Curate’s papal tip inspired punters’ lucky bet

Clues have emerged about the possible source of an inspired tip which led several Kerry punters to place winning bets on the new pope.

There’s strong speculation that a curate in a Cork-Kerry border parish may have, unwittingly, given the nod to customers in a Killarney pub who won more than €6,000 on a 50-1 flutter.

Fr Kevin McNamara predicted the election of Jesuit Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio in a column he writes for the weekly Killarney Outlook. The column, written prior to Wednesday’s election of Pope Francis, was not published until Friday.

However, Outlook editor Con Dennehy told the Irish Examiner a number of people came into his offices on Wednesday morning looking for a sneak preview of what the priest had to say about the papal election.

He said some of the people were customers of The Speakeasy bar where the tip was, reportedly, first disclosed by a woman.

“Fr McNamara’s column is very popular and some people were most anxious to find out who he thought would be the new pope,” Mr Dennehy added.

The priest, based in Rathmore parish, wrote as follows: “As you read this (Friday, Mar 15), there might have been a burst of white smoke declaring that we have our 226th pope. But, just in case we haven’t, I will name my man. From Argentina, Jorge Mario Bergoglio. I think the new pope will definitely be from South America.”

Yesterday, Fr McNamara, who didn’t place a bet himself, said he also told someone on the street in Killarney, on Wednesday, who he thought would be pope. He said he was very much influenced by the Jesuits, and the fact that Cardinal Bergoglio was second in the previous election had to be a factor.

“The fact that he wasn’t being mentioned among the favourites was an even better sign, because if he was it would probably lessen his chances. I also knew of a few things he had done in Argentina and was impressed,” the priest said.

“I’m thrilled with his election and with his simplicity and spirituality. He’s a man who stands on his own two feet and is not tied to pomp and ceremony. He’s a man of inclusion who will lead by example and bring a whole new style to the papacy.”


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