Never work with screaming kids, airhorns or blaring folk music
TV VIEW:THE TV3 punditry team were really exposed to the elements in Killarney on Saturday for Kerry v Tyrone, and for once this summer we’re not talking about rain.
Matt Cooper, Darragh Ó Sé and Peter Canavan lined up on the sideline with microphones and funky headsets, but zero control over their surrounding environment.
Their pre-game chat was punctuated by someone off-camera – but quite close to a microphone – repeatedly setting off an airhorn, to the point where it appeared all three were flinching simultaneously.
When they reappeared for half-time the stadium tannoy system was blaring some god-awful folk music over their words of wisdom
To cap it all for them, at full-time the blaring of the god-awful folk music was then joined by a mass of screaming kids in the background desperate to get their mugs on television.
The lads really needed some kind of a barrier to protect them in the absence of an actual studio: a sheet of perspex, a small moat, one of those cages for diving with sharks, whatever.
Matt seemed to be grinding his teeth, Darragh looked like he was pondering the morals of throwing an elbow at an eight-year-old and Peter looked like he was trying to stop himself from crying.
He wasn’t the only Tyrone man in Fitzgerald Stadium that day to be thrown off his stride by a swarm of Kerry jerseys.
Kerry’s Paul Galvin on the other hand, in that skinny-jeans-wearing, soy-latte-drinking, metrosexual way of his, let the tears flow. But only after completing a classic three-point post-game GAA man-of-the-match interview.
1) A faltering start: “What do you say about this Kerry team . . . it’s hard to know what to say about those lads.”
2) A not necessarily true comment as a nod of respect to the opposition: “We were put to the pin of our collars out there.”
3) An explanation of how local barflies and/or the media inspired the performance by saying mean things: “A lot of the talk during the week, writing this team off, served only to fuel great men in that dressing-room.”
That criticism hurt Paul? “Of course it did,” said Paul, voice cracking and eyes watering, “and we have been carrying that hurt for the last eight or 10 years”. Wow. Countries have recovered from natural disasters faster than these lads get over a defeat. Breathe Paul, breathe.
These things are all about perspective. Co-commentator Liam Hayes, who was part of a Meath team that never saw a fight worth backing away from, opined halfway through the first half of a niggly and slightly bad-tempered contest that “So far it’s been very clean and very sporting in my opinion”. This despite there being seven yellow cards handed out in the first 20 minutes.
Spoken like a true and proper Meath man. If Liam was co-commentating on the news he would have described the Arab Spring as “a bit of a schemozzle”.
TV3 were doing their best to leave us in no doubt as to how important Saturday’s game was.
“The biggest match of the weekend and this year’s championship,” claimed commentator Mike Finnerty, despite the fact that there was silverware on offer for matches elsewhere around the country.
“After the break we are going to have what could be the best game in the history of the qualifiers,” said Matt, accurately but perhaps a little optimistically. A lot of things happen after the break on TV3.
Complaining about the frequency of ads is as pointless as giving out about death or taxes. Of course that doesn’t make it any less frustrating for the viewer, or the people in front of the cameras.
Sometimes you get a sense that Cooper is faintly embarrassed at how he has to hurry along the conversation and force the pundits to answer as though they were in some rapid-fire buzzer round.
Matt: “Peter, first half?”
Peter: “Midfield . . . tackling . . . intensity.” (Bell rings in background.)
Matt: “Darragh, thoughts?”
Darragh: “Yerra . . .” (Bell rings again.)
Matt: “We’ll be back after the break.”
It’d be entertaining to see how Pat Spillane would fare if he were playing for the TV3 team. His tortured metaphors wouldn’t even have time to stow their baggage in the overhead compartments, never mind get off the ground: “Do you know what Kerry reminded me of there in that first half? They brought to mind Peig Sayers out on the Blasket Islands. If you imagine Tyrone as a black shawl and Ker-”
Matt: “That’s great Pat, we’ll have to leave it there. We’ll be back after these.”