Wednesday 21 August 2019

Pick of the week: The Man Who Wanted to Fly Icarus in Cavan

Monday, RTE One, 9.35pm

Co Cavan Icarus, Bobby Coote
Co Cavan Icarus, Bobby Coote
Paul Whitington

Paul Whitington

Frank Shouldice's irresistible documentary film went down a storm at the Galway Fleadh and won the audience award at the IFI Doc fest. It follows the fortunes of a Co Cavan Icarus, Bobby Coote, who's dreamt of flying for half a century. He and his brother Ernie, who are both in their 80s, live together on an ancestral family plot. Though very different personalities, they rub along well, but Ernie has doubts about Bobby's desire to leave terra firma.

"He's a genius," Ernie says, "he has a head of brains, but he has this daft notion of flying. The dream," he adds witheringly, "doesn't match his age." Bobby's having none of this negativity, however, and hatches an elaborate plan to take to the skies.

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Bobby left school aged just 13, and frankly admits that his reading and writing are not too hot. Before returning home to Cavan, he spent some years in London, working at different jobs. There were girls, he says, but adds quietly, "nothing bad about women or anything like that, but I'd rather be on my own". He also adds that it's not easy to meet women in rural Ireland.

Now he fixes clocks, and spends lots of time in his back shed making violins out of old furniture, but he's never lost the urge to fly. He's been saving up for 13 years, and can now afford to buy a Microlite: but he'll have to learn to fly it.

The Cootes are much loved local characters, and Bobby's neighbours are keen to help. Seanie McBride has sportingly mown his field sideways to make an impromptu runway, and Bobby's aircraft even has a hanger. Ernie watches on amused: "half-wit", he mutters affectionately at one point, as Bobby rides a bicycle backwards around the yard. But nothing will deter Bobby. When the film-maker asks when he'll fly, Bobby smiles and replies, "as the fox said when he got his tail cut off, it'll not be long now." His unquenchable enthusiasm is infectious. "Clear the sky," he declares boldly as his maiden flight looms, "the old man is coming."


Sports picks

Live Racing from the Curragh

Today, RTE 2, 3pm

The Kerrygold Irish Oaks is the feature race this afternoon at The Curragh, and Ted Walsh and Hugh Cahill are joined by Tom Lee, Tracy Piggott, Brian Gleeson and Andrew McNamara for live coverage, with commentary from Richard Pugh. James Doyle won last year on Sea of Class.

Live Open Championship Golf

Sunday, Sky Sports Main Event, 8am

The pressure intensifies at Royal Portrush as the race for the famous claret jug reaches its climax. Rory McIlroy (below) will be hoping for home advantage and an intimate knowledge of this course helps, but he was among the chasing pack last year at Carnoustie who watched Francesco Molinari win his first major with a clinical, bogey-free final round. In other words, anything could happen. Sky Sports present live coverage, and there'll be highlights tonight on BBC2.

The Sunday Game Live

Sunday, RTE 2, 1.30pm

Dublin looked pretty imperious last time out, but other counties live in hope, and this afternoon four of them square off at Croke Park in the All Ireland Super 8s. First up are Mayo and Meath, whose match throws in at 2pm with commentary from Marty Morrissey and Oisín McConville. Then, at 4pm, Donegal and Kerry could provide an intriguing contest. Joanne Cantwell, Colm O'Rourke and Pat Spillane introduce the action.

Live UEFA European Under 19 Championships

Sunday, RTE 2, 5.45pm

Pundits Alan Cawley and Lisa Fallon join Peter Collins for live coverage of the Republic of Ireland's Euros clash with the Czech Republic in Armenia. The game kicks off at 6pm, with commentary from Darragh Maloney and Kenny Cunningham.


Movie picks


T2 Trainspotting

Tonight, Channel 4, 9.30pm

20 years after

When Mark Renton returns to Edinburgh 20 years after absconding with his friends’ money, he finds that all has not been forgiven.



First Man

Tuesday, Sky Cinema Premiere, 8pm


Brilliant recreation of the Nasa Apollo program starring Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong, a man on a mission. With Jason Clarke, Claire Foy.



Handsome Devil

Wednesday, RTE One, 9.35pm

Opposites attract

In John Butler’s charming Irish comic drama, two very different pupils bond at an all-boys boarding school. With Andrew Scott, Moe Dunford.

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