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Bernie Sanders is all bark and no bite

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Bernie Sanders is all bark and no bite - Gage Skidmore, Flickr
Bernie Sanders is all bark and no bite - Gage Skidmore, Flickr
Bernie Sanders is all bark and no bite - Gage Skidmore, Flickr
Bernie Sanders is all bark and no bite – Gage Skidmore, Flickr

2020 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is all bark and no bite.

The Vermont senator, 78, has been gaining significant ground lately – support that has landed him in the crosshairs of other candidates, as well as former First Lady Hillary Clinton.

But just like the 2016 election, the cantankerous, democratic socialist is proving he doesn’t have the chutzpah to win the party’s nomination – never mind the White House.

Four years ago Sanders was building a grassroots, anti-establishment, largely millennial movement of supporter’s who loathed then frontrunner Clinton. Closing the gap in the polls, an ideal opportunity presented itself when a question on Clinton’s e-mail controversy was put to him at a CNN debate.

At the time GOP candidate Donald Trump was castigating Clinton for using a private email server for official use during her tenure as U.S. Secretary of State – which critics argued violated federal law.

However, instead of turning the screw, Sanders gave Clinton a pass.

“The American people are sick and tired of hearing about, your damn emails,” he bemoaned. A beaming Clinton turned to Sanders, shook his hand and thanked him.

Over the next few weeks, Clinton re-established her lead over Sanders who, in fairness, rallied again, but as WikiLeaks revealed, forces within the Democratic National Committee (DNC) were tipping the scales in favor of Clinton and she ultimately clinched the nomination. Instead of calling out the shenanigans, anti-establishment Sanders went on to endorse the establishment candidate.

Fast forward to this campaign and Sanders is still rolling over.

Last week, Sanders cowered in the wake of a sleuth of attacks from Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, and Joe Biden – refusing to take the gloves off against fellow Democrats.

CLINTON

In an interview published by the Hollywood Reporter, Clinton, 72, blasted Sanders as “a career politician,” saying she felt “so bad” that “people got sucked into” him.

“He was in Congress for years,” she said.

“He had one senator support him. Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done.”

A remarkable attack from a fellow Democratic, and someone without any skin in the game.

Yet, it was Sanders doing the apologizing.

“I am sorry for what Secretary Clinton had to say. I know she said that nobody likes me, right? I mean, this is not the kind of rhetoric that we need right now.”

BIDEN

Sanders was also apologizing for one of his surrogates penning a Guardian Op-Ed last Monday describing Biden as having “a big corruption problem.”

Sanders could have easily distanced himself from the piece and let Biden’s problem fester. After all, Biden is his main rival and the heat encircling Biden and his son Hunter’s dealings in Ukraine when he was vice-president is getting hotter by the day. What’s more, Rudy Giuliani has been adding more fuel to the charges.

Instead, Sanders apologized unconditionally to Biden.

 “It is absolutely not my view that Joe is corrupt in any way,” Sanders said. “And I’m sorry that that op-ed appeared.”

Biden, 77, responded by accepting the apology – then later released a campaign ad attacking Sanders.

WARREN

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, 70, also got in on the action claiming Sanders said that a woman could not be elected president. Sanders denied the claim.

Moments after Iowa’s presidential debate concluded last, Warren confronted Sanders and, refusing to shake his hand, said he had called her a liar on national television – the uncomfortable exchange was caught on a “hot mic.”

But Sanders cowered and walked away.

One would think that Sanders would counter with Warren’s false claims of Native American ancestry. After all, they are both courting the party’s progressive wing.

If Sanders can’t defend himself from attacks within his own party, what chance would he ever have of defeating Donald Trump?

Maybe the bern is just too hot for Bernie.

 

 

End of an era with death of Matty Maher, owner of legendary Manhattan bar, McSorleys – Irish Examiner

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Legendary: Matty Maher, owner of McSorley’s Old Ale House in Manhattan in 1985. Photo: Getty Images
Legendary: Matty Maher, owner of McSorley’s Old Ale House in Manhattan in 1985. Photo: Getty Images
Legendary: Matty Maher, owner of McSorley’s Old Ale House in Manhattan in 1985. Photo: Getty Images
Legendary: Matty Maher, owner of McSorley’s Old Ale House in Manhattan in 1985. Photo: Getty Images

A good deed in the 1960s eventually led the Kilkenny man to New York’s oldest bar

Michael Dorgan, New York

It was the American Dream hitched on an Irish roadside.

In 1964 Harry Kirwin, proprietor of New York City’s famed McSorley’s Old Ale House, was holidaying in his native Kilkenny when his car suffered a flat tyre.

As luck would have it, a 25-year-old farmer and meat delivery driver, Matthew “Matty” Maher came upon the stranded publican and offered him a ride. In return, Kirwin promised the Three Castles man a job should he ever find himself in the Big Apple.

Shortly after, Maher took him up on the offer and began bartending at the small watering hole on East 7th Street which lays claim to the boast of Manhattan’s oldest, continuously operated bar. Working his way up to manager, Maher bought the bar and its premises off Kirwin’s son 43 years ago and ran it up until his death last Saturday. He was 80.

“He took a lot of pride from this bar, and was a very active owner,” says Shane Buggy, Maher’s second cousin and a 12-year McSorley’s bartender.

“He had a story for every occasion and no matter who walked through the door, from Ohio to Tokyo, he’d have a story for them. He would crack you up, a character, one of those rare old school gems and he never, ever lost his accent or his Irish sense of pride or even the culture.

“He loved ‘25,’ and still had it, he’d read your mind, he was a genius and just a lot of fun.”

“It’s still cash only, the cash register is the original owner’s cigar box and the fridge behind the bar is the original ice box from 1854.”

Renowned for its sawdust-sprinkled floors and two drink menu – which are flung much less passed across the bar to patrons – a walk through McSorley’s saloon doors is akin to a trip back to the mid-19th century, when a wave of Irish immigrants began arriving after the Great Famine.

“This bar is almost as true to what you would have walked into in 1854”, says Buggy. “You’re getting two beers at a time – a pale ale and a porter – we share tables, you don’t get a table to yourself, there’s no reservations, still cash only, the cash register is the original owner’s cigar box and the fridge behind the bar is the original ice box from 1854.”

To the left of centre lies a large potbelly stove whose black chimney runs up and along the ceiling toward the bar on the right.

“Some customers prefer mulled ale”, wrote Joseph Mitchell in The New Yorker, on April 13, 1940. “They keep their mugs on the hob until the ale gets as hot as coffee.”

Matty Maher, owner of the historic McSorley’s Old Ale House in Manhattan’s East Village, New York City, has passed away aged 80 after a battle with lung cancer.
Matty Maher, owner of the historic McSorley’s Old Ale House in Manhattan’s East Village, New York City, has passed away aged 80 after a battle with lung cancer.

Like its brew, the walls are overflowing with pictures, posters and various memorabilia from sports to American and Irish history.

The newspaper announcing Abraham Lincoln’s death in 1865 hangs in the front room (as does the chair he sat on when he visited in 1860) as well as an original ‘Wanted’ sign for his assassin John Wilkes Booth and an image of Sligo’s Michael Corcoran, a Lincoln confidant and founding member of the Fenian Brotherhood, who led the ‘fighting Irish’ 69th regimen (based down the street) to the Civil War. An original 1866 Fenian bond is also on display.

Babe Ruth’s farewell photo taken off the original negative and signed by the photographer (a former regular) is displayed prominently above the old taps and banquet menus, autographs, theatre programs,

political posters, police shields, horse shoes and a myriad of other historical artefacts don its surroundings.

A cluster of shillelaghs are stacked in the corner and a backroom sign warns “BE GOOD OR BEGONE,” next to a picture of Michael Collins.

“It’s a bar with a museum on its walls,” smiles Buggy.

Patrons have come and gone from this world – and some have even returned again. Buggy pulls out an old whiskey flask from behind the bar belonging to their former caretaker – his ashes inside. The remains of 12 more are back there too.

Dust covered wishbones dangle somewhat disconcertingly from the gas light fixture. After being treated to a final turkey dinner by the original owner’s son Bill McSorley, departing WW1 soldiers hung them for good luck. Returning vets were repatriated with their charms, the rest hang as a symbol of their colleague’s sacrifices.

Having survived Prohibition, and forced to brew their own beer in the basement, McSorley sold the bar to Kirwin’s father-in-law, a retired police officer named Daniel O’Connell in 1936 – a relative of the great Irish Emancipator.

His daughter Dorothy was handed the reins after his death almost four years later but the bars “no ladies” policy left Kirwin in control and a court order forced it to change tack in 1970.

Geoffery ‘Bart’ Bartholomew, McSorley’s longest serving bartender of 48 years describes what happened if a woman snuck in.

“There’s a big bell over there from old Madison Square Garden which the daytime manager John Smith would ring and all the men would stand up and stop. There would be complete silence and the woman would be shamed into leaving.

“It was psychologically brutal then but times change.

“We had a big group of regulars at that time from the neighborhood, especially East Village, a lot of World War II veterans, they were just traditionalists, they thought the place should be there’s and a men’s hideout so to speak.”

In 1986, Maher made McSorley’s greatest concession to progress – he installed a women’s restroom. Although only 5’ 8”, he was of stocky build with mightily strong forearms which helped buff up security during years of various drug epidemics in the city.

In the 80’s and 90s members of the Clancy Brothers would play McSorley’s on its anniversary (the only day it’s permitted) and in later years Maher enjoyed nothing more than listening to his youngest daughter Maeve sing on the special day.

A family man, Maher only ever closed for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

Customers were treated to days out to Monmouth Park Racetrack where the “McSorley Stakes” is held in June every year.

Maher was a regular Croke Park attendee for Kilkenny All-Ireland senior hurling finals, including last August’s defeat to Tipperary.

An ardent Cats supporter, he proudly bought a table at the county’s New York fundraising dinner with St Kieran’s College in November. “We were here before you were born” read a McSorley’s ad in the night’s journal programme.

The New York Times’ announcement of his death this week would also have chimed with anyone who knew Matty Maher or McSorley’s on Manhattan’s lower East side.

“An institution within an institution”, it read.

This article first appeared in the Irish Examiner on January 18, 2019.

Headlining Irish boxer Spike O Sullivan defeated in Texas

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Corkman Gary ‘Spike’ O Sullivan suffered an 11th-round TKO against Mexican Jaime Munguia at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, on Saturday night.

The Mahon man was headlining the much-anticipated world middleweight bout for Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy promotion which was streamed by over-the-top subscription service DAZN.

However, it wasn’t to be for the gallant 35-year-old who was no match for his rivals longer reach and potent left-handed jabs.

Munguia, who defeated fellow Irish man Dennis Hogan in controversial circumstances last year, left no doubt about the result on this occasion, roaring out of the blocks in the opener and a quick combination followed by a thunderous left hook had O’ Sullivan dazed as the bell rang.

The 23-year-old former WBO junior middleweight titlist, who was making his debut at middleweight,  looked much the sharper in the earlier exchanges but didn’t have it all his own way, a powerful right hand from O’Sullivan dazed him at the very end of the third.

But that was the closest he got as Munguia recomposed himself and began effectively using his jab to stave off the O’Sullivans advances and began mixing it up with quicker headshots and smart body shots.

Munguia was penalized with a one-point deduction by referee Mark Calo-oy in the sixth following a low blow to O’ Sullivan and he took a knee in the seventh after another punch flew south of the border – the crowd incensed now at what they felt were play-acting tactics but replays suggested otherwise.

O’Sullivan struggled to find an opening in the latter rounds and began to empty in the tenth, his corner asking him if he had enough before the eleventh.

He bravely continued but Munguia, 13 years junior, sensed blood and after an array heavy two-shot combos, O’ Sullivan’s team called time as he hit the ropes and crumbled to the canvas.

“A fighter always wants to fight on, but sometimes you’re too brave for your own good,” said O’Sullivan – who initially seemed incensed at trainer Paschal Collins’s decision to throw in the towel.

O’Sullivan’s record now stands at a respectable 30 wins from 34 outings – with all four defeats coming from former world champions.

“I think he is strong at middleweight and he can do good things at the weight. Golden Boy (promoters) said they are going to get me a world title shot at light middleweight,” O’Sullivan added .

“I think he was stronger at 160lbs than he was at 154lbs. He was the bigger guy in there, but I nearly took him out a few times as well.

“I rocked him a few times. I just want to go home and take some time off from boxing now and spend some time with my kids. I want to take a break from boxing for a while.

 

Michael Conlan gains Rio revenge over Nikitin in New York – The Irish Times

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Michael Conlan scored a unanimous decision over Vladimir Nikitin in New York. Photograph: Emily Harney/Inpho
Michael Conlan scored a unanimous decision over Vladimir Nikitin in New York. Photograph: Emily Harney/Inpho

Michael Conlan scored a unanimous decision over Vladimir Nikitin in New York. Photograph: Emily Harney/Inpho
Michael Conlan scored a unanimous decision over Vladimir Nikitin in New York. Photograph: Emily Harney/Inpho

Belfast fighter scores unanimous decision over Russian who beat him at Olympics

Michael Dorgan 

Michael Conlan avenged his controversial 2016 Olympic Games defeat to Vladimir Nikitin with a decisive victory over the Russian at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.

While the final call was left to the judges, this time around the Belfast native got his due rewards – inflicting a unanimous points decision win over his former amateur foe (100-90, 99-91 and 98-92 ).

The outcome was never in doubt and after being tested early doors, 28-year-old Conlan gradually assumed control as the fight progressed and finally put to bed a saga which shook world amateur boxing.

Conlan cut a focused figure as he approached the ring to his now customary entrance song “Grace,” mixed with James Brown’s “Payback.” The strong Irish contingent played their part too, lighting up the ‘home of boxing,’ with chants of “olé, olé, olé.”

In what was their third showdown – Nikitin also narrowly triumphed back in 2013 as well – it was the 29-year-old Olympic bronze medalist who looked like the man with the most to prove and probably took an underwhelming first round.

Michael Conlan with Vladimir Nikitin after their fight in New York. Photograph: Emily Harney/Inpho
Michael Conlan with Vladimir Nikitin after their fight in New York. Photograph: Emily Harney/Inpho

Fighting southpaw, Conlan began ramping up the gears in round three, landing some nice left hands mixed with body shots and smartly dodging Nikitin’s counters with some fast upper body movement.

Conlan switched to orthodox in the fifth and Nikitin came at him with some heavy combinations up top which had the Irishman on the ropes.

Conlan readjusted and soon began finding his range. Looking more relaxed, he used his jab that bit more to keep the restless Nikitin at bay – who was needlessly sapping his own energy by continously bobbing from side to side.

The highlight of the contest came in the seventh as both fighters locked horns in a pulsating exchange of attritional blows, which drew claps of appreciation from the crowd.

From there though Conlan looked in control and began holding his ground more. Nikitin came at him with some combinations but none appeared to sway Conlan who was far more efficient and economical with his shot selection, probing inside the pocket and letting rip.

The fight was interrupted momentarily in the eight as Conlan caught Nikitin with a low blow but the Falls Road man got back to business with a heavy right hook which left Nikitin unsteady on his feet. Conlan sniffed a finisher with another hard right but the tough Russian was nothing if not game and battled back with some heavy hits of his own.

