Mary Hannigan’s TV View: Crocodiles and poets make it a great weekend
It was hard to choose the fishing when such a smorgasbord of sport was on offer
Padraig Harrington tees off on the 11th hole during the third round of the 144th Open Championship at The Old Course in St Andrews, Scotland. Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
That was quite a Sunday. From St Andrews to Clones to Lord’s to Hyde Park and back and forth and pressing a wrong button while trying to find the cricket, briefly detouring us to Sky Sports 4’s Fish ‘O’ Mania.
There wasn’t, to be honest, much sign of any mania at all as rod-wielding folk sat quietly around a mucky lake in Stoke-on-Trent waiting for a bite, all the time being accosted by Sky’s reporters poking in their bags to see if anything was wiggling.
In the studio, Keith Arthur – the presenter of the now sadly terminated seminal fishing show Tight Lines – was emoting about the competition, as only Keith can. “How many times have we said, ‘never catch the last fish in your peg’?” he asked (frankly, we’d lost count). To which our Sky host replied: “Like Benteke signing for Liverpool.”
Everyone laughed, so they must have known what that meant. The rest of us? Lost.
“Colm McFadden was eaten the way a crocodile would eat a human being!”
Cripes. That was how Martin Carney described an enthusiastic Monaghan challenge on the Donegal man. Suddenly the Stoke-on-Trent slaughter seeming like Scrabble. Happier news, though, was that Michael Lyster was back in action after his recent health scare, Ciarán Whelan replacing Joe Brolly in the studio line-up just so our host’s recovery wouldn’t suffer any blips.
Pat Spillane was there too, telling Michael, lest he’d forgotten what he’d missed, that Sligo and Monaghan’s most famous people were poets, not footballers, the Yeats fella and Patrick Kavanagh.
“But Kavanagh was goalkeeper for Inniskeen,” Colm O’Rourke pointed out, so Pat was off, with a suitable anecdote.
Out on the stony grey pitch, meanwhile, Monaghan were triumphing, Pat enjoying the first half so much he likened it to “an Alfred Hitchcock double bill”.
Mayo’s throttling of Sligo didn’t quite give him the same feeling, prompting him to recall choosing Latin instead of French for his Leaving because he thought it was “the coming language”. No clue either.
Over to the somewhat interrupted British Open and who didn’t predict that Paul Dunne would be a contender? “Awwww, that must be mum,” said Peter Alliss as the Wicklow man hugged his Ma after his jaw-dropping round yesterday. “Or perhaps he likes older women,” he added, just in case. He didn’t call her a “Rottweiler with lipgloss”, though, so that was something.
Speaking of Alliss’s wife: “Jordan Spieth has been 21 longer than my wife has been 39 . . . I think he is from another place.”
His finest moment, though, in what is likely to be his British Open swansong, was when those irritating people hollered ‘MASHED POTATO’ as balls were struck, and he responded: “Nurse? Chloroform, please.”
(Honourable mention: When Dustin Johnson hit an Exocet missile of a drive, “an £8 ride in a taxi, that one”. Sometimes, hard as many of us try, it’s hard not to love him. Like when he called fist-bumping “knuckle-punching”. Or described Pádraig Harrington’s walk: “He looks like he’s been around the world in a boat – and just come ashore.”)
And he told them something you and every other golfing mortal on this earth will never, ever be able to declare: “The golf ball just does what you tell it to do.”
Star of the week, though, must be Special Olympics gymnast Ashleigh O’Hagan, who appeared on Miriam O’Callaghan’s show. She’s off to Los Angeles with the Irish team for the world games which start next weekend.
“When you go to LA where do you want to visit,” asked Miriam. Ashleigh: “The Playboy mansion!”