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Saturday 25 January 2020

Michael D: In his own words

Fionnan Sheahan

Victory at last in battle of the wounded knee

The famous right knee is back in action. During the presidential election campaign, Michael D Higgins struggled with a knee injury sustained on a humanitarian mission to Colombia and aggravated at home.

As a result, he had a brace on his knee and his health became an issue on the campaign trail, where questions were raised over whether he was physically up to the job.

He attributes his full recovery to the Galway Orthopaedic Surgery under John McCabe and his staff.

"It's excellent. I have 112-degree bend in that knee now. My hardest time was in the late stages of the campaign."

The Christmas after his election he had surgery, followed up by physiotherapy.

"It made a huge difference," the President said.

Davy Fitz and Banner men welcome any time

Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald, pictured, and his All-Ireland-winning hurling team are on the list to be invited to the Aras.

The President admits he found it difficult to maintain his independence when his native county was in the All-Ireland final against Cork.

"What a game of hurling. I mean the whole thing was incredible. I think the very first day, if Clare had gone down, there would have been an injustice. But on the second day, I just think that if the GAA had any sense, they would have rushed out videos of this to send it all over the world," he said.

He also expresses his admiration for Shane O'Donnell, the hat-trick hero from the final replay.

"And the young fella... that the mother says only scores goals. It's the points I'd be worried about. They have changed the game."

'Talented' Mario leaves a lasting impression

Mario Rosenstock's impression of Michael D Higgins has got the presidential seal of approval.

"Mario is incredibly talented and I think he is very good. I still think that his very best, when I look back across Mario's thing, was Mourinho (Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho).

"Mario is not imitating an accent. Mario is a good actor. Mario acts out the whole part and I think he is great."

President Higgins knows Mario well, pointing out he performed at an after-dinner gig at Galway United year ago.

His relationship with the Rosenstocks goes back three generations, as he recalls accompanying his uncle to Limerick to visit Mario's grandfather, who was known in Co Limerick as the "German doctor" with a reputation of "being able to cure anything".

Irish Independent

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