Sky’s English viewers enthralled by Croke Park ‘cross between hockey and murder’

‘The panel weren’t far wrong, just a point off, although as Cyril noted: “If Hawk-Eye wasn’t there, Tipp would be All- Ireland champions.”’

‘The panel weren’t far wrong, just a point off, although as Cyril noted: “If Hawk-Eye wasn’t there, Tipp would be All- Ireland champions.”’

 

Only one thing matched yesterday’s All-Ireland hurling final in the entertainment stakes: the reaction of English folk on the Twitter machine who were watching the sport for the first time, on Sky.

“What the hell is this? It’s like Quidditch/hockey/ lacrosse/rugby,” said Omair Ahmed from London. Others noted it appeared to be “a cross between hockey and murder”.

You could only hope that Joe Brolly didn’t see the first tweet from Dave from Leeds: “Can’t believe Sky have invented another sport. Hurling joins a very long list.” But ultimately Dave was converted: “Glad hurling was a draw, gives me a second chance to watch it. Cheers, Sky.”

And Mike: “Don’t have a f****** clue what’s going on but it’s [expurgated] awesome!!!”

It was indeed [expurgated] awesome.

Less so, however, was that Ger Loughnane, Cyril Farrell and Tomás Mulcahy all turned up for RTÉ duty in the same rig-outs – blue shirts, red ties – which, as anyone who has experienced the same calamity at, say, a wedding, will know is infuriating.

They battled on, though, and Michael Lyster (cream shirt, blue tie) diplomatically resisted pointing out the wardrobe mishap, instead focusing on pre-match rituals, recalling the time an unnamed player received an All-Ireland pep talk from an unnamed manager while the unnamed manager was sitting on the toilet. That left his panel almost lost for words, never a good thing for a panel, but they regained their composure to collectively forecast Kilkenny would end the day flushed with success.

They weren’t far wrong, just a point off, although as Cyril noted: “If Hawkeye wasn’t there, Tipp would be All- Ireland champions.”

As dramatic a sporting moment as you’ll witness this century, or maybe any other, Bubbles O’Dwyer’s free looking good at first, the wait for the Hawk Eye verdict most probably leaving the populations of Tipp and Kilkenny gnawing their knuckles.

Meanwhile – Martin from Yorkshire: “Watching this Hurling on sky here. Looks [expurgated] mental. What happens if it’s a draw? Goes to goals scored?”

Kilkenny would, of course, have prevailed if Martin’s rules had applied, but happily we have ourselves a replay.

“One of the greatest games you’re ever likely to see,” said Michael Duignan, “breathtaking, exhilarating, heroic,” Ger declared, “a sign of insecurity and almost cowardice,” said Eamon. Wait. What?

Over to Georgia

So then, the start of another qualifying campaign, Dunphy paying tribute to three-quarters of the back four – “We have three outstanding Premier League defenders: Coleman, O’Shea and Wilson – Ward is at Burnley. [Although come half-time he was slandering Georgia’s left-back.] Headbanger!” – while bemoaning the Irish display.

John Giles wasn’t mad impressed either: “Whelan has been our most creative player – if you can call it creative” – peeved about the lads’ continuing generosity in terms of donating possession to the opposition.

So much so, when O’Neill opted not to take off Aiden McGeady in those closing moments, the [expurgated] from most living rooms were deafening.

And then Aidenzinhio did his thing, and you couldn’t but salute O’Neill for agreeing with us in our living rooms that he totally deserved to remain on the pitch because his twinkle toes are always capable of producing magic at any moment.

“It was a great win for us, I know you don’t seem all that pleased about it,” O’Neill said to Tony O’Donoghue, which was a little on the spiky side, prompting Dunphy to emote about the freedom of the press to say Ireland were completely [expurgated].

We’re up and [expurgated] running.

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