Try as they might, Rugby World Cup to be painful TV
HAVING giant Irish lock Paul O'Connell screaming obscenities from the confined spaces of a Croke Park dressing room is one thing.
"Will ya scare anyone?" he roared to teammates at half-time in the Six Nations loss to France in February, as cap-tured in a TV documentary. "Will ya put the f**king fear of God in anyone?"
Having giant Irish lock Trevor Brennan screaming tactics from the confined spaces of a dingy TV3 set at half-time in the crunch World Cup game against Argentina is something else entirely.
The latter has the potential to put the f**king fear of God into everyone.
Rugby World Cup 2007 kicks off in a couple of weeks, missing three of its biggest stars: McGurk, Hook and Pope.
Setanta secured exclusive rights for the tournament in France years back, but RTE compounded its losses by failing to agree a deal for the Irish games, which must go out on a free-to-air channel.
Instead, that honour goes to TV3, a station whose written rugby history would leave space to manoeuvre on the back of a postage stamp.
Now, we could be optim-istic here and say that the station will hit the ground running and unproven television analysts such as Brennan, Michael Chieka, Jim Williams and Victor Costello will take to it like a duck to water, with Paul Wallace providing the slickness. And that radio host Matt Cooper will also take to television like a duck to water (after ditching irritating sidekick Eddie Hobbs). And that football commentator Conor Mc-Namara will take to rugby ... well, you get the idea.
Or we could be realistic.
TV3's Champions League coverage has been the stuff of nightmares -- taking sometimes fascinating games and draining the life out of them, along with the viewer's soul. The station's Irish football coverage, both international and domestic, has the unique ability of making anyone watching it simultaneously stressed and bored.
TV3 has been showing football for years but, let's face it, it still hasn't worked it out. Football still belongs on RTE with the Dunph and Giles. TV3 will show all of Ireland's games and the knockout stages of the Rugby World Cup but, come October, rugby will still belong to RTE.
Between now and then, be afraid.
Be very afraid.