TV View: Donaghy sees same old failings as Mayo endure Groundhog Day
Roscommon faithful dance in the rain after successful Castlebar raid
Roscommon’s Andrew Glennon celebrates with delighted fans after the victory over Mayo in Castlebar. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
You couldn’t but think of that person who opted not to vote for anyone in the local elections, instead writing “MAYO4SAM2019” all down their ballot paper. Events in Castlebar on Saturday evening would then, you’d imagine, have left their weekend in much the same condition as their vote: spoiled.
And just to add to the heartache, there was that missed Mayo free that could have levelled the game at the death, Kieran Donaghy noting how highly scoreable it had been too. “But sure, it’s like the three-foot putt in golf,” he said, “the nearer it is, the harder it gets.”
Mayo have probably felt similarly about Sam in recent years.
Not that their MAYO4SAM2019 hopes are deceased, they could come good yet, although, Donaghy, settling in with Sky since his transfer from Kerry, has his doubts, reckoning there’s a bit of Groundhog Day feel to it all, “the same old failings”.
By half-time, Roscommon were two points up, Peter Canavan having a notion it was a lead they wouldn’t relinquish, suggesting that “the Mayo players are all spaced out”. That wasn’t, just to clarify, a drug-taking allegation, he was at his tactics telly at the time pointing to the large gaps in Mayo’s midfield and rearguard through which Roscommon drove their hopes and dreams.
And in the end it was the Roscommon folk who were spaced out from the ecstasy of it all.
“You’d swear they’d just won an All-Ireland,” said Dick Clerkin when he was surrounded by a delirious dancing throng on the pitch after the game. ROSSIES4SAM2019?
There was quite a contrast in the mood of the crowd in Enniskillen who, God love them, had actually paid in to watch Fermanagh v Donegal, BBC commentator Thomas Niblock worn out from apologising for the rude things being shouted from the stands. Like “AAAAAAAH - WHAT THE ****?” when Donegal registered another wide.
Mercifully, our co-commentator left out the expletives in his analysis, eg: “Bad miss there by Ryan McHugh .... he could have kicked to the far post when he went through.” Just as well, seeing as the co-commentator was Martin McHugh, Ryan’s Da.
“What are you expecting, a thriller or a chiller,” Mark Sidebottom had asked Oisín McConville before the game, Oisín optimistically wishing for something in between. But by half-time, when Mark suggested to him that “there’s something grimly compelling about this as a contest”, Oisín wore the look of a man who’d have preferred to have been off in a garden centre perusing potted plants, Fermanagh having parked the bus, Donegal having struggled to circumvent it, the viewers having lost the will to live.
The entertainment levels, happily, were considerably higher over on RTÉ, but more because of what was happening off the pitch than on it, Davy Fitz starting the game in the stands, then moving to the sideline, then being sent back to the stands for a pitch-intruding protest about one of his lads being flattened.
Is there anything more entertaining than watching Davy watching his team fight back having looked dead and cremated, before missing a golden opportunity to win the game in the closing seconds?
Actually, there was one thing more absorbing than Davy-watching at the weekend, that was listening to Tommy Tiernan interviewing Kellie Harrington. Is there a better interviewer on this island than Tommy? Is there a more captivating interviewee than Kellie? If you answer yes to either, you’re blocked.
They might seem like different species, but there’s a bit of the Michael Parkinsons about Tiernan, that warm curiosity and interest in the person he’s chatting with, and the ability to do that rarest of things: listen.
“I was scrubbing tiles this morning,” said Kellie of her job as a “household worker” in St Vincent’s psychiatric hospital in Fairview. “It keeps you grounded, I love it, I absolutely love it.”
Thanks to her funding after becoming a world champion, she doesn’t need to work, she said, but “it’s my escape from boxing.”
She adores the patients, and you’d guess the feeling is mutual.
“I don’t know what they’re suffering from,” she said, “I just know they’re suffering.” They are her release from her sport, she said, and the all-encompassing intensity of it, but still, “boxing is my medication”.
“Do some of them think you’re a patient,” asked Tommy, “’here’s your wan – she thinks she’s a world champion’?”