Into the final quarter and both fighters were now wearing the signs of battle – Conlan with a cut to his right eye while Nikitin’s left began to swell. Conlan was letting fly with left and right hook combinations and dropping downstairs to keep Nikitin guessing – capping off the round with a pin-point short right to Nikitin’s chin.

After all the hype you would be forgiven to think bad blood runs deep between these two competitors – after all, Nikitin sports a nasty head scar from round two of this trilogy. But nothing could be further from the truth.

An embrace before the final bell conveyed their mutual respect – a nonchalant pat on the head from Conlan acknowledging the beef was never personal before bringing the curtain down on the protracted affair.

Vladimir Nikitin catches Michael Conlan during his defeat in New York. Photograph: Al Bello/Getty
Vladimir Nikitin catches Michael Conlan during his defeat in New York. Photograph: Al Bello/Getty

“It was a lot of pressure,” Conlan admitted afterwards. “ I feel like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders, its nice to get it done.”

“Vladimir is a good guy and I’ve always said that. I needed to right that wrong,” Conlan added.

“Full credit to Nikitin, who fought his heart out. There’s no bad blood. There never was.

“It is what it is, I’m done with it. 2016 is never going to change, it’s history lets just move on.”

Conlan, who stretched his professional undefeated streak to 13 (seven KOs), believes his experience played an important role over an opponent who was only appearing for the fourth time in the elite ranks.

“The thing that did matter was I had gone the distance before and you could see he was kind of blowing towards the end.

“You can see Nikitin can take it, I wobbled him and tried to go for it a bit and maybe I could have got him, but it is what it is.”

“I would have scored it 8-2 maybe. I was letting the hands go myself a small bit but it was comfortable. Maybe I shouldn’t box as comfortable as I do but its so easy so what’s the point in making it hard?

“Its all progression as well because every fight is different, there has to be some difference. We’ve all been saying I need someone to come forward and he didnt actually do it he didn’t really box, even when he was coming forward he wasn’t really fully at it.

“Its all progression moving to bigger things, I really don’t want to be doing this [middle finger] any more – I’m fed up with it.

“Thank God I can get this monkey off my back and just move on.”

Conlan will look forward to 2020 to a world featherweight title fight being earmarked for Belfast on August 1st. But that’s not before a return fight in New York on St Patrick’s Day and some other important business.

“I want a Christmas dinner with ham and all the trimmings!” he beamed.

“I want to enjoy this. Too many people get asked this question and blurt some bull. I love Christmas, we’re going to enjoy New York.”

This article first appeared in the Irish Times on December 15, 2019. To view the original version, click here.

‘Gender is not an issue,’ says New York GAA’s first female chairperson – Irish Examiner

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Joan Henchy: ‘My main goal is to continue the growth in our youth and development squads.’ Picture: Michael Dorgan
Joan Henchy: ‘My main goal is to continue the growth in our youth and development squads.’ Picture: Michael Dorgan
Joan Henchy: ‘My main goal is to continue the growth in our youth and development squads.’ Picture: Michael Dorgan
Joan Henchy: ‘My main goal is to continue the growth in our youth and development squads.’ Picture: Michael Dorgan

Joan Henchy insists that ‘gender is not an issue’ after she was elected as the first female chairperson of New York GAA.

In doing so, she becomes only the third woman to head up a GAA county board, and the first outside of Ireland. She follows in the footsteps of Tyrone’s Roisin Jordan and Cork’s Tracey Kennedy — but doesn’t wish to dwell on the achievement too much.

“The Association has evolved so much in the last 20 years that I don’t see the gender issue at all,” says Henchy. “Putting your name forward for positions and clubs backing you, gender is not an issue. It’s based on your record and work ethic and who can do the best job for the Association.

“I don’t think gender played a major role at all at, thankfully. But I am extremely proud and it’s great for younger girls coming through. It shows that if they want to be involved, it’s doable.”

Although born in the US, Henchy grew up in Tarbert, before returning to the Empire State in 1985.

The daughter of former Fianna Fáil senator Dan Kiely, Henchy has immersed herself in New York GAA for the last two decades — serving as public relations officer, registrar, and trustee and has just concluded her maximum five-year stint as county secretary.

While admitting the job seems “daunting” in many respects, she is determined to build on the massive strides made at underage level inrecent years.

“My main goal is to continue the growth in our youth and development squads and working with the minor board to get more playing pitches, which we’re lacking.

“We have county development squads for 17 to 22-year-olds in both football and hurling, which are doing great, and for the last five years my primary focus was to create a bridge between them and the senior panel.”

“We want the young kids to know that they can make it to the senior squad someday and wear their county jersey with pride, playing against the likes of Roscommon or Galway.

Read More: Kerry New York’s big day in Croke Park has already come

“Challenges in fixtures and time constraints echo those of county boards across Ireland — although the New York situation is slightly different in that regard. Summer is our championship season and getting games played off while at the same time maximising the contribution of our 90-day sanctions has been demanding.

“At senior level, you could have 10 consecutive weekends of games and it’s very hard for players to have a personal life. We do the best we can, but we’re growing in size. Our junior division alone has 22 teams with almost all our games played in Gaelic Park.”

Years in planning and mired in delays, Henchy will be expected to deliver on a new clubhouse at the county’s headquarters in The Bronx and has asked her predecessor Laurence McGrath to remain on the board’s management committee to help streamline the process.

“Fundraising is under way with work expected to start in the new year, and the project should take approximately 12 months then to complete,” she says.

At inter-county level, Henchy is defiantly opposed to any restructuring of the All-Ireland Football Championships which would threaten New York’s provincial status or necessitate an autumn fixture as part of a new two-tiered system – but welcomes extra games with open arms.

“As far as I’m concerned, New York belong in the Connacht Championship, and I will be doing everything I can to maintain our status.

“From a provincial standpoint, we’ve been involved since 1999 and I want to make sure that we maintain our involvement. A game like that is hugely important to the Irish community here.

“It’s a day everybody enjoys and people come from near and far to be part of it, regardless of the result.”

“Any restructuring will have to involve and include New York and an October date would not be welcome. We’d like to break that glass ceiling and win our first round, and we’re not too far away.”

Henchy believes home-grown players will play a pivotal role in accomplishing that feat and hold the keys to the future.

“The focus has to be on our native-born players. Immigration has slowed down and it would be very wrong of us to say otherwise.”

Longford native Gerry Fox has taken the senior team’s reins having guided Sligo club to their first New York county senior football title, and is on Henchy’s wavelength.

“He has great structures and plans in place, and it includes a number of our development squads,” she says.

“The developments squad manager is a selector to help identify our kids and 15 of them have been called into the panel. It’s really exciting to see the fruits of the labour for the last number of years coming to fruition.”

This article first appeared in the Irish Examiner on December 16, 2019. To view the original version, click here.

Conlan presented with ideal opportunity to avenge Olympic ‘robbery’ – Irish Times

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Michael Conlan Olympics 2016 finger
A furious Michael Conlon shows what he thinks of the judges following his controversial defeat to Vladimir Nikitin in the bantamweight quarter-final at the Rio Olympics. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
A furious Michael Conlon shows what he thinks of the judges following his controversial defeat to Vladimir Nikitin in the bantamweight quarter-final at the Rio Olympics. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Belfast man eager to extend his unbeaten pro record at the expense of Rio opponent Nikitin

Michael Dorgan 

They were the middle fingers which sent shockwaves around the world and changed Olympic boxing forever.

Michael Conlan had just succumbed to a points defeat to Vladimir Nikitin in their quarter-final clash at Rio’s 2016 Olympics, even though the Irish fighter appeared to have blatantly outboxed his Russian opponent.

Rumours of dodgy officiating circulating the Olympic village beforehand now appeared true and Conlan looked to have been on the receiving end. Incensed at the decision, the Belfast man spun around the ring with his middle fingers defiantly raised at the judges who bore responsibility for shattering his gold medal dreams.

He then made his way to RTÉ’s live cameras and excoriated the International Boxing Association (AIBA) who were overseeing the tournament in a profanity-laden interview.

While dark forces and dirty politics have always lingered around the sport of boxing, Conlan had just blown the lid off the Olympic version.

In the aftermath, the International Olympic Committee initiated various investigations and, always citing the Conlan verdict, suspended AIBA and the judges who presided over the competition.

The result, however, stood.

Read More: Michael Conlan keeps up unbeaten start to pro career in New York – Irish Times

Such was the beating Nikitin endured, he wouldn’t make it to the semi-finals yet still returned home with a bronze medal.

On Saturday night at New York’s Madison Square Garden, Conlan has the chance to avenge the “Rio robbery” as the two face off for the first time since their now infamous clash.

“It’s redemption and getting the chance to right that wrong,” said Conlan ahead of the highly anticipated bout. “It’s the story and history behind it. Everybody in life, no matter who you are, has probably been screwed over.

“Whether it’s work or life in general, whether it’s sport or not, it’s to see someone get redemption for something. Judgement doesn’t really come round, people don’t really get that back. The fact that I’m going there I think a lot of people have fed into that and know the storyline or followed it with intent.”

Conlan says he has no qualms about his reaction and holds no grudge towards Nikitin.

“I regret not staying in the ring a little bit longer but I don’t regret what I did, I don’t regret what I said. Everything has kind of come full circle now. Those 36 judges and the Russian federation are banned from Tokyo and AIBA is gone so I feel everything was just.

Remains unbeaten

“He’s always been nice. He’s boxed on my undercard a few times and he’s always helloing. It’s not personal, maybe more so for him. He came over today [before their public workouts] and shook hands but his career is remembered for a controversial win over me rather than him being a medallist in the Olympics so for me it’s just business.”

Conlan has never shied away from that experience and instead used it to spur on his professional career where he remains unbeaten after 12 fights, seven of those coming by way of knockout.

In fact, the 28-year-old is already the number one contender for American Shakur Stevenson’s WBO featherweight belt which means this fight holds more risk than reward. Paradoxically, Nikitin, in only his fourth professional bout, has a lot more to gain and little to lose.

Read More: Headlining Michael Conlan building towards world title shot – Irish Examiner

“It’s going to be his world title fight, it’s the be-all-and-end-all for him really and he has a lot riding on it so I’m prepared for the best Vladimir Nikitin there’s going to be.”

“It’s something I’ve been looking forward to and that’s motivated me a lot in this training camp because I know, not necessarily because of the decision, I just know how tough he can be so it’s made me train that much harder.”

‘The Garden’ has become a home away from home for the former World and European amateur champion and he expects to draw from his loyal fan base to get him over the line but only sees one outcome.

“No matter by hook or by crook I’ll get the job done and I’ll do it dramatically too.”

The fight is part of a live ESPN broadcast where WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford defends his title against Egidijus Kavaliauskas in the evening’s main event.

This article first appeared in the Irish Times on December 13, 2019. To view the original version, click here.

Hogan has no regrets after stepping up in weight

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The Kildare man will drop back down to super-welterweight in his search of an elusive world title

Michael Dorgan in New York

Dennis Hogan has no regrets about making the step up to middleweight following his knock out defeat to WBC world champion Jermall Charlo at the Barclays Center in New York Saturday night.

The unheralded Australian-based fighter comprehensively lost to the undefeated Texan who boasted distinct size, power and strength advantages in the Showtime Sports-televised main event.

Hogan succumbed to a controversial majority point’s decision in his WBO Super Welterweight bout with Jaime Munguia in Mexico last April and when a rematch wasn’t granted, he accepted a move up to 160lbs for his second consecutive world title shot.

Yet while there was little doubt about the result this time around, the Kildare native lost little in defeat for a gutsy performance.

“When this opportunity came I thought, ‘do I really want to be doing this, there’s an unknown there,’ but you could be going for an eliminator somewhere else and who knows how long that could take.

“Even if you’re mandatory [challenger] it can take a year and a half and I didn’t know whether I wanted to take the fight or sit around and wait 15 weeks so I dare to be great.”

Hogan began promisingly with one judge awarding him the opening two rounds in a standoffish affair.

Still, Hogan was finding it hard to penetrate the six-footer’s clear height and reach advantage and “The Hitman” soon began discovering his range.

12 seconds into round four a thunderous left hook turned uppercut sent the Kilcullen man into a backward somersault leaving his right foot entangled in the ropes.

Dazed, Hogan made it to his feet for an eight count but a buoyed Charlo suddenly ramped up the ante in search for the finisher.

To his credit, the 34-year-old regained his composure and swerved the onslaught with some smart defensive work.

Hogan fought on gallantly but by round five Charlo looked in complete control and it was looking increasingly difficult to see how he could inflict any meaningful damage on the 29-year-old who looked more assured in every department – mixing it up with sharp jabs, his signature uppercut and powerful left hooks.

Hogan was less accurate too landing only 71 of 418 (17 percent) to Charlo’s 86 of 266 punches (32 percent) which also sapped the Irishman’s energy levels.

The vocal Irish crowd did their best to rejuvenate Hogan but by round seven Charlo ended proceedings in devastating fashion.

A smart feint forced Hogan to reach for a counter, but it only served to lower his guard just enough for Charlo to pounce with a flooring left hook right on the nose.

“The Hurricane” climbed to his feet but couldn’t muster another storm and a sideways stumble forced the official to call time 28 seconds in – Hogan’s first-ever stoppage in 32 professional bouts.

“I wanted to keep going but the decision was fair enough by the referee” said a bitterly disappointed Hogan afterward.

“I didn’t see the punch coming on the second knockdown. I was trying to keep boxing him but then all of a sudden I was on the ground and the fight was over.”

“You just feel that strength, that strength was something you don’t feel in a 154-pound division.”

“It was different and those times he caught me were just like lightning, I had no idea both times.”

“That was brand new to me and I’m OK with it. All props to Charlo, he’s a phenomenal fighter and I can see why he’s having problems getting fights in the 160 division.”

Charlo dedicated his 30th pro victory to his daughter, Journey, who was born last month and rougher waters lie ahead with Canelo Alvarez, Gennadiy Golovkin and Demetrious Andrade holding the WBA, IBF and WBO titles, respectively.

Although he’ll turn 35 in March, Hogan has no plans to retire and revealed Showtime Sports President Stephen Espinoza has guaranteed him a super-welterweight fight when he’s ready.

“I can’t see me giving up, I had no plans before and I have no plans now so I’ll go rest up and turn off my brain for four weeks, I trained extremely hard for this, it’s just crazy the amount of work I did.

“I deserve a bit of luck, the amount of things that have gone the opposite way for me, but that’s the way my story usually goes but I do get there, and persistence is a key I surely have so I’ll keep sticking with that.”

“I feel like I’ve got everything ready to go for the next one.”

“I know I have to get back down to 154 and pursue my dream of being world champion.”

“There’s one more go in me and 154 is where it’s at.”

 

Dennis Hogan suffers seventh round knockout in New York

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Jermall Charlo stopped Dennis Hogan in the seventh in New York. Photograph: Emilee Chinn/Getty
Jermall Charlo stopped Dennis Hogan in the seventh in New York. Photograph: Emilee Chinn/Getty
Jermall Charlo stopped Dennis Hogan in the seventh in New York. Photograph: Emilee Chinn/Getty
Jermall Charlo stopped Dennis Hogan in the seventh in New York. Photograph: Emilee Chinn/Getty

34-year-old struggles with the step up to middleweight against Jermall Charlo

Michael Dorgan in New York

Kildare native Dennis Hogan suffered a round seven knockout defeat to WBC World Middleweight champion Jermall Charlo at the Barclays Center in New York on Saturday night.

