The Carrick 400 celebrations have been gathering pace since they were officially launched by President Michael D. Higgins in February and this week saw the national spotlight shone on Carrick-on-Shannon in a manner above and beyond anything that has happened in the celebrations thus far as Giovanni Trapattoni was in town to announce the Ireland squad for four upcoming international matches.
County Manager Jackie Maguire explained that in planning the year of festivities the local authority asked all their partners to get on board and the FAI agreed that for the first time Giovanni Trapattoni would announce his Ireland squad at a press conference outside Dublin.
With a large media contingent present from television, print and radio the focus was well and truly fixed on Leitrim and Cllr Enda Stenson, Cathaoirleach Leitrim County Council took the opportunity to welcome all who travelled for the day to Carrick and thanked the FAI “for allowing us this huge opportunity.”
The main business of the day as far as the national media were concerned was understandably football related and there were some interesting talking points. For example, was there any truth in the rumour in Italy that he was being considered for the position as Napoli manger? His reply may not have been in perfect English but it was clear what he meant. “Tomorrow only God knows,” before stressing he is “Ireland 100%” and the stories were “only speculation.”
After the press conference concluded Mr Trapattoni addressed the Council chamber in which County Councillors, the local business community and many associated with Carrick 400 listened attentively. Mr Trapattoni spoke about how Carrick-on-Shannon reminded him of where he was born and how, “I know the people and I know the mentality. I am very happy to be here with you.”
The second part of the day saw Giovanni Trapattoni visit Leitrim Village where 10 schools from Leitrim and Fermanagh were participating in the Goal for Peace Programme. It may have been a slightly chaotic experience for the 74 year old and having signed as many autographs as possible Giovanni Trapattoni was gone but he certainly left a lasting impression on the children who got a glimpse of one of the most recognisable faces in world football. See page 40 for more