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I'll stand by you: Kenny throws down Croagh Patrick gauntlet to Trap

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has promised to personally accompany Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni on his climb up Croagh Patrick.

Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI WILL have a high-profile shoulder to lean on whenever he sets off on his long-awaited pilgrimage up Croagh Patrick.

The 72-year-old Italian famously promised that he would climb the spiritual landmark if his Republic of Ireland side qualified for next summer’s European Championships.

And now Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said that if Trap remains true to his word and comes to his native Mayo, he will find time to join him on his trek up the mountain’s stony slopes.

Kenny made the pledge as part of a drive aimed at boosting tourism in the region on a day when Ryanair announced four new European routes from Knock Airport.

“I was at the match last week in the Aviva,” Kenny said this morning.

I was talking to John Delaney and I said to him ‘If Signor Trapattoni wants to climb Croagh Patrick, I’ll bring him up myself personally,’ which I will do.

It will be a great boost, Kenny said, “for somebody of his stature and his reach, given the fact that they have the European Championships next year, to stand on top of the mountain and say ‘Here we are. I’m an Italian, I’ve come here, this is a great place.’”

Trapattoni — whose birthday falls on St Patrick’s Day — visited Croagh Patrick a few months after taking charge of the Irish team in 2008 and promised to take on the challenge when Ireland qualified for a major championship.

Asked if he still intended to keep his part of the bargain following last week’s 5-1 aggregate victory over Estonia, Trapattoni joked that he would try to fit it in to the busy schedule which awaits between now and next June.

“I think I will be going to Kiev [for next month's Euro 2012 draw],” he laughed, “but I must also decide when I will go to climb Croagh Patrick.”

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Niall Kelly

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