Gerry O'Carroll: Ryder Cup hero Graeme deserves better than Morning Ireland 'Pebble Hill' gaffe
I spent much of Monday afternoon following the fortunes of Europe's Ryder Cup team from the comfort of my local boozer.
It was magical to see the effect of the win on sports lovers, and particularly gratifying to see our own Graeme McDowell make the difference. The Ulsterman saw off the US challenge and got his hands on the Ryder Cup. It came only months after his fantastic win in the US Open at Pebble Beach.
He's a man who deserves our adulation. So imagine my surprise when I tuned into Morning Ireland yesterday to hear them referring to Graeme's win at "Pebble Hill".
Really, it was an unforgiveable gaffe and one which is a grave injustice to a man whose achievements have brightened our lives.
The Ryder Cup finished on Monday afternoon, so it wasn't as if they didn't have time to prepare the scripts. It's a less than appropriate way to honour a man who has proven himself to be a truly great Irishman.
Indeed, after the victory at Celtic Manor, he draped himself in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland flags.
It was a gesture that proved him to be both a proud Ulsterman and proud Irishman.
Graeme's mother is Catholic and his father is Protestant, and it seems they have raised a son who embodies all that is good about both traditions. Graeme, we salute you.
Coming out? Just lock him in the closet
AS Del Boy Trotter said to Rodney in Only Fools And Horses: "What a plonker."
That was the first phrase that came into my head when I saw our former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in a ridiculous TV ad for a Sunday tabloid.
I thought: "Money-mad Bertie has finally lost the run of himself."
There he was, squeezed into a kitchen press like Houdini, looking out at us with a stupid grin on his face. I gasped in amazement to see the former holder of the highest office in the land hawking himself in such a tawdry and demeaning way.
On one level, it's painfully appropriate. After all, he's well used to slippery stunts. How could we forget his antics at the Mahon Tribunal when he wriggled like a worm and tried to explain his lack of bank accounts, his dig-outs and his so-called success on the horses.
Seriously, though, I think this tasteless stunt on TV marks a new low even for our once-Teflon ex-Taoiseach. It's almost too much to bear when you consider the humiliation that was heaped on the nation in recent weeks.
Thanks to Brian Cowen's Galway libations, US presenter Jay Leno saw fit to describe our leader as a drunken moron.
What label is he reserving for Mr Cowen's predecessor?
It's all in stark contrast to the stature and dignity of Bill Clinton during his visit to Ireland last week. Our politicians could learn a thing or do about class from this great statesman.
Honestly, can you imagine Jack Lynch and Liam Cosgrave ever taking part in such a crass exercise as Bertie's kitchen cupboard stunt for a downmarket British tabloid?
How can we take Bertie seriously after this?
This same man is raking in the cash on the international after-dinner speaking circuit. He uses those speeches to pass himself off as a financial guru and an architect of the Celtic Tiger wonder years.
Needless to say, he conveniently glosses over his pivotal role in the downfall of the economy. Like Pontius Pilate, Bertie washed his hands of his part in our country's ruin.
Now he's again following his insatiable quest for money with a budding career as a sports journalist. He's already getting a massive pension and a TD's salary, despite making only rare appearances in the Dail.
Coupled with all those riches, he also has a Mercedes at his disposal, 24 hours a day, along with a garda driver for the rest of his life.
This is a scandalous waste of money that could only happen in a crazy country like ours.
And I'm sure the general public -- whom this ad is pitched at -- spent a while staring at the TV in disbelief after Bertie's ad first appeared.
Believe me, this ad will do nothing to enhance international confidence in Ireland and I doubt Bertie's opinions will sell many more papers either.
Last Sunday he wrote of Trap and the Irish soccer team: "I hope he sends the boys out to win the game." Insightful stuff indeed. Let's just say Bertie's no Johnny Giles.
I fear that Mr Ahern is so deluded that he still doesn't realise that the public don't want him to be the next president. And whoever advised him to become a puppet for a Sunday tabloid has surely put the final nail in the coffin of his presidential dreams.
Maybe we owe that person a huge debt of gratitude.
Why can't Louis fix it for us to cast our votes for Mary?
Last year it was Susan Boyle, but the public has now fallen in love with Dublin's own X Factor queen Mary Byrne.
The Tesco checkout worker is one of two Dubs in the live finals, along with the talented youngster Rebecca Creighton.
And yet we still aren't entitled to vote for them.
It's high time Louis Walsh got involved and secured our voting rights.