This has been a tremendously interesting week. Before we begin on our usual chat and conversation, there is one item which is outstanding and which we simply should reflect upon, and that is the rescue of the 12-member boys soccer team and their coach from a flooded cave in Thailand.
That whole episode, to which the world listened breathlessly each day, was an example of courage, tenacity and above all humanity.
There was simply no hope for the young boys as the water in the flooded mines rose and the boys retreated to stony ledge upon stony ledge and waited for what they thought must be inevitable death.
The Thai government assumed a great leadership role, brought in divers from the UK, US and Ireland and worked out a plan which seemed dangerous at its inception and remained dangerous until the 12 boys and the coach were brought out.
The more we read of it, the more we look at the pictures, the more we listen to the professional divers, the more we realise what a huge task they undertook and how very little chance it had of success.
Of course the world rejoiced when they were bought out slowly one by one, and they are now in hospital being treated for whatever medical and psychological traumas they may have suffered during their more than 14 days in the cave.
And yet, one can only marvel, as I’m sure every one of the readers did, at the combined courage of all who participated in that marvellous event. Well done all round, and there is hope for the world when such a calamitous event can be conquered and overcome.
It is difficult to know where to begin with all of the excitement of the last seven days. Firstly, there is the win at the World Cup by France. La Belle France – Les Bleus – were in the end the victors.
Now, as I told you all last week, I did not get to watch any of it, but of course when it came to the end I followed it. I felt that Croatia for such a small country put up a huge fight but the French won out in the end, and all this week Paris and France are lauding their soccer winners.
On Saturday, I went out to Aengus to look at Roscommon versus Tyrone. Tyrone had double the score, 4-24 to Roscommon’s 2-12. Roscommon were not up to the match at all.
They had moments of inspiration but they were just moments, and in the end it was very disheartening to see the final score and to see how quickly the Roscommon defence was dismantled.
Galway had a close but good win over Kerry, and the unlikely but possible scenario now unfolds that Galway could be in the All-Ireland football and hurling semi-finals. But that is all in the lap of the gods for the next few matches.
This week on Thursday I will be going to the Pat Kenny Book Club as usual on Newstalk. Then I have had an interesting invitation on that same Thursday from Oireachtas TV who want to do a film interview with me. I’m looking forward to that because they are doing a series of such interviews which they will be airing some time during the summer.
What on earth are we to make of President Trump and his wanderings last week throughout Europe? First in Brussels at the NATO conference and then on to London, where he was to meet Teresa May and the next day to meet with the Queen.
Teresa May and the British government put on all the glitz of a state visit even though it was not fully so. They had four bands playing music for President Trump and his wife as they alighted for dinner with Teresa May and her husband at Blenheim Palace.
During the course of that dinner it emerged that President Trump had given an interview to The Sun newspaper in London in which he said, inter alia, Boris Johnson would make a better premier than Teresa May, that Brexit was a hopeless case, and all sorts of other things. He then labelled all of that “fake news” until The Sun made public a recording of the interview and there was no escape out of that for him.
To top all that, the poor Queen had to meet him the next day. She was fully attired in her blue coat and hat, white gloves and bag, and President Trump walking up and down beside her to inspect the guard.
No wonder she looked puzzled and stoic all at the one time, but then she’s had to be stoic in so many difficult situations that it is second nature to her now.
Then away off with him to Helsinki where he had a meeting with President Putin, a two-hour one-to-one with no officials on either side, just the two interpreters.
That has driven everyone wild, because of course they don’t know quite what was said between them. However they gave a press conference in which President Trump appeared to exonerate Russia from any meddling in US affairs, completely disregarding the investigation which is being carried out by his own legal department under Mr. Mueller.
There was widespread anger all over about that, but I have always said the people of the US elected him, and it remains to be seen will he be re-elected again.
Helsinki, the capital of Finland, was where the two presidents met, and Helsinki it was as well where the wonderful young Irish athletes in the World Under 20 Athletics Championships gained such success.
The Irish athletes won six medals in youth and junior championships over 10 days. Likewise last weekend we saw the O’Donovan brothers win gold in Vienna. So all round we had great success over last weekend in international sports. Of course all that augurs well for the next Olympic Games.
The oppressive heat has gone but we now have the benefits of beautiful warm, but not too sunny weather. We had some rain over the weekend, enough just to water the flowers but certainly not enough for the farmers.
That’s all for this week. Hope to talk with you all next week.
In the meantime go safely.
Slán go fóill.