Gentleman Jim – This is your Life:
A large gathering from both the GAA and Racing fraternities turned up to the Ferrycarrig Hotel on Sunday 3rd March to pay their respects to one of Wexford`s most famous, most successful and most popular sons as South East Radio`s Alan Corcoran presided over what was a truly lovely evening and an excellent event for the Wexford Supporters Club.
The name Jim Bolger is synonymous not just in Wexford but throughout Ireland and around the world with hard work, commitment, determination, discipline, integrity, courage, success and loyalty and all of these attributes were applauded by the wonderful plethora of guests who showed up on the night to pay tribute to Jim including Willie Mullins, Christy Roche, Colm O`Rourke, Damian Fitzhenry, Matt Browne, Brian Cleary, Adrian Fenlon, Dan Quigley, Oliver Hopper McGrath, Paul Nolan, Dave Bernie, Kevin Manning, Dr. Tom Foley, Dr. John Fitzpatrick (Irish Cancer Research), Catriona McCabe, Cyril Farrell, Paddy Kehoe and sporting legend and Olympian Ronnie Delaney. There were messages from both AP McCoy and Aidan O`Brien who couldn’t be with Jim on the night due to work commitments – AP had the last race at Huntington on the day and couldn’t make it back in time.
But all expressed their mammoth admiration for a man who has been an inspiration from his earliest days at school in Oylegate as recounted by his very proud teacher Tom Tynan, who detected an element of greatness about him even at that stage. Jim McGovern from Enniscorthy CBS expressed the schools deepest appreciation for their celebrated past pupil and thanked him profusely for his continued sponsorship of their debating teams and a member of the current team Martin Breen told the large audience that it was Jim`s inspiration and support and his ethos that through hard work and commitment anything is possible that encouraged them to achieve success in their recent quest to become All Ireland Debating Champions.
Alan Corcoran welcomed Jim`s wife Jacqui and his daughter Una and his grandchildren along with brothers Paddy and Matt and nephew Ken. Una and Ken spoke warmly of a man who has been a great father, son, uncle, brother and grandfather and told how Jim has always been there for each and every member of his family – in true Godfather style he has looked after them all through the years and continues to do so. Jim was also heralded as a loyal and lifelong friend by Matt Browne, Dave Bernie, Paddy Kehoe, Brian Cleary and many, many more who despite his busy lifestyle and manic work ethic always makes time for those close to him.
Willie Mullins, Paul Nolan, Kevin Manning and Christy Roche showed their appreciation for Jim`s guidance and advice and delighted the audience with some very amusing tales of racing exploits and daring feats on the race track. Dr. Tom Foley and Dr. John Fitzpatrick were expansive in their praise of Jim and what he has done for Irish Cancer Research saying that what Jim does is always done in a quiet way. Ronnie Delaney and Colm O`Rourke both spoke of a generous man a loyal friend with tremendous confidence in his own ability without arrogance.
The accolades kept pouring in for a man who has bought and trained horses for some of the wealthiest men in the world including the renowned Sheik Maktoum and at one stage even sold horses to a very young Colonel Gaddafi but has never forgotten his family, his friends and his roots. Jim Bolger is a man with a tremendous sense of place and Wexford has always been that place and that part of his heart not occupied by family and friends has always been purple and gold and in fitting tribute Councillor George Lawlor gave a rousing rendition of Cuchulainn`s Son and Adrian Fenlon, Damien Fitzhenry and Cyril Farrell recounted many occasions when Jim made an quick exit from the Winners Enclosure to be on a sideline or sit in a dugout and watch Wexford play – a true Wexfordian and a great Gael who`s support both financially and through his passion for excellence has inspired many young hurlers over the years and encouraged them to give that 110% on the field of play.
His contribution to Wexford GAA has been outstanding and Wexford Supporters Chairman Arthur Quinn thanked him for the opportunity of gathering so many together on the night to celebrate what has been an exceptional life and he wished him many more years of success and called on Supporters PRO Maria Nolan to present a bouquet of flowers to Jim`s wife Jacqui before calling on Alan Corcoran to present Jim with the Big Red Book and say –
`Jim Bolger – This is your Life`.