They would not have been disappointed. The standard of performance was high and in fairness to RTE, their commentary and analysis was top class. Of course, a few more cameras to enhance the coverage would have been good but that’s a minor crib. Is there a better athletics commentator anywhere than Tony O’Donoghue? He seems to have been on the go as long as the more famed sports commentators and he is so good that he deserves to be ranked up there alongside Michael O’Muireachartaigh and the late and great Phillip Greene. He is that good. His voice is superb, but much more importantly, it’s his knowledge of both the event he’s covering and the athletes, that make him that bit special. He has that ability to draw you into the event and once you hear his voice, you are hooked.
While O’Donoghue is the main man in the commentary box, Jerry Kiernan is not that far behind him when it comes to analysis. Never afraid to upset the authorities, or the athletes, if he feels they are not performing like they should, Kiernan was in great form on Sunday night. Still sporting the same hairstyle from years ago, he displayed a vast knowledge of all the athletes that was insightful. This column prefers him to Eamon Coghlan as an analyst, not sure why but his description of a young athlete’s tactics in the women’s 800m final as ‘stupid’ was unnecessary. There were plenty of other words he could have used. Coghlan can be a bit brash at times.
But he still cannot be ignored; his achievements as one of the greatest middle distance runners of all time see to that and he still appears to be really well informed on the sport. The World Championships are the next big athletics event at the end of this month but it’s London next year that everyone is looking forward to. It’s so hard to predict a year in advance what will happen for the Irish athletes but we do look to have a few athletes capable of doing well. Anway, as long as Tony O’Donoghue is there, this viewer will be happy.
THERE are times when it’s difficult to understand the mindset of the GAA man. It can be best exemplified by the attitude of the sideline man to the forward who is bearing down on goal with only the keeper to beat and by the attitude of the same man to the same forward when the latter is dribbling through with a defender hanging out of him.
In the first instance the sideline man exhorts the forward to ‘take your point’ and even when he scores a goal he’s not happy. It happened last Sunday at a game I was at. The forward had scored a goal to put his team in control but the sideline man was not happy. ‘He should have taken his point’, he said. Hard to fathom that but no one argued with him. They probably knew him too well to bother.
Later on, in the same game, a forward was dribbling the ball through and from the sideline all you could hear was ‘go down and pick it up’. The forward knew better though and he kept going until the defender fouled him and gave a penalty that was scored. But had the forward listened to the line, he would have bent down and lost vital time and probably been dispossessed. You hear that a lot in GAA matches; players being told to pick up the ball when it makes absolutely no sense to. But it’s all part and parcel of GAA life, as we know it and the game just wouldn’t be the same without the regular cries of ‘pick it up and take your point’. I suppose it’s what makes it what it is. Whatever that is.
Summer is over
THE summer is over. It’s official. Well, as and from next weekend, it is when that great Irish sporting institution gets underway; the English Premier League. You can be guaranteed that more Irish people will make their way over to England to watch matches there every weekend than will bother going to matches in their own country. ‘Daily Mirror Republicans’, I heard them being described as the other day. They’re everywhere, aren’t they? The experts on football – usually from a bar stool. They’ll know everything there is to know about the Premier League but don’t bother asking them for directions to the local club because in all probability they’ll never have been there.
Don’t get me wrong. This column will more than likely spend a few days in South West London over the next nine months. Always have and as long as we’re spared, always will. But it’s not real, is it? I can’t identify in any shape or form with those footballers, or they with me. But here at home, well it’s different, isn’t it? Everyone knows everyone, and there is a sense of community at the games that cannot ever be matched in a packed stadium of forty or fifty thousand people. Occasionally, it can be but not very often.
Anyway, just to keep Aiden Henry happy, it’s the Blues for the title with AVB proving his class and all the teams in red (and light blue) playing catch up. Remember where you read it first!!