SKIRTING THE ISSUE - A sunny day out and Tony Connelly still owes me a pint!

Tony Connelly - should have got a selfie with him
Tony Connelly - should have got a selfie with him

Many moons ago when I started working at the Derry Journal I was asked if I wanted to interview local man Tony Connelly.

I was chomping at the bit to interview the guy off the telly and the RTE Press office arranged the interview over the phone.

I felt a bit smug when Tony told me he had once applied and been turned down for a reporter’s job at the Journal ( a feat I had achieved at the age of 22), and we discovered that his mum, Nance, had taught my entire family at Nazareth House Primary School.

The interview went well (I think) and Tony told me if I ever was in Dublin he’d buy me a pint. I was in Dublin about six months later when, by chance, I found myself in a pub, at a table next to the guy off the telly, with a few of his friends from RTE.

Of course Tony didn’t know me from Adam, given that our conversation had been on the telephone and instead of introducing myself and telling Tony he owed me a pint I just sat there.

I’ve often thought about that moment, how I could have blagged that free pint and got talking to a few people in the Irish media industry where I could have made a few contacts. How many times have we been in a situation where we missed a great opportunity because nervousness got in our way?

When I got a job as a member of the cabin crew of a well known airline when I was 21, hesitancy and fear made me turn it down and I decided to sit it out in Derry and see what would happen.

I eventually studied journalism, got my job in the ‘Journal’ and met my husband and had my two children. Would any of this still have happened if I’d gone flying round the world. Maybe I’d have ended up living in a different country? Or maybe I’d have hated it and given it up after two months.

Of course these things often don’t matter as each of us have a life that’s destined to go down a certain path. But there are times when you can’t help wondering about what would have happened if you’d taken a certain fork in the road.

On Sunday as I sat having a pint with my family after a lovely day out at Portsalon Beach, Tony Connelly, now RTE’s Europe Editor walked past, clearly enjoying his holidays.

This time I introduced myself to him and he wished me well. But I forgot to remind him he still owed me that pint. Next time I’m in Dublin I’ll tell Tony they’re on him. . . .