PATSY McGonagle was an Irish Athletics Team Manager for 25 years and managed Ireland 68 times as a manager, including at four Olympic Games, six World Championships and six European Championships. Under his watch, Irish athletes won two Olympic medals, nine World Championship medals and 27 EuropeanChampionship medals. He has recently released his autobiography, written by Donegal Daily/Donegal Sport Hub Sports Editor Chris McNulty, and we bring you some exclusive extracts: Picture: Patsy McGonagle with Irish athletes in the Skylon Hotel, Dublin in 1994IN A ROOM of the Samyoung Hotel in Seoul, the beads of sweat began to drip.The 1992 World Junior Championships offered me a first taste of managing an Irish team. I had left Dublin with no instruction, no advice.And no cheque book. When you arrive at a Championship, it’s customary to settle the visiting team’s account with the local organising committee. However, nobody had given me any indication of this, never mind a few bob, before we flew to Korea.I joined a queue, listening away to what was going on at the various tables at the top of the room.‘You owe us x thousands.’‘You owe us y thousands.’The administrator advised the sum owed and, one-by-one, each delegation from the different countries settled their bills.The Ethiopians went up. Senegal were there. The Japanese boys slid up and moved away again.The United States, all bravado as usual, got the business done.The queue was getting shorter and my mind was in overdrive. I wasn’t long off the plane after a 13-hour flight, via London.‘They’re going to throw us out of this Championship.’ It was a scary thought. I genuinely hadn’t a clue what to expect.Next up… Ireland.‘You owe us…’ But my mind was doing loops and I didn’t actually hear the figure that was announced. I began to tell the young lady behind the table a long story about it being my first Championship, but I did not get very far with my sobbing.‘Ireland…‘Typical!’But her face had brightened, and then broke into a smile. I knew then we’d be okay. I was excited about Seoul and took my appointment as team manager in my stride.Patsy McGonagle with an Irish Athletics team in the 1990sI ALWAYS EMBRACED changing technology, which was a big strength over the years. But I was left to curse technology in Seoul. Deirdre Gallagher from Ballina was with us for the 5,000m and she took 14 seconds off her personal best in Seoul.I faxed the result through to the BLE offices in Dublin and they passed it on to the media in Ireland.The Irish Independent led with the news.“Ballina athlete Deirdre Gallagher made history in becoming the first Irish athlete to win a medal at the World Junior Athletics Championships in Seoul, collecting a bronze in the 5,000m walk.”There was one problem. Deirdre, in fact, hadn’t won a bronze medal.The first page of the fax to Dublin got lost and Deirdre was listed third on the second page. Lo and behold, everyone in Ireland thought she had won the bronze.Her father, Danny who hailed from Glenties, was driving home from the All-Ireland football final – which Donegal had won, famously beating Dublin – when he heard the news on RTE Radio. The poor man nearly crashed the car.BLE had to issue a clarification.Again, the Independent delivered the news.“BLE have announced that Deirdre Gallagher of Ballina has not in fact won a medal in the Junior World Athletics Championships in Seoul. It was announced that she had finished third in the 5,000m walk, but the information from South Korea has now proved to be incorrect. BLE have apologised for any embarrassment caused.”I didn’t have a press accreditation in Seoul, so even getting the results proved a difficult assignment. I ended up, through a very helpful Korean official, befriending an Irish Columban priest, Fr Kennedy.He aided me in getting the essential information I needed.I knew of the influence of the Columban priests through news back home of Fr PJ McGlinchey, a Letterkenny man who was based on Jeju Island, an island in the Korea Strait, for over 60 years and whose work will be remembered for generations.Jeju’s people, when he arrived in 1952, were among the poorest in their land. Fr McGlinchey – a brother of the Letterkenny-based Senator, Bernard McGlinchey – set up a textile factory, helped form a credit union and aided in improving the farming practices and yields on the island.The food in Seoul was a challenge. Everything was chicken or beef. But my abiding memory, even now, was the evening when we went to a Korean restaurant with the priest.We were served a bowl of stuff, with meat in it that the party of Irish people just convinced themselves wasn’t a dog. The waiter came out and cracked a raw egg into a bowl.You wouldn’t have fed it to the dogs.‘Aye, that’s gorgeous.’We couldn’t have our hosts disappointed.Patsy McGonagle after his appointment as Irish Athletics Team manager for the 2000 Olympic Games in SydneySEOUL WAS THE first time I was in a city where the problem with traffic was so prevalent. The place was bumper-to-bumper 24/7.Language was also a problem at times. We had a small team at those Championships with just four athletes – Deirdre, Antoine Burke, David Matthews and David Cullinane. We went exploring in Seoul one evening for a look around and we hit trouble when it was time to go home.I went to get a taxi.‘The Hotel Samyoung, sir’Your man looked at me as if I had ten heads. The next taxi man was the same. And the next! Eventually, a US military police officer spotted that a bunch of Irish athletes were in a bit of a jam. At the same time, I learned that there were thousands of US soldiers stationed in South Korea, a knock-on from the Korean War.‘Hey Paddy, where d’yall need to go?’He didn’t have a clue either, but he radioed his base.‘Ah…the Samyoung Hotel’.I’m still baffled by the Koreans on that one.Trying to explain the name wasn’t helped by our descriptions, of course.‘It’s a golden kind of place,’ we repeatedly pleaded to the deaf ears on the taxi rank, but eventually we got back to base.Back with a valuable lesson banked. From that day on, we carried a card from the hotel so we could just show the driver…‘Relentless: A Race Through Time’ Patsy McGonagle, A Memoir (with Chris McNulty) Published: June 2019, Hero Books, €20.00 (ISBN 9781910827079). Available now in paperback and ebook versions on amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Relentless-Race-Through-Patsy-McGonagle/dp/191082707XExtracts: Patsy McGonagle on tests of his soul in Seoul on first trip as Irish manager was last modified: August 3rd, 2019 by Chris McNultyShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:2000 Olympic GamesChris McNultypatsy mcgonagleRelentlessSeoulsydney
