TV View: Niall is happy to plug hurling but Alan may need more time

Niall Quinn talks hurling on Sky Sports - again and again

Niall Quinn: It was, a game that toughened me up.”

Niall Quinn: It was, a game that toughened me up.”


It’s easy to get confused. Take the contestant on ITV’s The Chase , as heard by a Private Eye reader.

Bradley Walsh: “What did Tony Benn propose to remove from postage stamps?” Contestant: “Glue.” Walsh:

“No, the queen’s head.”

If Sky’s Alan Parry had appeared on the same show, this is how it might have gone:

Walsh: “What is hurling?” Parry: “A rather rougher form of football as we know it in England.” Walsh: “Spot on.”

Niall Quinn hadn’t the heart to correct Alan when he so defined hurling while he sat beside him in the commentary box for yesterday’s Hull v Arsenal tussle, but he was probably thinking it’ll be unlikely that Alan will be selected as Sky’s man behind their coverage of the sport (“woah, bizarre handball there from ‘Enry Shefland”).

Niall was, it seemed, tasked with the job of mentioning Sky’s hurling coverage at every available opportunity yesterday, intent on targeting the Hull and Arsenal-loving corner of the market, informing them that Shane Long and David Meyler cut their sporting teeth in the game. “And we’ll be seeing more of it on Sky Sports screens all summer!”

“It was a game you played yourself, wasn’t it?” asked Alan. “It was, a game that toughened me up,” said Niall.

“Ha ha,” said Alan.

Is Niall going to be Sky’s hurling-pundit-in-chief?

If Joe Brolly was watching he’d probably have had to have his remote control surgically removed from his screen in light of his feelings about hurling and Sky pundits. He flung spicy barbs at Donal Og Cusack during the week after the latter’s rather brilliant Examiner column (“… mostly [RTÉ Gaelic] football punditry never really gets past the level of “your jumper is gas, Pat, but that’s a desperate game of football isn’t it?”), in which he praised some Sky pundits. Steam gushed from Brolly’s ears. This one, you suspect, will run and solo run.

Nothing, though, was as absorbing as the BBC’s jazzed up coverage of the World Snooker Championships, fronted by Hazel Irvine whose professional life is entirely wacky: last we saw her she was in Sochi for the Winter Olympics, now she’s in Sheffield for the snooker. That’s mad.

“He’s the pride of Pontycymer, he’s Ryan ‘Dynamite’ Day,” hollered MC Rob Walker as the players for Saturday’s afternoon session were introduced, and a sheepish Ryan emerged to One Step Beyond by Madness. Sublime.

And then Stephen Maguire, looking intensely embarrassed, entered the arena with Whitesnake’s Here I Go Again bellowing through the speakers, followed by “the Shotgun from Stoke, Jamie Cope! ” serenaded by a thumpety-thump dancy tune.

Next: “He’s the magician, he’s Shaun Murphy! ” And?

“He’s changed his diet and lifestyle this season, and is reinvigorated as a result!”

Cripes, poor Shaun, he looked like he wanted to gnaw his cue in exasperation – too much personal information.

All very Dartsy. Although, what was quite unique was Hazel chatting with John Parrott and Steve Davis in what appeared to be a greenhouse, the trio backdropped by a snooker-adoring crowd that included an angry looking lady with a green handbag and a man with a silver beard so lengthy you could only assume he tripped over it every time he attempted to take a step.

And then John and Steve recreated a slick pot by Jamie on a giant iPad, just like Sky’s football folk use, before Steve attempted to repeat the feat on a table set up in the greenhouse. He managed it once out of five attempts, blaming the moist atmosphere in the greenhouse, and the angry looking lady with the green handbag and the man with a silver beard sighed.

Excuses, excuses.

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