New Joe Dolan gives us more and more


TV VIEW:IT WAS Michael Carruth who said the other day, when asked why our boxers are so brill, that “when it comes to the Olympic Games we’re all rowing in the same boat . . . we run together as a pack”. It might be an idea, then, to ask them to also row boats and run assorted distances in Rio, that way we’d probably leave the Americans and Chinese choking on our dust at the top of the medals table. Because you get the feeling this bunch could do anything if they put their minds to it.

Bernard Dunne was confidently forecasting a fistful of Irish boxing medals two weeks ago, and while Bill O’Herlihy was, like ourselves, hopeful of one or two, he half suspected Bernard was looking at London through gold, silver and bronze-tinted glasses.

But sure, here we are.

“If he beats the world champion and makes the final, he’ll be more famous in Mullingar than Joe Dolan,” Michael Lyster predicted, and so it proved, John Joe Nevin impressing more and more and more, so to speak, with every passing fight, this time against the world number one from Cuba. Cripes.

Silver it is, and it might even be shinier when he introduces Britain’s Luke Campbell to the Mullingar Shuffle tonight.

China’s Zou Siming, though, survived the Belfast Hucklebuck – but only just. “He’s chasing him like a dog after a rabbit,” said Jimmy Magee as the one and completely only Paddy Barnes took on the reigning Olympic and world champion, who had beaten him just the 15-0 four years ago.

“A Titanic struggle, if that’s the right thing to say about a Belfast man,” said Jimmy, but in the end Zou Siming sailed on to the final, the contest finishing 15-15, Barnes losing 45-44 on countback. Cruel.

Once again, Mick Dowling had to explain to some of us why Barnes hadn’t won when he’d done the Hucklebuck for three rounds, wriggling like a snake and waddling like a duck while Zou Siming took cover from all those punches. Dowling reminded us, again, they had to actually land. And any hope of Barnes taking it to the Supreme Court were dashed when he graciously told Marty Morrissey “the more skilful fighter won today”.

He then tweeted: “Journey ends here, thanks for all the support people, Zou Siming if you are reading this LEAVE ME ALONE! #devastated.”


Carruth was gutted for Barnes, ecstatic for Nevin when he said hello from London later in the day, O’Herlihy asking him if he was any way sad about no longer being Ireland’s sole gold medallist in boxing. “Katie is the Queen, and I’m the King,” he grinned, at which point O’Herlihy bowed before “Your Majesty”.

RTÉ, meanwhile, informed us that 1.1 million viewers had watched the Queen – Katie, not Elizabeth – win gold the previous day, pointing out that the figure “relates only to home viewing and does not include audiences who may have watched RTÉ’s coverage at public venues, workplaces, pubs or online”.

That, then, means about four people didn’t tune in.


Brave as our boxers are, though, you wonder would even they would be courageous enough to compete in BMX? According to the BBC, there are more medical staff on duty for the BMX than any other events at London 2012, and if you even watched five minutes of it, you’d understand why. It’s fantastic stuff, even if the bumps and humps are a little tough on the viewers’ tummies, but there’s a touch of carnage about it too, so it’s always best to have a cushion handy to avoid witnessing the aftermath of the innumerable crashes.

“First blood to Caroline Buchanan,” said RTÉ’s Declan Quigley after the opening round of the semi-finals, and it sounded like a literal enough observation, the track habitually sprinkled with broken bikes – and bodies.

Prime minister David Beckham was in BMX attendance yesterday, as was the Cameron fella, the cameras picking out his chiselled cheeks (Beckham’s, not Cameron’s) more often than was entirely necessary. But then officials were sweeping broken teeth off the track, so, mercifully, the cameras switched to Beckham’s cheeks once again.

Meanwhile Tunisia have cracked the code in the interminable – okay, 10km – marathon swim thing. Oussama Mellouli triumphed after a race that would have left you wheezing, even from the comfort of your armchair. “Their stomachs will be churning, their lungs will be burning, and they may not be able to see,” said RTÉ’s Nick O’Hare. Apart from that, it was a lovely day out for the competitors.

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