Paul Healy’s week – July 5th


A waiting game…

“Both ends of Oscar Traynor Road will be closed…”

  That’s what the man on the radio said, but we didn’t really care!

  In fact, we wouldn’t have been too worried if aliens wearing Michael Healy-Rae replica caps and singing Daniel O’Donnell’s greatest hits had landed in the middle of Oscar Traynor Road.

  We didn’t want any more weather or traffic updates…just get on with the draw!

  It was Monday morning on RTE Radio’s flagship ‘Morning Ireland’ – and the waiting was no fun.

  The fourth round qualifier draw in the All-Ireland Football Championship was due. It would bring a little more clarity in terms of the likely make-up of Roscommon’s Super 8s’ group.

  It had been a long weekend. We watched Tyrone pretty much swat Kildare aside, followed by a typically dramatic Mayo show, our neighbours prevailing and avoiding Armagh-geddon. We enjoyed the hurling on Sunday, but the draw was always on our mind.

  Des signed off on The Sunday Game by reminding us that the draw would take place “during the sports bulletin” at 8.35 am. Sleep tight.

  I turned the radio on at 8.25 am. 8.35 am came and went. Ads. News headlines. Weather. Traffic.

  “Both ends of Oscar Traynor Road will be closed…”

  Both ends! Who cared! (Surely the great soccer man (Traynor) was not delaying the GAA from beyond the grave?). 8.36 am came. 8.38. This was too much, too tense, almost like that shower scene in Psycho…

  8.39 am, and finally Pauric Lodge introduces GAA President John Horan and our own Kevin McStay, the latter in to conduct the draw.

  More diversions then as Pauric and John chatted about topical GAA issues…as, across the country, players, managers and fans waited…waited…and waited.

  And we weren’t even in the draw – but we were more than interested observers. The draw would produce a roadmap, of sorts.

  Finally, white smoke…or blue and white smoke, or red and white smoke. Roscommon will kick off the Super 8s with Cavan or Tyrone at home in the Hyde. Followed by Dublin, then Cork or Laois.

  It was 8.46 am or so. On Morning Ireland, back to the news…but the day’s important work was done. The waiting was over, the speculation could start…


Tom fitted in well here…

I was very sorry to hear of the passing of the actor Tom Jordan. In recent years, the down to earth Fair City star was a familiar presence in Ballyleague, Roscommon and surrounds, having moved to these parts (with his wife, Julie) a number of years ago. And how well Tom fitted in here.

  When you met him, you inevitably thought of him as Charlie, because of his long-standing role as Charlie Kelly in Fair City. Tom/Charlie became a household name due to his role in the popular soap, but, over a long career, he had many more notable acting achievements, including a number of film roles.

  It’s only a year or so since I met Tom in the Shannonside studios, both of  us there for the ‘Review of the Week’ on the Joe Finnegan Show. He was very easy to talk to and seemed to love life ‘down the country’. A gentleman. He will be fondly remembered all over the country, as an actor of considerable note, and as the face of Fair City. And he will be very much missed in his adopted county of Roscommon. May he rest in peace. 


Yeah, right…

Former Justice Minister and all-round modest chap Alan Shatter was asked by Barry Egan (Sunday Independent) if his new book is “about settling scores or revenge?” He replied: “I have no interest in that”.

  The book is titled ‘Frenzy and Betrayal: The Anatomy of a Political Assassination’. The author is Alan Shatter. Mmnn!

  In any event, his book should be very interesting, as should Seamus Mallon’s recently published autobiography.


Revealed! How Roscommon ball
got into Kilkenny shop window…


In this column last week, I referred to seeing a ‘Roscommon football’ sitting proudly and prominently in the window of a quaint shop in Kilkenny.

  I was there the weekend before last for a family social occasion, and while on a walkabout with my brothers, we made the mysterious discovery! And mysterious it would remain (for then) because the premises was closed…and I couldn’t enquire.

  This week, thanks to feedback from readers, I’m delighted to report that the short-lived mystery has been solved.

  The shop is owned by a lady called Pauline Scully. Her late husband Tom was a well-known Clare man who worked as a cobbler in Kilkenny. The shop in question was famously called ‘The Heel Bar’. One of my sources says: “You could spend the day there talking hurling and football”.

  Padraig Leydon (ex-Kilkenny People), originally from Knockvicar and a huge Rossie fan, also confirmed that the shop is owned by Pauline Scully, and that she is an Athleague native.

  He wrote: “The Roscommon man who has the Roscommon football in the window in Kilkenny is Michael Crehan from Athleague who is living there with his sister, Pauline.

  “Pauline was married to a mighty Clare man, Tom Scully. Sadly Tom passed away some years ago and is buried in Athleague”.

  Padraig confirmed that Pauline and her late husband Tom ‘dressed’ their shop window for years with Clare and Roscommon GAA uppermost in their minds.

  He wrote: “For years that window has always supported Roscommon and Clare. At the moment the window is solely for the Rossies. Long may it last!”


* Many thanks to Cathal Brady in Elphin for his help in solving the mystery of the Roscommon ball in the Kilkenny window. Thanks also to Nigel and Padraig Leydon.