Having tasted world title defeat in controversial circumstances eight months ago, Hogan moved up in weight to headline Showtime’s main event against the undefeated “Hitman,” but was no match for his overwhelming size, power and strength.

The Australia-based 34-year-old began lively and a hard left hook in the opener was the highlight of an evenly matched two round salvo.

Still, Hogan was finding it hard to penetrate the six foot Texan’s clear height and reach advantage, who soon began discovering his range.

12 seconds into round four Hogan found himself on the canvas for the first time in his professional career.

A thunderous left hook come uppercut sent the Kilcullen man into a backward somersault leaving his right foot entangled in the ropes.

Hogan made it to his feet for an eight count but a buoyed Charlo ramped up the ante in search for the finisher.

To his credit, Hogan regained his composure and fought on gallantly but by round five Charlo looked in complete control and it was hard to see how he could inflict any meaningful damage on the 29-year-old, who looked more assured in every department, mixing it up with sharp jabs, his signature uppercut and powerful left hooks.

Dennis Hogan suffered a seventh round knockout in new York. Photograph: Peter Foley/EPA
Dennis Hogan suffered a seventh round knockout in new York. Photograph: Peter Foley/EPA

The vocal Irish crowd did their best to rejuvenate Hogan but by round seven Charlo ended proceedings in devastating fashion.

A smart feint forced Hogan to reach for a counter, but it only served to lower his guard just enough for Charlo to pounce with a flooring left hook.

“The Hurricane” climbed to his feet for another eight count but the wind in his sails vanished with a sideways stumble and the official called time 28 seconds in.

“I wanted to keep going but the decision was fair enough by the referee” said a bitterly disappointed Hogan afterward.

“I didn’t see the punch coming on the second knockdown. I was trying to keep boxing him but then all of a sudden I was on the ground and the fight was over.

“You just feel that strength, that strength was something you don’t feel in a 154-pound division.”

“It was different and those times he caught me were just like lightning, I had no idea both times.”

This article first appeared in the Irish Times on December 8th, 2019. To view the original version, click here.

‘I think inevitably some level of professionalism is going to come into the GAA’

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Larry McCarthy has a PhD in sports management and currently teaches sports marketing at Seton Hall University in New Jersey
Larry McCarthy has a PhD in sports management and currently teaches sports marketing at Seton Hall University in New Jersey
Larry McCarthy has a PhD in sports management and currently teaches sports marketing at Seton Hall University in New Jersey
Larry McCarthy has a PhD in sports management and currently teaches sports marketing at Seton Hall University in New Jersey

New York official Larry McCarthy is bidding to become the first representative outside of Ireland to serve as GAA president. The Bishopstown native has lived in the US since 1985 and previously served as New York Board chairman and PRO. He currently serves on the GAA’s Management Committee and is chairman of Sligo club who recently won their first senior football title.

Interview by Michael Dorgan

Q: What made you enter the race?

A:There’s a public service element at some level as the GAA is an organisation I’ve been involved with at all levels for a significant length of time and I would like to stay involved. I got into management as the first person elected as a trustee of the Association from outside of England or Ireland 18 months ago. I’m fascinated by the work we do and by the stuff that comes across our desks in that role and I’d love to continue serving at Presidental level.

Q: How would you fulfil the role from New York?

A: If elected I will live in Ireland for the three years. There are no “ifs” or “buts” about that as the job is too important.

Q: What does your candidacy bring to the table?

A: From my professional career my candidacy is unique in understanding what’s happening in the broader world of sport in terms of marketing and in the business element of sport. I’m studying sport on a day-to-day basis and looking at sports organisations around the world and seeing how they are doing things. The GAA is unique in a global sense in that we are the only sporting organisation which I’m aware of that has two sports managed at an elite level and participatory level at a local level. Nobody else does it so there is no model out there for us to follow.

Q: Is there a disconnect between the grassroots and the upper echelons of the GAA?

A: I’d have to say no because we’re all from the grassroots ourselves essentially. I mean I spent last weekend in Ireland. I was at three matches over the weekend, I’m back here in New York this weekend because Sligo are in the junior B football final and that’s highly significant to our club.

Q: But hasn’t there been a drop in the volunteering?

A: Well I’d say you can see that is across the board in life. It is not just in sport that people are dropping out and not volunteering to the same extent perhaps as they once did. People’s lives are becoming more complicated and demands on time has risen significantly. It’s harder for people to give their commitment but that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a disconnect.

Q: What are the biggest challenges facing the GAA?

A: Maintaining the balance between our intercountry game and are our club game.

Q: What is the GAA doing right?

A: It’s doing a significant amount of things right. When you look at the inter-county game we’re running and the stuff that happens in clubs and in communities, it’s fascinating what we’re involved in as an institution. We have tentacles into the community and they may not necessarily be on an official format but we are involved in cultural activities through Scór and through the Irish language. We’re much more than a sporting organisation. There’s no other sport organisation in the world that does that array of things as well as manage top class sport with 82,000 people at their Grand final.

Q: What is the GAA doing wrong?

A: We’re spending too much money with inter-county backroom teams which have grown significantly. We need to get balance in terms of when we’re going to run university and college competitions and the U20 football championship. It’s amazing that the U20 hurling championship can run without a word yet there seems to be some angst about when we are actually going to run the U20 football. There’s a tension there and that’s when I go back to the notion of balance again.

Q: Are you in favour of a two tier football system?

A: Yes, I hope it will come in a special congress. I think it will make a significant difference allowing players to play for the All-Ireland, which is our Holy Grail, and then give them an opportunity to play at a competitive level which they can do well at.

Q: Would New York be involved in a two tier system?

A: Yes I think we would. We are now in a different circumstance than we were in 2006 when we got to the Ulster hurling final and we couldn’t travel.

Q: How important are the games in the US to the GAA?

A: They’re extremely important socially in the context of the Irish community here and for the community at home.

Q: What are your thoughts on pay for play?

A: I think inevitably some level of professionalism is going to come into the GAA. I would prefer never to see it happen but the reality is we are probably the last bastion of amateurism left in the world in terms of top-class sport. I don’t think the market can bear it but some of the demands we are putting on our players mean that in 15 or 20 years’ time you’re going to see some form of semi-professionalism. But not under my watch I hasten to add!

Q: Are you for or against splitting Dublin up?

A: I am absolutely against it, philosophically you shouldn’t penalise success and that is what you will be doing trying to bring them back to the pack.

Remember that not so many years ago Dublin was a wasteland in terms of the GAA but the Dublin County Board has been very successful in investing in their clubs and coaching and now they’re reaping the success of it. We should fund other plans in other counties and if there is a good plan put in place the funding will be there to boost coaching.

Q: Are you in favour of the Sky deal?

A: I’m in favour of competition in the marketplace. You need competition in the marketplace, if you haven’t got competition you’ve got a monopoly and you lose out. RTÉ is not a benevolent organisation, it is a commercial entity. If you put them in circumstances where there is no competition in the marketplace they will reduce what they are going to offer you for your programming. That means that we’re not going to get money in, which means we (the GAA) is not going to be able to fund coaching, county boards and put it back into the clubs ultimately. And so while the Sky deal is going to mean that some people cannot watch some games you still need competition in the marketplace.

This article first appeared in the Irish Examiner on October 5, 2019. To view the original version, click here.

Time ripe for Hillary Clinton to enter 2020 race

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Hillary Clinton’s recent media blitz promoting her new book Gutsy Women, co-authored with daughter Chelsea, signals the launch of the former First Lady’s 2020 presidential election campaign.

The ex-US Secretary of State and twice-failed presidential candidate was never going to let a potential third defeat deter her from claiming what she believes to be rightly hers and has ramped up attacks on President Trump declaring him an “illegitimate president” as well as calling for his impeachment over the Biden/Ukraine incident.

The media have been silent on any potential run since Clinton told a local New York TV station back in March, “I’m not running.”

But ever since her ignominious defeat to Donald Trump in 2016 she has yet to utter the words, “I will not run.”

Read More: Joe Biden will not be the next US president

Insiders told the New York Times at the time that Clinton was waiting on the Mueller report to make a final decision but the reality is Clinton had no choice but to sit out official campaigning.

A world tour promoting her last book What Happened, various speaking engagements as well as persistently criticizing Trump’s policies has ensured she has remained relevant and in the public eye.

With a compendium of excuses, Clinton has long pushed the narrative that the 2016 election was stolen from her. From Russia to WikiLeaks and even President Obama, she even made the remarkable claim that voter suppression in Wisconsin and Georgia contributed to her defeat.

Clinton has played it brilliantly

Clinton is still hugely popular within the Democratic Party and if she does decide to run, will have played a blinder, positioning herself perfectly for a late, more impactful run.

With her name recognition and experience, she has been able to let other candidates do battle, conserving her own physical energy which she struggled to maintain in 2016.Driven by the radical left-wing of the party, over 20 Democrats entered the race pushing the Party so far left it’s impossible to see any of them defeating Trump in a general election.

Biden’s star has been falling ever since he announced and it appears the Party are willing to sacrifice him via the aforementioned Ukraine scandal in order to take down Trump.

We saw in 2020 that the establishment will try to stop Sanders and his ill-health spells the death-knell for his campaign. Elizabeth Warren has now assumed favouritism and will likely pull a great deal of his supporters.

Yet Warren remains deeply unpopular amongst the Black community (a key Democratic demographic) and Trump too will likely wipe the floor with her.

Warren remains deeply unpopular amongst the Black community. Image: Gage Skidmore

In fact Wall Street and Silicon Valley are deeply worried about her swathe of proposed taxes including a wealth tax and big donors have indicated they will not support her and may in fact switch to Trump.

Big Tech, especially Facebook are staunchly against her calls for breaking up the company but more importantly, the current field have been uninspiring and will likely struggle to pull in the money needed to defeat Trump whose election war chest is bulging.

Read More: Joe Biden’s identity politics won’t beat Trump, or Bernie

The Republican National Committee will report raising a total of $125 million in the third quarter and pro-Trump groups have raised more than $308 million in total in 2019, and boast more than $156 million cash on hand.

That fundraising haul far exceeds the $105 million second-quarter joint total and marks a new presidential fundraising record.

Perfect Timing for Clinton

Not only can Clinton pull in the cash but she can position herself as a sensible modern moderate – much like her husband did in 1992. Clinton will enter the race as a fresh-faced, almost reformed candidate, reeling in the party’s runaway slide to the left and clinching the nomination.

When Bill Clinton was elected president in 1992, he too announced late in the campaign – October 3, 1991, the equivalent of Hillary announcing today and even if she delays further there is still enough time to launch her bid.

Bill Clinton came in a distant third in the first primary, the Iowa Caucus, and finished second in the New Hampshire primary although New Hampshire was viewed as a victory for the “comeback kid” after reports of an extramarital affair had set to derail his bid.

The same “comeback” awaits Hillary Clinton in 2020 with a sequel to one of the most infamous elections in US history.

Still scorned from 2016 she will continue to push the narrative that the 2016 election was stolen from her as impeachment hearings keep Trump on the back foot and cerate doubt for voters.

She may not be what the Democrats want right now, but she’s what they need if they are to stand any chance of toppling Trump.

Everything you need to know about the Shane MacGowan movie

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Hollywood A-lister Johnny Depp and Irish actor Barry Keoghan are set to star in a movie about Pogues legend Shane MacGowan and wife Victoria Mary Clarke.

What is the movie about?

The feature-length movie is set to be a biopic on Shane MacGowan and Victoria Mary Clarke’s romance when The Pogues frontman was trying his hand as an up-and-coming singer in the 1980s UK market.

Shane MacGowan and Victoria Mary Clarke on 2007. Image: RollingNews.ie
Shane MacGowan and Victoria Mary Clarke on 2007. Image: RollingNews.ie

“It’s a love story, it’s not a Pogues film although that will obviously be a part.”

Irish actor Barry Keoghan will play a young Shane Macgowan

Dublin-born Barry Keoghan, who is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after actors in Hollywood, is set to play a young MacGowan in his mid-20s.

The 26-year-old rising star has appeared in films Dunkirk, The Killing of a Sacred Deer – for which he won an Irish Film and Television Award for Best Supporting Actor – and Trespass Against Us.

Irish actor Barry Keoghan will play a young Shane Macgowan. Image: Getty
Irish actor Barry Keoghan will play a young Shane Macgowan. Image: Getty

His first on-screen performance came when he appeared in Fair City at the age of 18 and then went on to play the “heartless cat killer” Wayne in RTÉs hugely successful TV drama Love/Hate.

From there he starred in the British historical thriller ’71, drama film Mammal, and the 2017 Irish box office hit Black 47, where he played an English soldier stationed in Ireland during the Great Hunger.

He also appeared in the HBO historical drama television miniseries, Chernobyl.

Keoghan has the couples blessing to play MacGowan

“Barry is a marvelous actor and I couldn’t think of anyone better to do it,” 61-year-old MacGowan says. 

“He’ll do a great job.”

Clarke said she thinks the Dublin star is “an amazing actor”, and would be the perfect person for the role and is “an obvious choice.”

Barry Keoghan featured in the HBO drama series Chernobyl. Image: IMDb
Barry Keoghan featured in the HBO drama series Chernobyl. Image: IMDb

“He’s very luminous, I think. He has charisma too, and that’s important because Shane has got so much charisma,” she told Independent.ie.

“You can see he’s got that tough side, but he’s also sensitive. He’s definitely got something I haven’t seen in anyone else.

“The core fan base are behind him, and I think that’s important as well. People are going, ‘Yeah’.”

However, it is understood that Keoghan has yet to sign a contract.

Johnny Depp’s part in Shane MacGowan movie

In what is a massive coup for the project, The Pirates Of The Caribbean actor Johnny Depp, 56, who has been a close friend of the couple for decades will feature in the movie, according to The Irish Sun.

Depp has been nominated for three Academy Awards for Best Actor and is one of the world’s biggest film stars.

Hollywood A-lister Depp, who has Irish roots through his mother, starred alongside the couple in the video for That Woman’s Got Me Drinking in 1996.

Johnny Depp, pictured at 76th Venice Film Festival, will appear in the movie. Image: Getty
Johnny Depp, pictured at 76th Venice Film Festival, will appear in the movie. Image: Getty

It is thought Depp could play MacGowan in his latter years with Keoghan picking up the mantle of playing the singer/songwriter when he was “around 24 or 25,” the time when he first met the then 16-year-old, Clarke.

The couple have been together for over 32 years and were engaged for 11 years before marrying.

MacGowan’s wife Victoria Mary Clarke has written the script

MacGowan’s wife, Victoria Mary Clarke,  has co-written the movie with director Maeve Murphy whose work includes Silent Grace, a story of friendship and survival.

53-year-old Clarke, who is a journalist, a media coach, and a life coach, said MacGowan had been very supportive of her role, giving her free rein to write the script about the couple’s love for each other.

“He’s got a lot of faith in me so he’s letting me run with it,” she told Independent.ie.

