It had to happen. Paddy Joe has – finally – gone nationwide! A Newstalk radio documentary chronicling Roscommon’s All-Ireland Minor victory last year was broadcast last night (Wednesday) and led to unprecedented reaction from listeners nationwide. While contributors to the enjoyable programme included team manager Fergal O’Donnell – who on Saturday last led his team of 2007 to the Connacht final again – the star of the programme was renowned Roscommon GAA fan, Roscommon town based barber Paddy Joe Burke. Paddy Joe, who gave his usual unique perspective on the event (‘CNN covered the homecoming’ – ‘I I love long traffic jams’ – ‘Roscommon is the greatest city in the world’) – attracted an amazing reaction from listeners across the country. Several Dublin-based fans contacted Newstalk moments after the documentary. ‘Is it mushroom season in Roscommon?’ asked one. Another quipped: ‘Was that programme recorded in an asylum?’ Another ‘Dub’ said the programme almost brought tears to his eyes and it brought back memories for him of a wonderful Roscommon win. Yet another texted in to say the programme should be podcast. Another suggested that Paddy Joe has to get his own radio show! Others managed to avoid commenting on Roscommon’s famous, colourful supporter and instead congratulated Roscommon and the general feel-good sense the documentary created. As if this wasn’t all mad enough, the unthinkable happened when a Galway supporter texted in to say he was going out to paint his car blue and gold! Another fan wanted a copy of Willie Hegarty’s legendary commentary. But ultimately it came back to Paddy Joe, and the programme presenter, who said he had never experienced such reaction to a programme, commented that Paddy Joe’s contribution should be podcast if only because of Paddy Joe’s declaration that he loves traffic jams! And so, it seems, our secret is out. After some false dawns in the past, Paddy Joe has been discovered on the national stage. We in Roscommon know that you can get these live Paddy Joe performances any day of the week, and collect a haircut while you wait. But now Paddy Joe has been exposed to a national audience. The ‘Keep Paddy Joe in Roscommon’ campaign starts here today in the Roscommon People. Give him hjs own show, the Dubs say, but we’re having none of it. If they want a helping of Paddy Joe, they can take the corner at Church Street and put their head in the door and lift a paper off the chair (and wait like the rest of us if he’s gone walkabout) and earn their own audience with the man himself. They can podcast him, but they can’t have him!