Paul Healy’s Week

Paul Healy on the right Sean Keane; the enduring appeal of Galway on a Saturday afternoon; Maradona in Leicester; player power way out West, and Enda getting stuck in a lift…

It’s quite hard to publish hundreds of thousands of words and hundreds of images each week without making mistakes.

Even the best newspapers in the world make mistakes. Misprints that, when they appear in print, leave editors and journalists covering their eyes in mortification.

Many years ago in the Roscommon Champion, in an advertisement for a Fianna Fail function, instead of printing the words ‘Fianna Fail: The Republican Party’, we published the following: ‘Fianna Fail. The Publican Party.’ (I’m not sure if we received any complaints).

Today, we discover that in our comprehensive coverage of the upcoming Féile Strokestown, we’ve published a photograph of ‘the wrong Sean Keane.’

Apparently we’re not the first Roscommon newspaper to publish a photograph of ‘the wrong Sean Keane’ in recent weeks. There’s a big concert in Strokestown this Saturday night. The stars on stage will include Matt Molloy and the right Sean Keane, a colleague of Matt’s from The Chieftains.

In highlighting the concert, we used a file photograph of the right Matt Molloy – and one of the wrong Sean Keane. So I can confirm this week that the Sean Keane who will be in concert with Matt Molloy (the right Matt Molloy) in Strokestown this Saturday night, is Sean Keane of The Chieftains’ renown, not the well-known Galway singer Sean Keane, brother of Dolores.

And, performing with Matt and Sean will be Arty McGlynn, who we don’t have a photograph of, but who will be the right Arty McGlynn on the night. Now if Sean Keane, brother of Dolores, happens to pop into Strokestown this weekend and performs during one of the many informal sessions there, I give up.

Later on Thursday…

In Naas today, Enda got stuck in a lift with Simon Coveney and Jimmy Deenihan. It could have been worse for Enda, he could have got stuck in a lift with Peter Mathews or Joe Higgins.

I suppose when some of the hangers-on realised they were stuck in a lift with the Taoiseach it may have crossed someone’s mind that this could be seen as a metaphor for what’s been going on in this country.

You know…’stuck in lift with Taoiseach’…’symbolic of a banjaxed country’ ….that type of thing. But, in fairness, Enda has been a lucky General overall, and he could, if challenged with that metaphor argument, emerge from the lift and say ‘Yes, it was broken down, but now it’s fixed and we’re back on the move again.’

Knowing his luck, if Brian Cowen had got stuck in a lift the whole thing would have gone on as long as the Chilean miners’ drama.


On the NUI Galway campus, a tall young man stoops down and pulls a sword from his rucksack.

But people either don’t notice, or else they pass no heed, a bit like when fire alarms go off in public places in this country. Anyways, it’s all completely innocent – it may not even have been a real sword – and the young man just chats away to one of the stewards on duty on the day.

After my initial double take, I keep walking, so I really don’t know what was going on. But he wasn’t a terrorist; probably just a student with an interest in the sport of fencing. Satisfied that we’re not about to be held up at sword-point, we continue with our tour of the College.

NUI Galway is hosting an Open Day – and we’re there with our daughter Emma and several hundred more curious, excited teenagers and their nervous parents.

This is new territory for us. We’re impressed. This snapshot of the College is a very positive one. The facilities look really good and the various lecturers ‘sell’ the place well! There’s a really good feel to the place, and the big turnout on a lovely day creates a great buzz.

Later, we pop into the city centre where, as ever, there’s a great atmosphere. There are big crowds, including many tourists, and the pleasant weather means people are sitting outside the bars and cafes.

As ever on Galway’s streets, there’s music everywhere. A man with a very dour face sings ‘I thought love was only true in fairytales.’

After a while he walks off in the Saturday sun and his spot is taken by a young man who belts out ‘Dublin in the rare old times’. There are street performers at every turn.

Galway’s small, quaint shops, with their souvenirs, their Irish Sweaters and their knick-knacks, are buzzing, as are the various food outlets. Two people pass in South African Rugby World Cup jerseys.