“It would be hard for me to do it if I felt he was breathing down my neck.”

Shane MacGowan smoking a cigarette while with his fiance Victoria Mary Clarke at her book 'Angel in Disguise' launch at Vicar Street, Dublin. Photo. Mark Stedman/RollingNews.ie
Shane MacGowan smoking a cigarette while with his fiance Victoria Mary Clarke at her book ‘Angel in Disguise’ launch at Vicar Street, Dublin. Photo. Mark Stedman/RollingNews.ie

She admitted it had been hard writing about their relationship and involved a lot of hard work.

“The thing is, when you’re writing about yourself it’s very hard because you can’t sugar coat it,” she said.

“You have got to be willing to expose the bits that you don’t like.

“After all, we kind of have come through a lot. It’s not a fairytale.”

Clarke already helped pen MacGowan’s biography, A Drink with Shane MacGowan and wrote the book Angel in Disguise in 2007.

A Drink with Shane MacGowan is structured as a series of interviews between MacGowan and wife Victoria Mary Clarke
A Drink with Shane MacGowan is structured as a series of interviews between MacGowan and wife Victoria Mary Clarke

Co-writer Murphy says said the project is being moved along as fast as possible.

“We would like it to get going, but I don’t know what the time frame is,” she said.

Producers have yet to cast an actress to play Victoria.

Who are the Irish band The Pogues?

Although technically an English-formed group, The Pogues are one of the most iconic Irish bands of the past 30 years having formed in 1982 at Kings Cross, London.

The first to take a punk ethos and blend it with the traditional Irish sound of mandolins, tin whistles, and citterns, The Pogues brought Celtic flavor to the punk-loving masses and reached international prominence in the 1980s and 1990s.

The band started as Pogue Mahone (“Kiss My Arse” in Irish), but shortened their name to The Pogues, partly due to BBC censorship following complaints from Gaelic speakers in Scotland.

Famed for the Christmas classic Fairytale in New York,  some classic’s for your playlist include Dirty Old Town, A Pair of Brown Eyes, and A Rainy Night In Soho.

Lead singer Shane MacGowan was born to Irish parents in Pembury, Kent on Christmas Day in 1957 and original band members James Fearnley (accordion), Peter “Spider” Stacy (tin whistle), Jem Finer (banjo) and Andrew Ranken (drums) are all English born while bass player Cait O’Riordan (who joined the band the day after their debut gig) was born in Nigeria, although is of Irish and Scottish descent.

In fact, they faced initial public resistance because they were not seen as Irish.

It wasn’t until The Pogues recorded and performed on the RTÉs Late Late Show with The Dubliners that people came around to them.

More on Irish actor Barry Keoghan

Keoghan and his brother had a very tough upbringing and were shuttled between 13 foster homes during their Dublin youth because their mother was addicted to heroin. She eventually succumbed to the addiction when he was 12, dying from an overdose.

In what was a revealing yet inspiring interview, the actor opened up about his traumatic childhood on Ryan Tubridy’s Late Late Show last year and hoped his story could inspire other young people to take the right path in life even if they are going through difficult times.

Late last year’s industry publication, The Hollywood Reporter, named Keoghan as one of its seven rising TV stars “poised for a breakout in 2019.”

Keoghan has also been announced to play the lead character in the TV adaption of Y: The Last Man, – one of the most critically acclaimed comic book series of all time and will feature in the upcoming Marvel movie The Eternals alongside Angelina Jolie, Kit Harrington, and Richard Madden.

This article first appeared in IrishCentral.com on September 13, 2019. To view the original version, click here.

Remembering 9/11, 18 years on

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Weehawken, New Jersey; Two trident-shaped beams stand in memory of all those who died on September 11, 2001. Image: Michael Dorgan
Weehawken, New Jersey; Two trident-shaped beams stand in memory of all those who died on September 11, 2001. Image: Michael Dorgan

Today marks the 18 years since the tragic events of September 11, 2001, an event that changed the world forever.

Terrorists hijacked airplanes and commandeered them to strike the United States in the deadliest attack on US soil since Pearl Harbor.

Two of the planes, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, were crashed into the North and South towers, respectively, of the World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan.

A third plane, American Airlines Flight 77, was crashed into the Pentagon (the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense) in Arlington County, Virginia, which led to a partial collapse of the building’s west side. The fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, was initially flown toward Washington, D.C., but crashed into a field in Stonycreek Township near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Here in New York, the annual commemoration took place at Ground Zero where at 8:46 am on, the first plane slammed into the north tower, there was a moment of silence, the first of six marking the strikes at the trade center, the Pentagon, and the plane crash in Pennsylvania.

Bagpipers played “America the Beautiful,” and relatives of the near 3,000 victims began reciting the names of the dead – a solemn process that lasted nearly until the end of the ceremony shortly after noon.

President Trump and First Lady, Melania Trump, led a moment of silence at the White House before traveling to the Pentagon, to commemorate all those who had fallen.

64 people aboard the hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 died instantly, along with 125 people, when the plane slammed into the western side of the Pentagon building in Arlington County, Virginia, just south of Washington, D.C., at 09:37 am.

The president said that any terrorist who comes to the United States would be met with a force “the likes of which the United States has never used before.”

“The First Lady and I are united with you in grief . . . We cannot erase the pain or reverse the evil of that dark and wretched day, but we offer you all that we have.”

I recently visited Weehawken, New Jersey, where two trident-shaped beams, which served as supports for the Twin Towers stand in memory of all those who perished on on that fateful day. The memorial marks the site where 60,000 people were evacuated by ferry from Manhattan to New Jersey and received medical attention, water, and food on after the terrorists struck the World Trade Center.

The beams, which stand 8 feet wide, 30 feet long, and weigh 50,000 pounds, were salvaged from the WTC. The site is an opportunity to reflect on the innocent lives, violently taken and is a reminder of the sheer impact of the attack – steel and concrete obliterated in front of the world’s eyes.

9/11 Memorial in Weehawken, New Jersey; Image: Michael Dorgan
9/11 Memorial in Weehawken, New Jersey; Image: Michael Dorgan

The memorial also includes a lawn, infinity pool, and fountain. 5 Weehawken residents died in the attacks.

Rest in peace.

Top facts about the Sullivan brothers, five brave Irish American brothers

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Five Irish American brothers the Sullivans made the ultimate sacrifice when they were killed aboard the USS Juneau during World War II, here are some of the top facts about these brave men.
On the day the brothers’ assigned ship, the Juneau, was commissioned—February 14, 1942—a photographer took a shot of the five smiling Sullivans aboard the vessel. Image:n Wikipedia

Five Irish American brothers the Sullivans made the ultimate sacrifice when they were killed aboard the USS Juneau during World War II, here are some of the top facts about these brave men.

Who were the Sullivan brothers?

Five Irish American brothers the Sullivans made the ultimate sacrifice when they were killed aboard the USS Juneau during World War II, here are some of the top facts about these brave men.

The USS Juneau sunk on November 13, 1942, a year after being commissioned, killing 687 men on board including the five Sullivan brothers.

Sullivan brothers grew up with little parental guidance

According to the Navy Times,  interviews conducted soon after the disaster
and in the years that followed revealed the five Sullivan brothers and their sister Genevieve, or Gen, grew up with little parental guidance in Waterloo, Iowa.

Locals repeatedly told investigators that their father, Tom, was a physically abusive alcoholic who went on benders on his off days from work as a freight conductor on the Illinois Central railroad.

Their mother, Alleta, was often “blue” and, when she had her “spells,” would take to bed for days at a stretch.

The Sullivan brothers all left school around the age of 16

All five boys left school at age 16 or so, barely completing junior high, and were often out of work—in part a result of the Great Depression.

Without jobs, they snitched their dad’s moonshine and shadowed him to the downtown backstreets to pick up drink.

The Sullivan brothers enlisted after Pearl Harbor

News of their friend William Ball’s death aboard the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor prompted them to enlist in the Navy.

The brothers immediately decided to join the navy—even the youngest, Al, who had married at 17 and had a 21-month-old son, Jimmy.

George and Francis Sullivan had only been discharged from the Navy less than a year before, having served together on the USS Hovey.

“We had 5 buddies killed in Hawaii. Help us,” George wrote.

The Sullivan brothers refused to serve unless assigned to the same ship

The tragic sinking of the USS Juneau was compounded by the fact that five brothers perished which was a rare occurrence because naval policy did not encourage family members to serve together.

Yet, George, Frank, Joseph, Matt, and Albert refused to serve unless assigned to the same ship, so the policy was not enforced.

George wrote a letter to the Secretary of the Navy, citing his own and Francis’ recent service and asking if he, his brothers and two friends from their motorcycle club could “stick together.” He closed with the phrase, “We will make a team together that can’t be beaten.” The Secretary of the Navy granted the request.

Sullivan brothers photo became an emblem of American sacrifice

On February 14, 1942, the day the brothers’ assigned ship, the Juneau, was commissioned and a photographer took a shot of the five smiling Sullivans aboard the vessel.

The publicity photo would later become a familiar emblem of American sacrifice.

 

Five Irish American brothers the Sullivans made the ultimate sacrifice when they were killed aboard the USS Juneau during World War II, here are some of the top facts about these brave men.
On the day the brothers’ assigned ship, the Juneau, was commissioned—February 14, 1942—a photographer took a shot of the five smiling Sullivans aboard the vessel. Image:n Wikipedia

At least one Sullivan brother survived the Japanese attacks on USS Juneau

In November of 1942, the US and Japanese forces were locked in the deadly struggle for Guadalcanal in the South Pacific. Shortly after midnight on November 13, one of the most dramatic naval engagements of the war occurred in the strait between Guadalcanal
and Florida Island. American and Japanese naval task forces engaged each other at point-blank range.

The Juneau was an early casualty, hit by a torpedo from Japanese destroyer Amatsukaze which ripped into her port side taking out its steering and guns and killing 19 men in the forward engine room. Her fire control systems destroyed and power
knocked out, she limped away from the battle but was able to rejoin the  group of five surviving warships from the task force.

At 11:01 am a Japanese submarine tracking the vessels fired another torpedo into the Juneau and blew the ship in half.

Francis, Joseph, and Madison were killed in the initial attack and Albert drowned during the second attack. George was one of 80 men who made it to life rafts but allegedly died from a shark attack.

Two survivors remembered the death of the eldest Sullivan, George, in particular. He had been aboard one of the small life rafts and, after three or four days, was weak and hallucinating.

One night, Gunner’s Mate Second Class Allen Heyn recalled, George declared that he was going to take a bath. He removed his uniform and jumped into the water. A little way from his raft, “a shark came and grabbed him and that was the end of him,” Heyn told a naval interrogator. “I never seen him again.”

Because of the risk of further enemy action, the remaining US ships did not search for survivors as the commander of the task force believed that no one could have survived the blast.

 Poster features a photo of the five Sullivan brothers as they pose (on board the USS Juneau (CL-52), accompanied by the text 'the five Sullivan brothers 'missing in action' off the Solomons; They Did Their Part,' New York, February 1942. Image: Wikipedia

Poster features a photo of the five Sullivan brothers as they pose (on board the USS Juneau (CL-52), accompanied by the text ‘the five Sullivan brothers ‘missing in action’ off the Solomons; They Did Their Part,’ New York, February 1942. Image: Wikipedia

Within a half-hour of the sinking, however, an American B-17 flying overhead spotted 100 to 200 sailors in the sea—many of them badly injured—clinging to debris from the cruiser.

The B-17 radioed the commander of the flotilla, Captain Gilbert Hoover of the light cruiser Helena, who continued onward.

The aircraft circled again to drop supplies, yet for several days the navy did nothing to assist the sailors. As time went by, their numbers thinned as the remnants of Juneau’s crew succumbed to their injuries, dehydration, or shark attack.

When South Pacific Area commander Admiral William F Halsey learned what had happened, he immediately stripped Captain Hoover of his command. By the time the survivors were collected—a week after the sinking, only 10 men remained.

Ages of all five Sullivan brothers at the time of death

There was a seven-year gap between George, 27, the eldest brother and Albert or “Al,” who was the youngest at 20.

Francis, or “Frank” was 26, Joseph, known as “Red,” was 24 and Madison, or “Matt,” was 23.

Sullivan brother deaths are the greatest wartime sacrifice of any American family

Not only were their deaths the greatest military loss by any one American family during World War II, but their deaths also remain the single greatest wartime sacrifice of any American family.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote a personal letter of condolence to the Sullivan brothers’ mother

At the behest of the navy, President Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote Alleta a personal letter of condolence.

“As Commander in Chief of the Army and the Navy, I want you to know the entire nation shares your sorrow. I offer you the condolence and gratitude of our country. We, who remain to carry on the fight, must maintain the spirit in the knowledge that such
sacrifice is not in vain.”

Naval authorities encouraged the parents to come to Washington, where First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Vice President Henry A Wallace met with the parents.

Pope Pius XII sent a silver religious medal and rosary with his message of regret and the Iowa Senate and House adopted a formal resolution of tribute to the Sullivan brothers.

The Sullivan brothers had a feature Hollywood film made about them

The navy persuaded Tom and Alleta Sullivan to sign a contract that eventually had 20th Century Fox produce The Sullivans—quickly re-released as The Fighting Sullivans in 1944.

The movie paid tribute to “an American family and their devotion and loyalty,” portraying Tom and Alleta as honest and hard-working parents, raising their children in a typical American community and showing the growing fraternal bond amongst
the five brothers.

The Sullivan brothers have two US navy ships named after them

USS The Sullivans (DD-537) was named in honor of the five Sullivan brothers and first launched on April 4, 1943. It is a Fletcher-class destroyer and was assigned to the 6th Fleet during World War II and the Korean War receiving nine and two battle stars respectively. Albert’s son James later served aboard the ship named after his father and uncles.

She was decommissioned in 1965, and in 1977 was processed for donation to the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park in Buffalo, New York. The ship now serves as a memorial alongside USS Little Rock and is open for public tours.

USS The Sullivans was also the first ship commissioned in the Navy that honored more than one person.

USS The Sullivans was named in honor of the five Sullivan brothers and first launched on April 4, 1943. Image: Wikipedia
USS The Sullivans was named in honor of the five Sullivan brothers and first launched on April 4, 1943. Image: Wikipedia

USS The Sullivans (DDG-68) is an Arleigh Burke-class Aegis guided-missile destroyer and the second ship of the United States Navy to be named after the five Sullivan brothers.

The ship was launched on August 12, 1995, and sponsored by Kelly Ann Sullivan Loughren, granddaughter of Albert Sullivan. She was commissioned on April 19, 1997, and along with her predecessor, was given the motto that is thought to have been spoken by the brothers when asked to separate during World War II, “We
Stick Together.”

The guided missile destroyer USS The Sullivans transits the Mediterranean Sea in 2002. Image: Wikipedia
The guided missile destroyer USS The Sullivans transits the Mediterranean Sea in 2002. Image: Wikipedia

In 2000 a group affiliated with Al-Qaeda attempted to attack the vessel while in port at Aden, Yemen but the attackers’ boat sank before the attack could be carried out.

The plan was to load a boat full of explosives and explode near The Sullivans however the boat was so overladen that it sank, forcing the attack to be abandoned.

