Paul Healy’s Week



The man in your TV…

I’m channel-hopping for a few minutes, but astonishingly there’s no sign of Bradley Walsh’s broad smile anywhere. No Bradley, on any channel? I can only presume this is a technical glitch of sorts and that normal service will resume…




Freudian slip?

“We have local and European elections that day” is what I meant to text to a friend today, but what I actually wrote was: “We have local and European ejections that day”. That is what could probably be described as a good example of a Freudian slip.




Defeat to Dublin

The first thing I noticed about today’s All-Ireland Senior Football Championship game between Dublin and Roscommon was the atmosphere at Croke Park. If Donald Trump was there, he’d be claiming there was 50,000 people (or more) present, and that it was electrifying. He wasn’t; there weren’t, it wasn’t.

Those who witnessed this latest instalment of ‘How to deflate a championship’ were amongst a mere 15,000 or so who attended – a mixture of diehards and the eternally curious who gamely tried to inject some life into the great stadium.

Whatever the secret to creating a thrilling championship is, perpetuating a format where three teams from four remain active in a competition after a round robin series of games is hardly it. Not that Roscommon will be complaining if we finish Group 2 with at least one team below us.

As our family had commitments earlier in the day, I watched on GAAGO, a €12 outlay made with a nod to loyalty and hope more than expectation of seeing a famous Roscommon win. But I get why Davy Burke talks up this team, why he believes – contrary to the evidence of recent months – that they can match the best this season. Roscommon were superb at times on Saturday, kicking some marvellous points, and more or less going toe to toe with Dublin for up to an hour or so. There was much to admire about Roscommon’s performance, defensively and offensively. The problem was, Burke’s team ultimately struggled once again in the second half of a game – or it might be fairer and more pertinent to simply say that the Dublin substitutions ‘killed’ us.




Observing gambits…

A 7 am start, followed by the long drive to Gormanston in County Meath, where the Roscommon/Kilteevan Community Games U-16 chess team (our son included) were taking part in the national finals. A number of other children from Roscommon were also competing.

With competition in various events across two venues, it was a busy and enjoyable day for children, coaches, parents and supporters.

On this occasion (it’s not always the case) supporters were allowed into the hall during the play. You could hear a pin drop. It’s great to see chess growing in popularity, presumably in part because of the success of the TV series ‘The Queen’s Gambit’.

As with many other sports, parents pace up and down/sit in small groups, nervously awaiting the outcomes. It’s a very competitive atmosphere, but there’s none of the verbal criticism of referees we occasionally see in some field games!

Roscommon-Kilteevan U-16s were runners-up in the national final, so congratulations to the team, and their coach, Alastair.

On the way home, we stopped in a fine establishment for a bite to eat. Across from us sat a middle-aged man and a middle-aged woman. Judging by their chat and body language, which we honestly couldn’t fully ignore, it was absolutely clear that they were on a first date. In a way, they were having their own game of chess… by times carefully planning their next move, by times keenly trying to avoid checkmate (which is essentially being ‘captured’).

Had it been an episode of TV’s First Dates (it wasn’t), I’m sorry to report that my conclusion is that the lady would have delivered the dreaded ‘You’re a lovely guy, but I didn’t feel a spark… maybe as friends?’ killer line. But I could be wrong.



Ahern for Castlecoote

Daydreaming (or clearing my head) while travelling to a morning meeting in Castlecoote, I find myself continuing on towards Creggs by mistake, not that heading for Creggs is ever anything other than a good thing to do.

After a quick U-turn, I join the meeting in beautiful, historic Castlecoote House, where we are finalising plans for the 16th annual Percy French Festival (July 17-19 inclusive).

This year’s gathering will once again feature a great line-up of distinguished guest speakers, who will address a series of topical issues.

A keynote speaker this year will be former Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern. In his first public appearance in Co Roscommon for many years, Mr Ahern will speak on the prospects for a United Ireland, and how such a ‘New Ireland’ might look.

It promise to be a fascinating festival (for details on tickets/other information, see




TV choices!

Finally, the TV programme we’ve all been waiting for: RTE One is broadcasting the eagerly awaited ‘Limerick Mayor TV debate’.

I love Limerick, but really? 15 candidates will feature in the debate, over two sections. I’m not sure whether to watch or not, and note that RTE Two is showing an alternative, a programme in which comedian Ruby Wax is spending ten days ‘marooned’ on an island.

Ruby ‘must build her own camp, and collect her own food and water’.

Fair enough, but at least she’ll be avoiding a 15-candidate Limerick mayoral debate…




Campaign Capers…

Keep an eye on the Roscommon People social platforms for a series of fun videos we’re posting on the 2024 election campaigns. The series is titled ‘Campaign Capers’.

Taking a look at the lighter side of politics, it’s our alternative guide to Elections 2024. See, follow us on Facebook, and X (formerly Twitter), etc. for more…