Garda cyclists' charity tour
THE Tour de Force is a charity cycling event undertaken each year by the members of the Garda Cycling Club based in Dublin. What happens is that each year the gardaí raise a very significant amount of money for a charity of their choice in a four-day event.
In recent years, the cycle has taken place overseas and many well established charities have benefited. This year, the gardaí have decided to bring it all back home and they set out this week from Dublin and on Thursday, June 16, they will arrive in Westport at around 4.30 p.m. after cycling from Dublin via Athlone, Galway and Clifden.
All funds raised this year will be going to the Mayo Cystic Fibrosis building fund for the new CF unit at the Mayo General Hospital. Every cyclist in the event undertook to raise a certain amount of money for the charity and every participant also pays their own costs for the week.
What that means is that every single cent goes to the charity and there is no money lost to the 'middle man' anywhere along the way.
It promises to be a spectacular event in Westport on Thursday with a real carnival atmosphere expected on the Octagon at around 4.30 p.m. when the peleton will arrive in the town with all the accompanying regalia that's associated with cycling. It should be good fun.
Awaiting Olympic tickets
ANYBODY know of anyone who has managed to get a ticket for the Olympics through that much hyped lottery system?
There was an item on the news during last week where a random sample of people who had applied was interviewed and no one had been lucky. One woman told of how her extended family had committed to spending £30,000stg on tickets but only her granddaughter had any luck when getting one £75 ticket.
That seems to be the case for pretty much everyone that this column is aware of that applied. We applied for tickets in a whole range of events but at this stage we're not expecting to have any luck at all.
We had expected to have been informed one way or the other at this stage but we have heard nothing at all. That doesn't mean we won't travel over to London and try and get in to the events but it would have been nice to have had the tickets in the hand before we go.
In the company of greatness
SPEAKING of the Olympics, one person who won't have a problem getting a ticket is Irish swimmer Grainne Murphy. She's one of this country's best hopes of a medal and if she does manage to get on the podium, then her achievement will have been well and truly merited.
This young woman has sacrificed pretty much everything her peers regard as normal. Her entire life is dedicated to her swimming and she really is a magnificent example to young athletes of all disciplines.
Last Saturday morning, sitting poolside at the 50m pool in Limerick, I felt privileged to be able to see her train. She was relentless in her pursuit of excellence.
While we were there she swam non-stop at a pace that I had certainly never seen before for over one hour. It was great to watch and great to realise that one of our truly great young sports people was training side by side with a couple of young swimmers from Westport who had travelled through the early hours of the day to take part in a training camp.
The two young girls from the 'Port might well have been in awe of their more illustrious colleague in the lane beside them but not half as much as the two fathers looking on from poolside. We were in the company greatness and it was an absolute privilege to be there.
Apologies to Celtic
FINALLY. Last week's reference to Castlebar Celtic having players not from the town playing for their first team was not meant to be a slight on the club or any of the players or management involved.
I understand that some offence may have been taken and for that I am genuinely saddened as if there is one club I have the utmost respect for, it is Castlebar Celtic.
I do not 'hate' them as has been suggested. As a Westport United supporter, I regard Celtic as the complete rivals. There is no other game in our season that can come close in terms of anticipation. I know that feeling is shared by Celtic supporters.
As I said earlier, if offence was taken then that saddens me because that was never the intention. Apologies for all the upset; it wasn't meant the way that it was interpreted but that was my fault as I didn't convey properly what I set out to.