, male teachers can’t shows and other influences in regarding the people and the see their female students. media. This is very different country. Contrary to the former rule to the regime in the 90s where of the mandatory wearing people could be punished for of Burqas, the Taliban have watching foreign shows or Nuacht

an FOCAL 5 Halloween Edition The comparison of online learning to college physicality BY OLIVIA HOYSTED on.’ Now, students have to make has to listen to the lecturer While online learning had Hopefully we can close the Remember those days when an appearance with their whole without putting them on pause. some perks, life on campus chapter on online learning body, meaning waking up at is way better in comparison. and never again return to we used to get up in our PJs, the crack of dawn to pick out Does anyone else wish we Making friends, partying or staring into the computer turn on the computer and then clothes. An advantage though could rent go-carts rather than even just relaxing on the UL screen. Well, of course we go back to bed- that was online to having lectures on campus is walking around campus? When campus is all part of the student still have essays to write...... learning! From dogs barking that your personal space is not the classes were available life that wasn’t possible in 2020. to siblings cursing, our online violated as I’m sure many of us online, we could just click a learning experience was second felt when a head popped up too few keys on the laptop and you to none. As students return to close to the camera while waiting were at the lecture. Shopping campus, we can be sure that we for an answer to a question. and cooking your dinner were will never return to those late issues that could be just handed mornings in bed or have some of Technology was always an to whoever was at home but the excuses that we had last year. issue. Gone are the days when that is all gone now. I can half a class would be spent also unfortunately say that the It was a struggle just to turn looking for the option to share amount of money I spent in week the camera on. If you cared a presentation. On campus, one of this semester equates enough, you were in the zoom lecturers actually seem so to the money spent during waiting room adding finishing prepared that they have SULIS entire year of online study. Our touches to a face of makeup or open before you even get a chance excuses are now limited and adjusting the camera to get your to sit down. The mute button is it’s getting harder to physically ‘good side.’ Others just hadn’t gone as well as the fast forward show up to lectures hungover. their hair brushed and got away button, meaning everyone saying ‘my camera won’t turn Lessons From Lockdown BY JODY COFFEE Covid-19? On another more lady who does my nails more and it triumphs The fact that 2022 will be here positive note, it’s motivating me than cinema popcorn, I decided in less than three months when to get my full license so I can I would order all the equipment a night out for we are all still coming to terms breathe freely without a mask and items needed to create with 2020 doesn’t seem real. or six strangers around me – my own nail salon. It kept me me every time We have been through a lot in so thank you for that Covid. occupied beyond belief, I spent the last 20 months and had to so long trying to learn this new now. Lighting adjust our lives on an enormous Cinemas were dearly missed skill that I often forgot that I was level. While it has been difficult when they closed. It just being forced to stay inside by a the fire, ordering – at times depressing – I can’t wasn’t the same sitting in my lockdown. Eventually, I retired help but be thankful for some living room watching Netflix from my nail salon but there was a takeaway, of lockdown’s advantages and and making my own bowl a lesson underneath my failed miss some of the restrictions of microwave popcorn. So, side hussle - we should always playing a that are no longer in place. when the cinemas reopened, be striving to learn more, picking As the buses and trains begin to I was overjoyed at the idea of up new hobbies, and not wait for board game allow full capacity once more, I smelling cinema popcorn again, another worldwide pandemic mourn the days when you were and hearing the loud trailers to push us into at least trying. and watching not allowed have a passenger play before the movie. Having beside you because of Covid-19. a whole little section locked off The idea of entering a a movie is my The other day I climbed on around your booked seat is truly nightclub scares me to death board the bus to college, and the best thing that Covid-19 because I feel like I aged five new ideal Friday it was so full, myself and three could repay us with after the years between lockdowns others had no choice but to year it gave us. No more sitting (mentally). Squeezing my way night. It has stand in the middle aisle of next to a stranger because the to the bar through a crowd of the bus for the duration of the cinema was too packed, or sweaty and drunken youths to made me more journey. I reflected on the days awkwardly shuffling in front of get a drink does not appeal to when we all had our own seat, people to get to your seat. Bliss. me, nor does standing in heels productive; it money I wasted on nonsense. I and no one could invade your that I’ve forgotten how to walk started saving for the first time space, and wondered how on Most of us tried our hand at in for an entire night. I’ve grown has saved me in my adult life, and it’s a skill Earth we just accepted it before new hobbies during lockdown, to love and appreciate sober fun I now own for the rest of my and I was no exception. Bored, so much since the pandemic, money, hangovers and fear life. The pandemic gave us all sitting at home and missing the that realisation that life is too from the night before, and I short, and it’s not guaranteed. It gave me the courage to leave have Covid to thank for that. a job I was unhappy in and to start a masters I was afraid to On the grand scale of do for a long time. So, while Covid has taken a lot from us, things, Covid was an absolute sometimes it’s nice to look back and see what it gave us. nightmare and an extremely hard time for us all. Humanity may never be the same as it once was, but maybe that’s not such bad thing in some ways. We are more connected than ever, and many people used lockdown as a time to slow down and reflect on their lives. It taught me a lot about myself, and how much Nuacht

an FOCAL 6 Halloween Edition Has the pandemic changed us forever? BY SVETLANA RODRIGUES and sandals that are kept at the and reaching out to people even all of us grieved and prayed ‘’New Normal’’. While we all door were now replaced with together in these tough times. crave and miss those days when One evening while everyone sanitizers and masks. Suddenly when they didn’t have much to everything was ‘’NORMAL’’, was returning home, from work, it was unsafe to even breathe in And abruptly, we were all we as humans have for centuries school and college the news the same air that everyone was. offer; social media became a locked up in our homes and survived and lived through channels kept blaring lockdown rooms. There is only so much several such testing times and news. No one knew what was There were several emotions platform for people to post their one can do on social media, or the pandemic was one of them. happening, everyone had seen floating in the air: frustration, at work, after a point, people In the past 18 months, we have it coming however this decision anger, helplessness, and problems and help appeals and did come out and sit at the begun to treasure the feeling was very sudden and uncalled fear. Everyone was trying to dining table and spend time of living in the moment. We for. Everyone rushed back home, understand the situation, but this suddenly we realized that social with family. Video calls and have been online for so long took a wash, and the doors were was also a time when two very virtual zoom dates kept us all that now all we need is a hug, shut to avoid the virus from strange events took place. The media is so much more than sane during this time of insanity. a physical coffee date, a drive entering their homes, the shoes fact that everyone was helping (Thank God for technology!) down the road, or just a moment just posts and stories. Everyone We all acknowledged and with our loved ones where appreciated the people around we can hold and touch them. decided to take charge of the us from friends to family to all the frontline workers who were We have fought this battle for situation. It was the people who working constantly to make almost two years now and we things better and safe for us. are still fighting it. However, if decided to take things into their Eating meals at the table, talking we are in this together nothing to our parents, playing with our is impossible. It is just a matter hands, they helped anyone and siblings, watching a movie: all of time before everything falls these acts brought us joy and into place… before everything everyone, sharing and resharing peace of mind. We started to goes back to NORMAL. cherish everyone around us and stories, calling made us realize the importance of relationships and friendships. and supporting If we look back there is so much those in need. that has changed in these past two years. This has become the The world had truly shifted online, wherein not physically but virtually everyone was there to stand in solidarity and support. Every single day there would be heart-breaking news and headlines, and Returning to UL as a Mature Student: Redefining Time and Place BY ADAM LEAHY what it would be like. the UL Comedy Society – a because it’s delicious and not achieve. When I started my undergrad society whose earliest shows I the whiskey sour because it’s Of course pursuing a new at UL in 2009, we hated mature A time and place. had a firm hand in ushering into expected – asking for what you students. They were so clever. As I mentioned in an earlier life. want gets easier with age. degree is firmly tied to the So confident. So fashionable. article [NOTE: Relevant Ed., category of “things I want to So fully formed as people. They can you please embed the link Will I do those things now? No disrespect to undergrads, achieve”, but there’s quite a spoke openly and unreservedly for the Student Stigma piece Would I even fit in if I tried? I but speaking up and asking bit of taking a backseat too. in lectures while the rest of us here for the online edition?] have no idea. I’m not sure the questions in class is just easier Whether that’s in encouraging were too shy or too ‘cool’ to (yes, my column comes with time and place are the same. as a mature student. You don’t others to take the lead in engage. Now that I’ve returned a bibliography), college at care much what your peers in groupwork or even having to to UL as a mature master’s undergrad level is all about Returning to college, returning class think, you aren’t afraid of put my hand up to speak. At 31! student at the decrepit age of 31, time and place. A time of self- to Limerick – a city I called asking a stupid question just for I’m sometimes afraid to open discovery and a safe place home for almost a decade –, the sake of clarity, and it feels The author Maureen Johnson my mouth. where that kind of exploration feels like an entirely new and far less weird calling a teacher said something wonderfully Okay, let’s try to get through an can happen. alien world to me. And I have by their first name than the ‘sir’ insightful in her novel The Last article about starting university My undergrad (New Media fears around what returning to or ‘miss’ you’d have said only a Little Blue Envelope: “You in 2021 without mentioning the and English, a course that no that time and place means. few months previously had you can never visit the same place new C-word, shall we? longer exists at UL, that’s how arrived straight from secondary twice. Each time, it’s a different Before starting my current old I am…) was very much a Becoming the loud one in the school. story. By the very act of coming degree, I’d been working from time and place in my life. room. back, you wipe out what came home for almost two years. The I would regularly hit up From staff room to classroom before.” That’s exactly what it pande-… situation… kept me International Night before going I’m now very much the Moving from the working feels like returning to university from a real social life and all on to surrender wrinkled fivers annoying mature student who world back to academia is tricky as a mature student. the other distractions that don’t to Flan Costello (who needs to tries to answer every question too. Strangely, you have to give include working or sleeping. In be protected at all costs in this in class. up a lot of freedoms. the face of that, I decided it was current climate) and bop away In my previous job, I was a time to make some changes. to the sounds of MGMT, The Truth be told, that’s mostly de facto department head. That Like countless others returning Black Keys, and Lykke Li’s ‘I because I hate awkward silences. meant I had a lot of control over to third-level education mid- Follow Rivers’. It’s also because, as with all the shape of my workday, the situation, I was worried about I’d also perform regularly with things in life – sex, making work I did, the people I worked necessary but scary telephone with, and the things I wanted to calls that would make for less scary emails, and ordering the pinkest cocktail on the menu OPINION PIECE

