Paul Healy’s Week

Thursday

It’s Bonfire Night (June 23rd) – and a stark reminder that summer is moving on. Unfortunately, there’s no sign yet of consistently good weather. Pity, because we could all do with the wonderful morale booster that sunshine tends to bring.

I see our friends across the water are similarly downbeat just now. On the quirky and often excellent Channel 4 News, a solemn-faced presenter reminds viewers that they couldn’t travel abroad for the last two years (due to Covid) and then grimly informs them that they may be facing another summer of being grounded…this time due to airline strikes. Just to help the mood, the Channel 4 graphics people have an image of a plane taking off, then reversing back on to the runway.

The presenter goes on to remind viewers that they aren’t guaranteed public transport within the UK either, as the industrial action has already begun there, with trains currently lying idle.

Hero of the hour on social media and elsewhere is Transport Union leader Mick Lynch, who for many people has suddenly evolved into a champion of the public because of his delightfully unflappable way of handling media interviews and smug politicians. On Twitter, the Irish are quick to claim him as one of our own (Mick was born to Irish parents). When Mr Lynch tells one presenter that his hero is “Irish socialist republican” James Connolly, his fan base grows further. Lynch, it must be said, is a refreshingly straight-talking media ‘performer’ who has bruised quite a few egos in studios over the past 48 hours.

To really top off the week for the Irish social media brigade, there’s a viral video of American actor Bill Murray channelling his inner Irishness (his ancestry can be traced to Cork and Galway) by enthusiastically singing ‘Star of the County Down’ in a pub in Limerick.

*No details yet of when Mick ‘One of our own’ Lynch will be appearing on the Late Late Show, to a suitably gushing introduction by Ryan.

 

Friday

 

On the school run, Morning Ireland switches to sport, with Des asking Colm O’Rourke to preview the weekend GAA. I’m caught on the hop, as an unthinking Des fails to warn listeners that some of us may find part of the next item upsetting.

I haven’t time to prepare myself…Colm is straight into Clare v Derry, and yes, he brings up how “Clare upset Roscommon”.

Then, just as I’m recovering from the trauma of that unwelcome flashback, O’Rourke is on to Armagh v Galway and talking about the latter’s Connacht final win over Roscommon.

Surely they mean Mourning Ireland?

 

Saturday

Leading the tournament and playing beautifully, Rory McIllroy was in supreme form as he approached the 12th tee at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut this evening. When he then basically imploded, hacking from rough to bunker and eventually taking eight shots on the par four hole, it reminded me of a summer’s day in the mid-1980s at a time when I was a golf beginner*.

A friend and I were haplessly hacking around Longford Golf Club when we were approached by an elderly man who asked if he could join us (he hadn’t seen us play).

With heavy hearts – given that neither of us could guarantee the safety of grasshoppers when teeing off – we welcomed him on board. Two holes later, the gentleman – having assessed what he was inflicting on himself – made his excuses and left (in fairness, he’d been very patient).

I think I may have been searching for a ball under a tree at the precise moment that he ended the relationship.

They say it’s a very sociable sport, but we never heard from him again.

*I am still a golf beginner.

 

Saturday

I wrote in last week’s People that Paul McCartney, in the news last week as he was celebrating his 80th birthday, is both ageless and peerless. Tonight, the superstar headlined at Glastonbury, and it really was an unforgettable performance.

BBC’s live coverage brought this brilliant 2 hour 50 minute set into the homes of millions of TV viewers. I can only imagine how special it must have been for the fans who were actually at the venue.

Brimming with energy, good humour and likeability, this legendary custodian of timeless classics sang some of the greatest songs of the past half-century (many of which he had written).

There were several Beatles’ classics, some from his Wings’ days, and also a few hits of fellow stars. When he began dueting with Foo Fighters’ frontman David Grohl, that was pretty special. The excitement levels rose even further when McCartney casually introduced Bruce Springsteen! Watching McCartney and ‘The Boss’ on stage together was a thrilling experience. Seeing people in their 20s (or younger) sing along to McCartney’s playlist says it all about the influence and legacy of this genius.

What a set…what a journey through six decades of pop culture. ‘Macca’ is indeed peerless…long may he enjoy good health, and continue to do what he does.

 

Sunday

Pádraic Joyce is right. Deciding major GAA games on penalties is not satisfactory. My heart sank when today’s tremendous All-Ireland quarter-final (Galway v Armagh) went to a penalty shootout. Of course I was glad Galway fired over a late, late equaliser, but I have absolutely no time for Outcome By Penalties.

What a game this was, particularly from the start of the second half onwards. Galway should have been home and dry – they led by six going into injury-time – but Armagh stunned them with two goals, followed by a sensational equalising free from Rian O’Neill.

Then, when it looked as if a Galway goal in extra-time had finally sealed the deal, Armagh struck with a goal of their own. Galway now looked to be facing a heartbreak exit, but up stepped the superb Cillian McDaid to provide a dramatic equaliser and ensure that penalties’ showdown.

I must say I have great admiration for Joyce, who conducts himself so impressively on the sideline and in after-match interviews. And while Armagh have added much to this year’s campaign, I was delighted that Galway won, not least because of the disgraceful attack on Damien Comer during the very ugly brawl that has to some degree overshadowed what was a classic game.

Mayo, unfortunately, came up short against Kerry in the second of today’s quarter-finals. I suspect one of Derry, Galway or Kerry are going to have to find another gear or two if the Dubs are to be denied yet another Sam success!

 

Monday

We can exclusively reveal that sensational reports of alleged “clear and unambiguous” sightings of the sun are being treated with considerable suspicion by sceptical weather experts.

Social media was ablaze with speculation after separate reports of sustained sightings of the sun in counties Donegal and Kerry. It is understood that while these bizarre claims are not being taken seriously by experts, the powers-that-be are obliged to investigate them.

A Met Éireann spokesperson told the People: “Obviously our initial reaction to claims of outbreaks of hot weather – even pleasant sunshine for that matter – was to treat such reports as bogus and quite frankly a sign of early silly season nonsense on the part of a frustrated media. However, strictly speaking, we are obliged to look into them. A third report – suggesting that rain ceased in the midlands on Monday and was briefly replaced by sunshine – is not even worthy of investigation”.

Attempts by the Roscommon People to contact a number of leading weather forecasters/experts have so far proven fruitless, with their ringtones suggesting they are all abroad (reputedly in Spain/Portugal/Lanzarote).

 

Tuesday

1.35 pm: Passing Hannon’s Hotel after leaving the office, I’m pleasantly surprised to observe sunny summer weather. Makes my satire/sarcasm (see ‘Monday’) look a bit out of date, I thought. Is the weather finally picking up? I also thought ‘This is great for the Roscommon Races today’.

  Then…a mere mile on – drizzle, dark skies, a breezy outlook too. Bizarre!

Then…1.52 pm was the precise time on the clock in the car when I was making my way back into town via the Creevy Road…with near-torrential rain now bucketing down!

It’s 2.55 pm as I write, and while it’s sunny enough, leaves are fluttering – at pace – along the pavements in Abbey Street.

When it comes to Irish weather commentary, in the words of those TV cop shows, I’m off the case. I quit. It’s just too stressful!