Later, al-Qaeda tried the same type of attack a second time, successfully bombing the USS Cole on 12 October 2000.

Emblems for both ships. Images: Wikipedia
Emblems for both ships. Images: Wikipedia

Wreckage of the USS Juneau was discovered on St. Patricks Day 2018

On March 17, 2018 (St Patricks Day), a research team made the incredible discovery of the WWII US Navy ship USS Juneau on which the five brave Sullivan brothers died in 1942.

Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G. Allen led the expedition which discovered the famous ship on the floor of the South Pacific Ocean.

The words and devotion to country and family of the Sullivans are well worth remembering by all Americans.

This article first appeared in IrishCentral.com on September 9, 2019. To view the original version, click here.

What did the Titanic passengers eat?

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The Titanic third class menu
The Titanic third class menu

 

The Titanic third class menu

The Titanic was the largest ship of its time and the food served was an insight into the social disparities which existed with first-class passengers enjoying a ten-course meal for dinner.

Having departed Cobh, Co Cork, on route to New York, Titanic sank only four days into its maiden
voyage on April 14, 1912, after infamously striking an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean.

Even over a century after the ill-fated liners demise, the public is still fascinated about everything Titanic and what life was like aboard the ship, including what passengers ate.

RMS Titanic departing Southampton on April 10, 1912. Image: Wikipedia
RMS Titanic departing Southampton on April 10, 1912. Image: Wikipedia

Titanic was not only the grandest ship ever built, it was also equipped with some of the most sophisticated culinary facilities of the time and boasted elegant cafes and opulent dining saloons that rivaled the finest restaurants in Paris and London.

69 staff consisting of chefs, cooks, bakers, butchers, cashiers and scullions (dishwashers) worked in the ship’s restaurants and two galley’s (restaurants) serving more than 6,000 meals a day.

The main galley, which served food for first and second-class passengers, featured serving pantries, a butcher shop, a bakery, vegetable kitchens, specialized rooms for silver and china, rooms for wines, beer and oysters, and huge storage bins for the tons of coal needed to fuel the 19 ovens, cooking tops, ranges and roasters.

Passengers aboard Titanic were divided into three distinct classes; first, second and third which meant that three different menus had to be served daily

Food for first-class passengers on the Titanic

Amongst the 325 first-class passengers to sail Titanic were the well-off upper and middle classes including American millionaires Benjamin Guggenheim, John Jacob Astor and railway magnate Charles M Hays as well as British aristocrat Countess of Rothes,
the eminent journalist WT Stead and noted couturière “Lucile,” Lady Duff Gordon.

 Benjamin Guggenheim
After helping people to lifeboats, American businessman Benjamin Guggenheim remarked to his valet, “We’ve dressed up in our best and are prepared to go down like gentlemen.” They both perished. Image: Wikipedia

First-class tickets ranged enormously in price from $150 ($3,967 today) for a simple berth to $4,350 ($115,060 today) for a Parlour Suite.

Unsurprisingly passengers in first-class were by far the best fed, receiving the most sophisticated dishes served in formal settings at any one of several lavish restaurants located on the upper deck.

The enormous first-class dining saloon could seat over 500 people and served food on fine china emblazoned with the White Star Line logo.

First-class passengers could also dine in the Louis Seize decorated 140-seat À la Carte restaurant (nicknamed “The Ritz”), which was fully carpeted with French walnut-paneled walls and picture windows.

Titanic's A La Carte restaurant. Image: Wikipedia
Titanic’s A La Carte restaurant. Image: Wikipedia

Small tables were lit by crystal lamps and guests could eat any time between 8 am and 11 pm, making it a popular choice.

The Café Parisien offered diners large picture windows for ocean viewing and weather permitting, these windows could be rolled down so that passengers could dine in the open air.

The Titanic's Café Parisien before climbing plants were later added to its trellised walls. Image: Wikipedia
The Titanic’s Café Parisien before climbing plants were later added to its trellised walls. Image: Wikipedia

Food eaten by first-class passengers on the Titanic.

Even though breakfast, lunch, and dinner were included in the price of a first-class ticket, meals taken at these restaurants were not included in the price and had to be paid for out of pocket.

There was an abundance of choice at breakfast, lunch and dinner, and in line with Victorian times, the food was predominantly French in style, but some of the great British stalwarts like roast sirloin beef were also available on the menu.

First-class passengers were treated to an extraordinary dining experience at every meal, feasting on such delicacies as pâté de foie gras (the liver of a duck or goose), peaches in chartreuse jelly and Waldorf pudding.

Foie gras "en cocotte" with mustard seeds and spring onions in duck juice. Image: Wikipedia
Foie gras “en cocotte” with mustard seeds and spring onions in duck juice. Image: Wikipedia

Dinners consisted of up to 10 courses – each with a different accompanying wine – and could last four or five hours.

Chops, steaks cooked to order and omelets were on the breakfast menu with four types of cooked egg to choose from as well as three types of potato, and fish options including smoked salmon.

First-class breakfast menu, April 11, 1912
Baked apples, fresh fruit stewed prunes, Quaker oats, boiled hominy, puffed rice, fresh herring, Finnan haddock, smoked salmon, grilled mutton kidneys and bacon, grilled ham, grilled sausage,
lamb collops, vegetable stew, fried, shirred, poached and boiled eggs, plain and tomato omelets to order, sirloin steak and mutton chops to order, mashed, sauté, and jacket potatoes, cold meat, Vienna and Graham rolls, soda and sultan scones, corn bread,
buckwheat cakes, black currant conserve, Narbonne honey, Oxford marmalade, watercress.

Sirloin steak was on the breakfast menu for first-class passengers on the Titanic. Image: Getty
Sirloin steak was on the breakfast menu for first-class passengers on the Titanic. Image: Getty

For lunch, passengers could choose from a buffet including lobsters and potted shrimps, with consommé to start and roquefort to finish.

In the Dining Saloon they could opt for one of four starters including fillets of brill and egg à l’argenteuil, then choose items from the grill and the extensive buffet that included veal and ham pie, potted shrimps, galantine of chicken, Norwegian anchovies,
beetroot and tomatoes.

Despite its fancy name, egg à l'argenteuil was simply asparagus with scrambled egg. Image: Getty
Despite its fancy name, egg à l’argenteuil was simply asparagus with scrambled egg. Image: Getty

First-class lunch menu, April 14, 1912
Consommé fermier, cockie leekie, fillets of brill, egg a L’Argenteuil, chicken a la Maryland, corned beef, vegetables, dumplings.

From the Grill – Grilled mutton chops, mashed, fried, and baked jacket potatoes,          custard pudding, apple merinque, pastry.

Buffet – Salmon mayonnaise, potted shrimps, Norwegian anchovies, soused herrings, plain and smoked sardines, roast beef, round or spiced beef, veal and ham pie, Virginia and Cumberland ham, Bologna sausage, brawn, galantine of chicken, corned
ox tongue, lettuce, beetroot, tomatoes.

Cheeses – Cheshire, Stilton, Gorgonzola, Edam, Camembert, Roquefort, St Ivel,            cheddar.

First-class lunch menu on the Titanic, April 14, 1912. Image: Wikipedia
First-class lunch menu on the Titanic, April 14, 1912. Image: Wikipedia

Last meal for first-class passengers on the Titanic

Titanic collided with the fateful iceberg at 11:40 pm on the night of April 14, 1912, long after dinner had been served, so for many, this menu would have been there last meal aboard the ship.

Dinner began with raw oysters and assorted hors d’oeuvre, followed by a choice of consommé Olga (a veal stock soup flavored with sturgeon marrow) or cream of barley soup.

Dinner began with raw oysters and assorted hors d’oeuvre for first-class passengers. Image: Getty
Dinner began with raw oysters and assorted hors d’oeuvre for first-class passengers. Image: Getty

Next up was a lightly poached Atlantic salmon topped with a rich mousseline sauce.

For the fourth and fifth courses, passengers chose from such rich and intricate protein dishes as filet mignon Lili, sauté of chicken Lyonnaise, lamb
with mint sauce, roast duckling with applesauce and sirloin of beef with chateau potatoes.

Side dishes included green peas, creamed carrots, boiled rice and green peas, as well as parmentier and boiled new potatoes.

Midway through this marathon meal, a palate cleanser known as “punch romaine” was served, made with wine, rum and champagne.

The sumptuous array then resumed with roast squab with cress, then cold asparagus vinaigrette and pâté de foie gras.

Roast duckling was on the last menu for first-class passengers aboard the Titanic. Image: Getty
Roast duckling was on the last menu for first-class passengers aboard the Titanic. Image: Getty

Dessert choices included Waldorf pudding, peaches in chartreuse jelly, chocolate and vanilla éclairs, and French ice cream.

Next, an assortment of fruits, nuts and cheeses was presented, followed by coffee, port, cigars and cordials.

Diners would then congregated in the smoking room or in the elegant, horseshoe-shaped reception room, where the ship’s orchestra played a selection of light classical and popular music until 11 pm.

First-class dinner menu, April 14, 1912

1st course     – Hors Oeuvre Varies, Oysters.

2nd course   – Consommé Olga, Cream of Barley.

3rd course    – Salmon, Mousseline, Cucumbers.

4th course    – Fillet Mignons Lili, Sauté of Chicken Lyonnaise, Vegetable Marrow, Farcis.

5th course    – Lamb, Meat Sauce, Roast Duckling, Apple Sauce, Sirloin of Beef, Chateau Potatoes, Green Peas, Creamed Carrots, Boiled Rice, Parmentier and New Potatoes.

6th course    – Punch Romaine.

7th course    – Roast Squab and cress.

8th course    – Asparagus Vinaigrette.

9th course    – Pate de Foie Gras, Celery.

10th course – Waldorf pudding, Peaches in Chartreuse Jelly, Chocolate and Vanilla Eclairs and French Ice cream.

The RMS Olympic 's smoke room, very similar to Titanic 's. A picture taken from the starboard side of the first class smoke room, reserved for gentlemen only. This room was also the place where Harland & Wolff director Thomas Andrews was last seen as the Titanic sank. Image: Wikipedia
The RMS Olympic ‘s smoke room, very similar to Titanic ‘s. A picture taken from the starboard side of the first class smoke room, reserved for gentlemen only. This room was also the place where Harland & Wolff director Thomas Andrews was last seen as the Titanic sank. Image: Wikipedia

Second-class dining on the Titanic

Second-class passengers paid around $60 ($1,587 today) for their tickets on Titanic and while not as luxurious as first-class dining facilities, the second-class dining room on (D) deck was still an attractive large room at 70 ft long (about half the
size of its first-class counterpart) which could accommodate 394 diners in one sitting.

It shared the same galley as the first-class Dining Saloon further forward and was supplied with natural light by portholes, the room was paneled in oak and lined with colored linoleum flooring.

There were parallel rows of long, rectangular dining tables in contrast to the cozy seating groups in first-class, and the mahogany swivel chairs upholstered in red leather were bolted to the floor (this was a standard feature even in first-class aboard
other ships.

Harvey Collyer, a second-class passenger, wrote home to his parents in Surrey about how swanky it was: ‘We can’t describe the tables, it’s like a floating town.’

Food eaten by second-class passengers on the Titanic

Traditional British food populated second-class menus and French selections rarely appeared on the menu. Menus were a definite downgrade from first-class but were still of high standard, filled with tasty treats like baked haddock in sharp sauce, spring
lamb in mint sauce, and roast turkey in cranberry sauce.

The April 11 breakfast menu shows hearty options and plenty of protein, including Yarmouth bloaters (smoked herring), ox kidneys and bacon, sausages, grilled ham and fried eggs.

Second-class menu on Titanic, April 14, 1912. Image: Wikipedia
Second-class menu on Titanic, April 14, 1912. Image: Wikipedia

There were plenty of carb options to fuel people up for the day with oats, hominy (a type of grits), three types of potatoes, Vienna rolls, Graham rolls, soda scones and buckwheat cake. For something sweet, there were various conserves, but the only vegetable
on offer was watercress.

The main difference from first-class breakfast being that you could not have omelets and steaks cooked to order.

Second-class breakfast menu, April 11, 1912

Fruit, rolled oats, boiled hominy, fresh fish, Yarmouth bloaters, grilled ox kidneys and bacon, American dry hash au gratin, grilled sausage, mashed potatoes, grilled ham and fried eggs, fried potatoes, Vienne and graham rolls, soda scones, buckwheat
cakes, maple syrup, conserves, marmalade, tea, coffee and watercress.

Second-class lunch menu, April 12, 1912

Pea Soup, Spaghetti au Gratin, Corned Beef Vegetable Dumplings, Roast Mutton, Baked Jacket Potatoes, Roast Mutton, Roast Beef, Sausage Ox Tongue, Pickles, Salad, Tapioca Pudding, Apple Tart, Fresh Fruit Cheese, Biscuits, Coffee.

An actual example of a second-class lunch menu has never been recovered and it is unknown whether passengers were served their main meal around lunch with a light supper in the evening as in third-class.

Last meal for second-class passengers on the Titanic

This menu was a sharp change from first-class and condensed into three courses yet British survivor Charlotte Collyer wrote afterward that “no effort had been spared to give even the second class cabin passenger on that Sunday, the best dinner that money can buy.”

The last meal of many second-class passengers comprised of consommé with tapioca for starter then a choice of mains including baked haddock with sharp sauce (a tangy sauce with a vinegar base), curried chicken and rice, spring lamb with mint sauce or
roast turkey with cranberry sauce. Sides were peas, pureed turnips, boiled and roast potatoes, and rice.

Second-class dinner menu, April 14, 1912
1st course  – Consommé with tapioca

2nd course – Baked haddock with sharp sauce; curried chicken and rice; spring                                       lamb with mint sauce; roast turkey with savory cranberry sauce;                                         green peas; puree turnips; boiled
rice; boiled and roast potatoes.

3rd course – Plum pudding (also known as Christmas pudding), wine jelly, coconut                                sandwich, American Ice Cream, nuts, assorted, fresh fruit, cheese,                                      biscuits.

Roast turkey with savory cranberry sauce was on the main menu for second-class passengers. Image: Getty
Roast turkey with savory cranberry sauce was on the main menu for second-class passengers. Image: Getty

Third-class dining on the Titanic

Third-class passengers ate in the modest dining Saloon which was located mid-ship on F-Deck and was actually two rooms separated by a bulkhead.

It was 100 ft long in total and could accommodate 473 at a time with passengers segregated; the forward room reserved for families and single women and the aft room for left for single men.

There were some sections paneled in pine, but otherwise, only steel painted in white enamel and hung with posters advertising other White Star ships.

Nonetheless, there were comfortable, freestanding wooden chairs and the room was brightly lit by portholes.

The 710 third-class passengers typically paid fares around $15 to $40 ($396 to $1,058 today) for their tickets on Titanic.

Food eaten by third-class passengers on the Titanic

Before the Titanic, many passenger ships expected the lower classes to bring their own food that would last an entire journey.

So, the fact that meals were served twice per day onboard Titanic was very much incongruous with the norms of the day. However, the food served was a scaled-down version of what was made for second-class.

Passengers in steerage had little to complain about, as for many, this food was better than what they had been used to. In fact, Titanic’s third class was said to resemble second-class in comparison to other steamships but was also more expensive.