an FOCAL 7 Halloween Edition Things I wish someone would have told me about sex BY MANON GILBART was wrong with me for not your partner might not be in the way to make you feel better sex, I didn’t feel like I was The sex education I received wanting the same things as my mood. You might have to stop as it helps stimulate blood playing an active role during friends. At times, I felt pressured right in the middle. Your body flow. There are so many health intercourse. I didn’t know what while growing up was terrible, to to have sex, to lose my virginity. or your partner’s body might benefits. I have endometriosis, I liked or what I didn’t like, so I say the least. I remember having I remember in secondary not want to cooperate. Always and I find that masturbation let my partner takes the matter one of those awkward sex ed school, someone started talking listen to your body, do not force helps relieves pelvic pain, or in their hand. It took a while, but classes when I was in school, about sex. Everyone around the anything that does not feel back pain. To me, it is a way to I learned communication is key. that did not teach us anything table was talking about their natural. Many times, especially instantly feel better. There is nothing wrong with not but rather tried to scare us away first time, and when I kept quiet, when I first started to have sex, enjoying the same things as your from having sex because we I was made fun of for being a I thought something was wrong Don’t neglect the clitoris partner. Mind you, always leave would either get pregnant or get virgin and was labelled a prude. with me. It is easy to feel like The part you can actually see, room to experience new things, someone pregnant. Sex seemed to be such a big you have done something wrong called the clitoral hood, is only but if something makes you feel deal, and virginity was talked when you or your partner can’t the tip of the iceberg. Think of it uncomfortable in any way, you They showed us how to put a about as some kind of grand climax. Many times, I remember as the equivalent to the foreskin don’t have to keep going. Never condom on a banana and that step everyone was supposed to thinking « he probably doesn’t on a penis. When aroused, it shy away from speaking about was pretty much it. I’m sure most take before they turned 18. I like me », « he probably isn’t can get enlarged or engorged. your boundaries and what gets people had a similar experience remember feeling embarrassed turned on », « I must have done A clitoris is literally packed you going. There is nothing or can recall getting the about not having done it yet. something wrong », « I must be with about 8000 nerve endings, sexier than communication, infamous « talk » from a loved Back then, I decided to wait unattractive ». Maybe you are making it the most sensitive it is key. Who knows, the one. The lack of conversations because I wanted it to be special. tired, maybe your partner had erogenous zone of the female conversation might even end up about sex I had as a teenager To be honest, I romanticized the an exhausting day or something genitalia - do not neglect it. The being a turn on. probably explains why sex is a idea of virginity and thought is on their mind. Perhaps you clitoris does not have any role in topic I would never shy away it would be best to lose it to don’t feel like having sex after reproduction, it is pretty much You don’t owe anything to from talking about today. Most someone I was in love with. I all. That’s quite alright, don’t only there to make you feel anyone things I have either learned by wish someone would have told take it personally. It’s much good, how cool is that? Treat it experience, by talking with me virginity is not something more common than you might with the respect it deserves. You have the right to stop at friends over drinks, or by having you give away to someone, it think. Orgasm any time. No means no. You can an actual conversation with a does not take anything from When you orgasm, your brain is want to have sex with someone partner. Here are a few things I you. No one can pleasure you until hard at work. It produces loads of at first, then decide you don’t wish someone would have told you know how to pleasure hormones and neurochemicals, want to any longer two hours me about sex. Sometimes it ends badly, but yourself. including serotonin, dopamine, later. You don’t have to go any that’s okay. and oxytocin. Have you ever further if you don’t feel like Virginity is a social construct Sadly enough, masturbation is had a proper nap or a good night it. Not only that, but you don’t I lost my virginity at 19. At Don’t take it personally. You still often perceived as taboo. of sleep after masturbating or owe sex to anyone, under any the time, I thought I was a late might not be in the mood or It’s not something you can talk after having sex? That might circumstances. I wish someone bloomer. I thought something be because of your hormones. had told me that if you repeat about with everyone. When you orgasm, your body no to someone, it does not Not only masturbation releases vasopressin as well as magically turn into a yes after makes you feel good as it melatonin which helps control the third time. I wish I was told helps release endorphins, your sleep. I wish someone it is okay to change your mind, but it helps you explore would have told me you don’t and that it does not make you a what makes you tick. It have to orgasm to enjoy the tease. Consent is so important. improves your health, it experience. As much as orgasms Always make sure your partner is also a fantastic stress- are great, you can enjoy sex wants to have sex as badly as reliever, and bonus without having to reach climax you do. point, it can boost your every time. Sex should not be a confidence. How do race to orgasm. Porn you expect a partner to It takes (at least) two to tango If you’ve searched through a pleasure you if you don’t Sex involves two people porn website before, you might know how to pleasure (sometimes more), therefore have had to go through a dozen yourself? Get to know everyone involved should be of pages to find a video that your own body. able to enjoy it. There is nothing suited you. Let’s be honest here, worse than feeling left out most porn websites have content Sex is a good because your partner finished that was curated for cis men in workout… But not only before you, and does not seem the first place. Try to expand to care about your pleasure your search history, and maybe I would dare say sex is once they have reached climax. check the popular with women the best kind of workout. Intercourse should not have section, or even a website such Your heartbeat increases to end when one of the people as Bellesa - it might surprise so it’s good cardio. For involved is done. you. I don’t like the same things example, contractions, Communication is sexy as my friends. I wish someone when you climax, help When I first started having had told me that there is nothing strengthen your pelvic wrong with being turned on floor. If you suffer from by something that would be cramps and back pain, masturbation is a great OPINION PIECE

