Paul Healy’s Week – 28th October

Wednesday & Friday

What a charmer and downright gentleman Michael Buble is. The Canadian star was a terrific guest on tonight’s Late Late Show, and his interaction with the audience when he sang shows what a charismatic entertainer he is.

  Meanwhile, Brendan O’Connor’s ‘Cutting Edge’ – which airs on RTE on Wednesday nights – is generally well worth watching. Last week’s episode was certainly worth watching if only to see Can’t Cope Won’t Cope writer Stefanie Preissner’s reaction to George Hook in full flow. Her open-mouthed, wide-eyed expression on foot of bombastic George’s contributions was some sight! 


Thankfully, the saga has come to an end – and Roscommon have appointed a ‘new’ manager.

  I am not privy to the ins and outs of what has gone on in recent months, but suffice to say the Roscommon team management situation has been a hotbed of controversy.

  Perhaps the most damaging aspect of the saga was the wholesale washing of dirty GAA linen in public.

  Nigel Dineen feeling the need to go public on his dissatisfaction with the interview process was unfortunate enough, while the very obvious hurt felt by Fergal O’Donnell, Stephen Bohan and David Casey is a particularly sad legacy of the whole episode. Dineen, Bohan, Casey and O’Donnell particularly have all contributed very significantly and very positively to Roscommon football over the years.

  The appointment of Kevin McStay is a good one. Damage has been done, and one suspects that McStay will be looking over his shoulder should progress be slow. McStay should and will expect mature reviews of his tenure, but he should not be a prisoner to Roscommon football politics, or to often uninformed public opinion. In other words, let him at it now, and stop the prodding from the terraces and the plotting from wherever it starts.

  It’s a good appointment of a good GAA man and we wish him every success as manager. 

Saturday & Sunday

Sunday’s County Senior Football Final, shown on TG4, was a fine showcase for Roscommon football, as Padraig Pearses’ manager Shane Curran noted in an interview with the station at the end of the game.

  St. Brigid’s were deserving winners of an entertaining game which featured lots of good football and just the right amount of amateur wrestling.

  The manager of St. Brigid’s, Frankie Dolan, came on as a late sub and perhaps unwisely raced into a fracas that he hadn’t been invited to. In fairness to Frankie, when he did get there, he didn’t do anything wrong, and in fact an opponent was so enamoured by the arrival of the celebrated Frankie that he spent about two minutes trying to acquire Dolan’s jersey as a souvenir.

  Padraig Pearses certainly put it up to St. Brigid’s and there is every reason to believe that they can contest strongly for honours in the coming seasons.

  Saturday’s action in Strokestown yielded county titles for Kilmore and Creggs as we report in detail throughout this week’s Roscommon People.

  Before I leave sport, I am glad to confirm that while form is temporary, class is indeed permanent.

  His brilliance may be sprinkled a lot more sparingly now than at his peak, but in winning the Portuguese Open on Sunday, Padraig Harrington again reminded us of his enduring class. The doubters were wrong – expect Ireland’s greatest ever sportsperson to challenge for another major or two in the future.


It’s as if they have powers of bilocation now…

  There I was at 8.05 pm on Monday evening, popping into Timothy’s, when I had an early Christmas vision.
  Sure enough, it was a number of the Roscommon Christmas Lights volunteers…complete with vehicle, lights, wiring, ladders, etc. hard at work on a pole opposite  to Molloy’s Bakery, Abbeytown.

  When I came out of Timothy’s, they were gone, but when I then drove up Main Street – 8.12 pm – the very same crew were at work outside Rogue & Co. and ETL!

  It’s still October…several weeks yet to go…so, when the county town’s Christmas Lights display is switched on, let’s remember these great volunteers were out working on this project on cold nights in October!

A day in the life: Our Hero confronts long arm of the lawless


While I spent a few hours in Dublin again today – train, trams…glimpse of city life and commuter world – I had no intention of writing anything about it. However that changed when I encountered ‘our hero.’ 

  The day had started in a mundane manner. Well, there was a man at the train station in Athlone giving out about the fact that the daily car parking charge had risen from €4 to €4.50 since last week. And across from Heuston Station, a dodgy looking woman approached a man at the Luas ticket machine, was all smiles, pointed to the cigarette the man was smoking and then asked ‘can I have that fag when you’re done smokin’ it?’

  Oh yeah, and a woman with a crutch walking arm in arm with a man with a hat just stopped him in mid-sentence and said ‘sorry, I’m just going to move that dead pigeon off the track, before it gets disembodied.’ Sure enough, she proceeded to do just that with her ‘Dead-pigeon-removing-crutch’.

  The main reason I’ve decided to inflict more random travelling trivia on readers is because of the conversation I heard a few minutes after the removal of the dead pigeon.

  I hopped on the tram at Heuston. It was pretty busy, most of us staring into space and/or our phones. But two young Dublin men – aged in their 20s or 30s – were chatting out loud, very matter of factly ‘talking shop’, which, for at least one of them, involves the criminal industry.

  “I’m going in, I know I am. I’ll probably get three” one guy (our hero) said. It was quickly apparent he was talking about a jail sentence. I’m pretty sure he meant months, not years.

  “Yeah I’ll probably get three,” he repeated, laughing.

  His friend laughed back. “You see the same guys in there.”

  “Yeah” said our hero, “the same faces. Hey, are you twats still here? Did yis not go home?”

  The two of them laughed, before the first guy started explaining why he’s going to a district court sitting, not a circuit court one. (By the way, he had actually said the word ‘twat’, a word I thought was only used on Coronation Street because they can’t put swear words in the script).

  As our tram came into and then left Smithfield, the two men kept talking about their experience of jail, most of their chat about length of sentences and what a judge can or can’t do, depending on the parameters of his or her court. 

  Then, a twist, as the first guy, the guy expecting three months and who obviously loves talking about work, has a story to tell.

  “I was on the tram the other day and this big skinny guy…he looked like a…(suspected nationality provided)…suddenly puts his long arm around this old woman and reaches into her bag…and takes her purse. I dunno how he did it, he had a real long arm. You’d never expect it of him! He was a big skinny fella, with glasses…”

  Friend: “A snob…”

  First guy/our hero: “So he takes her purse! I dunno how he got his arm around her and got the purse out of her bag. So ye know what I bleedin’ did? I clocked him in the jaw! The woman got a right fright, she did. I clocked him! The poor woman!”

  So, obnoxious, ruthless career criminal or confused petty thief with a conscience who comes to rescue of old women?

  I was taking no chances. He was a criminal, I think both of them were, and by his own loud admission, he’s prone to violence (he may even have killed the pigeon).

  I clutched my wallet a bit closer as he breezily and non-threateningly brushed against me. In fairness, our hero only brushed against me because we’d come to the next stop, the one after Smithfield, and he was getting off.

  Well, it was the Four Courts…