Well, Ireland won last Saturday in Melbourne so it’s full steam ahead for Sydney next week, now it really is a competition. Australia won one match and Ireland won another match and now, next Saturday, will be the decider.
I heard it again on a very clear radio signal but next Saturday I’m going out to my son and family before 11am to watch this vital match between the two countries.
It really is very exciting particularly as, from what I could hear on the radio, the play was magnificent last weekend. Some of the players really excelled themselves but none better, of course, than the king himself, Johnny Sexton.
He is always so sure, so reliable and so authoritative that some of the other excellent players just pale beside him.
Later that night, as I watched the news, I saw Joe Schmidt in a short interview and it struck me how his New Zealand accent came through much stronger than it does when he’s interviewed in Ireland.
It must be the fact that he’s back home, so to speak, in near proximity to New Zealand, when he’s in Australia with the Irish team.
His contract has sixteen months more to run but, of course, the IRFU will do their very best to get him to stay on for a longer time, even though he has many highly lucrative offers coming in to him. He is married with four children and, I understand, the lucrative offers are not the main thing that keeps him anchored so firmly in Ireland.
It is the fact that he likes success and he had trained up this team, and all of the substitutes, to be really first class at their game and that is what, I believe, motivates him the most.
An IRFU official, speaking in Melbourne, told Gerry Thornley of the Irish Times that there was a possibility that Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding would, perhaps one day, return to play again within the Irish system and would be available to play for Ireland again.
Jackson has been taken on by Perpignan and Olding has been taken on with Brive. Both men were fortunate to get offers and are, I understand, with the French clubs, playing and training.
However, the whole episode was highly unsavoury and yet the two men are young and it would be, in itself, a travesty if that very unhappy episode kept them away from a game they obviously love and at which they have excelled. But, to my mind, it has left an indelible stain on their characters.
Now we come to the GAA and the poor Rossies who lost to Galway by four points. I watched it on TV and it was a strange game. In the first half Roscommon were supreme on the Douglas Hyde pitch and looked like conquering all before them.
Whatever went on in the changing rooms of the Galway team when they met their trainer, Kevin Walshe, at half time I don’t know, but they must have got some rousing words and a fair rollicking as well.
The Galway team that emerged after half time were absolutely changed from what had been there beforehand, they conquered all around them and that, allied to Roscommon having thirteen wides, meant that Roscommon began to fade from the picture.
I was really sorry for them because they were a far better team than they showed on the pitch, particularly the second half, and I’m sure Kevin McStay had some stern words to say to them when he finally got a hold of them.
There were some excellent players, particularly the Murtagh brothers, but, somehow, they lost their verve and their nerve and the result was they were beaten.
Now, they will get a chance in a few week’s time and, let’s hope that in the interim period, they will have worked themselves up, to compete in a better fashion. Those of us in South Roscommon were very bowled over by the defeat as hopes had been high for the Rossies in this encounter.
The weekend saw the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis and Mary Lou McDonald in full, triumphant mode. She wowed all around her in Belfast at the Ard Fheis and, at subsequent interviews, she was in full confident and competent mood. So where to now?
Both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have said they will not go into coalition with her after the general election. It makes me smile because, of course, it is the voters who will decide who makes up the next government by the way they vote and the numbers they return to Dáil Eireann.
I smile also because I remember Charlie Haughey joining forces with the Progressive Democrats after the 1989 general election, after Fianna Fáil saying never, never, never to coalition. Numbers talk and that will be the political agenda.
I have never joined in the condemnation of President Donald Trump that has been wide-spread since his election. I felt he was doing well for the US and that there were a lot of begrudgers doubting his capability. But, I have to say, I am appalled at his immigrant policy where children are being separated from their parents at the entry to the US.
It is a most immoral practice and to listen to the cries of the children, as young as a year old, who have been forcibly removed from their parents. It makes my blood boil and I cannot understand why the President has adopted this practice.
I’ll give you all a break from Brexit this week, but by the time the Advertiser readers will be perusing this column, Theresa May will have crossed the Rubicon in the House of Commons in London.
Just before an important Brexit Commons vote, she made a promise to some pro-European MPs in her party and then broke it by not following through with the agreed wording.
These Conservative pro-Europeans will not be caught again and she faces, on this Wednesday, a repeat performance following another vote in the House of Lords.
The noose is tightening on Theresa May, and up to this, she has showed the steely side of her character in her determination to stay put and survive. Let’s see how that works out over the next few days.
That’s my lot for this week. Hope to talk with you all next week. In the meantime, go safely.
Slán go Fóill