Paul Healy’s Week


Ever since first seeing that iconic shot of him with the children in ‘The Railway Children’ in the early 1970s, I’ve been a fan of Bernard Cribbins’, who had a brilliant acting career for over 70 years.

I was sad to hear of his passing, which was announced today, leading to numerous heartfelt tributes to a much-loved British national treasure.

He starred in TV, on stage, in movies too. He had a particular association with children’s television. Many readers will remember him from Doctor Who, Worzel Gummidge, Jackanory, The Wombles, as well as numerous hit comedy films and TV shows. I was delighted, in reading tributes to him, to discover how popular he was with his peers.

Regular readers will of course forgive me for singling out Bernard’s wonderful portrayal of the very pedantic and annoying spoon salesman in one of the best episodes of Fawlty Towers (the greatest sitcom of all time; source: Paul Healy). It is a half hour plus of comedy gold, thanks mainly to Bernard and John Cleese.

Bernard Cribbins was showbiz royalty, without any affectation…gifted, versatile, truly a legend. May he rest in peace.



The moment you step into/onto a cruiser, time seems to slow. Having been invited on a trip on the Shannon this evening (Portrun to Athlone) we very much enjoyed the experience.

On docking in Athlone, we were fortunate to get a table in the beautiful Left Bank restaurant/bistro, snuggled invitingly in a corner of the town’s lively Left Bank quarter.

Dinner there was excellent, the staff very friendly, and the atmosphere great. We got a taxi back to Roscommon, which is a lot of small talk, but he was a friendly chap!



The good news for Meath GAA fans is that Royal County legend Colm O’Rourke is (belatedly) taking up the management reins there, the news having been confirmed over recent days.

The bad news is he might be tempted to put everything he has ever heard from Pat Spillane and Joe Brolly into practice.



Joking aside, the appointment of Colm O’Rourke as Meath manager is a fascinating one. It has of course come as quite a surprise. O’Rourke will be 65 later this month and it is a rather belated debut as an inter-county manager. Of course he has had success in club management. In any event, his status in the game is that of a true legend. O’Rourke wrote an excellent article in today’s Sunday Independent explaining his rationale for the shock move. Time will tell whether or not it is an ill-fated, romanticised step, an inspired one, or something in between.

He was one of the greatest players ever to play the game. In my book ‘The Search for Sam’ – published in 1995 – I wrote of my journey around Ireland attending games that Jason Sherlock-themed year. At the end of that year’s Leinster final, O’Rourke went out of his way to seek out several Dublin opponents and shake their hands.

It was quite poignant. He hadn’t announced his retirement, but it was fairly obvious that the fateful day had come.

I wrote: “…Colm O’Rourke’s concern is to express to Dublin players his acceptance that the best team have won. He is still there, the number thirteen we first saw in 1977, his leg bandaged, and still searching for his conquerors. Then, as I stand in the Hogan and watch, the crowd finally engulfs him and Colm O’Rourke is gone”.

He’s back now, in another guise, and it will be fascinating to observe.



After joining the huge crowd at Cemetery Mass in the beautiful graveyard in Bornacoola, we had Sunday lunch in Cox’s Steakhouse in Dromod.

Many readers will be well aware of this landmark restaurant/bar. After all the anguish the hospitality industry went through during the peak of the pandemic, it’s great to see such establishments buzzing again.

That was certainly the case in Cox’s today, with lots of people about. As ever, the food was excellent. A beautiful new outdoor bar area – complete with a large TV screen behind the counter – adds nicely to the excellent ambience at this hostelry.



In England, they’re still celebrating a great win in the Euro 2022 final by ‘The Lionesses’, the English women’s football team. I recorded the game and caught up with the action in the early hours of Monday morning.

As I wrote here last week, the entire tournament was very enjoyable, and a tremendous success. There were over 90,000 people in Wembley for Sunday’s final (in which England beat Germany 2-1 after extra-time).

I was glad for England. They had a great tournament, showing great skill and persistence, and it was nice to see an English football team get over the line after so many disappointments in the past.

Stunning stuff from Meath ladies on Sunday too, as they retained their All-Ireland crown with a convincing win over Kerry at Croke Park.



On Twitter, the promo read: ‘The final episode of Love Island is here’. But I’m pretty sure they only meant the final episode of this series…



Reports of a huge crowd at Roscommon Races this evening, which is great news. We have a few photographs in today’s issue, and Tom Red’s review is on page 52. More coverage online and next week.



News earlier today – perhaps not entirely surprising – that Anthony Cunningham has stepped down as Roscommon senior football manager. While the championship was a big disappointment this season, Cunningham achieved some success with Roscommon, including winning a Connacht title and promotions to Division One. A new era awaits.