Rory’s gesture confirms status as great ambassador!

It’s Monday morning again and as I set off to the day job (don’t know why I put that in, as I haven’t got a night one), still in the so far, trusty old Almera, I am feeling more than happy with the world and as I make my way to the shop in Athlone, I realise that I am basking in the feelgood factor that Rory McIlroy has generated, with his win in yesterday’s Irish Open.


  Now I’m well aware that there are many people out there who, firstly, have no interest in sport and secondly would have even less interest in golf, and so I am not going to bore you with details of the most extraordinary golf shots that McIlroy hit on the 16th and 18th holes to turn what looked like a heartbreaking loss into a memorable, emotional victory.


  I was watching the action on the telly and when he hit the shot to the 16th, the commentators said it would probably be the shot of the entire season. Ten minutes later they were saying that his shot to the 18th was even better and it was now the one to take the accolade as the shot of the year.


  The atmosphere as he walked to the last couple of holes was just unbelievable and McIlroy said later that he will never forget it, but for me, the best and most noteworthy thing about it all was that he donated his entire winnings of €666,000 to his own Foundation, to be divided between three children’s charities, The Jack and Jill Fund, Barretstown and the Laura Lynn Children’s Hospice.


  All told, the weekend’s golf raised over €1,000,000 (a million) for those very deserving charities, so for much more than winning the tournament, I say well done Rory, you truly are a wonderful ambassador for the sport of golf and also for the island of Ireland.

Memories of Joe



Talking of wonderful sporting ambassadors, the world of the GAA was left reeling with the death of former Galway hurler and President of the GAA, Joe McDonagh, during the week. There can be little doubt that the Ballinderreen clubman was an iconic figure. His rendition of ‘The West’s Awake’ on the steps of the Hogan Stand, after the men in maroon and white won the Hurling All-Ireland in 1980, along with Joe Connolly’s speech in Irish was, and still is, one of the great moments in All-Ireland history.


  As a player for Galway, he won an U-21 medal in 1972, a senior one in 1980, a National League in 1975, while as President of the national organisation, he was widely recognised as a progressive, courageous and energetic leader. As I travelled home yesterday evening (Sunday), I found out something else about him. He was also a recording artist and his 1987 version of Mary from Loughrea was played on local radio and was every bit as good as anything else that we hear today. His passing at the young age of 62 is a huge loss to his family and the world at large. May he rest in peace. 



Fair play to Nathan!


There is no need to introduce Nathan Carter to anyone in this country. He is without doubt the number one performer in the massive world of Irish country music, and deservedly at the top of the entertainment tree.


  He featured in the news last week, when Stephen Leighton was in court for trashing his neighbour’s (Jason Keane) apartment in Coleraine, because he was constantly playing Nathan’s huge hit ‘Wagon Wheel’, thereby subjecting him to intolerable mental cruelty.


  It is always said that any publicity, no matter how bad it is, is good publicity and fair play to the singer, he said how he burst out laughing when he heard about the court case and he immediately offered two tickets to Mr. Keane to one of his forthcoming concerts. I presume he took up the offer, but I have to say it was good to see the singer take it all in such a sporting manner.


  On a personal basis, I can think of many a singer who would be more inclined to subject me to intolerable mental cruelty than Nathan Carter, but because I’m still in the Rory feelgood factor I won’t name them and will save that information for another day.


Under (blood) pressure…


Last Wednesday I headed off to Galway, where I was to have a check-up on my old ticker, to see if the stints were still doing their job. Sadly I missed the fact that the new road after ‘Abbey’ was opened. I carried on, on the old road, until I came to a total complete blockage and there was no sign anywhere to tell me which way to go.  I decided to head off towards Corofin and all was going well as I came into the village and continued on until I hit a main road. Sadly I turned the wrong way and about twenty minutes later, I found myself heading into Tuam. By now I was almost late for my appointment and panic began to set in – and if you have recently tried to get parking around the University Hospital in Galway, you will know that it is almost impossible.


  So I wasn’t surprised when the nurse said to me that my blood pressure was a little bit up. I thought to myself, if she only knew what I had gone through, she’d be amazed that I didn’t send the pressure gauge through the roof!  Anyway, I’m due to get it checked again tomorrow (Tuesday), this time with the cardiac girls in Roscommon, so hopefully there will be no road diversions and please God I won’t end up in Elphin or Castlerea. If all goes well I might just be normal (no chance, I hear you say) and ready for another very busy sporting weekend.


Fundraising night for Creggs Rugby Club



This Friday night, 27th of May, Creggs Rugby Club are hold a fundraising night in Longford Greyhound Stadium.


  The first race starts at 8m and tickets are only €10 with children free of charge.


  Also on the night will be a presentation to our successful U-15 and U-17 teams at Longford Greyhound Stadium. (In last week’s column, I stated that the presentation would take place in the Hollywood Bar, Roscommon) 



And finally…


Finally for this week, in the light of Connacht’s amazing victory last Saturday, it’s sad to see that hotel prices for next Saturday’s Pro12 Final in Edinburgh against Leinster have gone through the roof. Today’s Indo talks of hotels quoting upwards of €800 for a double room, while Aer Lingus are charging €625 for a Friday to Sunday return flight.


  I don’t know if the prices will affect the attendance, but one way or the other, Connacht’s presence in the final is another great sporting story – and if they can beat the D4 lads on Saturday evening, I might just have a few celebratory pints in Mikeen’s!


Till next week, bye for now