History made as Mullingar prevails over Mexico


TV VIEW:‘IT’S MULLINGAR v Mexico,” as Jimmy Magee billed John Joe Nevin’s fight against Oscar Valdez Fierro last night, which, to the average Olympic viewer, seemed like an fairly unfair contest, Mick Dowling adding to our concern when he conceded “if there was trouble in a pub I’d rather have Valdez on my side”.

In the end, though, John Joe prevailed in the bar brawl, leaving the nation dripping in (at least) bronze.

Woooooot! We’re on the medal table and, as McFadden and Whitehead once put it, “ain’t no stoppin’ us now, we’re on the move…we’ve got the groove”.

Today? Over to you, Annalise Murphy and Katie Taylor, but as McFadden and Whitehead would have put it, if they lived long enough, “whatever happens, you’re both, totally and seriously awesome”.

Like the Usain Bolt fella.

“I’m fast, baby, all day, every day,” said Bill O’Herlihy, which would have led to late RTÉ tuner-inners saying “Jeez, Bill!”

But fret not, that was just Bill repeating what Usain had said after his semi-final, after he eased to victory in a manner that left you declaring “oh crikey”.

Some time later? George Hamilton’s commentary on the 100m final? “Usain… winner.”

He’s fast, baby, all day. And you can’t but feel blessed to be sportingly alive when this fella is doing his thing. A mile or three beyond magnificent, he’s a grade A sparkly gem. Better still, with a smile on his face.

Meanwhile we’re all, as if there’s even any need to say it, chuffed out of our minds for our dripping-in-gold neighbours. But no matter how good a tune might be, when it starts playing on a loop, as God Save the Queen has been the last day or five, it reaches a point where if you hear it one more time you want to plug your ears with cement.

Our golden day will come, hang in there, but until then we’ll just have to piggy-back on Britain’s goldie ecstasy and be happy for them. In a big-hearted and generous way. Come on, come on, we can do it.

And we also have to concede that they’ve gone some way towards debunking that widely-held theory that they can only win medals in sitting-down sports – cycling, rowing, sailing and the like. Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah, Andy Murray and Co saw to that in their standy-up events.

“This is… this is… this is just…,” gasped Timmy Henman, struggling to find the words yesterday as Murray went two sets and 4-2 up in his Olympic final against Swiss also-ran Roger Federer.

“Let’s not say anything,” cautioned Andrew Castle, perhaps recalling that Wimbledon ding-dong between the pair a few weeks back, but it was plain sailing in the end for the former Scot, now Brit.

Honesty alert: Andrew Castle would very nearly have you hooting for the devil against any Briton, the man just a little bit exasperating, regarding a rasping Murray backhand cross-court winner as the equivalent of the Empire’s conquering of southeast Asia.

“Hold your hand up if you picked this! Ten games in a row,” he shrieked as Murray marched inexorably towards victory, Federer by now looking a bit like a dressage horse: elegant but a little directionless and disinterested.

And then Murray won.

Federer’s face said “**** happens” as he left the court, which left you half wondering if he’d have swapped any of his Grand Slam titles for even a sniff of an Olympic gold medal. You sort of suspected not.

Which sort of left you suspecting professional tennis is still hopelessly out of place in this amateur sporting extravaganza.

But if Andrew Castle had us chucking the remote at the screen, Brendan Foster has had us hugging it. When he retires so should athletics.

His unconfined joy when Mo Farah added to the golden British tally on Saturday was pure poetry, as was Steve Cram’s frenzied response to the success. “Let’s all go hooooooome,” he said, suggesting there was no need for London 2012 to continue. Hold yer horses, Mister.

Cram did, though, slip up a touch when he declared that “Mo Farah showed the Africans how to do it”, Mo being a native of Mogadishu, Somalia, a bit like, say, an American commentator suggesting Brooklyn’s Seamus O’Reilly had put Ireland in its place.

Never mind.

Paddy Barnes? “He’s a cute little divil,” said Jimmy, as Paddy saw off Thomas Essomba of Cameroon, noting that “Belfast has produced an abundance of small men over the years”. You assumed he meant pocket rocket fighters, rather than suggesting it’s a stunt growth thing.

“Are you a happy man,” asked Marty Morrissey.

“Over the moon, so I am, he’s been like a dog all week, so he has,” said Paddy.

“Who’s been like a dog,” asked a puzzled Marty.

“Scooby Doo,” said Paddy, with a grin.

“Huh,” Marty wondered, as did we.

Gotta love this Paddy.

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