Everyone left a little bit dizzy after a frantic sporting weekend
TV VIEW:Left with a sore head from all the scratching. Seventy-plus-per-cent possession – and defeat, writes MARY HANNIGAN
Ah, what can you say?
A trip to Scotland that Irish rugby is unlikely ever to forget. Well, it shouldn’t – vastly superior possession expertly converted into points, judging by the little clip on the RTE news any way, and voilà: a very first Triple Crown. Stupendous.
Alas, the lads’ experience in Scotland was a different kettle of fish entirely to the women’s. Indeed, come the final whistle at Murrayfield, Irish supporters – and George Hook – felt much as Andrew Cotter had done in the BBC commentary box on Saturday – poorly.
“Well, there’s self-destruct and there’s self-destruct, but that was self-destruct,” as RTÉ’s Hugh Cahill put it, John Inverdale opting for “lies, damned lies and rugby statistics” at the conclusion of an afternoon that left your head sore from the scratching.
Seventy-plus-per-cent possession – and defeat. Cripes.
Predictably, much of the post-match chat centred around Declan Kidney’s future, George concluding he had to go – “His reputation is in tatters” – while insisting such a proclamation “doesn’t come to me easily”.
All credit to Brent Pope and Conor O’Shea for sporting admirably straight faces.
Brent found it hard to disagree, though, reckoning it was just “an incredibly sad day for Irish rugby”, and you could only sense that the knives will now be so sharp, you’d slice your thumbs just looking at them. Nobody, then, had a more wretched rugby weekend than Ireland’s men.
Apart from Cotter, that is.
“You’ll have to excuse Andrew for a minute, he’s not feeling very well,” said Jonathan Davies when his commentary companion had to scurry to the loo, having been struck by the winter vomiting bug.
So, Davies was left to commentate, hauling in Shane Williams to help him out. Mirth ensued, the pair like a couple of auld fellas chatting about the game in the pub, Williams, all 5ft 7in of him, conceding: “I’m going to have a lie down now,” said Davies when the half finally ended. Legend. Knight that man, now.
Mind you, some formerinternationals-turned-telly-people had worse weeks. Like, say, ITV’s Gareth Southgate. Before that ‘Arsenal 1, Bayern Munich 3’ Champions League game?
“Although Bayern are a solid team, they don’t have any match-winners.” After the encounter? “Um . .. ”.)
Punch-drunk, Arsenal were, come the end of the contest, a little like Kenny Egan after his 25-5 defeat by Joe Ward in the National Championships.
“Ward won’t stay away, you’d need an electric gate to keep him out,” said Jimmy Magee of the victor, by then having reminded us that “this is not professional boxing, it doesn’t matter if you take a man’s head off, it’s only a point”.
He had a hunch, too, that Katie Taylor could take any man’s head off, even Paddy Barnes’s, when he witnessed her return to the ring. “You’d want to be a jazz piano player to push the judges’ buttons quickly enough to register all those points,” he swooned.
Whose head was – almost literally – taken off on Saturday was Patrick Vallee’s in
Setanta’s Cage Contender extravaganza live from Dublin, which followed the channel’s coverage of Cork’s hurlers pulverising Tipp in an equally aggressive way.
Who flattened Patrick with a “flying knee” to the head? Paul ‘Semtex’ Daley – “an incredibly explosive fighter”, as Barry Oglesby told us. As Patrick lay semi-conscious on the floor, and Semtex and babes bedecked in bikinis celebrated, the crowd went wild. Although, to be honest, they were probably a bit that way before they entered the building.
“How do you feel after that?” asked our host, Stuart McQuitty. “A little bit dizzy,” said Patrick.
Which kinda summed up the sporting weekend.