TV View: very heated discussion from the commentary box
No beginner's luck here: Gooch somewhat off the mark with his prediction for Tyrone
Austin Gleeson of Waterford. Where were you when he scored his ninth minute point against Cork?
It’s a long-standing bugbear, Met Éireann people assuming that we’re all delighted with a weekend heatwave when sports devotees want nothing more than for it to bucket down so they don’t feel so guilty about not leaving the telly.
Come Monday morning you can easily spot the heathens, their skin having that lobster look about it, the rest of us coming out of the weekend as pasty as we went in.
But little things make it worthwhile. Like that ninth minute Austin Gleeson point in Thurles. When asked in decades to come “where were you when he scored it?”, some of us can proudly say “in front of the telly” and not lathering on the factor 50 at the beach.
“It’s like a sauna in here,” said a seared Ken McGrath at half-time in the Cork v Waterford game, himself, Liam Sheedy and Tomas Mulcahy sporting faces with similar hues to the Rebels’ shirts. Michael Lyster had told them he was tempted to wear shorts to work that day but decided against it, Ireland possibly not quite ready yet for the sight.
Marty Morrissey and Michael Duignan were wilting too in the commentary box.
“The heat is absolutely savage,” Michael panted, but someone was kind enough to give them a bottle of Coke to share, lest the perspiration flowing from their box waterlog the pitch.
It can’t have been entirely pleasant for the players either, but they still managed to produce a humdinger that concluded with a Cork pitch invasion the like of which we haven’t seen since a whole 12 years ago when they last did their Liam McCarthy-lifting thing. “If you thought they were gone away, you’re a fool,” said Marty, the Rebels evidently rising.
It’s almost as long since Tyrone got their hands on Sam Maguire, and after the game in Clones it was fairly clear that they haven’t gone away, you know, either. A pair of Colms had joined Michael in the sauna for that particular encounter, namely O’Rourke and Cooper. The Gooch is still relatively new to this punditry lark, so was most likely flummoxed when asked to go to Semple Stadium for the clash of Donegal and Tyrone, but with Joe Brolly up in Clones RTÉ probably thought it best to put 200km between them.
Both Colms and yer man up in Clones tipped Donegal to win, The Gooch reckoning 13 or 14 points would do it, and that “it could be a long day for Tyrone”. Mickey Harte, you sensed, busied himself playing back the clip in the dressing room before his lads went into battle.
Half-time: “I can only see this getting worse for Donegal,” said The Gooch. It did too, Tyrone’s 24 points doing the trick, The Gooch leaving Thurles thinking this punditry lark is bloody hard.
India could relate to Donegal. From Delhi to Doochary, the residents probably wished they’d gone out in the sun instead of telly-watching Pakistan doing a Tyrone in the Champions Trophy final at the Oval.
“And 650 million viewers are watching around the world,” said Shane Warne over on Sky, a figure you can’t imagine was matched by the opening game of the Confederations Cup in St Petersburg where Russia hosted New Zealand.
In fairness to Damien Duff and Richie Sadlier, they tried to look like they were tingling, possibly having been told that if they want to become the new Giles and Dunphy they’ll have to do their apprenticeship and endure days like these. Including when the sun is beating down outside.
Richie was given the task of analysing the New Zealand starting XI and was worryingly knowledgeable about them, not once calling them “honest”, “organised” or “technically limited”, which suggested he’s a man not averse to doing his homework.
He even knew that their goalkeeper plays for a fourth division German club which, according to Wikipedia, is better known for its “bobsleigh department”.
And then Damien reminded us that New Zealand only ever beat “the likes of Tahiti, the Solomon Islands and what have you”, so we were left not expecting much of a contest.
But New Zealand were honest and organised, if technically limited, and only lost 2-0.
Afterwards. In decades to come we will be asked “where were you when Damien and Richie were given 27 minutes and 14 seconds to analyse the Confederations Cup clash of Russia and New Zealand, an allotment that would be quite generous for a World Cup final?” If you can say “in front of the telly” then you should probably get out more. Even if it’s bucketing down.