Paul Healy’s Week – 3rd of March


Maybe they – whoever ‘they’ are – need to give these recurring storms more intimidating names. ‘Doris’ just didn’t sound scary enough. Does anyone know a Doris who is in any way offensive or troublesome? The first Doris I ever heard of was Doris Day, and she was a real sweetheart, described in her acting prime as ‘a girl next door.’

  In any event, Storm Doris was one hell of a storm. We finished last week’s Roscommon People at about 10 pm, then went home to relax after the end of our working week. I knew there was a storm on the way, but wasn’t expecting this window-rattling, door-shaking, bin-disturbing, dog-frightening, tree-bending monster of a storm.

  It kept me awake most of the night, and, like all good storms/heavy rainfalls, it had a rhythmic beauty. There’s something very appealing about the sound of rain against your windows at night; nothing wrong with a bit of howling wind either. However, Storm Doris went beyond being atmospheric; it raged with such ferocity that you wondered if the windows would shatter.

  Next morning, there were some reports of damage and you have to feel for those people who suffered. I heard reports of some buildings being damaged; numerous trees were knocked and hundreds of people were left without electricity.

  We got off very lightly. I was amazed to find our bins intact. Astonishingly, the trampoline was still in the garden and hadn’t somersaulted over the fence and landed on some unsuspecting sheep in the field behind us. 

  These storms have been coming in quick succession in recent years. I don’t remember us having that many storms years ago. We certainly didn’t give them nice names. A Storm Ewan apparently followed in the footsteps of Doris over the weekend, though it didn’t make any impact in these parts.

  I have just googled Doris Day and am glad to note that the Hollywood superstar is still alive. But, oh dear, the Daily Mail website says she had a dark side. So, maybe those storm names are chosen wisely after all! (Still, that Ewan McGregor seems like a nice chap). Friday Like a champion boxer who’s long past his prime but still dreams of reliving former glories, the Late Late Show staggers on…in apparent self-denial.

Occasionally, it still produces special moments; too often however, it’s tedious at best, sometimes even an embarrassing mess.

  In its heyday, it paraded superstars from Hollywood and A-listers from Ireland and Britain. Now we are expected to make do with the hosts of gardening and cookery shows, Katie Hopkins is a firm favourite of the researchers and even a despicable crook like John Gilligan is asked if he could kindly check his diary. There was a time when the invites went to the Hollywood actors who play gangsters – not to the actual gangsters.

  Friday’s offering was just dismal. As Graham Norton dusted down his couch for the latest influx of superstars, poor Ryan was left with a line-up that can’t have delighted anyone; bar, perhaps, Ray D’Arcy.

  Philip Boucher-Hayes, never likely to use one word when three is an option, spoke earnestly about food; dour-faced politician/writer Mannix Flynn spoke for too long; there was a discussion billed as ‘a unique insight into what it is to be deaf in Ireland today’ –  and a quite lengthy preview of a major art exhibition.

  It tells us something about the decline of the Late Late Show when a bus driver in the audience is the star of the show.

  No doubt sean-nós singer Sean Keane’s appearance saved the day for many viewers, but if I was in the audience, I’d have asked that bus driver for a lift back into town long before the end.


The Scots have been whipping boys in rugby for too long. It is not their natural status. They have had great players and great teams in the past. It has been encouraging, in recent seasons, to see the Thistle bloom again. I was glad to see Scotland sweep to victory over Wales in the first of today’s big sporting events.

Later, Ireland impressively defeated France, keeping our chances of winning the Six Nations Championship very much alive. Johnny Sexton made a classy return; his drop kick in wet conditions was magnificent.

  I got the first ten minutes of Mayo v Roscommon with Willie and a decidedly frustrated analyst, Gay Sheerin; the remainder, I watched on eir Sport.

  Roscommon were consistently off the pace of this game; far too often Mayo players were able to move upfield without a hand being lain on them. What was very clear was the difference between the teams in terms of power and sheer physical strength; Roscommon players spilt possession too often, were brushed aside too easily. On the positive side, we battled to the end, got some fine scores, and created at least four goal-scoring opportunities.

  It was a bruising experience but it will stand to these lads and they will learn much from it.

  Later still, more sport with an unusually flat and dour Match of the Day. The day’s games just hadn’t yielded much to get excited about. Perhaps, in the week in which Leicester’s number-crunchers cruelly turfed out title-winning miracle worker Claudio Ranieri, it was apt that we got a soulless, uninspiring Match of the Day. Claudio might have kept Leicester up. Even if they were relegated, he should have been spared the gallows. A sad footnote to a fairytale.

  The show will go on, but Claudio – and loyalty in football – have left the building.

Just smile Warren…what could go wrong?


In Warren’s house that morning, the excitement was palpable. Warren had been a superstar, now he was something of a recluse.

Or, as he saw it, more of a forgotten hero. The movie industry never wrote or called. Now, they had called, and he was back. The world would be watching. The Oscars people had remembered him. And Warren would present the ‘Best film’ award.


‘I’m actually nervous!’ he jested to Faye, over dinner, when they discussed the invite.

They were in a very fancy restaurant; Harrison Ford had been turned down for a table.

‘Nervous? Oh just smile and read out what it says on the envelope!’ said Faye.

On the morning of the Oscars, he looked in the mirror. Proud. You’re so vain, you probably think this night is about you, he whispered to himself, laughing.

Backstage at the Oscars, he was nervous all over again.

‘But you’ve been in movies for sixty years’ Faye said, reassuringly. ‘You’re a sex symbol!’

‘Was…!’ he quipped back. ‘Hey, I want to be sure that when people google me when I’m gone, it’s gonna be for my movies – or, er…my sex appeal – not because I came out of retirement one year, fell over a step at the Oscars or read out the wrong result!’

Faye laughed. ‘Or gave you the wrong name and got you to read out the wrong result!’ Warren quipped.

Faye laughed, then grimaced, then laughed again.

‘For God’s sake, Warren, just smile and read out what it says on the envelope, you old smoothie!’

He heard the presenter call their names out. He was back. He took a deep breath. The world was watching. 

‘Just smile and read out what it says on the envelope…’