The Titanic third class menu
The Titanic third class menu

White Star Line had earned a reputation for providing good third-class service, which was becoming an increasingly profitable share of the transatlantic passenger service

Third class passengers could enjoy a healthy breakfast, then the main meal served for dinner, followed by a light tea and supper.

Third-class breakfast menu, April 14, 1912
Oatmeal porridge and milk, smoked herrings, jacket potatoes, ham and eggs, fresh bread and butter, marmalade, Swedish bread, tea and coffee.

Third-class dinner menu April 14, 1912 consisted of rice soup, fresh bread, cabin biscuits (often eaten to alleviate sea-sickness), roast beef and brown gravy, sweetcorn, boiled potatoes, plum pudding, sweet sauce and fruit.

Roast beef was served to third-class passengers for dinner. Image: Getty

Last meal for third-class passengers on the Titanic

Third-class passengers were not served dinner insofar as first-class passengers were, insofar as they were served their main meal at lunchtime whereas first class were served dinner in the evening.

Instead, they would partake in high tea, a custom that still exists today. Tea, as it is known colloquially, would always include a hot course requiring a knife and fork. For example, Irish stew was mentioned frequently on the menu.

Tea – Cold Meat, Cheese, Pickles, Fresh Bread & Butter, Steamed Figs & Rice, Tea

Supper – Gruel, Cabin Biscuits, Cheese.

To get a real-life look the food which was served check out famed BBC food critic  Jay Rayner, being treated to the famous Titanic Menu at Rayanne House, Belfast.

This article first appeared in IrishCentral.com on September 9, 2019. To view the original version, click here.

 

Kerry New York’s big day in Croke Park has already come

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Kerry New York Secretary

Kerry New York Secretary

As the all-conquering Dublin machine rolls into Croke Park Sunday, GAA volunteers across the country and beyond will still be busy performing the often thankless tasks that keep our association so vibrant and unique.

One such volunteer is Kerrywoman Joan Henchy. Although born in the US, Henchy grew up in Tarbert, north Kerry before returning stateside and today is very much the glue that holds Kerry Gaelic Football Club New York together.

“We’re one of the oldest clubs in existence in New York I believe,” says the club secretary.

“It was founded in 1905 and I think they started playing competitive football in the late 20s and from there we’ve maintained the club since and it’s just a rite of passage really being from Kerry to be involved.”

Read More: Rebuilding Gaelic Park’s place at heart of Irish American life – Irish Examiner

Although there are no financial ties with Kerry County Board, there remains a constant flow of Kerry players togging out for the club when residing in the Big Apple.

Instead, the club relies primarily on its annual dinner dance and the goodwill from people like Henchy.

While one often hears the sacrifices of players and managers, Henchy and her family quite literally, sacrifice their home.

This summer she housed in her Yonkers dwelling three sanctioned players, Kerins O Rahillys’ Jack Savage, Kilcummin’s Kieran Murphy and Cillian Langan from Henchys hometown, who togged for the junior team.

“This was the lightest year we’ve had,” she says with a wry smile of relief.

I do remember going back to 2009, the year we won the junior championship, there was 10 in the house.

Shauna (24), the younger of two daughters who is sitting alongside Mom in the Gaelic Park stand, nonchalantly confirms the figure, as if it were just a way of life for the family.

The US is a marketplace for big sanction signings and big-money rumours are always circulating, yet Kerry club have always refused to participate.

“We’ve never really been and would not be known as a money club and we’re very proud of that,” she says.

“We look out for one another we have a very tight-knit little group of people.”

Yet the club wouldn’t be able to draw in prominent names if it weren’t for the Henchys freeing up valuable resources.

Flights are reimbursed and help with work and/or accommodation is provided within a family ethos that everyone is treated equal.

That policy is enough to see the likes of former All-Ireland winning captain Fionn Fitzgerald and his Dr. Crokes teammate Daithí Casey line out this year.

The club’s seniors bowed out at the county semi-final stage but for Henchy, her calling has always been much more than Kerry club.

“New York County means an awful lot to me as well and you can’t have one without the other.”

She also serves as county secretary and is deeply immersed in the underage strategic development plan.

“There’s no point putting the time and effort into a club if you’re not bringing kids in and bringing young men into the game and even young girls with the ladies.”

This year our starting goalkeeper happens to be a young guy by the name of Patrick Guerin and his grandfather and his father both played in goal for Kerry seniors here so it’s a rite of passage for him too.

Guerin was one of six native born players to make the 26-man county panel this year.

And Gavin White lifting Sam Maguire this Sunday will pale in significance to what Henchy experienced at Croke Park just a few weeks ago when five New York teams lifted silverware at the Renault GAA World Games.

“It has just been an absolute joy, if I never do anything again,” she said, her face overcome with raw emotion.

“Just watching those kids walking up the steps of the Hogan Stand to lift a cup was probably the highlight of my entire career. And to me, it just solidified what I’m doing and how strongly I believed in our development programme.”

And there is the very beauty and essence of the GAA. Whether you are battling it out at the top table this Sunday or watching youngsters hoist a trophy to an empty Croke Park, there is something in our organisation for everyone.

And what you put in you’ll ultimately get out — just ask Joan Henchy.

This article first appeared in the Irish Examiner on August 30, 2019. To view the original version, click here.

Gaelic Park – Past, present, and future with 35 year New York GAA stalwart Seamus Smith

Posted by Michael Dorgan on Saturday, May 4, 2019

Is Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman all a lie?

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Al Pacino (L) stars as Jimmy Hoffa and Robert De Niro (R) as Frank
Al Pacino (L) stars as Jimmy Hoffa and Robert De Niro (R) as Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran. Image IMDb IMDB
Al Pacino (L) stars as Jimmy Hoffa and Robert De Niro (R) as Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran. Image IMDb IMDB
Al Pacino (L) stars as Jimmy Hoffa and Robert De Niro (R) as Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran. Image IMDb IMDB

An Irish hitman for a notorious Italian crime family with insider knowledge into the JFK assassination, is the true-story behind Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman just all one big lie?

Netflix’s upcoming $200 million blockbuster flick The Irishman seems to have it all: a gripping crime story about a prodigious assassin who worked alongside some of the most notorious figures of the 20th century, delivered in cutting edge technology by Hollywood’s greatest ever gangster movie stars.

The Irishman is based on the book by Charles Brandt, “I Heard You Paint Houses,” but its veracity remains hotly contested.

The Book – “I Heard You Paint Houses”

The book tells the story of World War II veteran Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a hustler and alleged hitman who carried out over 25 murders at the behest of the mob and his close friend Jimmy Hoffa, in a career spanning decades.

I Heard You Paint Houses, by Charles Brandt.
I Heard You Paint Houses, by Charles Brandt.

Its author, Charles Brandt, is the former chief deputy attorney general of the state of Delaware and a medical malpractice lawyer who had helped Sheeran win early parole from prison, due to poor health, at age 71.

Shortly afterward and nearing the end of his life through cancer, Sheeran began confessing incredible secrets as the hidden figure behind some of the most significant mafia murders of all time.

The book and movie delve into Sheeran’s relationship with former International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) union leader Jimmy Hoffa, who had immersed himself with organized crime.

 International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) union leader Jimmy Hoffa whom Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran claims to have killed. Image: Getty
International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) union leader Jimmy Hoffa whom Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran claims to have killed. Image: Getty

Hoffa vanished in late July 1975, his body never recovered and no one has ever been held criminally responsible in the disappearance.

Sheeran made the claim to Brandt that it was he who pulled the trigger to that and many other unsolved murders.

He also confessed to the murder of Profaci crime family gangster, Joseph “Crazy Joe” Gallo.

Yet Sheeran pulled them off, without ever being arrested, charged, or even suspected of being the perpetrator by any law enforcement agency.

Disputed claims

Ever since the book was released in 2004, there have been dissenting voices to Sheehan’s extraordinary stories.

Mob historian and author Andy Petepiece is one such skeptic. Petepiece claims Brandt’s work is an “error spewed book demonstrating Brandt’s critical lack of knowledge of La Cosa Nostra. He compounds this by weak cross-checking of facts presented by himself and Sheeran.”

Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance and murder

When Hoffa was released from prison after being convicted of attempted bribery of a grand juror, he attempted to return to power in the Teamsters union but the mob, who controlled much of the organization, opposed this and wanted him killed.

According to Brandt, in consultation with his fellow mob bosses, Sheeran’s patron Russell Bufalino set up the hit.

Joe Pesci plays mob boss Russell Bufalino. Image: IMDb
Joe Pesci plays mob boss Russell Bufalino. Image: IMDb

While O’Brien and Briguglio drove off, Sheeran and Hoffa went into the house, where Sheeran claims to have shot Hoffa twice behind the right ear. But there is no evidence to back up his claims.

In 2005, blood found and tested in the Detroit house where Sheeran claimed the murder happened was determined not to be Hoffa’s.

The “Hoffex Memo,” a 56-page FBI report on the case lists a dozen men who were suspected of having some involvement in either killing Hoffa or disposing of his remains. Although not claiming conclusively to establish the specifics of his disappearance, the memo records a belief that Hoffa was murdered at the behest of organized crime figures.

It suggests that while Sheeran might have been part of the plot to kill Hoffa, it was Salvatore “Sally Bugs” Briguglio, who was involved in the actual disappearance at the behest of mafioso Anthony “Tony Pro” Provenzano, head of the Teamsters Local 560 in Union City, New Jersey – whom Hoffa was also feuding with.

Murder of “Crazy” Joey Gallo

While Sheeran’s version of events surrounding Hoffa’s disappearance is hard to disprove, his claim to the slaying of renegade Brooklyn mobster Crazy Joey Gallo appears to have more legitimate cracks.

Until Sheeran’s confessions, the accepted storyline to Gallo’s demise was as follows: Gallo was out on the town with friends, family, his new wife, and her daughter to celebrate his 43rdbirthday.

In the early hours they were unable to find somewhere to eat in Chinatown so wandered into Little Italy to Umberto’s Clam House, not knowing it was owned by a mobster named Matty the Horse.

Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran. Image: YouTube
Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran. Image: YouTube

Gallo was at war with the Colombo family who had connections present in the restaurant when they arrived. They quickly left and returned with re-enforcements. One of them—a convicted murderer named Carmine “Sonny Pinto” Di Biase—began shooting and Gallo was hit three times.

Sheeran claims that Gallo’s murder happened because earlier in the evening, Crazy Joe was rude to Sheeran’s boss Russell Bufalino, who then sanctioned him with the hit.

Sheeran says he was informed by spies not only which restaurant Gallo would choose hours later, but exactly where he would be sitting and given a diagram of the venue. Sheeran arrived at the appointed time and entered alone, trying to seem like a working truck driver needing a break.

“The known evidence totally contradicts that story,” says Petepiece.

Al Pacino (L) stars as Jimmy Hoffa and Robert De Niro (R) as Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran. Image IMDb IMDB
Al Pacino (L) stars as Jimmy Hoffa and Robert De Niro (R) as Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran. Image IMDb IMDB

“This refutes Sheeran’s claim to have known Gallo would be going to Umberto’s Clam House that night. Furthermore, one of those involved in the murder became a government witness and told the whole story. Joseph Luparelli’s version of the killing was supported by eyewitness descriptions of the killer, ballistic evidence and informants.”

“Furthermore, Gallo’s bodyguard recognized Carmine (Sonny Pinto) DiBiase as the lead shooter. This was the same man Luparelli had identified.”

“The bottom line is that Sheeran’s Gallo story is nonsense and the known evidence proves it.”

Other Sheeran claims

Sheeran also claims that just before the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, in 1962, he was ordered by his mob bosses to drive a truckload of uniforms and weapons to a dog track in Florida, where he delivered the cargo to infamous CIA agent E. Howard Hunt, who, a decade later, would be one of the Watergate burglars.

In November 1963, Sheeran said he was summoned to an Italian restaurant in Brooklyn, where a gangster handed him a duffel bag containing three rifles and told him to deliver them to a pilot, who took the bag and disappeared – to be used in the 1963 John F. Kennedy assassination.

Sheeran claimed he had insider knowledge to the JFK assassination. Image: Getty
Sheeran claimed he had insider knowledge to the JFK assassination. Image: Getty

Also, Sheeran tells about taking a suitcase containing half a million dollars in cash to the lobby of the Washington D.C. Hilton, and exchanges it with U.S. Attorney General John Mitchell – an alleged bribe for President Richard Nixon.

On December 1971. less than five years into his 13-year sentence, Hoffa was pardoned by Nixon.

Sheeran’s credibility, apart from being a career criminal, was also laid bare after Brandt lost two publishing deals for the book after it was discovered Sheeran had forged a letter he said Hoffa had written to him.

So, did Sheeran come clean as he approached death’s door or did he seek to create his own legend before his death? 

This article first appeared in IrishCentral.com on August 15, 2019. To view the original version, click here.

Joe Biden will not be the next US president

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2020 US Presidential candidate Joe Biden
2020 US Presidential candidate Joe Biden
2020 US Presidential candidate Joe Biden
2020 US Presidential candidate Joe Biden

Joe Biden’s road to the White House was knocked permanently off course last Thursday night after the former US vice president put in an underwhelming performance at the 2020 Democratic debate.

On top of slurring his words, the 76-year-old came across as confused and indecisive, his misery compounded by several attacks from Kamala Harris – the biggest winner on the night.

Biden was the Democratic front runner by some margin even before launching his White House bid last April, and it appeared allegations of inappropriate behavior were craftily weathered by the 50 year Washington veteran.

24 hours after formally announcing his candidacy, he banked an impressive $6.3 million haul and a sharp spike in polling appeared to solidify his position as the Democratic favorite.

Before this week’s debates, those gains had all but evaporated – fuelled by his lackluster campaign and restricted public appearances
which have failed to energize his evolving party.RealClearPolitics polls show a sharp spike for Biden after announcing his candidacy. Those gains have all but disappeared. Image: RealClearPolitics

He has been dull and uninspiring – flip-flopping on issues like the Hyde Amendment and China, bunkered down in defense of segregationist senators while allegations his son Hunter profited from his position as vice president in dealings with China and
Ukraine linger.

Biden has been vague on policy too, shaping his campaign as a crusade of morality against Donald Trump – which this writer already warned was doomed to failure.

Biden’s age and notoriety for gaffes were always potential stumbling blocks yet last week he played into the narrative of an aged politician stuck in yesteryear while a new generation demanded he step aside.

There was no Ronald Reagan / Walter Mondale moment for the former Delaware senator when California Congressman Eric Swalwell instructed him to “pass the torch,” just a wry smile and an unconvincing, “I’m still holding onto that torch, I want to make it
clear to you,” retort.

MIAMI, FLORIDA - JUNE 27: former Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) speak during a break in the second night of the first Democratic presidential debate on June 27, 2019 in Miami, Florida. A field of 20 Democratic presidential candidates was split into two groups of 10 for the first debate of the 2020 election, taking place over two nights at Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, hosted by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA – JUNE 27: former Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) speak during a break in the second night of the first Democratic presidential debate on June 27, 2019 in Miami, Florida. A field of 20 Democratic presidential candidates was split into two groups of 10 for the first debate of the 2020 election, taking place over two nights at Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, hosted by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

 

Asked to name the first thing he would try to do after being elected president, Biden said that he would, “defeat Donald Trump.”