an FOCAL 8 Halloween Edition Sex Talk Continued unsolicited opinion about your Intimacy can mean a lot of nearly as much as it can be unwanted. When it comes to sex sex life or your so-called « things, and not everyone will amazing and relationships (of any kind), considered out of your own magic number ». Like with agree on its definition. Sex you never stop learning. sexuality. After all, porn is most things, everyone will have doesn’t always have to be about I wish someone would supposed to be something fun, an opinion about it and will love and commitment, it can have told me that sometimes I also wish someone would a way to help you find what have assumptions about you. just be about having fun and you’re going to feel dirty for have told me how amazing sex turns you on. Remember, fun is The only opinion that matters is letting go. Chemistry does not not listening to yourself and can be. How it can make you a spectrum - you might not be your own. It is your body, your necessarily mean love, and that your own body. Sometimes, feel loved, cherished, wanted. into what your friends are into, choice - you make the rules. is okay. As long as you make sex can hurt, both physically How it can be passionate, and that is completely fine. sure you are on the same page and emotionally. Sometimes intimate, sensual. How there Sex rhymes with intimacy, as your partner, it’s all good. you’re not sure about what you is no one-size-fits-all, and how You make the rules but not necessarily with want from it, so it can leave unique every experience is. If you like having sex, some relationship Sex can be complicated, you feeling small, disposable, people might feel like they have a right to give you their My Experience with Endometriosis BY MANON GILBART a concerned look on their face as also a few behind my uterus that elsewhere in the body - pain. Such as a laparoscopy, for It is normal. It is supposed you are laying legs widespread were sneakily playing hide-and- basically where it does not example. There are a couple of to hurt. You are such a drama on a freezing cold table is seek. My gyneacologist gave me belong. During menstruation, things that help me get through queen. Did you take any even more nerve-racking. the option to get a laparoscopy these cells react the same way the worst week of the month. painkillers? It is not a reason to - a minimally invasive surgery as those lining the uterus, Take these tips with a pinch stay in bed. You are so lazy. I I remember staring at the screen that allows access to the inside however, they have no way to of salt because as previously can’t tell you how many times I display, trying to see what she of the abdomen and the pelvis escape. The tissues become sort mentioned, every body is have heard those before. I won’t was seeing, trying to point out without having to butcher of trapped, if you will. They different and not everyone lie, at some stage, I did think what was the issue. That weird your skin. With said surgery, can get thicker and fall apart experiences pain in the same way. that I was being overdramatic. looking thing on my left ovary? the pain would allegedly be which is when cysts can form. I told myself it was normal to Most likely an endometrioma - reduced. She also suggested Here is what works for me: • be in pain. After all, periods are also known as the fancy name putting me on a pill to keep Endometriosis affects 1 woman A hot water bottle - preferably supposed to be a walk in the park, given to an endometrial cyst. me from menstruating for a out of 10. There is no one size neatly positioned while right? It does not matter if I can’t My gyneacologist said she was few months. Instead of feeling fits all experience. Every body watching the same season of get out of bed. It does not matter not too concerned, but that it scared, I felt relieved. Turns out is different. Symptoms can Peaky Blinders for the third if I am sitting in class, trying was better to book an MRI. I am not that much of a drama vary from one person to the time in a row. • A lukewarm not to cry because I feel like I Better safe than sorry, right? queen and my pain is valid. next, however, here is a list bath with an outrageous amount am being stabbed. It does not To this day, I am still debating of fairly common symptoms: of bubbles. • Masturbation.• matter if feel like my ovaries are A few weeks later, on New on how to proceed. Here is Painful periods, intense pelvic Anti-inflammatory medication. having an endless boxing match. Year’s Eve, I was at the hospital what I have learned - so far. cramping, pain during sex, Nearly two years ago, I was for an MRI - what a fun way pain during urination, bowel Unfortunately, there is a lack on a routine check-up at the to end a year. Another few What is endometriosis? pain, constant fatigue, digestive of funding and many doctors gyneacologist. As stressful as it weeks later, I got my exam Endometriosis is a condition problems, bleeding and pain in are still misinformed about already is to have a stranger’s results. Happy to report that in which tissue that normally between periods, ovarian cysts, the topic. That is why it is hands between your legs, seeing I passed with flying colours. lines the uterus grows outside nausea, stiffness, joint pain, important to raise awareness, it and therefore finds itself migraines, irregular periods. endometriosis needs to be It is indeed endometriosis. I talked about so perhaps in the have cysts on my left ovary, but Endometriosis future, new diagnostic methods can also cause can be found. Endometriosis is infertility, often referred to as an invisible although it does not illness. If you are reading this, necessarily equal please remember: It is not infertility. There normal. It is not supposed to are four stages to hurt that much. You are not endometriosis: a drama queen. You did take minimal, mild, painkillers. Do not be too hard moderate, and on yourself. You are not lazy. severe - please note the level of pain does not relate to the stage of the disease. Still to this day, a cure has yet to be found for endometriosis. Some remedies and medications can help ease the OPINION PIECE

an FOCAL 9 Halloween Edition Libra HOROSCOPES September 23 – October 23 BY ADAM LEAHY A Capricorn in your life is acting suspiciously Mystic Adam returns with a glimpse into what’s on the nice. Don’t trust them. What is their motive? Why cards for week seven. What will the stars reveal about are they giving you things? your Halloween week? Check back next week to find out. Aries March 21 – April 19 That stars have written than an old foe will reach out this week to start a fresh collaboration and heal old wounds. Use this opportunity to crush them and revel in the spoils of their defeat. Taurus Scorpio April 20 – May 20 October 24 – November 21 Sometimes choosing to be happy is half the The woman of your dreams is just a swipe away battle. This week is all about chasing that this week, Scorpio. She wants to know your personal bliss and blocking out the negative. mother’s maiden name, your first childhood pet, We’ve got a global pandemic, a lava tsunami and the last four digits on your debit card. in La Palma, a housing crisis, and sad puppies living on the streets. But sure, go off. Sagittarius Gemini︎ November 22 – December 21 Sagittarius, this week is your week to go out May 21 – June 20 and make your own future! Don’t forget, a more Gemini, you are emerging from SHAG week positive prediction is only a Revolut payment more informed, more engaged, and more away. Hit me up. positive than ever! On that note, your sexual health screening will come back on Wednesday. Capricorn︎ Cancer December 22 – January 19 A Libra friend is struggling through something June 21 – July 22 they may not be ready to share yet. Be kind and West Corkonian Cancer, this is a great week to present. Perhaps a night out or little surprise be your authentic self. Drop that auld American would be appreciated. accent, you’re fooling nobody. Aquarius Leo January 20 – February 18 July 23 - August 22 Frustrated Aquarius, your creative juices have been clogged for many weeks now. Keep calm Feverish Leo, this week will see Mercury and carry on. Failing that, a Stables curry and rising through Uranus. Please get a newer three pints of Guinness will set everything in full thermometer. flow again. Virgo︎ Pisces August 23 – September 22 February 19 – March 20 PhD student Virgo, your mom will call this week Lovelorn Pisces, it’s been six weeks since you to inform you that the daughter of your neighbour met that attractive and worldly German boy at three doors down – “You know the one you International Night. He wasn’t called home to used to play in the paddling pool with when you fight the Australians, you saw him going to his were younger? You do, you know the one I’m European Cinema lecture last week. Accept and talking about! Harry’s girl.” – has just posted an move on. Auf Wiedersehen. engagement photo from the signing of the lease on her first mortgage. What is it you’re writing your little gender essay on again?

an FOCAL 10 Halloween Edition Crystals - A Passing Trend or The Dawn of a New Religion? BY AISLINN KELLY experienced before,” said people that will come on board of the pandemic by learning what works for them. Birth times, chakras, incense Rachel. “Our business on these healing practices. While some will develop an and healing crystals all have average since we have reopened due to the trend and there will entered mainstream vocabulary has been up an average of fifty In the recession of the 1980s, extensive crystal collection, in the past year, but what exactly percent on last year.” be a huge amount of people that New Age culture incorporated others may simply find the has been leading this spirituality crystals and gemstones adopted benefit in one simple tumble craze? The crystal craze is mainly will see benefits and changes in from ancient practices. stone of rose quartz. Downloads of horoscope apps led by the Gen Z demographic, such as Sanctuary and Time with the shop welcoming new their lives.” In this new age of climate “The first piece of advice I Passages have rocketed, many customers as young as twelve change and economic would give is to let yourself can now attempt a makeshift since reopening. The use of crystals has been uncertainty, their revival could be guided by what feels right tarot card reading and even have been predicted. for you. You can absolutely go singer Lorde has returned to “I do think that it is partially documented throughout human to town in your research, but parody the craze in her latest a trend,” said Rachel. “A huge “I do think that there is truth ultimately when it comes to single, Mood Ring. amount of the people coming in history, from the Ancient to people turning to anything things like tarot or crystals you While the use of healing are younger than we have ever that may potentially help them really need to let your intuition crystals has been growing seen before and that’s down to Egyptians decorating their deal with certain circumstances, ignite and allow it to guide you.” steadily over the last few years, TikTok.” be that a recession, a pandemic, the pandemic led to an explosion jewellery with gemstones or grief in your life,” said Rachel. “You have to believe that in their popularity and now they The go-to product for new you are being guided towards can be seen everywhere from the customers is crystals, closely the extensive use of crystals in “People look for some level something for a reason.” runway to skincare, and most followed by tarot cards, a topic of comfort and something that noticeably on your social media that has also accumulated ancient Chinese medicine. they feel will benefit them and With the crystal boom bringing feed. considerable following over that definitely is the case during us into what has been deemed as #Crystals has accumulated over lockdown with the hashtag Many aspects of this modern Covid.” the New Stone Age, for many 5.9 billion views on TikTok, surpassing 1.2 billion views on this passing trend will become where content creators provide TikTok. ideology originate from Asian Those considering the benefits a valued staple in their everyday advice on their meanings, of spiritual practices may be life. instruct how to charge them and Crystal healing is the concept cultures such as the Hindu enticed by the freedom to choose explain what they can do for that gemstones can bring balance your life. to both life and mind, change an concept of chakras and the Many are now building energy pattern and help users in their collections based on the times of uncertainty. Chinese practice of life-energy. flourishing craze, much to the benefit of local businesses. Rose quartz promises to support Modern spirituality is Angel Times is a local business relationship healing, jasper reaping the rewards of this trend. can relieve stress and amethyst characterised by a pick and mix Located on Thomas Street in bestows calmness and wisdom Limerick City, staff member on the owner. of various practices such as Rachel Stuart has observed the global trend through the lens of But with every trend comes yoga, crystal healing, and oracle the independent store. a considerable fallout and “It’s like nothing we’ve ever many staunch spiritualists are cards. questioning the intentions of newcomers to mysticism. The main difference in new “With every trend comes customers is they tend to come both positives and negatives,” said Rachel. “I think what we equipped with are hoping is that there will be extensive research and little personal connection to the products. “I think people who have been on a spiritual journey for a longer period find it easier to trust their intuition, whereas beginners don’t necessarily,” said Rachel. Many newcomers turned to spirituality as a way of helping cope with the uncertainty Fuinneamh

