TV View: TG4 come up trumps again with boxing and women’s soccer

Elsewhere, we saw a belter of a second half between Liverpool and City

The TV cameras were at Tolka Park for Shelbourne and DLR Waves. Photo: Ken Sutton/Inpho

The TV cameras were at Tolka Park for Shelbourne and DLR Waves. Photo: Ken Sutton/Inpho

 

That was a decidedly lively sporting weekend, overflowing with highlights, although it was hard to top Seán Bán Breatnach grappling as Gaeilge with Sara Haghighat-Joo’s surname during the national boxing championships on Saturday night on TG4. His co-commentator Kurt Walker sensibly opted for “Sara”, but SBB refused to take the easy option, ploughing on manfully through the bout, trialling sundry pronunciations until he mastered it.

She was, he told us, a “cailin as Canada”, with another half “as Connemara”, and was fighting “as Saint Brigid’s of Edenderry in Offaly”. SBB had just taken us around the world in 80 seconds, Kurt dizzy from the trip.

Sara, a Canadian champion before she upped roots and moved to Ireland, got the better of Ballyboughal’s Niamh Fay by a 3-2 split decision in the bantamweight final, her bout part of TG4’s nigh-on four hour coverage of the national championships.

Earlier in the day, TG4 had brought us live coverage of the women’s National League game between Shelbourne and DLR Waves, the first time a game from that there competition had been screened live.

Shelbourne’s Saoirse Noonan, who terrorises Gaelic football defences on behalf of Cork in her spare time, reminded us of how big a deal this was.

“This is another huge step for women’s football,” she said, “giving the girls the opportunity to turn on their TVs and see us. And not just be there for the big days, like FAI cup finals. We train for big days every week. Knowing your league game is going to be on national TV at the weekend is unreal.”

Not enough caps can be doffed in TG4’s direction, their contribution to giving some attention to sports that we rarely see on our screens, like boxing and women’s football, on the immense side. The fighters in the National Stadium and the footballers in Tolka Park said as much on Saturday, it means the world to them.

We get to see quite a lot of rugby, but after Leinster scraped past the Dragons on Sunday, Eddie O’Sullivan had the sound of a man who wished RTÉ had televised the Ballyslushguttery under-12’s final rather than this particular encounter.

His disappointment in Leinster’s performance, in their 7-6 win over the Welsh people, led to one of his finest metaphor-mangling moments yet.

“You get a punch in the mouth early season, you circle the wagons but it does rattle your cage a bit,” he said, Jamie Heaslip, beside him, left rattled. Jamie tried to defend Leinster, a bit, but Eddie insisted that “their wheels came off - literally”. “They’ll need to review the muck they produced today,” he added.

Muck - and not to be too harsh about it - was pretty much the performance Benjamin Taylor, Edward Holderness, Oli Tipping, Guy Dixon, Charlie Mason and Digby Walker produced in the London Marathon, despite all the swooning from the BBC’s Gabby Logan and Andrew Cotter about their efforts. Twelve legs they had between them, and still they only managed a time of 04:34.52.

Joyciline Jepkosgei won the women’s race in 2:17.43, Sisay Lemma taking the men’s gong with a time of 2:04.01 - and, between them, they had only four legs.

Colin the Caterpillar

Granted, Benjamin, Edward, Oli, Guy, Charlie and Digby, who sound a little like a WhatsApp group to which Boris Johnson might subscribe, were dressed as Colin the Caterpillar, an experience that Guy said “tested our friendship”. Particularly for those who might have been jammed in Colin’s middle bits between Digby and Benjamin.

Liverpool, as it happened, showed all the dynamism of Colin the Caterpillar in the first half of their tussle with Manchester City, having the look of a team so devoid of energy it appeared like they had three legs between them, instead of 22.

But then, the second half.

The Premier League gets a heap of sarky dog’s abuse for over-rating itself, but then a second half like that comes along and you’d be reckoning it doesn’t rate itself half high enough. Salah’s goal? Ah stop. Rodri’s block on Fabinho’s goalbound effort? Ah here. When he celebrated the moment with his team-mates, Gary Neville was befuddled.

“Clents finched! Eh.... fists clenched.”

No worries Nevy Garille, we felt the same.

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