No French fairytale
It was set up for a fairytale ending to the Euros on Sunday evening, but Portugal became party poopers. Or should that be Portugal’s ‘keeper, Rui Patricio, spoiled the party. Even minus the vanity of Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro (his full name), Portugal proved too stubborn to deny France, who should have been crowned champions.
But in some games things don’t always work out the way they should and in Portuguese ‘keeper, Rui Patricio, the final had a new star.
Even on his 52nd international appearance, and at his fourth major tournament, he is one of the most under-appreciated top goalkeepers in Europe.
He has been a one-club player, spending his entire career with Sporting Lisbon, who only rarely play in the Champions League. I could imagine a few clubs in the Premiership wouldn’t mind having him as their No. 1 (Liverpool, Man City . . . any more takers!).
Another good week for Mona
The exploits of Mona McSharry from the Marlins Swimming Club in Ballyshannon, continued last week at the European Junior Swimming Championships, setting more new Irish records and taking home bronze and silver in the 50m and 100m breaststroke.
The 15-year-old Colaiste Cholmcille student keeps on making waves and she can now target a trip to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
Get to Clones on Sunday
Donegal supporters should make a special effort to get to Clones on Sunday to support two very special Donegal teams.
The Donegal minor team gave a special first half performance in their semi-final against Monaghan a few weeks ago, and while they had to dig deep in the second half, they have some special players and can pick up Donegal’s seventh Ulster minor crown. It is 60 years now since Donegal’s first minor success in 1956, and many of that team are among Donegal’s best supporters. The other successes came in 1985, 1991, 1996, 2006 and 2014.
This group can emulate them and take home the An tAthair O Muiri Cup.
The seniors have already created their own history as the most talented group ever to represent the county, but they are still as driven as ever. They are chasing Donegal’s ninth Ulster title, and for many of the panel, a record fourth Anglo Celt. Nine of the panel - Paddy McGrath, Neil McGee, Frank McGlynn, Anthony Thompson, Karl Lacey, Patrick McBrearty, Michael Murphy, Colm McFadden and Martin McElhinney - have the chance to become the first Donegal footballers to play in four successive Ulster finals. They all deserve our support no matter what the result on Sunday, but as most of them said at the press day, losing is not something they like!
Come on Donegal!