The billion (or two) euro question(s)…




All week

Honestly, these arrogant politicians (well, some of them)…with their prowess at twisting logic, their habitual brazenness, their almost admirable verbal dexterity.

  Not wishing to pick on the usually very reasonable Deputy Colm Brophy, but the Fine Gael man really pushed my tolerance limits the other night. On the Tonight Show with Matt and Ivan – doing a good job in the footsteps of the great Vincent – Colm truly tested my patience.

  Yellow card: He tried to fob viewers off by claiming that the initial cost of the National Children’s Hospital was €983m.

  An indignant Matt Cooper reminded Colm that it was actually €650m.

  Effortlessly seeking to sidestep Matt, Deputy Brophy insisted it was the bigger figure, thus implying that the subsequent costs’ overrun is not quite as horrendous as pesky journalists would have us believe.

  Black card: Next, Colm plays the ‘What about the children and their parents?’ card. Straight-faced, Colm says we need this hospital…and asks who will look parents in the eye and say otherwise?

  A red herring, of course.

  Red card (or second yellow): Colm confidently wraps his contribution by saying that we must, yeah, we absolutely must, avoid any such cost overruns in the future.

  I’m thinking: ‘No, actually we should avoid any such cost overruns in the present’.

  All week, government politicians used the same tactics. If you challenge them on the scandalous costs issue, as soon as possible they will move the ‘debate’ on and play their emotional trump card… “The real issue here is that we need to build this hospital. People have waited long enough”.

  No, the real issue here – right here and right now – is that we need to address this costs’ monster.

  It’s pathetic.

Time added on: I wrote above on Tuesday, I have still to digest Health Minister Simon Harris’ doubtlessly deeply revealing, modest and apologetic appearance before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health on Wednesday.



Speaking as a Leeds United fan, I think Liverpool ‘2018/2019 version’ are a breath of fresh air. They play exciting football and have been a revelation this season.

  There is a ‘but’…what was Jurgen Klopp at the other night? I watched Liverpool’s lame draw with West Ham, and was then bemused to see Klopp quite aggressively remonstrate with the referee at the full-time whistle. More than that, Klopp had a bit of a barney with West Ham’s gentlemanly manager, Manuel Pellegrini.

  True, this sort of managerial over-reaction/histrionics is commonplace, but it’s getting a bit nauseating. What makes Monday night’s soap opera particularly odd is the fact that Liverpool’s goal – in a 1-1 draw – was clearly offside. To be fair to Klopp, I imagine his embarrassing conduct on Monday night is down to sheer pressure, as the race for the title intensifies. When Mourinho was at Manchester United, there was no such excuse. Such behaviour from The Special One was just him being a bad loser/unsporting/grumpy/looking for an edge. Ditto when Arsene Wenger reigned at Arsenal.

  Klopp had no business behaving as he did on Monday night, but like I say, maybe the pressure is getting to him! And I guess he too is generally a breath of fresh air.

  What a pleasure it would be to see more managers behave without bias and with dignity and restraint after a game. Managers like Roy Hodgson and Chris Hughton set the example that others should follow!


‘The Hyde on Sunday was wonderful’




The Hyde on Sunday was wonderful. It was one of the best ‘league days’ in years. There was a substantial Monaghan support in the stands, which of course added to the atmosphere.

  Entirely reasonably, given their team’s status and their stunning win over Dublin the previous weekend, the Monaghan fans travelled in expectation. Roscommon fans, encouraged by our  performance in wet and windy Castlebar, expected another resolute showing by Anthony Cunningham’s very focussed team – but few dared to contemplate a home win.

  It was very cold. Prior to throw-in, three Monaghan fans changed into wet gear, adding something like an angler’s wet gear to what they were already wearing. A bit of trouble these lads had too, as they tried to complete their makeover. It was like a scene from Bruce Forsyth’s Generation Game.

  The home defence was superb as Roscommon earned an exciting win. All credit to Anthony Cunningham, his backroom team, and those heroic players.

  The atmosphere in the final fifteen minutes was terrific. Black cards, red card, off-the-ball incidents, flare-ups, heart-stopping moments, good football, great passion, phenomenal effort by amateur sportsmen. 

  When the final whistle blew, the Roscommon fans reacted with an outpouring of emotion…happiness, relief and pride merging.

  We completely forgot about the quite bitter cold which had certainly registered with us at the throw-in and irked us during the always tedious half-time break. That was then. Now, a great and somewhat unlikely win achieved, the cold meant nothing, no longer impacted. Warm hearts surpass mere cold elements. Now, we simply relished this precious statement of intent; heroic Roscommon had beaten high-flying Monaghan. A great league day. We stood proud in the Hyde and applauded Roscommon on their slow and savoured departure from the field.