Ireland Soccer Manager Giovanni Trapattoni took time out from what was a hectic day's schedule to be guest of honour at the official opening of the town's latest Cycling and Walking Path along which once ran the Waterford Dungarvan and Lismore Railway. This redevelopment will now compliment the Smarter Travel Incentive from which the town was recently rewarded 7.2 million euro as one of only three locations nationwide to receive funding to encourage people to think differently about how they can travel, keep healthy and contribute to their local environment.
Earlier that morning, in Waterford City, Mr Trapattoni had been busy at a press conference announcing his Republic of Ireland squad for the upcoming European Championships taking place in Poland and Ukraine this June. That, on top of appearances at Ballygunner National School and a hands on visit to Waterford Crystal , did not stop Il Trap from making a gracious and well received journey to Dungarvan that afternoon.
Speeches at the Causeway from the Town Mayor, members of the Town Council and Mr Trapattoni himself (unaided with his english by his interpreter, Manuela Spinelli, on this occasion) were delivered in front of an appreciative audience, before presentations were made to our illustrious visitors who also included Waterford man John Delaney, Chief Executive FAI.
|Kate Veale, Ireland's Olympic Flag Bearer between Il Trap and John Delaney|
After photographs were taken and the crowd dispersed, probably back to a warm fire, Mr Trapattoni prepared for his next stop at Dungarvan Soccer Club where he would officially open their facilities including the fine astroturf pitches now available to Club and Community alike. And what a reception he received as players from all age groups displayed their skills hoping to catch Mr Trapattoni's eye, and if that didn't work they'd catch his ear as the youngsters spontaneously chanted his name.
Giovanni Trappatoni had a sincere smile throughout and took time to sign autographs and pose for photos with many delighted supporters, including when, as he returned to his car to leave for yet another engagement, he graciously took another couple of minutes to meet a wheelchair bound fan who had waited cold and frustrated behind the throng for two hours to catch a glimpse of the footballing connoisseur behind Ireland's qualification to Euro 2012. That photograph he finally got was priceless and a fitting memento of the day Dungarvan said "Ciao" to a true Italian gentleman.
Grazie Signor Trapattoni. Auguriamo a voi e la fortuna buona squadra.