an FOCAL 11 Halloween Edition Five of The Best Underrated Must-See TV Shows Struggling to find what you’ll be watching next? Here are five tv shows you may not have heard of before but are sure to make a gripping view. 1. In the Dark 2. High Fidelity 3. Gypsy business and that not everyone show tells the unique, modern A retelling of the Nick Horny Bored of her married suburban has the best interest of their and at times complicated A blind woman in her twenties novel (also adapted into a film), life, a therapist develops a patient’s at heart. So far, the stories of love and all its forms. High Fidelity tells the story of fascination with the romantic series has five seasons. It will make you want to cry, spends most of her time Rob who owns a record shop life of one of her patients. She 5. Modern Love to laugh, and to hug your loved in Brooklyn. quickly becomes interested in Inspired by the essays from the ones a bit tighter. getting drunk and making Obsessed by pop culture, she her patient’s ex girlfriend. acclaimed New York Times sees music as a way of dealing The show was not renewed column ‘Modern Love,’ the bad decisions. She only has with her chaotic sentimental for a second season, but it still life. Since her breakup with definitely well worth a watch. two friends - Jess, her lifelong Mac, she has been having the 4. The Resident hardest time. Dr. Devon Pravesh is an childhood friend, and Tyson, One day, she decides to make a idealist who tends to lean on his top five of her relationships and moral compass, until he meets a teenager who found himself to contact her previous lovers Conrad Hawkins, a charming to pinpoint where things went yet arrogant doctor who has dealing drugs. wrong. Sadly, the series was quite the unconventional cancelled after the first season approach to medicine. One night, while on a walk but still makes an enjoyable With the help of Conrad, view for anyone looking for a Pravesh starts to realise that with her guide dog, Murphy watchable, entertaining series. medicine is often seen as a finds a corpse and think it’s Tyson’s, but the body mysteriously disappears before the police arrives. As Murphy was drunk when she found the body, they refuse to start an investigation, so she ends up trying to resolve the murder herself. The series was renewed for a fourth season. ‘Gripping and Grisly’- Behind the Chaotic Charm of Squid Game BY JODY COFFEY (an equivalent of $38 million there is really no excuse to not physically, Gi-hun reaches an Chairs – except when you’re Since ‘Squid Game’ catapulted USD). freak yourself out and watch all-time low. out, you’re REALLY out. onto our Netflix accounts in the goriest show on Netflix It’s hard to feel bad for him, but We follow Gi-hun and his September, it has become an In this warped game, your right now. it’s hard not to want a better adversaries as they fight their online sensation, with meme elimination means sudden The main character is Seong life for him. So, when he is way through six vicious and worthy content and already death. There is a survival Gi-hun, a divorcee that approached by a businessman ruthless games and come a huge demand for a second show element, and it has been struggles to make ends meet who lures him into playing to realise that beneath the season. likened to a twisted version of financially, and gets by in life a game of ‘flip-card’ which degenerate gambler exterior, Now Netflix’s most watched ‘Takeshi’s Castle’. by exploiting his loved ones. results in Gi-hun walking Gi-hun is a kind and caring show, Squid Game has blown This review has been His financial and emotional away with a sizeable amount man who just got dealt a bad the minds of its viewers personally targeted for those challenges seem to go of Won, an aching face and a hand in life, like many of the with its violent and graphic of you who have not yet hand in hand thanks to his mysterious business card you other players – apart from a concept. Its intense plot is had the chance to tune into heavy gambling addiction. can’t help but root for a happy few who are just truly self- centred around the events of this incredible series, with Ostracised by society and outcome. motivated and fuelled by impoverished people playing minimal spoilers (nothing that his family, his well-being Being told he can make even fortune, which makes the twisted versions of Korean you haven’t seen in memes hangs in the balance, and more money just by playing show even more chaotic and children’s games to win a already) – so take this as your when dangerous loan games, Gi-hun feels he has entertaining. 45.6 billion Won cash prize sign to start watching now. sharks threaten to hurt him no other choice as his mother ‘Squid Game’ has received Plus, it’s spooky season so needs treatment and he is at endless praise and acclaim risk of losing his daughter. for it’s one of a kind, albeit Up until this point, we have slightly traumatizing, plot and seen Gi-hun gamble and lie to has certainly lived up to its keep his demons at the door. hype. We now see a more selfless The show ends with an abrupt side to him, as he risks it all cliff-hanger that leaves room to drag both himself and his for another season. While family towards a better life. director Hwang Dong-hyuk In the first game of ‘Red Light, has admitted to not having a Green Light’ the penny drops clear plan for another season is that this isn’t just a regular it certainly not impossible, so game when the 456 players feel free to get as attached as are at risk of being mercilessly you like to the show, because shot if they cannot stand still we may be in for another in front of a large and creepy gripping and grisly season. doll with a motion sensor. It’s almost like a game of Musical Fuinneamh

