To Rory’s dad Ciaran, mum Orlaith and sister Kathleen, my deepest sympathies.
GOLF: Bubba Watson did his bit for America at Augusta on Sunday, but Padraig Harrington did his bit for sport, even if he was on his way home as the green jacket was being fitted. Padraig didn’t win the Masters -- a double bogey at the final hole on Sunday night confirmed he would be an also ran -- but he handled himself impeccably all week, even when victory was running away from him. Unlike some others we could mention, our Padraig didn’t spit and he didn’t throw clubs around. He’s also talking of himself as a Major winner again in the very near future. I wouldn’t doubt him based on this week’s performance.
GAA: The Dublin manager Pat Gilroy is very relaxed about his team’s lack of consistency in the National Football League this season. As an All-Ireland winner, Gilroy knows the real litmus test will come when his side’s championship campaign kicks off eight weeks from now.
Meath boss Seamus McEnaney has no such luxury. Royal County fans want Banty’s head on the block – simply because they know their team, relegated to Division Three by Louth of all people on Sunday. has no championship future this summer. That’s why Banty will do well to survive as Meath manager beyond this weekend.
SOCCER: If you’re young enough and alert enough to know your way around YouTube, have a look for a goal scored by young Craig Forrester of St. Patrick’s Athletic against Shamrock Rovers in the Dublin derby on Friday night. The goal, the second of the game for the teenager, is as good as anything you will see anywhere in the world this year. The exquisite chip was straight out of the Lionel Messi drawer -- and that’s the highest compliment I can pay Craig Forrester. Remember his name. And Google it.
SOCCER: If anyone wants to know why Alex Ferguson was happy to take Paul Scholes back from his retirement home in January here’s a simple fact -- Manchester United haven’t lost a league game since Scholes returned to professional football. They are also about to win the Premier League. Good decision then.
CYCLING: The Tour de France cycling great Bernard Hinault is to partake in a new Celtic series of races, which includes the Tour de Conamara in Galway at the end of May. I’m assuming that Conamara is the French for Connemara. Or else, the organizers can’t spell!
ROWING: No sooner had a “spectator” interrupted the colors boat race between Oxford and Cambridge by jumping into the Thames on Saturday than an Olympic security scare story was doing the rounds in England.
HERO OF THE WEEK
The Celtic players chaired Neil Lennon shoulder high off Rugby Park on Saturday afternoon after his team had hammered Kilmarnock 6-0 to clinch a first Scottish title in four years. Lennon called it the greatest day of his professional life, and he may well have had a point. He has had to put up with so much on and off the field in Scotland that he deserves to enjoy this moment in the sun.
IDIOT OF THE WEEK
The Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini announced on Sunday that Mario Balotelli will be lucky to still be playing professional football within two years. He made his remarks after Balotelli was sent off again, at Arsenal this time, as the title slipped further from City’s grasp. Mancini may well be right, but he is the man who puts the idiotic Balotelli on the pitch and pays him huge wages. They are both at fault.