Well what a wonderful weekend we’ve had, and I hope all of you enjoyed it.
Firstly, we had the fabulous weather, and then we had a feast of sport. There was the women’s international soccer, golf at Lahinch, tennis at Wimbledon, and GAA hurling and football. But out of all of those, what is the one that jumped out at me?
No, not Laois versus Dublin in the hurling, though that was terrific because for one it might have doused down the constant paeans of praise for Dublin from all the commentators. They got their comeuppance from Laois.
No, what appealed to me was this: Mayo are back, and they’re on the go again. They defeated Galway in what was a great match. I didn’t get to see it because Aengus and Lisa were away and they have Sky Sports, but I sat at home and turned on the radio, turned off the phone and turned off the telly, and wallowed in the description of the match. I have to admit Galway were not great at all.
Of course, in the first seven minutes of the match Mayo had scored two goals. Now it is very difficult to come back from that, and I have always thought, in all games, that those who score well and early definitely have the advantage. Galway somehow never seemed to recover from that onslaught, and so it went – though they rallied in the final few minutes and got a goal, and in the end there were just three points between them.
I am so looking forward to Mayo versus Kerry next weekend, and I believe it’s on home TV so we can have no complaint.
I did not look at the women’s soccer up to now, but on Sunday I took a look on TV at the final between the USA and Netherlands. Oh, can those women play! It was a great game, and I was sorry that Europe lost out to the USA. The Netherlands had a fine team, but of course the US had the brawn and the brains. I was interested to see Michelle O’Neill interviewed by Tony O’Donoghue last Monday evening. She was an assistant referee at the match at Lyons on Sunday. She is a Wexford woman, who has good experience at all levels of soccer, and to see her there as one of the chief referees at the Women’s World Cup. You just can’t keep those Wexford people down!!
Next Friday I am going to Cork to a lunch for a Fianna Fáil person who hopes to be a candidate in either the forthcoming by-election to replace Billy Kelleher or the General Election, whichever will come first. I’m looking forward to my visit to Cork, as I always enjoy going there and I haven’t been yet this summer, or in such fine weather.
I was happy to see that Madame Christine Lagarde featured strongly in the arrangement for the top EU posts, in that she is now appointed head of the European Central Bank.
I would like to tell the readers a story about Christine Lagarde which I hope you will enjoy. After Brian Lenihan Jr passed away in 2011, Noel Whelan, Dr. Brian Murphy and I co-edited a book on Brian called ‘In Calm and Crisis’. In it, we asked twenty people, who had close working relationships with Brian during those tumultuous years when he was Minister for Finance, if they would write their recollections and memories of him. The three of us got a number of people to telephone to ask, and Madame was on my list. Everyone we approached responded immediately and generously, and their wonderful recollections and memories piled in to us as editors.
We had difficulty getting a reply from Madame Lagarde’s office. She was at that time the head of the IMF, and they, as you know, were part of the Troika who came into Ireland after the worldwide financial crisis. Finally I rang her office and spoke to a very nice young woman who said she was her personal assistant, and yes, Christine Lagarde had the email from us on her desk, and yes, she was going to do it. But the PA told us she had been a personal friend of Brian and therefore she wanted to write the tribute herself, even though somebody in her office wished to write it for her.
She said “No, no, no, I am writing for Brian myself,” and finally she did, and the day they emailed it back her personal assistant telephoned me again and asked me what I thought of it. It is truly a lovely piece, and in it she called Brian Jr (RIP ) “a beacon in the dark night”.
The piece is lovely, so evocative, and from time to time I pull out the book and read it, and her integrity and sincerity shines through that piece.
I wish her well in her onerous new position and I hope that at some time I would have the opportunity of meeting her in person.
I want to tell all the Advertiser readers about a wonderful roadshow, the 50 Plus Expo, which is on in the Hodson Bay Hotel for two days, next Tuesday July 17 and Wednesday July 18. It’s a marvellous show, and entirely free to everyone, whatever their age. There are tastings, talks on consumer rights, cookery demonstrations and health discussions. Eric Knowles from the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow will be giving free valuations on both of the days. As for myself, I’m giving a talk on creative writing. But overall this is a wonderful show, entirely free and with so many activities. When it is coming to Athlone, it’s a pity not to go and to avail of all the many wonderful and varied exhibitions and talks, etc. I hope to see some of you there, and please come up and talk to me and tell me who you are, and that you read the Advertiser every week. I am sure you do.
So, see you all next week in the Hodson Bay Hotel in Athlone. The show will suit all tastes.
That’s my lot for this week. Hope to talk with you all again next week.
In the meantime, go safely.
Slán go fóill.