Biden stood on stage as a battle-scarred trouper yet the candidates were past the point of deference – eager to rub salt into old wounds.

None was more willing than the only black woman in the 2020 presidential race, California Senator Kamala Harris, who, while initially declaring she didn’t believe Biden was a racist – proceeded to play the race card.

 Sen. Kamala Harris (R) (D-CA) and former Vice President Joe Biden (L) speak as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) looks on during the second night of the first Democratic presidential debate. Image: Getty

Harris criticized Biden for recently highlighting his decades-old work with segregationist senators and his opposition to public school busing during the 1970s — of which she claimed to have been directly affected.

It created the night’s main talking point where Biden seemed unassured and abruptly reached to the clock for respite. “Anyway my time is up,” he astonishingly declared.

Harris’ argument may not pass the smell test against a politician who served as the right-hand man to America’s first black president, but that doubt may yet fester in the minds of black American’s.

It forced Biden to defend his civil rights record on Friday, pledging to be a “president who stands against racism” and “the forces of intolerance” and defiantly dismissed any suggestions otherwise.

This on the same day he lost support from major San Francisco-based donor Tom McInerney. The attorney and angel investor was responsible for helping the Obama campaign raise significant sums of money and said, “I would imagine I’m not alone.”

In contrast, Harris’ presidential campaign announced Saturday that it raised $2 million in 24 hours following Thursday’s 2020 Democratic debate.

Polling by Morning Consult and FiveThirtyEight before and after the two debates on Wednesday and Thursday suggests that support for Biden dropped by about 10 points among likely Democratic voters, when asked who they would choose if the election were held tomorrow.

Biden is in serious trouble and we haven’t even begun scratching his foreign policy record, although moderator Rachel Maddow pressed him on his early support for the Iraq War, allowing Bernie Sanders to pounce.

“One of the differences that Joe and I have in our record is Joe voted for that war and I helped lead the opposition to that war, which was a total disaster,” said Sanders.

Robert Gates, who served as defense secretary for the Obama administration said in his memoir that Biden has “been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”

Biden told Delaware Democrats earlier this year that he gets “criticized by the New Left,” and it’s this arm of the party which steadfastly opposes him
and appear to be driving the party’s direction.

The fromnt page of the New York Post Friday, following Thursday's debate.

When asked which candidates healthcare plan would extend to illegal immigrants, Biden almost reluctantly raised his hand last – as if he was feeling the progressive heat shining down upon him.

That question had President Trump licking his lips because when it comes to the general election, no candidate running on that platform will defeat the incumbent.

Biden also defended the NRA, this in front of a party which yearns for comprehensive gun law reform.

“Our enemy is the gun manufacturers, not the NRA,” he said.

He went on to call for smart guns to include biometric readers but said gun manufacturers were an obstacle in achieving that goal.

WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 09: U.S. President Barack Obama makes a statement on the election results as Vice President Joseph Biden listens in the Rose Garden at the White House November 9, 2016 in Washington, DC. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has won the election and will become the 45th president of the United States. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

 

Save for an olive branch endorsement from Barack Obama – which seems increasingly unlikely – Biden’s chances of becoming the next president of the United States are over, or as he said last Thursday:

My time is up.”

 

Katie Taylor: ‘The hard work paid off. I made history’

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Katie Taylor celebrates with all four belts after her win over Delfine Pursoon. Photograph: Al Bello/Getty
Katie Taylor celebrates with all four belts after her win over Delfine Pursoon. Photograph: Al Bello/Getty
Katie Taylor celebrates with all four belts after her win over Delfine Pursoon. Photograph: Al Bello/Getty
Katie Taylor celebrates with all four belts after her win over Delfine Pursoon. Photograph: Al Bello/Getty

Taylor happy to take Persoon rematch as new unified champ assesses her options

Michael Dorgan 

“The hard work paid off. I’ve got the five belts. I made history tonight.”

Those are the cold hard facts from the new undisputed lightweight champion of the world, Katie Taylor.

A two-and-a-half year journey ended at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night when the Bray woman defeated Belgium’s Delfine Persoon after a contentious majority decision.

Taylor set off on her plan for global dominance shortly after her now infamous defeat at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and 14 professional fights later, she presented her WBA, IBF, WBO and WBC straps, along with Ring Magazine’s commemorative “ring belt” to the worlds media.

“This is what I dreamed of and this is what I trained so hard for, so I’m absolutely delighted,” said a fatigued Taylor, who wore the scars of 10 attritional rounds of pulsating boxing at the post fight press conference.

Taylor had cruised to her date with destiny, dispatching all oncomers with consummate ease, losing few rounds along the way.

But she warned the final hurdle would be the sternest, Persoon would bring a new, tougher challenge, the hardest of her career – and so it proved.

The 34-year-old police officer from West Flanders was convinced she had done enough to create her own fairy-tale ending.

So too did sections of the raucous crowd, the near 21,000 seater almost full by the final bell – mesmerised by the slogfest of action which had unfolded before their eyes.

Persoon, stroppy and unorthodox, gamely attacked with abandon – often skipping into the air landing unusual overhead punches.

Often switching to southpaw she had legitimate claims to the next two rounds as Taylor found her hard to measure.

Persoon’s reach advantage became problematic too, Taylor was landing her usual combos but Persoon was able to respond with her own as well as some direct and accurate jabs.

By the fifth, Taylor was on the back foot often finding herself on the ropes but comfortable enough to give Persoon the “bring it” gesture – even as a cut appeared on her nose.

Taylor was also using some effective check hooks to counter her 34-year-old opponent, opening a gash over her right eye and standing off a bit more.

Katie Taylor could take a rematch with Delfine Pursoon. Photograph: Al Bello/Getty
Katie Taylor could take a rematch with Delfine Pursoon. Photograph: Al Bello/Getty

The latter rounds have always proved to be Taylor’s strongest but Persoon indicated all week a protracted contest would be to her advantage. She outlanded Taylor 55-28 over the last three although Taylor crucially took the penultimate. By now tactics had gone out the window and both champions locked horns unabashedly.

Taylor was out on her feet at the finale, chucking distress signals and for a moment looked like she was just one swing away from a knock-down.

“I was prepared for that type of fight,” said Taylor.

“There was nothing new that I saw in there – I knew she was strong, I knew she was awkward, and I knew she wouldn’t stop throwing for 10 rounds. I expected that type of fight.

“I knew it was going to be a fight where I was going to have to show a lot of heart, I knew I was going to be in the trenches at some stage and that’s exactly what happened.”

The closeness of the decision heard almost universal calls for a rematch, although the distraught Persoon was nowhere to be seen after booting from the ring.

“I’m happy to take a rematch if she wants it, but we’ll see what happens.” Said Taylor.

But when the dust settles there are other viable avenues, Persoon still lacks that star name outside of her home country though plenty will be familiar with her now.

A sequel would surely fill a gaping gap in Taylor’s September/October schedule, her manager Brian Peters maintaining for some time that seven-weight world champion Amanda Serrano would “chicken out” of an encounter with the lightweight champion.

The Puerto Rican born Brooklynite again calling Taylor out in the post-fight aftermath claiming Persoon had been robbed of victory.

“She must be sick of making a fool of herself by now. It’s getting better each time,” said Peters.

“She’d be one of the favourites, sure. But sure she doesn’t know whether she’s coming or going.

“I just don’t think she [SERRANO]wants it. Keyboard warrior. She signed a deal and what rubbish is she coming up with? She signed a three-fight deal with Matchroom, the third fight against Katie Taylor, and she’s had one fight of that deal. It’s really not that complicated.

“All talk. Look, I think one thing you can say about Katie Taylor: she doesn’t turn down any challenge.”

The prospective mouth-watering super-fight against undisputed female welterweight champion Cecilia Brækhus may be some way off yet, Taylor will be expected to defend her current collection before the governing bodies would sanction that clash.

American’s Mikaela Mayer and Heather Hardy are also being touted.

But Peters insists the ball is firmly in team Taylor’s park when it comes to the next move.

“We’re open to anything. There are so many different factors that have to be taken into consideration. Do you look at a rematch straight away? Well, I suppose, we’re going to do whatever suits us.

“So far on this journey, we’ve done pretty well, so… It’s about our plans.”

Whatever the route Taylor chooses her eagerness to learn and improve has only been emboldened by Saturday’s humdinger.

“Its history-making stuff and the great thing about it is the best is still yet to come,” she warned.

“I still have so much to work on, so much to improve on. People still haven’t seen the best of me.”

This article first appeared in the Irish Times on June 3rd , 2019. To view the original version, click here.

385-million-year-old footprints in Co Kerry represent turning point in evolution

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385-million-year-old footprints in Co Kerry represent turning point in evolution

385-million-year-old footprints in Co Kerry represent turning point in evolution

Off the southwest, Co Kerry coast lies one of Ireland’s most westerly points and best kept secrets, Valentia Island.

Almost 385 million years ago, long before dinosaurs set foot on earth, Ireland and Valentia Island lay south of the equator where the earliest land-going vertebrates known as “tetrapods” roamed.

Some of these creatures crawled along the muddy shore leaving not only their footprints but also faint impressions left by dragging their long tails – which accounted for almost half their length.

The rock later solidified, preserving its markings and over millions of years,  Ireland drifted north and the muddy shore ended up on the north side of Valentia Island, along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.

Remarkably, physical evidence of tetrapods remain on Valentia Island!

International and historical significance

The Valentia Island Tetrapod footprints are of international significance as it represents the transition of life from water to land – a momentous turning point in evolution and provides the oldest reliably dated evidence of four-legged vertebrates (amphibians) moving over land.

In 1993 an undergraduate geology student discovered the tetrapod’s track on the northeast of Valentia Island.

The footprints are of international importance as it provides some of the oldest evidence of one of the first water-dwelling creatures which crawled out of the water and made the important evolutionary step toward land dwelling.

The Valentia Slate Formation

Nine tetrapod trackways from three sites have now been reported from the Valentia Slate Formation of Valentia Island.

The formation is composed mostly of purple colored fine-grained sandstones and siltstones interpreted to represent a fluvial setting.

The most extensive of the Valentia Island trackways are preserved in a fine-grained sandstone and records some 145 imprints in a parallel orientation of the left and right impressions.

The systematic variation in size of the impressions affords distinction between tracks left by the manus and pes of the animal, but the trackway does not preserve any finer details.

Other trackways at the same site preserve tail and body drag impressions; the nature of the impressions and that of the sandstone led to the interpretation that the setting was not saturated in water. Consequently, these tracks are interpreted as evidence
of fully terrestrial locomotion.

The tetrapod imprints are thought to date from Devonian times – a roughly 60 million year period somewhere between 358 and 420 million years ago making these tetrapod trackways some of the earliest recorded.

The Valentia Island Tetrapod footprints are the most extensive of the four Devonian trackways in the world.

(The others are in Tarbet Ness, Scotland; Genoa River, NSW Australia; Glen Isla, Victoria Australia).

This is a hugely important National Heritage site and is protected by law.

This article first appeared in IrishCentral.com on June 7, 2019. To view the original version, click here.

Controversy around Katie Taylor’s points win over Persoon – Irish Times

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Katie Taylor and Delfine Persoon during their world lightweight championship fight at Madison Square Garden, New York. Photograph: Inpho/Matchroom Boxing/Ed Mulholland
Katie Taylor and Delfine Persoon during their world lightweight championship fight at Madison Square Garden, New York. Photograph: Inpho/Matchroom Boxing/Ed Mulholland
Katie Taylor and Delfine Persoon during their world lightweight championship fight at Madison Square Garden, New York. Photograph: Inpho/Matchroom Boxing/Ed Mulholland
Katie Taylor and Delfine Persoon during their world lightweight championship fight at Madison Square Garden, New York. Photograph: Inpho/Matchroom Boxing/Ed Mulholland

Two scores of 96-94 tipped the bout in the Bray fighter’s favour, the third judge calling a draw

Michael Dorgan 

Katie Taylor’s unification of the lightweight division has been marred in controversy following her majority decision win over Belgian Delfine Persoon at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.

The Bray woman defeated Persoon by a razor-thin margin to claim the WBA, IBF, WBO, and WBC straps.

Two scores of 96-94 tipped the bout in her favour, the third judge calling a draw at 95 points apiece.

So enraged was Persoon that she dashed out of the ring in tears, her trainer waving his hand in disagreement to the sold-out New York crowd.

“There has to be a winner and a loser, and I definitely feel like I did enough to win the fight,” said a battered and bruised Taylor in the post-fight press conference – her right eye swelled shut, a clashof heads requiring stitches above her forehead.

“She came on very strong in the end but I felt I did enough at the start of the fight to win the fight.”

For Taylor’s camp, there was never any doubt about the result.

“I had no doubt she won it,” said manager Brian Peters in the post-fight press conference, insisting he reassured Taylor before the official announcement came in.

“I thought she won [rounds] one, two, three, four, five, round nine, and even potentially one of the others. It was definitely 6-4, 7-3 in my eyes.”

There were plenty who disagreed. Taylor’s arch nemesis and next potential opponent Amanda Serrano taking to Twitter saying: “I was totally rooting for Katie Taylor because that’s my fight to win but hats off to Persoon I honestly thought she won.”

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live’s coverage, former two-weight world champion Carl Frampton declared the result a “disgraceful decision,” insisting Persoon won the fight “by miles.”

Promoter Eddie Hearn called it a draw, before going on to say Taylor would give Persoon a rematch if the result was any way in doubt.

Persoon will point to throwing 586 punches to Taylors 410, landing 116 of those to her opponents 103.

She was unorthodox, awkward and game, attacking with abandon and throwing Taylor off her game plan.

“I probably just stood there with her a bit too much, but that’s the way it goes; that’s my personality, that’s my nature; I do love a good tear-up,” remarked the new champion.

In the cold light of day the better fighter doesn’t always come away with the win, its points on the scorecards which matter.

Taylor landed 93 “power shots” to Persoon’s 83 and was more accurate overall – for that Taylor probably just edged it, certainly doing enough not to lose.

Both women contributed to a magnificent spectacle, a fight of the ages and another major step forward for women’s boxing on a global stage.

Taylor was far from her scintillating best. On a night when Andy Ruiz Jr. shocked the world taking the scalp of Anthony Joshua to become unified heavyweight champion, Taylor showed she can win ugly – the sign of a great champion.

This article first appeared in the Irish Times on June 2nd, 2019. To view the original version, click here.

Katie Taylor undisputed lightweight world champion after New York win – Irish Times

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Katie Taylor celebrates her win against Delfine Persoon in the IBF, WBC, WBO, WBA, Ring Magazine Women’s Lightweight World Championships fight at Madison Square Garden, New York. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Katie Taylor celebrates her win against Delfine Persoon in the IBF, WBC, WBO, WBA, Ring Magazine Women’s Lightweight World Championships fight at Madison Square Garden, New York. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Katie Taylor celebrates her win against Delfine Persoon in the IBF, WBC, WBO, WBA, Ring Magazine Women’s Lightweight World Championships fight at Madison Square Garden, New York. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Katie Taylor celebrates her win against Delfine Persoon in the IBF, WBC, WBO, WBA, Ring Magazine Women’s Lightweight World Championships fight at Madison Square Garden, New York. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Bray boxer in fight of her life as she narrowly defeats Belgium’s Delfine Persoon

Michael Dorgan at Madison Square Garden

Katie Taylor has been crowned the undisputed lightweight champion of the world after the fight of her life at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

The Bray woman narrowly defeated Belgium’s Delfine Persoon after a controversial majority point’s decision; two scores of 96-94 tipping the bout in her favour with the third judge calling a draw at 95 points apiece.

