TV View: No net flicks on a night made for Netflix

Mary Hannigan: Post Robbie Keane era is as goalless as the pre Robbie Keane era

It probably wouldn’t be true to say the nation was holding its breath for this one, the only real display of enthusiasm ahead of the game coming from Michael D as he bounced down the tunnel to say hello to the teams.

This might well have had his opponents nervously rummaging through the constitution to check if they’ll be obliged to attend Nations League games on bucketing-down Saturday nights in October should they prevail on election day, rather than, say, cosying up in the Áras and watching Netflix.

And on this particular October night cosying up and watching Netflix might have seemed like the wiser option, not least because the sodden stadium would have had a Lion’s Den feel about it too, rather than a Dragony one, in light of what Denmark had done to us on the very same soil a mere 11 months ago.

(Although you can imagine the all-round disappointment when Sky's Scott Minto confirmed to us that our tormentor Christian Eriksen would miss the re-match. Olé Olé Olé Olé, Olé).


Scott had Phil Babb and Jonathan Walters for company, Jonathan bringing with him his banjaxed Achilles which was encased in an exceedingly large boot. Scott stopped just short of asking him if he'd like to insert said boot in Roy Keane's nether regions, but he did broach the subject of his and Harry Arter's run-in with said assistant and the ensuing WhatsApp-gate.

“Is it a happy camp,” asked Scott.

‘Hmmmmm . . . emmmmm . . . ehhhhh . . . hmmmm,’ was the gist of Jonathan’s reply, which wasn’t completely reassuring. And then he told Scott that the WhatsApp message that did the rounds “wasn’t too far off,” in accuracy terms, when it came to describing what actually happened during his and Harry’s tete-a-tete with Roy.

Phil had a bemused look about him. Ten days ago our footballing world was turned on its head when Declan Rice liked and then unliked an FAI tweet quoting Martin O'Neill saying the West Ham lad needed a bit more time before deciding on his international allegiances. That allied to the WhatsApp lark possibly left Phil feeling old, as well as being exceptionally relieved that Jack was no longer gaffer. Although what you wouldn't give to hear Jack respond to questions about liked and unliked tweets and leaked WhatsApp messages.

"I think the modern day footballer is a bit precious," said Phil. Jonathan sat up in his seat. "Obviously I'm not talking about Jonathan," Phil added. Jonathan sat back down again. "But you know what you get with Roy Keane – it's not going to be fluffy kittens and chocolate and roses," he said, his ears still bearing burn marks from his days playing alongside the fella.

Scott moved on, having a quick word with our co-commentator for the night, Keith Andrews. Showing no sensitivity at all in front of Jonathan, he mentioned the fact that Republic of Ireland attacking persons have struggled to score goals of late. Keith agreed it was an issue, but pointed out that we didn't have Robbie Keane before we had Robbie Keane, so those were dark days on the net-busting front too, so, to paraphrase him, until we find a brand new Robbie Keane we might as well suck it up.

Match time. Matt Doherty in the XI, our new Wes Hoolahan, once included planet football will be our lobster.

The closest we came to net-busting was when Jeff Hendrick burst through after all of Denmark ground to a halt on noting that our Harry was hurt. Denmark thought Jeff was quite rude to burst forth, but as Jonathan put it at half-time, he showed some manners by putting his effort on goal out of play. Not intentionally, but still.

Phil Babb, meantime, was losing count of the number of our lads who were being played out of position, his only surprise that Darren Randolph wasn't playing in the hole behind the front one, while Jonathan's heart went out to Shane Long for being so isolated from his team-mates he must have felt like he was in Southampton.

Second half. Largely much of the same, apart from a mini burst of late but lively Irish activity followed by that moment when the ref tooted and we thought Shane Duffy had won himself a pen. But: yellow card. Game over.


Shoulda cosied up in front of Netflix.