an FOCAL 12 Halloween Edition REVIEW “Say His Name”- Candyman Review BY CIAN DALTON Peele, writer and director of Get watching a horror. Almost… began. Tony Todd return as the original It’s not often that I find myself Out and Us, I had to see it. Candyman is a sequel to the There, he meets a man Candyman. willingly going to a horror movie alone. As a movie blogger, I Peele’s moviemaking has been 1992 horror movie of the same named William Burke (Colam While I have talked about the would try any type of movie but the best in the last decade, in name which starred Virginia Domingo) who tells him the social message behind the movie, I used to draw the line at horrors. my opinion. His horrors are Madsen as grad student Helen tale of the Candyman. McCoy this is a great horror/suspense I always felt like horrors were not just scary movies. They are Lyle. becomes obsessed and has to movie in its own right. You will better enjoyed with someone social and political statements on make the killer his next piece. watch through your fingers as else there to share in the fear, but things that are happening in the Lyle was investigating the Death and destruction follow character after character begin to also they scared the bejaysus out world around us. urban legend of the Candyman, McCoy and his artwork. utter the name of the demon into of me and kept me up at night a murderous spirit with a hook a mirror and reap the rewards. afterwards. Candyman, directed by Nia for a hand. If you say his name The artist begins hallucinating However, Candyman was DaCosta, takes on the unlawful five times into a mirror, the and seeing the Candyman Like any horror movie you will different. Once I knew it was and unprovoked killing of black Candyman will appear and kill wherever he goes. A final battle wonder can they be that stupid. written and produced by Jordan men by white authority figures you. between the police and the You will also look into your own down through history. The Candyman is a brilliant piece of mirror that night and be very message is so clear and strong The most recent instalment in filmmaking but as I said already, tempted to try it yourself. Please this horror franchise, which is the message being shown is don’t. that a direct sequel to the 1992 film very clear. Is Candyman the real you and disregards all subsequent villain, or is it the police shooting This could be a standalone almost Candyman movies, builds on indiscriminately? movie, but I would recommend forget this story. watching the original afterwards. that Abdul-Mateen II is brilliant Skip all the ‘sequels’ that came you Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Us, in this as the tortured soul who in between, but whatever you do, are Aquaman) plays Anthony becomes obsessed with the don’t say his name… McCoy, a struggling artist who legend. Fans of the original is lacking inspiration. He visits Candyman will be happy to Cabrini Green, the Chicago hear Helen Lyle’s voice and see Projects where the urban legend Impressive Dynamism- No Time To Die Review BY JAMES ROULSTON prepared to embrace his past Swann and Bond fell in love in also poor – however, the film support the heavy reliance on and move forward before he the previous film in the series, does provide a reason for the MOONEY is pulled back in by friend and the pair have solid on- introduction of the character. relationships in the movie and and CIA agent Felix Leiter screen chemistry once again. ‘No Time To Die’ is a fitting (Jeffrey Wright) to help with an Added to this, the dynamic helps the film where it falls assignment. Oscar-winner Rami Malek and tension between the two end to Daniel Craig’s run as plays the Bond villain in the characters throughout the short. The events unfold in a way 25th film and puts in a good film gives 007 some decent the iconic James Bond which that leaves Bond with the task performance but is underused characterisation as a new The settings for all the action of saving the world and the and his character ends up being supporting character in the includes impressive action ones he loves most once again. overshadowed by his own plan series. and set-pieces are impressive after the mystery of the Mr scenes, emotion-evoking Daniel Craig is fantastic in the Robot star’s character is lifted The introduction of the and the fans of such scenes role and maintains the high bar far too early. character does not moments and the Englishman’s he had set for himself with each disrespect Bond but as well as car chases will be previous outing. Ana De Armas, who is seen on adds to the arc that best performance in the role. the promotional posters of the has spanned 15 years impressed by them, as well as The nature in which the film and in the trailers, is also since the release of The movie is directed by story of this era of Bond films underused but puts in a stunning Casino Royale. the stunts. is told helps the audience to performance that makes her a Cary Joji Fukunaga, who is emotionally connect with the memorable character, despite The plot relies heavily Fukunaga, Waller- returning characters on-screen. her screen time. on the characters and their best known for True Detective relationship Bridge and company The relationship between A big talking point of the with James season one and is written by Craig’s rugged character and film prior to its postponements Bond, which give Daniel Craig’s Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) and eventual release was the is why Pheobe Waller-Bridge, whose and Q (Ben Whishaw) is one addition of Lashanna Lynch’s Malek’s interpretation of Bond that has been nurtured in 007, which enraged a section of antagonist talents can also be seen on previous films and reaches its fans as it is Bond’s codename. suffers as a the best finale of the peak in ‘No Time To Die’. result. Fleabag – a show she created. The anger was misguided bunch and offers up Lea Seydoux’s Madeleine and misogynistic in origin but However, his The movie clocks in at 163 Swann is half of the central the marketing for the film was villainous plan does a solid film along relationship of the film after minutes, which makes it the with it, despite its longest Bond instalment to date shortcomings. but the film never feels like it is going on for too long. The story follows on from the films that came before in the Craig era – a trend that each film has embraced as opposed to the standalone nature of other Bond movies. The spy is retired after the events of Spectre and is Fuinneamh

an FOCAL 13 Halloween Edition ‘Not Your Villain’ – The Problem Behind the Scarred Baddie Trope BY AISLINN KELLY “It’s reprehensible really,” society,” said Tom. “Anything Santana ComRes found only outdated tropes commonplace said Tom. “It’s very difficult that somehow makes us stand one in five people with a in our media today. The Bond movies are a for people who have a facial out in any way like these visible difference have found a Their campaigning is raising disfigurement to go about their portrayals in films makes character that looks like them awareness and the film franchise synonymous with lives without also having to it that much more difficult as a hero in film or TV. industry is slowly beginning face this trope which appears to assimilate ourselves into An even starker finding to leave behind the damaging glamour, action and a long all too frequently in film.” society.” stated that only 15% of those tactic of using a disfigurement “I think the problem is that The problem exposes a wider surveyed have seen someone as shorthand for evil. lineage of malicious villains. those of us who are facially issue of diverse representation with a visible difference play a Due to the Changing Faces disfigured are struggling a lot for people with facial love interest. campaign, The British Film The distinctive villains are of the time to deal with our differences in the media. “You don’t see many people on Institute recently committed physicality and the fact that we Growing up, Tom failed to see television like TV presenters to stop funding films where enshrined in cinematic history look different to anyone else.” anyone else he related to in the or reporters who has a facial negative characters are Beyond Bond, villainous media which would elevate his disfigurement,” said Tom. depicted through facial however, Le Chiffre, Jaws, characters like Darth Vader, feeling of alienation from his “You basically see perfection differences. Voldemort and Wonder peers. and physical perfection isn’t as As more media organisations Emilio Largo, Alec Trevelyan, Woman’s Doctor Poison “My view at the time was that common as is portrayed.” commit to conveying all have noticeable facial I was the only person who was “There are a lot of people who the diverse and full lives Zao and Raoul Silva all share disfigurements to separate facially disfigured because have a facial disfigurement or experienced by those with a them from the rest of the cast. I hadn’t seen anyone or met a disability of some kind and visible difference, lazy tropes a troubling similarity. A UK based charity Changing them.” yet we are hidden away and as showcased in the latest Faces created the ‘I am Not “It was because we weren’t not really accepted.” Bond film will become a thing These evil characters share Your Villain’ campaign that seen in newspapers, or in Activists like Tom Hickey of the past. called on the film industry magazines or television. It and organisations such a visible difference, aided to stop employing these made us stand out a bit more.” as Changing Faces are damaging representations that Activists have called on the relentlessly challenging the by extensive make up and perpetuates a stigma around media to employ a more diverse physical imperfection. range of appearances in order prosthetics. “These kinds of film depictions to challenge the damaging of villains as facially stereotypes perpetuated in the In the latest instalment of disfigured makes it harder for likes of the Bond franchise. those people to be accepted by Research carried out by the blockbuster franchise ‘No Time to Die’ the two main baddies feature this problematic filmmaking tactic, with Christoph Walz’s Blofeld and Rami Malek as Safin both altered to have visible differences. Known as the disfigurement villain trope, filmmakers use facial differences as a visual cue to let the audience know that the character is evil. It’s very difficult for people who have a facial disfigurement to go about their lives Tom Hickey, an Irish activist, blogger and journalist has condemned the practice. I Am Not Your Villain: Equal representation of visible difference in film “It’s astonishing to think that films have used visible difference as a shorthand for villainy so often and for so long. The time has come for this to stop.” Fuinneamh