A café has a notice on the door which I like: ‘Unattended children will be given an expresso and a small kitten.’ Galway…you have to love it.


Imagine you’re a Leicester City football supporter and that you sit in the same seat at your home ground every week.

The extent of your soccer dreams has involved the unfulfilled ambition (shared with millions more) from when you were a child, of becoming a professional player, and now, in adulthood, the hope that Leicester will one day make the big time.

It’s been a bit of a struggle for you, this soccer supporting journey, although Leicester are doing quite well just now.

Still, your soccer journey has been spent at the unfashionable end of things, as opposed to in the glamour and glitz area. Anyways, your team beats Norwich on Saturday and then on Sunday you tune into the Argentina/Tonga Rugby World Cup game because of the novelty of it being played in your stadium, the Leicester City ground.

And there, sitting in your seat – for it had to be someone’s seat – is the utterly compelling figure of Diego Maradona. He was one of the greatest soccer players of all time, the genius who made an entire World Cup tournament his own, and now he’s turned up in Leicester’s stadium, sitting with his friends/minders, and cheering on his countrymen.

Maradona’s enthusiastic reaction every time Argentina score is almost as entertaining as the game itself. That World Cup which he made his own was in 1986, when the magical Maradona waltzed into football folklore as his dazzling skills carried Argentina to glory.

Now, almost thirty years on, his scene-stealing appearance in Leicester was a bright cameo in this illuminating Rugby World Cup. As for the usual occupant of that seat, they’ll return to it next week, perhaps wondering if this odd turn of events, this occupation by Diego, was all a dream.

Later on Sunday, it was nerve-wracking viewing as an unconvincing Ireland narrowly defeated Italy to reach the World Cup quarter-finals.

Just now, the pep is suddenly gone from our step, but expect a massive Irish performance on Sunday and hopefully a confidence-restoring and tournament-defining victory over France. Over to you, Joe!


Enda, you really have to stop this carry-on. We experience it during Leaders Questions in the Dail, or when the Taoiseach is approached by journalists.

On Monday, it came to a great house near us… This is what happened at Strokestown Park House on Monday: Jim Callery, the driving force behind Strokestown House and Famine Museum, spoke of Roscommon not yet having experienced the economic recovery which is underway.

When approached by Eoghan Young-Murphy of the Roscommon People a little while later, and asked about (lack of) economic recovery in Roscommon, the Taoiseach responded. Did he mention task forces? Did he mention investment? Did he mention incentivising businesses? Did he stop and pause and give serious consideration to the suggestion that places like Roscommon are being left behind?

If he did, this was his considered response: “You plough a field; you harrow it; you sow it; you roll it. You have all of the hard work done. What do you do then? You have to wait with a degree of patience until the crop grows. It is the same with an economy.”

Oh God. Priceless. Clearly Mr. Kenny spent too long at the ploughing in Ratheniska…


I don’t like so-called player power. Staff in the workplace might have a dud as a boss and may be right in thinking they could run the joint better themselves – or right in thinking a new boss is required – but it doesn’t mean a revolt by them is good practice.

Call me old-fashioned, but I thought players were meant to concentrate on playing – and that County Boards/Boards of Directors have responsibility for management appointments.

Sure, when a manager has lost or is losing the dressing room, there may be a case for players making their feelings known and bending certain ears…with a view to change then, or down the road.

But out and out revolt, effectively seeking and getting a head on a plate? It’s hard to justify, and I certainly don’t think it’s right. Just now out West, there’s a certain smell in the air that isn’t pleasant.

In Galway, quite sensationally, the players are revolting against Anthony Cunningham, even though the team reached the All-Ireland final this year.

In Mayo, there’s a real risk of the perennial ‘Chasing Sam’ project collapsing in tears now that the players there have turned on their management. I am sure the disquiet in both dressing rooms is genuine, and I am sure the players in both camps are really hurting as the long wait continues for All-Ireland success.

And of course their concerns about their respective managers may be very legitimate ones. But, at the end of the day, players should play, and managers should be answerable to the people who ratify their appointments.

Now Galway hurlers and Mayo footballers have just placed a huge spotlight on themselves ahead of next season…