Persoon, incensed at the decision, stormed out of the ring in tears, her trainer waving his hand in disagreement to the jeering, sold-out crowd.

Taylor expected the toughest fight of her career and was hanging on for survival at the end of 10 battering rounds of top class boxing.

Like a woman possessed, Persoon approached the ring thumping her face – and saved plenty of that gusto for the former Olympic gold medallist.

Taylor, in changed purple and gold apparel with white boots, comfortably took the opener but Persoon, awkward and unorthodox, gamely attacked with abandon – often skipping into the air landing overhead punches.

The police officer made herself hard to gauge, often switching to southpaw and had legitimate claims to the next two rounds.

Persoon’s reach advantage became problematic for Taylor too, preventing the 32-year-old from imposing her usual strategy of quickly engaging and retreating unscathed.

Taylor was landing her usual combos but Persoon was able to respond with her own as well as some direct and accurate jabs.

By the fifth, Taylor was on the back foot often finding herself on the ropes but comfortable enough to give Persoon the “bring it” gesture – even as a cut appeared on her nose.

Taylor was also using some effective check hooks to counter her 34-year-old opponent, opening a gash over her right eye and standing off a bit more – happy to take her time and probe for openings.

But Persoon, who had indicated all week a protracted contest would be to her advantage, outlanding Taylor 55-28 over the last 3 rounds and almost securing a knockdown in the last.

“I thought I definitely won the earlier rounds, she came on very strong in the end but I felt I did enough at the start of the fight to win the fight,” said Taylor immediately afterward.

“I knew it was definitely going to be the biggest night of my career, the hardest fight of my career, it definitely was that.”

“I’m definitely fine to give Delfine a rematch if she wants but there’s big fights out there for me, the obvious one is Amanda Serrano, I think that I’m happy to fight whoever’s put in front of me.”

But that’s for another day, Taylor will return to Ireland this week with the WBA, IBF, WBO and WBC straps, along with Ring Magazines” commemorative “ring belt”.

Katie Taylor, Ireland’s first undisputed world champion in the modern era.

This article first appeared in the Irish Times on June 2nd , 2019. To view the original version, click here.

Destiny calling for Katie Taylor on a huge night at the Garden – Irish Times

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Katie Taylor with Saturday night’s opponent Delfine Persoon. Photograph: Jeff Fusco/Inpho
Katie Taylor with Saturday night’s opponent Delfine Persoon. Photograph: Jeff Fusco/Inpho
Katie Taylor with Saturday night’s opponent Delfine Persoon. Photograph: Jeff Fusco/Inpho
Katie Taylor with Saturday night’s opponent Delfine Persoon. Photograph: Jeff Fusco/Inpho

Michael Dorgan in New York

A date with destiny and a chance to etch a place amongst boxing’s greats is what awaits Katie Taylor at New York’s Madison Square Garden on Saturday.

The Bray woman bids to realise an obsessive dream two and a half years in the making – becoming the undisputed lightweight champion of the world.

A date with destiny and a chance to etch a place amongst boxing‘s greats is what awaits Katie Taylor at New York’s Madison Square Garden tonight.

The Bray woman bids to realise an obsessive dream two and a half years in the making – becoming the undisputed lightweight champion of the world.

Already armed with the WBA, IBF and WBO straps, the 2012 Olympic gold medallist looks to add the final piece to the four belt quaternity – Delfine Persoon’s WBC strap.

If successful she will become Ireland’s first unified world champion in the modern era, and the world’s seventh, male or female.

Such is the significance of the occasion, the winner will also walk away with “Ring Magazines” commemorative “ring belt” – the first time it will be presented in the division.

“This journey has been incredible over the last few years”, says Taylor, who will compete inside boxing’s “mecca” for just the second time in her career – the clash featuring on the undercard toAnthony Joshua’s heavyweight title defence against Andy Ruiz Jr.

“This is a fight I have always wanted.  To be fighting for the undisputed title in Madison Square Garden is absolutely phenomenal.”

“Ever since I did turn pro, I wanted to become the undisputed champion, I wanted to make history and create a legacy in this sport and I am so close to it now.”

It has been a slow, methodical process by team Taylor, expertly piloted by manager Brian Peters.

“We’ve had to let Katie build her profile globally and I think we’ve done that, says Peters.

“You can see that with the likes of the DAZN so eager to promote her and she’s been very well received in America.”

“There are so many things that can go wrong in the pro game and Katie has had to learn the ropes as well, but she’s so eager to learn.”

It’s also the reason why the unavoidable “toughest ever challenge” cliché has accompanied most of Taylor’s 13 previous opponents.

But Persoon will rank as Taylor’s toughest and roughest by a considerable margin.

Streetwise both inside and outside the ring, the Belgium police officer has tasted defeat just once in 43 professional bouts.

And with 18 KOs along the way, the 34-year-old will be unafraid to bring the fight to Taylor.

“When she punches her opponents, they didn’t want to punch back,” says a quietly confident Persoon.

“But this time she will meet an opponent who is not scared to punch back.”

“I think I aa little bit harder and I think I punch a little bit harder than she does.

“I think she has her strengths, she’s faster than me and technically, tactically I think she is also a little bit better than me. But I think I’m the hardest fighter and the most physical fighter between us.”

Persoon will have a slight height and upper body strength advantage over the Irish woman and is expected to go the full ten, two minute round distance.

“Over three rounds I know that it would be very difficult to win against her. But it’s 10 rounds. That means I’ve got the time to make this a hard fight. I think I already faced some hard opponents but she hasn’t yet had an opponent who is very, very hard.”

“Delfine is a formidable challenge” said the Connecticut based Taylor.

“I’ve watched clips of her and she’s very tall and awkward, she punches non-stop for the ten rounds and I think it’s going to be a very physical fight.”

“I’m well prepared for this challenge, and to have a great performance.

“This is when boxing is at its best: champion versus a champion and these are the kinds of fights I need to participate in to take the sport to higher levels for all of us. I understand how big this is. This is why I box.

“This is definitely the biggest night of my career and I can’t wait for it.

A minor spat between the camps over hotel residencies has added some further spice to the contest but it will all be a distant memory come the late hours, there will be history books to fill by then.

The fight is available to watch on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and Ireland as well as the over-the-top streaming service DAZN in North America. Taylor has been told she is expected in the ring aaround 8:30 local time, 1:30 GMT.

This article first appeared in the Irish Times on June 1st, 2019. To view the original version, click here.

Joe Biden used to sound a lot like Trump on immigration, border fence

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joe biden and donald trumo

joe biden and donald trumo

US presidential candidate Joe Biden has been defending illegal immigrants on the 2020 campaign trail but was singing from a different hymn sheet in the run-up to, and during, his last bid for the commander in chief.

Biden last week referred to the border debate as “a crisis created by Trump” but it wasn’t so long ago that the former Vice President sounded a lot like the Republican president.

In fact, Biden once spoke about jailing employers who hired “illegals,” said sanctuary cities shouldn’t be allowed violate federal law and argued a fence was needed stop “tons” of drugs coming into the US from “corrupt Mexico.”

JOHNSTON, IA – DECEMBER 13: Democratic candidate U.S. Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) speaks during the Des Moines Register Democratic Presidential Debate at the Iowa Public Television studios December 13, 2007 in Johnston, Iowa. The debate will be the last Democratic debate before the Iowa caucuses. (Photo by Andrea Melendez-Pool/Getty Images)

Democratic candidate U.S. Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) speaks during the Des Moines Register Democratic Presidential Debate at the Iowa Public Television studios December 13, 2007 in Johnston, Iowa. Image: Getty

Before officially stepping into the 2008 presidential race, then-Senator Biden touted his support for the Secure Fence Act – a bill that authorized 700 miles of double-layered fence on the border through more than a billion dollars in appropriations.

The bill was also supported by then-Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as well as current Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

“Folks, I voted for a fence, I voted, unlike most Democrats, and some of you won’t like it, I voted for 700 miles of fence,” he said to a South Carolina rotary club in November 2006.

“But, let me tell you, we can build a fence 40 stories high, unless you change the dynamic in Mexico and, and you will not like this, and punish American employers who knowingly violate the law when, in fact, they hire illegals. Unless you do those two
things, all the rest is window dressing.”

“Now, I know I’m not supposed to say it that bluntly, but they’re the facts, they’re the facts. And so everything else we do is in between here. Everything else we do is at the margins. And the reason why I add that parenthetically, why I believe the
fence is needed does not have anything to do with immigration as much as drugs,” Biden continued.

“And let me tell you something, folks, people are driving across that border with tons, tons, hear me, tons of everything from byproducts for methamphetamine to cocaine to heroin and it’s all coming up through corrupt Mexico.”

Speaking at a September 2007 debate at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, Biden said he would not allow sanctuary cities to ignore federal law.

Real estate mogul Donald Trump announces his bid for the presidency in the 2016 presidential race during an event at the Trump Tower on the Fifth Avenue in New York City on June 16, 2015. KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)

“Yes or no, would you allow those cities to ignore the federal law?” Biden was asked. “No,” he responded.

At another 2007 event, Biden called for sending employers of undocumented immigrants to prison.

“We’ve got to get tougher with employers. If they, in fact, the person we should send to jail is not the illegals, you should send to jail the employer,” Biden said.

“If you knowingly hire, knowingly hire an illegal alien, then you should be held accountable. Because let me tell you, the next person I hear tell me that my labor guys aren’t willing to work hard, that’s why you have illegals putting up sheetrock, then
I want to tell you, you don’t know my guys.”

During the 2008 campaign Biden also opposed granting driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants and his immigration plan also called for increasing funding for border patrol.

This article first appeared in IrishCentral.com on May 20, 2019. To view the original version, click here.

Joe Biden describes illegal immigrants as “the best of every nation”

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NASHUA, NEW HAMPSHIRE - MAY 14: Former Vice President and Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks to voters on May 14, 2019 in Nashua, New Hampshire. The Former Vice President made a number of public appearances over two days in New Hampshire, his first visit to the state as a presidential candidate on Monday and Tuesday. In new data released Sunday from the key primary state of South Carolina, 46% of likely party primary voters say they are supporting Biden. The former Vice President has enjoyed an early surge in the polls since announcing his candidacy. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

2020 US presidential candidate Joe Biden has defended Central American migrants taking advantage of asylum loopholes in immigration laws.

The former Vice President compared them to his Irish ancestors who left Ireland for the United States during the Great Famine.

Biden, who has Irish roots in Ballina, Co Mayo, and in Co Louth, was commenting on immigration during a campaign event in Nashua, New Hampshire earlier this week.

Joe Biden visiting Ireland. Image: RollingNews.ie

“One of the reasons we are the nation we are is because we’ve been able to cherry pick the best of every culture in the world,” Biden said, pointing to the American immigration system.

“That’s why we are who we are, think about it,” he asked the crowd.

“Whether it was my great-great-grandfather getting on a coffin ship up in the Irish Sea to come here in the middle of famine or somebody coming in Guadalajara today saying, ‘You know, I got a great idea family, let’s sell everything we have give it to
a coyote take it across the border drop us in the desert, place that doesn’t want us, won’t that be fun?’

Biden suggested that Americans who were critical of migrants and illegal immigrants rushing the Southern border were hypocritical, describing them as the “best” of Central American countries.

“Who are your ancestors who came?” he asked. “What happened? These are the people that are optimistic, tough, resilient, they are the people that came so we picked the best of every nation.”

Biden also demanded that Trump stop characterizing immigrants as dangerous.

Former US Vice President and front-running Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (R) speaks to reporters during a campaign stop at a King Taco shop in Los Angeles, California on May 8, 2019. (Image: Getty Images)
Former US Vice President and front-running Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (R) speaks to reporters during a campaign stop at a King Taco shop in Los Angeles, California on May 8, 2019. (Image: Getty Images)

“The idea that we’re trying to scare the living devil out of the American public … it’s just simply wrong,” he said.

In Los Angeles last week, Biden last week referred to the border debate as “a crisis created by Trump” and defended migrants and illegal immigrants coming from Central America.

The former US senator has also said that the government has an obligation to provide everyone in the country with healthcare – including the more than 20 million estimated undocumented immigrants who currently reside in the U.S.

“Look, I think that anyone who is in a situation where they are in need of health care, regardless of whether they are documented or undocumented, we have an obligation to see that they are cared for.”

This article first appeared in IrishCentral.com on June 7, 2019. To view the original version, click here.

VIDEO: Exclusive interview with former Taoiseach Enda Kenny after Mayo defeat New York

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Michael Dorgan speaks exclusively with former Taoiseach Enda Kenny after Mayo defeat New York

Michael Dorgan speaks exclusively with former Taoiseach Enda Kenny after Mayo defeat New York

Michael Dorgan speaks exclusively with former Taoiseach Enda Kenny after Mayo defeat New York

Sometimes it’s not the winning but taking part that counts, and that certainly was the message from former Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Enda Kenny following Mayo’s rout of New York at Gaelic Park in the Bronx last Sunday in the opening game of the Connacht Championship

Mayo native Enda Kenny, who sported a green and red NYPD jersey presented to him the night before the game told the Irish Voice, “While the game itself wasn’t any great spectacle, there was a gulf in standard, it’s still important that teams from Ireland come to New York and play the games here, not just in New York but across America.

“They are actually a central part of who we are and what we are as a people, given the fact that emigration was always a part of the Irish DNA, the spread of Gaelic games and the retention of our culture and what it means is very important for the community.  Gaelic games give young people a sense of place, a sense of understanding and that’s part of our character.

“The spread in the last 20 years to the Middle East and to Australia and the Asian countries, it’s all indicative of the confidence young people have as Irish people and now can stand on any stage around the world and hold their own with their peers and from that point of view, playing your native game, and keeping contact alive with your home country is very important.”

The former Fine Gael leader revealed that he too played at the famed Gaelic Park.

“I was here in 1974 and played on this pitch, the precursor to this pitch, with a Longford team of which the great Jackie Devine was a member. In those days this pitch was as hard as a rock,” Kenny recalled.

“There was what they call ‘a line of action’ down the middle which was a line of dust, and obviously the games began here at 11 o’clock on a Sunday morning and by the time you got to seven o’clock in the evening some people were in a desperate state.”

Speaking on plans for a new Gaelic Park clubhouse which will begin construction in the coming weeks Kenny said, “I’m very proud of that, and just to see that the Kerry O’Donnell buildings were actually demolished last week, so it’s great that permission has been given and so that they can actually start the construction now.  That will add to the satisfaction and the rating and the attraction of Gaelic Park and GAA headquarters here in America to continue to build the games for the future.

“I’m happy to see all the little youngsters out on the pitch at halftime doing their thing.  This for them can be their field of dreams.”

This article first appeared in IrishCentral.com and the Irish Voice on May 8, 2019. To view the original version, click here.