Paul Healy’s Week – 1st April

Paul Healy on Roscommon Easter Parade; how ruthless Mayo left Roscommon with nowhere to Hyde…and those inspirational Easter Rising Centenary celebrations…

Who knew there was such an impressive Donald Trump lookalike living in our midst? It all looked very gloomy in Roscommon town on Sunday morning – with dismal weather – but by the time the annual Easter Parade had started (shortly after 12 noon) the skies had cleared and the loyal crowds had turned up.

Relief for the organisers, who, as ever, had done great work on the day and indeed the weeks leading up to the event. ‘Trump’ made his appearance as part of an excellent float entered by Roscommon Fire Services.

The theme of the float was the ‘Save Roscommon’ campaign and the crowd loved it. ‘Trump’, it seems, was prepared to build a wall around Roscommon to keep the Westmeath invaders out. The Roscommon Fire Services entry won the ‘Most Entertaining’ category. Another great float (overall winner, in fact) was the Service Matters entry.

This was themed on Fawlty Towers, the renowned 1970s sit-com in which service didn’t really matter. ‘Basil,’ ‘Sybil’ and of course ‘Manuel’ himself were all present, and well done to Service Matters for this creative entry which the crowd greatly enjoyed.

There were a number of other very good floats, including Roscommon Lamb Festival (Best Voluntary/Community float) complete with sheep painted in the Roscommon and Mayo colours; Klassic Cleaners (winner of ‘Best Commercial’ entry) and Roxboro NS, which came first in the ‘1916 themed’ category.

Honourable mention also to very good floats from, amongst others, Roscommon Show Society, Scoil Mhuire, Roscommon Gaels and local dance & ballet schools.

Later on Sunday…

After all the anticipation leading up to the big Roscommon/Mayo game, it was such a shame that the Hyde Park pitch was as bad as it was.

In the heavy conditions, with puddles of water all over the pitch, Roscommon struggled against physically stronger opposition. You wondered would Roscommon score at all during a wretched first half for the home team.

Geoffrey Claffley made one superb acrobatic save and one very good one. Roscommon were hanging on. A few scores in the second quarter almost miraculously left Roscommon just two behind at the half-time break, with wind advantage to come.

When Evan Regan waltzed in for a fine solo goal early in the second half, Roscommon’s hopes faded. As Mayo were without doubt deserving winners, it hardly matters that much that Regan took too many steps.

In fact, watching a replay on television later, there were so many steps involved I was reminded of the classic song ‘Stairway to Evan.’

Anyways, complaining about this super goal would hardly be in the right spirit – it would be a bit like pointing out that a snooker player who had just scored a century against you had brushed his sleeve against the cue ball during the break.

Meanwhile, back in the Hyde, Roscommon finally found some of the swagger that has made their Division One campaign so memorable. A super goal from Diarmuid Murtagh kick-started a mini-fightback.

The Roscommon fans found their voice. But Mayo held on for an impressive and totally deserved victory.


Your pride in your country, your independent Republic, just swelled as you watched the 1916 Easter Rising Centenary celebrations unfold in all their magnificence.

It turns out that we can do ‘pomp and ceremony’ here on a scale not unlike the masters of that type of thing, our neighbours in the UK. All that was missing was a Royal family, but that might not have been appropriate in the circumstances.

I watched some of the highlights on television and everything I saw was excellent. Much of it was very emotional; all of it stirred pride in you. I thought President Michael D. Higgins excelled himself.

He excelled himself in the conduct of his formal, solemn duties, and then he radiated joy and positivity when he spoke in that musical voice of his while addressing an enthusiastic crowd at a joyous Centenary Concert on Monday night.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and various ministers also conducted themselves with the gravitas the occasion(s) demanded. Many of the weekend activities were solemn, silent and moving; others were more informal and – overall – I think the balance was right.

There were incredible crowds in Dublin and big turnouts in other parts of the country as the people of Ireland celebrated the centenary of 1916 in truly magnificent fashion.

It was wonderful to see so many young people being a part of these momentous celebrations and it was also wonderful to witness how much all of this meant to the relations of people who were involved in the Rebellion.

Of the many television programmes shown thus far, I really enjoyed two in particular. ‘Seven Women’ on RTE One was a very interesting and well-made docudrama about seven women who were at the heart of the Rising. And Joe Duffy’s ‘Children of the Revolution’, also shown on RTE One, was a magnificent and invaluable programme in which the Liveline presenter sensitively told the fascinating and deeply sad story of how about forty children lost their lives when caught up in crossfire during the Rising.