Paul Healy’s Week


Marvel Moran

Tonight, I got around to watching a new RTE documentary, ‘Kevin Moran: Codebreaker’. Those of us of a certain age fondly remember Moran, the lion-hearted, fearless, ultimate ‘dual star’ who won two All-Ireland senior football titles with Dublin before sensationally transferring to Manchester United and going on to have a great soccer career at club and international level.

He was famous for his willingness to put foot (and head) where it wasn’t particularly safe to put them, the image of Moran soldiering on in games, often blood-soaked, bandaged and in pain, becoming a familiar one. He wasn’t all about exceptional courage either; Moran could play too. In his short GAA career, he was a pioneering, attacking centre half-back who was a joy to watch when in full flow; in a long and distinguished soccer career, Kevin pitched in with lots of goals to add to his heroic leadership in defence.

More musings on ‘Kevin Moran: Codebreaker’ and the shock of his remarkable career switch in ‘Sports Studio’ on page 35 in this issue.



Weekend sport

Much has been made of Manchester City’s below par performance in Saturday’s Champions League Final, but credit to Inter Milan, who pressed high on the serial passers and never allowed Pep’s men to fully settle. A nervous City won in the end (1-0), claiming the coveted Treble.

I was glad for Pep, and for the magnificent Kevin De Bruyne. And what a revelation John Stones is in midfield. I’m not ignoring the allegations of financial irregularities against City, but I guess we have to allow due process to prevail.

As for the hurling on Sunday, it was absolutely thrilling. I’m not sure if anyone else noticed, but I think Clare maybe should have had a free at the end against Limerick.



Grotty Boris!

In an episode of Fawlty Towers, one of the guests, irritated by Basil’s bizarre and rude behaviour, suddenly loses their cool. “You’re getting my dander up” the man shouts at Fawlty, “you grotty little man”.

Basil wasn’t really a grotty little man – more like a misunderstood, temperamental big man – but British ‘culture’ has a grotty little man for the 21st century now. Boris Johnson is disloyally and disgracefully tormenting the Conservative Party that he led up to a year ago.

Even those who still admire Boris, who remain in thrall to his charisma, must privately be thinking what most of the rest of us are: that this man is now a hugely destructive force, a pathetically self-centred narcissist who clearly has no regard for his party – more importantly, his country. In the words of another great British sitcom, what a plonker!



Winner alright

I was delighted for our friends at Roscommon Races that today’s meeting escaped the thunderstorms that arrived 24 hours later. The Races have been hit with bad luck weather-wise from time to time over the years. It’s great to see the current season developing very nicely, after one early cancellation. The Races are a fantastic asset to the town and environs.



By hook or crook

On this evening’s always excellent Channel 4 News, presenter Jackie Long chatted quite diplomatically to a political ally of four-time Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who died earlier today. They then switched to an in-studio interview, where Jackie’s colleague, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, spoke to a “British-Italian journalist”.

His first question: “How did this debauched crook manage to keep getting elected?”



Peer pressure…

Across the water, the carnage in the Conservative Party continues. Chatting to Piers Morgan, one Nadine Dorries, she who thinks Boris Johnson is God’s gift to mankind. Here’s a quick recap…

Nadine, a former minister who is blindly loyal to Johnson, was initially nominated for a seat in the House of Lords (nice) on the former PM’s honours list. But then the pesky powers that be (okay, the House of Lords Appointment Commission) blocked a number of Johnson’s proposed peerages. Johnson cried foul, accusing current PM Rishi Sunak of meddling with his list.

So, Nadine now sits across from Piers. She’s upset, upset for ordinary people like her who grew up with little or nothing, worked every day of their lives (since age of 14), and now see a peerage snatched from their would-be grateful grasp by entitled posh blokes. Yes, Nadine was hurting for herself, but – she assured Piers – she’s really hurting for all those poor (literally) and ordinary folk who now realise that a peerage is probably beyond them.

Meanwhile, the British economy is going through a wretched phase. Mortgages are rising. A cost of living crisis is taking a heavy toll. Bewildered by Brexit fall-out, millions of people are regretting the call that was made. Citizens are resorting to food banks in record numbers. The shadow of a climate crisis is ever-present.

But Rishi and Boris are squabbling over who said what on the subject of who amongst their entitled peers should be elevated further (via this honours’ system). And now, a new blow for the ordinary man and woman in Britain… whether when queuing at food banks, or turning restlessly in their beds as they stress over household bills, there is a new, almost unimaginable extra anguish they must come to terms with: the devastating realisation that they may never become a member of the House of Lords. Is there no end to the misery?



RIP, Christy

A nation mourns the extremely likeable, charismatic, straight-talking Christy Dignam. The gifted Aslan frontman was a consummate entertainer. In numerous media interviews over recent years, he endeared himself to the people of this country with his honesty and integrity, particularly when speaking about his illness and mortality. We got to know what a special human being he was.

When Aslan were very much in comeback mode, we saw them live in Tulsk (Christy began that night with Patsy Cline’s ‘Crazy’). Earlier, at the height of their fame, they often performed in Roscommon town and around the region. Memorable nights. The one and only Christy Dignam will be fondly remembered. May he rest in peace.