Giving Phileas Fogg a run for his money with a TV remote


TV VIEW:IT TOOK Phileas Fogg 80 days, but if he’d had a remote control he’d have managed it over the weekend. Circumnavigating the world, that is. From Flushing Meadows to Croke Park, with a whole heap of detours in between, it was a dizzying sporting journey.

The highlight of the trip, need it be said, was that quite sublime dust-up between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in New York, but not far behind was the battle of Tyrur McGuigan and Tyrur Big Mike at Shelbourne Park.

“Don’t forget, they’re litter brothers,” Ian Fortune told Ger Canning as they limbered up for the Irish Derby, adding a little extra familial spice to greyhound racing’s biggest day.

“There had been talk that Big Mike wouldn’t run, to allow McGuigan a clear run, but they’re both here,” he said.

In that sense, then, McGuigan and Big Mike are the Milibands of the greyhound world, more brothers at war than brothers in paws, so to speak. And if David is favourite to become the next leader of the British Labour Party, then he’ll do well to take note of events at Shelbourne Park: Big Mike was tipped to triumph, but only managed second.

And whose rear end did he see crossing the line in front of him? Yep, the brother’s.

“It just goes to show, in greyhound racing you can take nothing for granted,” said Ian, something Ed has been telling David ever since Gordon Brown legged it to the Highlands.

Equally chastening was learning that one of the dogs that trailed the brothers home in the Derby, Krug Ninety Five, is the son of Droopys Maldini. It’s at times like that you realise the years are whizzing by almost as speedily as the greyhound pursued that mechanical hare.

In the hope of finding out what Maldini is up to this weather, we checked and there he was, charging €1,200 for his amorous time. The pup. Droopys Scholes, we noted, charges a mere €900, but he only has a fertility rate of 92 per cent, compared to Maldini’s 99. That’s a good engine.

One of the priciest studs, incidentally, is Droopys Kewell, which, you have to say, is odd.

“Sorry love, I’ve tweaked my hamstring again, let’s make it another time,” is probably the gist of 99 per cent of his conversations with visiting lady dogs.

As for Droopys Rooney – there’s divil a sign of him in the list. Maybe he’s in the doghouse.

After the second men’s US Open semi-final on Saturday night we took what could well be a super-lucrative business decision by registering the domain name When Federer had those two match points the Sky commentator, no more than ourselves, started swooning at the prospect of the Swiss man’s final against Rafa Nadal.

And with that Droopys Djokovic caught up with the hare and then devoured it.

It was all a bit on the exhilarating side, which couldn’t be said for the women’s final. A squib of the saturated kind, or “a bit of a damp squid”, as Mark Hateley once so beautifully described the Scottish title race.

Alas, Vera Zvonareva dissolved in to tears after losing 6-2, 6-1 to the very marvellous Kim Clijsters in under an hour, which made the first question from her American on-court interviewer a tad unfortunate: “How ya doing, alright?”

Marcus Buckland pointed out that Zvonareva had lived up to her nickname of “cry baby”, which was a bit uncalled for, but reassured us that the sniffling Annabel Croft wasn’t in floods too, she simply had a cold. Being stationed in a chilly enough spot overlooking an empty outside court, alongside Marcus and Greg Rusedski, mightn’t have helped. Sky’s tennis coverage, by the way, is sponsored by those auld tree-huggers, ExxonMobil – next time it might be Lemsip.

On to Croke Park for the camogie finals, and the duration of the intermediate game was taken up with chin-scratching of the “why is Hill 16 on the right” kind. Marty Morrissey put us out of our misery: he and his cameras were broadcasting from the Cusack Stand, having been evicted from the Hogan.

McGuigan and Big Mike, if they’d sobered up from the night before, would have been rooting for their fellow Galwegians, but like Croke Park they were left back-to-front by Wexford in the opening stages, and their late rally proved, well, too late.

What Wexford had in abundance was co-ordination, quick thinking and lightness on their feet, the very qualities Peter Shilton reckons football and dancing both require. Until Saturday night the image of him being beaten to the, eh, punch by Maradona in the 1986 World Cup quarter-finals was our abiding memory of Shilton; now it’s of him in the body-hugging sequined outfit that he sported on Strictly Come Dancing.

We couldn’t but help think of the wise words of Brian Clough, his manager at Nottingham Forest: “When you get to a certain age, there is no going back.”

We checked: the domain name is still available for just $11.44 a year. The decision is yours.