an FOCAL 14 Halloween Edition Dave the Dinosaur - My Problem with ‘The Closer’ BY JASMIN GRIFFIN three times, and hearing many is just sharing his prehistoric it, he morphed back into a show. Many will say his modern contrasting opinions on Twitter, views, and further showing the Velociraptor. So close, Dave! day critics are sensitive, soft or Dave Chappelle’s latest TikTok and of course other difference between generations, weak. Netflix special The Closer has articles, I have come to realise which is normal for any In Chappelle’s own words, this earned him both backlash, and that Dave Chappelle is not a Brontosaurus still living in the show was supposed to answer: I concur, but what we must support by fans and foes alike. bad guy for “joking” about the Mesozoic era. “all of the questions you might realise is today is different from I, however, am here to give LGBTQIA+ community. He’s have had about all of the jokes I yesterday. my opinion. One which I can not even a bad guy for “joking” Chappellosaurus went on have said in the last few years.” guarantee is not going to be liked, about feminism. I have just to mention that he is in fact a What one generation might found funny or appreciated by realised that he is, in fact, a feminist. Personally, I do not However, I truly believe that have grown up believing or all but unfortunately, Twitter’s social dinosaur. doubt that he is. As a man with while he meant to achieve this finding humorous is now character limit is a tad too short a wife and kids, he admits to objective, he simply could not, offensive because as a society for what I have to say on the Aged 48, Dave wanting equal rights for men due to the fact that he does we have become more inclusive. matter as a cis white woman. Chappellosaurus grew up in the and women. Fair play to him. not fully understand the topics seventies, where the effects of which he jokes about. Dave asked himself in his After watching Dave the Stonewall uprising of 1969 This forward thinking, while show how the LGBTQIA+ Chappelle’s special The Closer were being first seen. unusual enough for Dave, After watching this special community were making such allowed his dino stomper to multiple times, I feel only one strides in becoming more In his comedy special, he leave the Mesozoic era and head thing has been answered. Dave accepted. It is because today we mentions these “old school on one step closer to 2021, into Chappelle needs education on embrace and support, not deny gays” as the only members the Cenozoic era, which many these social issues which have and abandon due to differences. of the LGBTQIA+ which may know as the point in time prevalence today. His words he “respects.” As opposed to where smaller species could hold weight and he is unwilling I believe his critics are the “newer gays” which he thrive and diversify, because to hear and be educated by the changing with the times, Dave deems as “too sensitive” and their harsh predators no longer LGBTQIA+ community. Chappelle however, does not “too brittle.” existed. Are you seeing the care for this inevitable social parallel here? For context of his earlier change. That is his prerogative, His terminology, while content, and to get a fully but just as before, the comet will blunt, makes clear that he Unfortunately, just as I rounded picture of Dave come and wipe out the T-Rex, does not in fact respect thought I was in agreement with Chappelle as a comedian, I and Dave Chappelle better at the actions of younger him, he decided to nominate watched his 2000 show Killin’ least be in the early 2010s by LGBTQIA+ activists as they himself as leader of the feminist Them Softly. that point or else he too will “are not the gays [he] grew movement. Funny, but not become extinct. up with”. Again, proving that really. Suddenly, as if Steven His jokes included references he isn’t trying to offend, he Spielberg himself had directed to other communities, but nothing quite as fierce or shocking as his most recent Alpha Males, South Dublin and Second Fiddles - Normal Sheeple BY CIAN DALTON his hair was tousled and curly. comment on Irish pop culture friend and one of the funniest into Ireland’s messy politics to Are you a fan of Waterford If you don’t get the reference so you could conceivably pick commentators on Irish society bring out another classic. Whispers News? Are you a now, there is a romance plot line one up and recognise all the in the twenty first century. reader of the Oh My God, What in this book with a character references. However, they are If you haven’t read any of A Complete Aisling! Books named Marianne! also character driven, featuring His depiction of accents these books before, head back but wish she was a horrible the same characters since the outside of South Dublin range to The Miseducation Years male who comes from money In this latest offering from Paul first book was published in from the extremely phonetic and begin your journey with in D4? You probably said no Howard, Ross’ home life is still 1999. (North Dublin) to stupidly Castlerock’s hottest jock on the to the second question, but I anything but ordinary. His wife poetic and wordy (anywhere rugby field! promise that if you like satire and daughter aren’t speaking, If you want to get a good in Munster.) His honesty about and reading books by Irish his triplet boys are calling him feel for them you should head how bad his kids have turned authors that won’t make you every name under the sun, back to book one, where Ross out so far is hilarious and his have an existential crisis, then his father is the Taoiseach and his pals are rugby jocks in attempts at being politically the Ross O’Carroll Kelly series of the country and is forcing a prestigious secondary school correct fall flat every time. is for you. Miggeldy Higgins and his wife in South Dublin. Ross narrates The latest book, Normal out of Áras an Úachtaráin and each book and we get a look into So, if you are already a fan Sheeple, was published his mother is suffering memory his world through his privileged, of the series, the latest book last month and received the loss (although the last one could misogynistic eyes. While this will not disappoint. Normal same great praise as all its be the drink.) mightn’t sound appealing to all Sheeple has a lot more predecessors. Like every book readers, Howard is not short on political jargon in it due to his in this series, the cover design Ross himself is trying to get the satire and irony. Dad’s job, but that is cancelled is always hilarious. his son acquitted of a crime that out by the hilarity that ensues This time our hero/anti-hero will prevent him from taking an Ross believes he is the alpha when Ross joins An Ghaeltacht Ross is wearing a G.A.A. jersey internship in New York. If you male in all aspects of life ‘Senior’ football team for a (something which fans of these haven’t read one of these books despite being second fiddle in challenge match with the local books could scarcely believe), a before, this is a pretty quiet his marriage, not as good at rivals. tiny chain around his neck and one compared to some of the rugby as he thought he was and previous instalments. fairly low on the intelligence Howard once again digs deep scale. What he is, is a loyal into his own experiences with The RO’CK books all school’s rugby in Dublin and Fuinneamh

an FOCAL 15 Halloween Edition REVIEW A Modern Masterpiece- Montero by Lil Nas X BY MOLLY CANTWELL The lyrics he raps and sings, receives is turned into a way Megan Thee Stallion – every Billy Ray Cyrus, he would now By far one of the most along with the music videos and to profit. Whether this is a collab was unique and worked have to collaborate with all anticipated releases of 2021, accompanying work, highlight fantastic marketing team or just really well with the other artist. members of the Cyrus family. Montero, released by Lil Nas X huge social issues, veiled with Lil Nas X himself I am unsure, on September 17th, absolutely catchy beats and flashy dance but I would absolutely love to One I was particularly fond of In short, this album is nothing did not disappoint. moves. “Montero” rips into know. was the near grunge sounding short of a masterpiece. If it The spectacle and excitement the difficulties for Nas growing collaboration with Miley Cyrus. isn’t heavily celebrated at the around the first two singles up black and gay, struggling The collaborations on this Lil Nas X joked about this song next awards season, I will be released led fans to believe this to accept his sexuality, and album are another huge high on twitter saying that as he was completely shocked. album would naturally become having to quash his flamboyant point. From Elton John to made famous by his single with a chart topper. personality due to the toxic From the highly rated and masculinity he had experienced controversial singles released growing up in the black male previously (Industry Baby and community. Nas has defied title track Montero), it could’ve this stereotype hugely with this been assumed this album would album. consist of sex infused bubble gum pop. However, what was He normalises so many topics not expected was the emotional like gay sex and feelings of depth brought to the artists first depression - one video (for the release. song “That’s What I Want”) I was so excited for this album shows Nas ripping open a to come out that I had actually condom wrapper. arranged a listening party with some friends. We went from This is an important message super hyped and excitable at directed towards queer men that the beginning of the album gay sex is healthy and normal. – expecting dance tracks and This could also be seen as a impressive rap collabs, to clap back to DaBaby, another near tears at the emotional black male rapper, who earlier vulnerability exhibited by such this year made comments a young artist. suggesting a majority of gay men had sexually transmitted The themes explored diseases. throughout this album are deep and mature, completely Besides the quality of music blind sighting a majority of the produced in this release, the eagerly awaiting audience. marketing around this album was absolutely phenomenal. Lil Nas X has spent his career How Lil Nas managed to turn so far defying the odds and a law suit and huge controversy representing a community often after the Montero single release, met with horrendous amounts into a number one album is of toxicity so well. extraordinary. Every bit of hate that he Interested in writing a book, movie or music review? Email [email protected] Fuinneamh