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Matthew Wilde Progressive Farmer Crops EditorMESERVEY, Iowa (DTN) — Midwest farmers are doing the unthinkable as the corn-planting window slams shut.Some growers are switching intended soybean acres to corn, or at least thinking about it. Usually the opposite happens in mid-to-late-May if corn isn’t in the ground due to yield-loss potential.But desperate times call for desperate measures, said Dave Nelson of rural Belmond, Iowa.Decade-low soybean prices and a re-energized U.S.-China trade war convinced the former Iowa Corn Growers Association president and his family — Dave farms with his brother, son and nephews — to plant another 1,000 acres of corn at the expense of the world’s most popular legume. Now, 4,000 of the 6,500 acres that the family crops will be corn.Dave piloted a New Holland TG255 tractor pulling a 12-row Case I-H planter May 13 in a field near Meservey, Iowa, as other family members planted elsewhere. He seeded corn in a field intended for beans. Dave’s nephew, Josh Nelson, incorporated fertilizer and pre-emergent herbicide at the same time. Both were trying to beat impending rain that has dramatically slowed planting progress throughout the Midwest, which also played a part in the family’s decision.It’s the first time in nearly 50 years of farming Dave Nelson reduced soy acres in favor of corn with June fast approaching.“The market is telling us to switch,” Dave said as he planted corn. “Soybean prices have gotten worse and a trade deal with China doesn’t look like it will happen for a while. The profit potential for corn isn’t good, but it’s a lot better than soybeans.“Illinois, Missouri and the Dakotas are way behind and we’re able to plant,” he added. “That may help corn prices.”GRAIN COMPLEXBig U.S. soybean ending stocks and a recent setback in trade negotiations with China contributed to the lowest prices since 2007, according to DTN market analysts. The latest government estimate pegs the nation’s soy stockpile for 2019-20 at 970 million bushels, bolstered by China’s reluctance to buy from the U.S.November soybeans opened at $8.43 Tuesday, with cash prices less than $7.70 at many elevators and processors. Iowa State University (ISU) estimates the break-even price for soybeans averaging 62-bushels-per-acre at $8.86 per bushel.Corn futures have increased lately. December corn opened Tuesday at $3.83 per bushel. Cash prices are 30-40 cents less. ISU estimates the break-even price at $3.38/bu. for corn after soybeans averaging 218 bpa and $3.88 for corn-after-corn averaging 200 bpa.Planting less soy in favor of corn may be a good plan for some farmers, said Todd Hubbs, University of Illinois agricultural agronomist. Given current market dynamics and planting woes in much of the Corn Belt, he said farmers who can get corn in soon and possibly limit yield losses due to delays could benefit.“I can see that strategy making sense in Iowa, and possibly other areas,” Hubbs said. “There could be a significant amount of corn that isn’t planted nationwide, possibly 3 million acres, which may support prices come June.”PLANTING DELAYSAbout 79 million acres of soybeans and more than 71 ma of corn were unplanted as of May 12, according to prospective planting estimates and the latest USDA Crop Progress Report. Rains and cold weather hampered planting throughout major corn and soybean states this past week.Only 11% of Illinois’ corn is in the ground compared to the five-year average of 82%. Indiana is 6% done and North and South Dakota are 11% and 4% finished, respectively.Iowa is better off with 48% of its intended corn acres planted, four days behind last year and just over a week behind the five-year average. The planting clock is ticking loudly.ISU studies indicate corn, with a plant density of 35,000 per acre, on average will yield 87% of its potential when planted from May 15-25, 70% from May 25-June 5 and 54% from June 5-15. Research shows soybean yields, on average, decline by 0.25 to 0.9 bushels for every day that seed isn’t in the ground after May 15.The 50% corn planting completion threshold wasn’t met in Iowa only five times prior to this year in the last 40 years. In each of those years, the statewide yield was below trend line.CORN OPTIMISMDave Nelson hopes to break the trend. The family is more than half-done with corn. If they get yields 180-bpa to more than 200-bpa, and prices jump 30 cents, they can make a profit unlike on soybeans.“Some of the fields we’re switching raise a lot better corn,” he said.The thought of planting soybeans and losing money is dejecting, Josh Nelson added. There wasn’t a debate among the family members about swapping soy acres for corn.“It’s shear economics,” Josh said. “Planting soy just didn’t pencil out. A lot of farmers are in a similar boat.”He may be right. Several ISU Extension regional agronomists mentioned during a recent conference call that many farmers statewide are swapping some soy acres to corn, according to Mark Licht, ISU Extension cropping systems agronomist.High yield potential for corn is still possible by planting well-adapted full season hybrids up until June 1, Licht said. After that date, he recommends switching to earlier maturing corn.“Agronomically speaking, it’s easier to switch to corn from soybeans,” Licht said. “It usually doesn’t happen because of yield potential.”Contact Matthew at email@example.comFollow him on Twitter @progressivwilde(ES/SK)© Copyright 2019 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.
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