Mary Hannigan: Frantic finale ensures pundits can overlook forgettable fare

Even Joe Brolly almost impressed at the end after late drama at Croke Park

Dublin’s Philly McMahon clashes withMayo’s Aidan O’Shea during an often fraught All-Ireland semi-final  at Croke Park. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Dublin’s Philly McMahon clashes withMayo’s Aidan O’Shea during an often fraught All-Ireland semi-final at Croke Park. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

From “a big load of shite” to “absolutely brillint!”, the RTÉ panel travelled much the same journey as ourselves yesterday, losing the will to draw breath while watching the first 65 minutes of Dublin v Mayo, but then getting hiccups from hyperventilating in the last five.

Until that lively climax, the game was decidedly pukey, more pulling and dragging than you’d see in your average Greco-Roman wrestling tussle, with a few dollops of unpleasantness thrown in, like Johnny Cooper’s brush with Diarmuid O’Connor that would have had Alf-Inge Haaland thinking, ‘hmmm, been there’.

That moment was overlooked at half-time, the focus just on the general rubbishness of the contest, Colm O’Rourke withdrawing his pre-match prediction that Mayo would prevail, deciding that they were more likely to limp home humiliated.

Downright disappointing

Pat SpillaneJoe Brolly

He’d accused his many critics during the week of wanting “Rose of Tralee coverage”, like the quest for Sam was a Lovely Boys contest, and you wondered if RTÉ had had a quiet chat, just to ask him to be a touch less rude when expressing his opinions.

Yesterday’s first half?

“If it was Tyrone Monaghan we’d be saying, ‘it’s a big load of shite’ – and that’s what it’s been so far.”

So, the chat went well.

Earlier he’d dismissed the notion that Mayo were jinxed in their pursuit of Al-Ireland glory – “there’s no curse, just crap defending” – so there was a whole lot of poo-pooing going on.

It was a bit of a theme for RTÉ pundits last week, Eamon Dunphy describing Louis van Gaal as a “bullshitter” during their Champions League coverage, which had Darragh Maloney mopping his brow. Gary Neville, though, came a bit close to saying the same yesterday after that trip to Swansea, the internet concluding that the only difference between Louis and David Moyes is that Louis carries a clipboard.

“United play like their winning 4-0 when it’s 0-0,” said Neville, which is decidedly true, and further evidence that he’s one of telly’s most-listenable-to pundits. “They get lulled in to thinking that they’re playing football really well …. they play controlled possession before winning the game,” he said, reminding them, seeing as they’ve forgotten, that “you need to score goals”.

Jamie Carragher nodded, although after watching Dejan Lovren’s performance for Liverpool on Saturday, he didn’t much care about football any more.

Any way, back to Croke Park and Dublin were home and hosed with 10-ish minutes to go, seven points up, so those of you who opted to switch your tellies to Swansea couldn’t have been faulted, really. Except you missed 10-ish minutes that were like the Gaelic footballing equivalent of an earthquake, seismic activity from Mayo after their lava had failed to flow until then.

Not to be too toilety about it, but maintaining the theme, the Dubs kind of crapped themselves. A bit like Swansea, Mayo reckoned if they went at this shower, they might do a number two.

The panel doffed their caps.

Like the West, Pat was awake, the first half erased from his memory, the late flurry of action restoring his faith.

“Absolutely enjoyable! Absolutely brillint!”

He also noted, incidentally, that Dublin had feets of sand, which is inarguably true.

Hurling final

Joe was almost impressed too, while making mention of his disappointment over “Dublin’s cynicism”, some play-acting, and the like.

There was quite a bit of it too, so instead of all that abuse referee Joe McQuillan was getting on the internet yesterday, he should probably be awarded some special kind of medal by Ban Ki-moon.

A replay it is, then. (GAA: “Purrrrrrrrr”). Meaning if you had plans to get some fresh air next weekend, scrap ’em. You’d be potty not to.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.