TV View: Another Sunday morning coming down for long-suffering Mayo

McConville salutes Tyrone’s win through gritted teeth; Raducanu’s rise hailed as ‘nuclear’

Pádraig O’Hora, Ryan O’Donoghue and Kevin McLoughlin, Mayo after being beaten by Tyrone in the All Ireland senior football championship final at Croke Park. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Pádraig O’Hora, Ryan O’Donoghue and Kevin McLoughlin, Mayo after being beaten by Tyrone in the All Ireland senior football championship final at Croke Park. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

It’s not that sport has a monopoly on roller-coasting extremes of emotions, all walks of life have their fair share of them too, of course.

But still, imagine Emma Raducanu and Mayo waking up on Sunday morning? (Not together, mind). One of them will now reckon that winning major finals is a breeze, the other will have had their suspicions confirmed, that they just perennially leave your heart in smithereens.

The Saturday Game’s evening panel had no words of great comfort for Mayo, “the same old failings,” Ciarán Whelan sighed, but Seán Cavanagh wasn’t too troubled by all that, him sharing cloud nine with Raducanu.

“Coming through the other side of this pandemic, everyone’s been looking for happiness and for good days –and today was certainly one of those,” he said.

Oisín McConville chewed on his lip in the hope the pain would distract from the aching he was already experiencing knowing that when Tyrone left Croke Park, Sam Maguire was on their bus.

“As an Armagh man, you must be deliriously happy that Tyrone are now All-Ireland champions,” Marty Morrissey said to him.

“I didn’t think this day could get much worse – and then Seán tells me they’re going to the Armagh City Hotel for their celebrations,” he replied, biting harder still on that lip.

(Marty, incidentally, was sitting in for Des Cahill, sort of The Saturday Game’s supersub version of Cathal McShane. Des tweeted the news that he was missing his first All Ireland since 1972 because he had to go to his son’s wedding, his decision to attend leaving you wondering about his priorities).

Any way, Oisín gave 110 per cent when he made an effort to congratulate Tyrone. “Through gritted teeth, I have a begrudging respect for them,” he said, before turning his focus to choosing the team of the year.

The chosen XV called to mind L’Equipe’s summing up of the surprise nature of Raducanu’s US Open success.

“Anyone who had bet a couple of quid on it at the start of the fortnight will be able to afford the holiday of their life in the sun with a coconut in their hand.”

You’d be in the sun with a coconut in your hand too if you gambled on the team of the year featuring a single Dub, Ciarán Kilkenny.

Channel 4’s reward was great for bringing the final to terrestrial telly – the US Open, not the All Ireland – although those saluting Amazon Prime, the rights holders, for allowing C4 to carry their coverage live might have overlooked the fact that they charged a seven figure sum for the privilege. Whether that was 1,000,000 or 9,999,999, we’ll probably never know.

Still, 9.2 million people tuned in to C4 to watch the wonder that is Raducanu, a 40 per cent share of the British audience, a mighty figure, but one that would have left you wondering what the other 60 per cent head-the-balls were doing.

The only rival programme of note was the BBC Proms, featuring Latvian accordionist Ksenija Sidorova. No offence to Ksenija , but you’d despair for (wo)mankind sometimes.

Catherine Whitaker was our host and promised contributions from Anne Keothavong, Greg Rusedski, Daniela Hantuchová, Jim Courier, Martina Navratilova, Mark Petchey and Tim Henman, a team so large you worried for Jeff Bezos’ bank balance.

“Her rise is beyond meteoric, it’s been nuclear,” said Martina, who thought she’d seen it all. “I don’t want to be crazy about praising people . . . but I’ve never seen this before.”

Tim, meanwhile, was courtside, almost as close to the action as the ball persons, while Martina joined Mark in the commentary box. Not unreasonably, they purred for the course of the final, Mark emoting when the triumph was sealed.

“She was an intellectual samurai out there,” he said, “all hail the queen of queens.”

Catherine then asked an emotional Tim what was he was shouting at Raducanu through the match. “Come on, keep going,” he said, Catherine having anticipated more technical advice than that.

But she took Tim’s advice and kept going, and look at her now. Maybe that’s what Mayo need on the sidelines next time around. Tim. “Come on, keep going.”

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