an FOCAL 16 Halloween Edition Ireland are improving under Kenny BY JAMES ROULSTON The progressive football that Duffy’s presence at the heart when an attacker is pressing facilitate this and led to their MOONEY has been on display in parts of the defence suits him as he him - a huge positive for dominance in possession - the The Republic of Ireland throughout the Kenny era can focus on his strengths too centre-halves. side recorded 63% possession. men’s national football team came into full flow against - namely, using that wonderful Omobamidele loves to Kenny’s men have never continued their upward trend Qatar. head of his. progress the ball forward but had a higher percentage of in the October international The three-at-the-back, which You could argue Duffy has is also comfortable doing his possession but have had window and finally got their had been the strongest part of experience in defences similar primary job at a high level. the same amount twice - in first competitive victory under the changes in the previous to this too seeing as he’s played Jeff Hendrick is sure to have his first match in charge current boss Stephen Kenny. months, looked confident and in Graham Potter’s Brighton turned Pep Guardiola’s head against Bulgaria and against The win came in the form of assured, with their positioning team - the product of a mad with his magnificent use of Luxembourg. a 3-0 triumph over Azerbaijan being impressive. genius. half-spaces against Qatar in Yet, Ireland were able to come in Baku on Saturday, October Andrew Omobamidele and Wing-backs Stevens and Matt what was perhaps his finest away with the desired result 9, taking place 13 months John Egan have experience Doherty, and Cyrus Christie performance in green blue. after such domination this time after their first match under playing in a defence such as offered width and created Conor Hourihane also had - having failed to win on both the former League of Ireland the one Kenny uses, with Egan spaces for those in midfield an impressive game as he occasions previously. manager - a dull, lifeless 1-1 even acting as an overlapping and attack to move into. provided further evidence that Kenny’s men made 38 passes draw with Bulgaria. centre-back with Enda Stevens Against Bulgaria in September players have bought into their in the build-up to their third The national side went one at times. 2020, the pair were caught out new progressive style of play goal and Callum Robinson’s better and won twice in a row The latter pair utilised such constantly and put too much after he lost his place in the hat-trick. for the first time under Kenny a tactic to great effect under pressure on the duo of Duffy team’s best starting eleven. Add all this to the talents of with a 4-0 dismantling of Qatar Chris Wilder at Sheffield and Egan who could not deal The midfield in the match, Adam Idah, Chiedozie Ogbene in Dublin a few days later. United in 2019/20. with it. which at times included Jamie and Troy Parrott who have It was their way of saying that Egan looks far more The introduction of Andrew McGrath - a man busy being been blooded into the squad, there was no need for them to comfortable with two centre- Omibamidele in 2021 has an absolute workhorse, was as well as Robinson who do it at everyone’s favourite halves alongside him rather also helped solve this problem important in the buildup for has been in great form in the upcoming World Cup anyway. than just one. as the young Norwich City Ireland’s chances. Championship and scored Kenny’s plans for the national Shane Duffy and Egan played defender has solidified a The side made 663 passes fro five goals for Ireland in the side are beginning to fall into all 90 minutes of Stephen spot in the starting eleven the first time in a decade and international break, and you place despite missing out on Kenny’s first senior Republic with ease after some strong 309 of those were in the Qatari have an exciting team. World Cup qualification, with of Ireland game and were performances. half. Props must go to Gavin the players evidently invested shaky against a Bulgarian The 19-year-old is cool and The triangles that the Irish Bazunu and Caoimhin in the football the 49-year-old attack that would not trouble confident on the ball and you outfielders often found Kelleher too - both are very has implemented. Ireland currently. never feel a sense of dread themselves a part of helped exciting prospects and it’s a joy to put out an appreciation Sport tweet about them every game. Because that really matters. It’s true that Stephen Kenny and Ireland still have a long way to go before they reach their goal and their almost certain fourth-place finish in the World Cup qualifiers would cement that, but so much progress has been made in just over a year. The 2022/23 UEFA Nations League will be a good litmus test for the team but the added bonuses that will be present compared to the last Nations League will be fans in the stadiums, fans that trust the process. But like in a cooler way than the 76ers. Kenny In.

an FOCAL 17 Halloween Edition anything, even a chance to BY SEAN FINNAN at revenge on Demba Ba. The ticking clock on Klopp’s By anyone’s standards, tenure is an unnerving one, he is leaving at the end of his it’d be fair to say, but by contract in 2024. And Gerrard will, given he’s still a manager Rangers’ standards, it might at this time, will be one of, if not the favourite for the be the understatement of the job. The question is does he take 30 months at Newcastle millennia­ so far. (depending on he doesn’t get sacked) and leave a dream job, Thankfully, not everything for his wet dream job. Or does he stay put a Rangers, not take is weighed on Rangers’ the Lampard route, and build a reputation so when the next supporters’ standards, but time the job is available, after the 2024 chance, whenever on the little they do have that may be, he is undoubtedly ready. authority on, they would over- The possibility of Gerrard’s return to Anfield must be in joyfully agree that Steven every Liverpool fans dreams and nightmares, the dream Gerrard has done a somewhat of the iconic player evolving into a managerial icon, while decent job, in the same way, the nightmare is more in line with what was Lampard’s Michael Jackson’s Thriller is fate at Chelsea, no one, no fan deserves to see the words a somewhat decent Halloween “SACKED” in big black type on a yellow background, next song. to their legends name on Sky Sports News, no one wants The current Rangers boss is heartbreak, but is fear of hell worth it if in the attempt is a discussed as being one of the spot in Eden? potential targets for the latest oil-saturated club, everyone’s former ‘soft-side-for’ club, the current curtain to obscure motives for countries that have come straight from the dark ages (in a western perspective). And depressingly, this cycle Rangers has seen his influence son embrace between him Glen improving an underperforming has seen the end of the instant ignite a former burnt-out Kamara, consoling his player league win side, to a back-to- backlash and has now moved ember in the Glaswegian after Kamara’s understandable back-to-back treble-winning into a phase of criticism paired side, taking a reckless and response to being racially side. with shopping list euphoria. defensively open side, to an abused. To which Gerrard But of course, a relegation The main question currently unbeaten season, and a season furiously defended on a post- battle isn’t on Gerrard’s CV on the latter, who is to lead where the only red card his match press conference after. either, but what he does have in this charlatan owned club into team faced, was issued to Turning a large ship at a tight track history in his relationship the next stage of their glorious him. Quite the contrast when angle in a short amount of with players, and a side that reign over European football Alfredo Morelos was a safe time needs the work of every pulls in the right direction for a thousand years. Not a bet on getting a red card in any crewman, and on relationships together under a manager who secret who I’ve picked. derby match he played in. with players, Gerrard in his has won in both sides of the The short-term, medium, and For the past 3 years, Gerrard time at Rangers demonstrated game, is a promising choice. long-term goals of Newcastle, has had a profound influence his ability to control a hectic A choice however that Gerrard are to not get relegated, climb over the players, not just dressing room, turn them into might not take anyway, and the table to be a European team, in results, toppling the 9 a tightknit group and achieve understandably so. and win every competition in a row Celtic side, in a their unlikeliest of targets. Because if PIF aka Saudi they’re let in. humiliating fashion. Making A perfect trial runs for the Arabia’s Public Investment Gerrard, alongside his Celtic currently must face up perfect storm that is landing on Fund, is following a successful former and last manager, to the reality of it being quite Tyneside. path forged by Man City, then Brendan Rodgers, can both some time before they are the Rodgers has various you must walk before you be reasonable candidates for best team in Scotland once experiences of improving run. In other words, you need the medium and long goals, again, a thought that seemed teams; Swansea, Liverpool, a Hughes before you hire a but unlike Rodgers, Gerrard unthinkable upon Gerrard’s Celtic, Leicester. All Mancini. A stopgap to make while not having ever been in arrival. Gerrard also not just in underperforming sides, that sure the boat doesn’t capsize a relegation battle, either as a ability and coaching, has had a were visibly improved, not with all the money sitting player or manager, does have a massive effect on his players only on the pitch but on league on the deck, or because it’s track record of turning around emotionally, just needing to tables. The issue however is Newcastle Utd, on the Ant and a rudderless ship, his time at see this in the almost father- that an underperforming team Dec. Newcastle is a goldmine, or to for Rodgers is be more on brand, an oilfield, riddled with shallow graves a midtable side, with enemies. Newcastle will have suitors lining up to no real urgency manage them, If Gerrard is one of them, he’d be top drawer, straight away, but all that glitters is not Oil. Especially for Gerrard, with apart from another job up for grabs in the not-so-distant future that For the past 3 years, Gerrard has Celtic, who had would lure him away from had a profound influence over demanded of constant league the players success, but no real opposition to take it from them, Sport

an FOCAL 18 Halloween Edition OPINION PIECE La Rochelle and Racing 92 on October 19, 2019 in La Rochelle, France BY SIADBH REDMOND for my COOP placement, I everyone through. While view of the racing warm-up. By won the match and I was more For as long as I can remember decided to attend one of the waiting in line and to my surprise then an hour had passed since than delighted I had chosen this I have always wanted to attend first games of the Pro14 season. the entire Racing 92 team walk I entered the stadium and the match. After the players left the a rugby game in person. I have With huge Irish connections to past their fans who are waiting lights continued to dim. Almost field the third half of the pitch seen countless matches on TV La Rochelle the ideal match in line to gain enter. This was blacked out the lights shone on was opened for all spectators, and followed the Irish teams appeared in Paris. Racing 92 v La also their first home game of the the players running out on to the and everyone was able to go through competitions from Rochelle on Saturday the 11th of season which made it even more pitch. One of the most exciting down on to the pitch. To my the Heineken Cup to Pro14. September at 9:05pm. I booked special to see the players off the parts of attending a game here surprise a band began playing In recent years I have become the first flight from Barcelona to pitch. Even with a huge volume is the incredible atmosphere and giving almost a concert feeling more interested in French rugby Paris the Friday morning before of people waiting to get in the lights show that runs throughout to the end of the night. Paris was as more and more Irish coaches the game to explore the city line for entry moved quickly the night. Music bands and an unforgettable place with the and players decide to move there and then purchased my ticket and soon I was presenting my noises add to this as more and match acting as the cherry on to continue their careers. The for the game at the La Defense Covid-19 digital cert to the more fans get into the match. To top. The La Defense arena is French national team has also Arena. This stadium is covered staff. Once I had found my gate, the Parisians delight racing went the perfect place for any match, become a powerhouse in recent over and offers a completely I scanned my ticket barcode and ahead at the beginning of the and I was delighted to be able years which filters down to their interactional experience for excitedly ran up the stairs to my game with La Rochelle missing to experience a live match in a regional teams around France their entire audience before, seat. The sheer size of the arena countless opportunities to score different country. I look forward creating huge competition in during and after the match itself. hits you immediately once you tries. The first half felt like a to attending a game in Thomond their Pro14 fixtures. walk through the doors. It holds second as there is so much going Park during my last year in UL. As I am currently living in Arriving at the arena is over 40,000 seats with most of on inside the arena. From music breathtaking with over 70 enter these seats occupied by Racing bands, French commentary, TV Barcelona gates alone to filter screens and the match itself it is 92 fans. extremely easy to get distracted Before the game but the environment created by all this is electric and something fans can enjoy you can only experience by watching both teams being at the game. warming up. I had booked a seat right The entire arena irrupted behind the right-hand when Racing 92 deservedly side goal with perfect Sport

