Paul Healy’s Week – 16th September

Paul Healy on John’s epic climb; The Strokestown Show weather miracle; John Halligan, watchdog extraordinaire; Mayo’s mission…and the goat that went walking down Main Street…

Heartiest congratulations to John Tobin, the Williamstown Wonder who scaled the heights at Croagh Patrick on Saturday, a sensational, emotional achievement made possible by his own infectious enthusiasm and determination and a truly fantastic team of volunteers and supporters.

Here at the Roscommon People, it was a pleasure for us to support John all the way in our capacity as exclusive media partners for the challenge. The Roscommon People’s Dan Dooner and Andrew Fox were present on Saturday.

Our fearless duo (Andrew also there in his Civil Defence role) did the climb with John and his wonderful entourage.

Congratulations to John and his family and all of the volunteers involved in this record-breaking climb!

Saturday & Sunday

They’re remaining tight-lipped in Strokestown this week amidst speculation that researchers in the area may have discovered a cure for ‘Irish weather.’

Most years I assure critics of Irish summers that ‘September is often a great month’, but, unfortunately, this year has been an exception, with regular rain and no great demand for sun cream.

Getting back to Strokestown, and we await a public statement from organisers of the Agricultural Show following last weekend’s remarkable weather coup!

If you recall, most of the country was struck by constant heavy rain on Friday. As I write this on Monday morning, there’s just been a world class downpour as motorists slowly and patiently weave towards work and the local schools.

So that’s Friday and Monday accounted for. As for Saturday and Sunday, when the 150th annual Strokestown Show was being staged, apart from some blustery conditions towards the close of proceedings, the weather was excellent.

The Healy family couldn’t get to the show, as we were at a very enjoyable wedding, but the Roscommon People was represented, with reporter Dan Dooner and photographer Andrew Fox present.

I am delighted to hear that this historic 150th annual Strokestown Show was a great success.

Every day

I was going to choose cornflakes for breakfast this morning, but didn’t get a chance to seek permission from Minister John Halligan, the country’s new self-appointed watchdog.

At heart, Halligan is clearly an out and out opposition TD, but, after much wrestling with his conscience earlier this year, ultimately he couldn’t resist the prize of a junior ministerial post.

As readers will be aware, Mr. Halligan has been threatening to pull out of Government just about every week, resembling a clown who sees his image in the mirror and squares up to ‘the other fella.’

I mean John, are you in Government or are you in opposition? I have no problem with Waterford Hospital champion John being so focussed on his own constituency, but he does need to ‘put up or shut up.’

John – your attempts to have it both ways run the risk of destroying your credibility. Come on John – be a local hero and resign, or take the option of fighting for your constituents from within Government – while actually supporting (and not undermining) that Government!

Next Sunday

Dublin are the best football team in the country, by a distance. Their subs are brilliant. The driver of the Dublin bus is probably a dab hand at the old GAA too.

Just now, Dublin look like they’re the slickest, meanest, most magnificent flying machine in the history of gaelic football. If the current Dublin team played the current Mayo team ten times, Dublin would probably win seven or eight of those games.

But Mayo only need to peak in one game now to give themselves a chance of creating a happy ending to one of the greatest sporting sagas/stories of the past 60-plus years. I expect Mayo to match Dublin’s intensity, pace and aggression.

I worry however that Mayo may not have the quality in attack needed to get over the line. Despite what the bookies say, I can’t see anything other than a close game.

Dublin are the best team in the country, by a distance. Mayo ought to be the hungriest team in history. If it’s neck and neck with fifteen minutes to go, maybe Mayo can break the flying machine. I give Mayo a great chance.

They can win it! Believe, Mayo, believe!

No kidding: Goat on loose in Roscommon

I’m not kidding – this goat was on the loose in Roscommon town on Monday morning. Years ago, in the era of the fairs, it was common for cattle to walk up and down Roscommon’s Main Street.

Last Monday, this goat staked its claim to the streets. Pedestrians, motorists and even the Gardai were on the horns of a dilemma when the goat went walkabout shortly after 8 am.

It is reported that the goat entered SuperValu, the renowned supermarket on Main Street. I’m sure the goat won’t mind me saying that the ‘automatic doors’ made access easier than might otherwise have been the case.

The goat made its way through the premises, presumably checking out the food sections, probably pausing to wryly eye the goat’s cheese. Emerging from SuperValu, the goat crossed the road and began to walk along the pavement. Many motorists and pedestrians had to look twice.

One or two who had been partying on Sunday night rubbed their eyes to check if they were actually awake – or dreaming. The goat stopped outside McGuinness’ Pharmacy, but not to pick up a razor – after all, Goats Don’t Shave. The goat stopped outside the ‘hole in the wall’ at Permanent TSB, but only to observe a man – after all, Goats Don’t Save. Perhaps the goat had stopped here because it was drawn to Glancy’s Fruit & Veg lorry, which had just pulled up and parked.

This decision to stop seemed like it might be a fateful one for the goat, because suddenly the squad car arrived and parked outside SuperValu. An intrepid Garda hopped out, approached the goat and caught it by the horns.

Alas, the goat escaped. Happily there were no accidents or incidents when the goat continued down Main Street. An eyewitness who spoke to the Roscommon People said the goat was last seen heading for Dunnes Stores.

And that’s where the ‘buck’ stopped.