Mixed fortunes on a dramatic and thrilling sporting weekend

It’s Monday morning and as I start to write this week’s column I am thinking of the woman who told me a few weeks ago that she likes to read my piece. Except not so much when I go on about sport – and I wonder which of us has got it right.

  To me the weekend that has just gone by was one of the greatest sporting weekends of all time, and while there were and are all kinds of important things going on in the world, in my world the All-Ireland final replay, the Ryder Cup in golf and Aidan O’Brien’s one, two, three in the Prix de L’arc de Triomphe were the big things that went on in my life.

  The dance in Dowd’s on Saturday night, which I will tell you about later, is also up there with me in importance, but equally I am aware that the appalling loss of life in the city of Aleppo, the continuing American Presidency soap opera with Hillary and Donald, and the upcoming Brexit strategy should be what’s dominating my thoughts on this Monday morning.

  I am also old enough to have got to what passes as maturity, but maybe it’s still on its way because all I can think about is the Mayo footballers, their fantastic supporters and in particular their goalkeeper, Robbie Hennelly. In case you have been asleep since Friday, the Mayo management made the call that regular goalie, David Clarke, should be replaced at the last moment by Hennelly – and without being too harsh, it was a decision that pretty much handed the Sam Maguire to a Dublin team that must know they were very lucky to have retained their All-Ireland crown. You often hear the words ‘ah sure it’s only sport’, and indeed it is only sport, but sometimes it can seem a long way from just being a game, and it’s fairly certain that it will be a long time before Robbie Hennelly forgets about and gets over his misfortunes on Saturday. He will come back from this game and because it is sport, sooner, rather than later, he will take his place again in probably his club’s goal and before too long he will put it to the back of his mind and hopefully have another crack at that elusive All-Ireland next year.

  One of the great things about team sports is that you win and lose games together and the rest of the panel will do their best to lift his spirits – and when the dust settles they will resolve to have another cut at it. Their long-suffering supporters will also need a little bit of TLC over the winter, but come next year’s championship, they too will be back and the curse, if there is one, will surely be laid to rest in the next few years. As for the neutral, although I really can’t claim to have been neutral, we had two magnificent battles and although the margin was so tiny, I have to admit that the Dubs were worthy winners and their unbeaten run of twenty-nine games in league and championship speaks for itself.

  In the Ryder Cup, the Yanks hammered the Europeans, but nonetheless it was just amazing to see how revved up Rory McIlroy was and to see how much it meant to him. I think Darren Clarke made a number of selection mistakes with his wild card nominations, but this result will surely see a tremendous battle in two years’ time when it returns to European soil.

  Golf is normally very much a sport in which you are playing solely for yourself, so it was great to see how much it meant to both teams and how everyone took great pride in representing their respective teams.

  As for Aidan O’Brien, his training achievement in having the first three home for the first time ever in 95 runnings of the Prix D’Larc speaks for itself and must be the legendary trainer’s greatest feat in an already glittering career. Horseracing is not something I have a huge interest in but at the same time when someone does something extraordinary, it’s worth acknowledging, and just like Robbie Hennelly, Aidan O’Brien will never forget the weekend gone by – and yet ‘sure it’s only sport’.

A great night in Dowd’s

Anyway back to the dance in Dowd’s in Glinsk on Saturday night, and thankfully it was a tremendous success. The Lancers were in fantastic form and the dance floor was filled from an early hour. Thanks to everyone who bought tickets, all who gave spot prizes, all who sold tickets, all who turned up on the night, to Tommy and Dolores Dowd and their excellent staff and of course, to The Lancers. It looks as if in its 11th year, the event was the most successful to date. We will have final figures for you in next week’s People and we will present the funds to representatives of Cancer Care West and the Lourdes Invalid Fund in the next week or so.

  Anyway, thanks to everyone for their support and the only sad note for me was that a lady who shall remain nameless told me she was very disappointed with the quality of my jiving. She had read that I was the jiving champion of Creggs, a self-presented title, and said my jive with my daughter Tara – I only had the one dance – left a lot to be desired! I must take up dancing classes for the winter and please God, next year, I’ll show her!

Money madness?

A couple of weeks ago I told you about the outrageous cost of renting in our Capital city and I gave you a couple of examples which had been mentioned to me by people who had been affected by the recent hikes in rental prices. You would think that was bad enough, but today I am reading that in Japan, we as a country are paying €50,000 a month to provide a luxury residence for our Japanese Ambassador in Tokyo. We also pay for an Embassy building, which is cheaper and more modest, but it seems most of the thirty to forty official events which take place every year are held in the residence.

  Now I accept we probably need an ambassador in Japan, but surely it must be possible to find a property that would be less expensive and if most of the events take place in the residence why do we need a separate embassy at all? I suppose the taxpayer is paying for it and maybe the guts of a million euro is only chicken feed to the Exchequer, but it seems to me that it’s another example of unnecessary expense and even if they only saved half of the rent money, it would help to employ a few more workers in the totally overrun health services. Sometimes I wonder if solutions appear to be so simple, that the brain boxes who run our Government Departments just overlook them.

Come on Creggs!

Finally, for this week, our local footballers are in the County Junior Final on Sunday next against Kilglass Gaels and they will need all the support they can get, so get to Strokestown for 2 pm and please God we can win the title for the first time in 33 years.

  Our neighbours, Oran, are playing in the Intermediate Final against Kilmore afterwards, and it would be great if they too could be successful. Here’s hoping for a local double.

Till next week, bye for now