Paul Healy’s Week


Convent heroics

There was great excitement this afternoon as a Roscommon team achieved a notable sporting success.

Convent of Mercy, Roscommon defeated Mercy Mounthawk of Tralee by 2-11 to 2-6 in the All-Ireland Football Post-Primary Schools Senior ‘B’ Final, played in Nenagh.

Earlier today, supporters were bussed to the venue. Those ‘back home’ followed the Convent’s fantastic win online. This evening, a large crowd turned out to formally welcome the All-Ireland winning stars back!


Say it ain’t so, Joe…

Earlier in the week, Joe Duffy noted that the 170th anniversary of the birth of Vincent van Gogh was coming up, as was the 90th birthday of Sil Fox, one of those Irish comedians who is synonymous with Liveline’s ‘Funny Friday’.

Today, Joe & Co. are doing an entire show on the great artist. That’s on van Gogh, not on Sil Fox. The Dutch painter is considered one of the most culturally influential figures in the history of art.

Nothing against Vincent (I like that today’s programme is pushing the ‘everyone can paint’ message) but I’m not convinced that dedicating an entire Liveline show to him 170 years after his birth is one of the production team’s better calls. I opted out, not expecting riveting radio.

Meanwhile, on tonight’s Late Late Show Country Music Special, no doubt Ryan Tubridy will be wearing a cowboy hat and unconvincingly trying to give the impression that he’s now a fully paid up member of the Country Music Appreciation Society.

Anything new on Netflix, anyone?



Singing the (battery) blues

So yes, I finally got the Fitbit recently, and also established what for now is a basic knowledge of Spotify. As such, I’m tentatively feeling incentivised to take more regular walks.

Today, the weather was pleasant, I was attacking that steps’ target, and a couple of hastily cobbled together playlists were bringing me back to the hits of the past. But then the lady in my headphones began to interrupt the songs to advise that my battery was low. I’d much prefer if she didn’t interrupt, and let me discover myself (either when I got home, or before) that I needed to do some re-charging.

Cat Stevens was about halfway through ‘Father And Son’ when the warnings started. I thought that might be it, but a couple of minutes later – during ‘Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue’ – the lady in my headphones was back with another grim warning about the wilting battery. You can’t enjoy the music with these ‘your battery is low’ interventions.

The lady seemed to be losing patience by the time she cut in on Eleanor Rigby, as if that song needed any more despondency. Naturally I switched the  headphones off before she could cut in on David Bowie or Elton.



Mayo’s day

Inhaling the moment, measuring and appreciating it, Kevin McStay puffed out his cheeks as the final whistle sounded at Croke Park today. The Holy Grail for Mayo is the elusive Sam Maguire Cup, but McStay knew that winning the ‘other’ national title is not to be sniffed at. It’s an addition to the Mayo GAA roll of honour. Today’s victory is also an important psychological boost for the Mayo camp. Ideally, winning becomes a habit, and the sight of a Mayo team winning a national final in Croke Park – scene of so many devastating losses over recent years – must be a welcome confidence boost for all associated with the ‘green and red’.

As for the game itself, I thought it was enjoyable enough for neutrals. Mayo deserved their victory, though they will note their goalkeeper, Colm Reape, was man of the match (the grim Reape-r for Galway’s hopes). Overall, I got a real sense that Mayo are in better shape than Galway. Both teams can be expected to feature prominently at the business end of the championship season.



Close bonds…

For a short while, the queue at the Orthopaedic Unit at Merlin Park Hospital this afternoon stretched just outside, into the bosom of the fresh air. (Our son incurred a minor fracture on his arm recently).

From the porch between us and the people who were queuing inside, I could hear three voices. At first I couldn’t see the men…two of them probably in their 40s, one much younger.

The three were having a friendly and courteous chat. Whatever the banter was, one of the two older men matter of factly mentioned ‘honesty’ to the younger man – in a very respectful way, I might add. The younger man agreed, also very respectfully. The three were getting on very well indeed.

Just as we stepped into the porch, they crossed in front of us. “We’re not in the queue” one of the older men said to me…as the younger man followed behind him, on his crutch, and handcuffed to the other man.



Donald’s drum…

Former US President Donald Trump appeared in court today, leading to the proverbial media circus. Just watching the coverage is exhausting, but fascinating. Is it the beginning of the end for the phenomenally divisive Trump, or will some form of ‘martyr status’ actually ignite his re-election bid? I’ve no idea. The strong suspicion is that one should write him off at one’s peril. On Newsnight tonight, former American Secretary of State Cyrus Vance summed up the near-futility of trying to second-guess what might happen next: “We all know that Trump plays to his own drum”.



In conference…

The second annual Suck Valley Way Conference kicked off today in Gleeson’s in Roscommon.

I was happy to perform as Master of Ceremonies for a thought-provoking opening session during which guest speakers addressed issues to do with disabilities’ services (or lack of) in this country. I will write about this in our next issue.

Those excellent presentations were delivered by Cllr. Pat Fitzpatrick (President of the Association of Irish Local Government), Senator Tom Clonan, Fabian Joyce of Anam Music Therapy, and Paula Naughton of the Join Our Boys Trust.

The conference continues throughout Thursday (today) in the Abbey Hotel, Roscommon, and all are welcome.