an FOCAL 19 Halloween Edition OPINION PIECE How Women’s rugby is treated in Ireland - Funding etc. Ireland have missed out on a spot at next year’s World cup BY SIADBH REDMOND cup qualification in 2021 with a The question still remains as same experience? finished this twitter thread with top 6 finish, One six nations title to why our ladies teams cannot It is evidently clear from stories this comment “Stop telling Anyone that watched the or top three finish otherwise and qualify for these important and social media that women’s me women’s rugby isn’t good Irish women’s rugby game on qualifications for 2020 Olympic tournaments. Well it may be rugby is not taken seriously enough when your eyes can only Saturday evening will have seen sevens. From reading this list it down to the massive jump enough in Ireland. It would be see the negatives…. I’m sick of distraught players thrown across is obvious that there has been a female players face from Under an injustice not to mention a it”. the pitch after their defeat. huge failure in terms of meeting 18 to senior level. This issue has couple of examples from recent This was, without a doubt, these goals. even lead to the Independent months which have summed up These are only two examples out grim viewing for the onlooking The plan itself does not list any Rugby Academy Ireland setting the situation of the sport here. of countless others in regards audience. Following this fall out detail of how these goals could up an Under 20 initiative last During September, Connacht to social media and complete in the World cup qualifier on be achieved. During 2018 the year without support of the women’s’ rugby team had to lack of respect shown towards Saturday 25th, many questions IRFU also stated its aim to have IRFU. There is also a lack of change beside rat infested bins women’s rugby as an entire have been raised about the 20% of its committee members ownership when it comes to the before their women’s inter-pro sport. The only way for the sport treatment of Women’s rugby in and management rolls occupied Women’s All-Ireland League match against Ulster, which to move forward is start bridging the country. This loss means the by women. The appointments of (AIL). At the moment there is they were then told not to speak these gaps left by the IRFU. Irish team will not feature at the Fiona Steed and Yvonne Comer a huge gap between most of about after the game. This has There has to be a connection World cup for the first time since to the IRFU committee were a the AIL clubs and IRFU with never happened to any male between the higher powers and 1991. Although Irish women’s positive step forward but there is the majority of clubs basically provisional team, ever. clubs, so girls can see a clear rugby has been in decline since no doubt more female influence running the league on their own. Another example came from pathway for them to step into. 2015, this feels like an all-time is need at the very top of the How are women expected to former international rugby Reports also undertaken by the low. IRFU. make the massive jump from player Anna Caplice, who IRFU have to be made public In 2017 Ireland hosted the The failure to qualify for the underage to senior rugby when voiced her disbelieve and so people can what needs to be Women’s World cup ending world cup in 2022 is a serious there is no clear pathway in outrage at the reaction of Linda done, but most of all there has up in an eight-place finish situation that the IRFU find place. Djougang’s try on Saturday last. to be a consist set of games in meaning they missed out on themselves in, but it must equal This issue is amplified by the Anna compared the reaction to a all age groups where females, a qualification for the next a turning point in the sport. men’s side of the sport, with try scored by a male at the rugby like their male counterparts, are tournament. The IRFU carried “The IRFU, no more than the clear stepping stones and guided world 7’s tournament with able to practice their basic skills out a review into that failed players and team management ways of making all the way comments appearing like “ An every single week. Without this campaign, but the report was – as was evident from the up to a senior or international absolute unit”. The comments there is no point in continuing not made public which lead reaction at the end of the game panel. It is an old-age saying under Linda’s try video cam in as the standard will never rise to to the committee setting some against Scotland – are extremely we are told that male players the form of utter disrespect and the level it should be at. There extremely difficult goals for the disappointed that our women’s will not be ready for test rugby abuse “When they can’t tackle” has to be a serious turn around following year through to 2023. team objective of qualifying for until they have been exposed to and “Embarrassing defence”. in the sport and now is the time. These goals for the women’s the Rugby World Cup has not Champions cup or what is now Not one of these comments teams included Rugby World been achieved,” reads an IRFU known as the URC, but where mentioned what a great score it statement from Monday 27th. are female players getting the was from the Irish prop. Anna Sport

Are you Ole In or Ole Out? An Focal’s Cian Dalton aforementioned teams? United fans. I’ll be straight Fans will groan when they see to be consoled by Mike Phelan presents his arguments on Ferguson’s stature is so big Matic warming up to come on, and a few others. Although, it whether Solskjaer should stay upfront with the dear readers although he did change the game was Fred’s cross that started or go and his tenure so successful along with another sub in the the move for Ronaldo’s winner, that United’s fall from grace and tell you that I am Ole in, West Ham game, his splitting and it was Cavani, another sub’s It has been eight years since looks more like a dive off the pass setting up Lingard to score refusal to give up on a dead ball Sir Alex Ferguson retired as one cliff edge. Moyes, Van Gaal and despite the best wishes of the a match-winning screamer. that started that same move. of football’s greatest managers. Mourinho all tried and failed, in He led Manchester United back their own ways, to turn the ship sports editor! I do see what The Norwegian has taken a While Solskjaer should be from the brink of destruction around and bring Manchester lot of flack for his treatment playing Van de Beek more and and moulded them into one United back to the top where people are saying when they of Donny Van De Beek. The Fred a lot less, I think he has of the greatest teams to ever they belonged. The Special One Dutch midfielder arrived from done a great job so far. Do I see play the game of football. His came closest of the three, getting discredit him but Twitter can be Ajax last summer with a price him bringing us back to winning influence was so great and long- the red side of Manchester tag of £37.5 million. He has multiple premier leagues and lasting that different United back to second place. The only toxic and a lot of what is said is barely played since which has Champions Leagues? No. teams from different eras often problem was Manchester City prevented him from running Does he have the squad to do get compared to one another. were 19 points ahead in first. just trolling or unnecessary hate. into any sort of form. His debut that? Yes. Should they change Would the 1999 treble-winning His successor finally matched goal at the beginning of last manager right away to get that team beat the 2008 Champions that feat last season, with the There are some valid points for season is a distant memory. silverware? I don’t think so. League and league winning gap cut down to 12. Recently he has been seen We all took Alex Ferguson side? Would the inaugural his dismissal, but a lot of that is becoming incensed at the and his Manchester United I don’t think that a manager sight of Fred being brought on teams for granted. I am not has divided opinion quite like fans desperate for more trophies convinced that if United and not trusting in the process, changed manager tomorrow they would pick the right in my opinion man for the job. They would go back to someone like Van Solskjaer’s in-game Gaal or Mourinho, someone who might give a few years management can be woeful, before being sacked or resigning. Thomas Tuchel and usually is in big games. would have been my choice for a strong replacement, His refusal to take off Ronaldo but I am not unhappy with Solskjaer. I think he is our paid dividends against Villareal best option right now, and if we win a few trophies along in the Champions League a the way then all the better. Just imagine it – last kick of few weeks ago, but more often the game to win the Premier League and it’s from a sub that the baby-faced assassin brought on with ten minutes to go… Poetry. Premier League winners stand Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in quite than not his tactic of late subs instead of himself in that crunch a chance against either of the some time, especially within is just that… too little, too late. Champions League tie. He had

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