Wednesday 21 March 2018

There's no one quite like Marty to up the excitement

TWO-THIRDS of the way through the canoe slalom heat in which kayaker Eoin Rheinisch was competing, commentator Myles Dungan optimistically noted: "The worst he's going to finish is 10th. He'll be happy with that."

A few hours earlier in the RTE studio, swimming pundit Earl McCarthy was less than happy with Grainne Murphy, who finished last in the 400-metre freestyle heat, almost nine seconds behind her nearest competitor and 16 seconds behind the winner.

"There's bad swims and there's catastrophic swims," Earl mused, deeming Grainne's effort to be in the latter category. Earl was vainly trying to get his head around it all: "It was so far off the radar -- I can't imagine she planned to swim that slowly." Probably not, Earl, unless she was trying to patent a new swimming backwards event.

Yesterday wasn't good, either, for Melanie Nocher in the 100-metre backstroke, and while Sanita Puspure came third in the women's single sculls the previous day, boating pundit Neville Maxwell wasn't being upbeat about further success. "She isn't going to make the final," he told anchorwoman Tracy Piggott, adding: "I'm not being negative -- that's the reality."

Thank heaven, then, for our boxers, who look like doing us proud in yet another Olympics. Katie Taylor's still to come, but on Saturday we could enthuse over the convincing wins by John Joe Nevin and Darren O'Neill and we could do so in the amiable and informative company of Mick Dowling, Bernard Dunne and Kenny Egan.

These are three among scores -- perhaps hundreds -- of knowledgeable and mostly impressive pundits who have been assembled by RTE to comment on myriad events, whether from the studio or at the games themselves.

But engrossing and insightful as many of these are about their respective sports, there's no one quite like Montrose's very own Marty Morrissey, who was in a delirium of excitement at the end of yesterday's beach volleyball clash between Brazil and Austria.

"We've had rain, we've had wind," Marty gasped, "but by gosh we've had great volleyball -- truly fantastic!" And that was just a bunch of guys in action, none of them even in bikini briefs. I mean, what's the point?

A little later, the studio-based Daire O'Brien seemed about to introduce the women's version of this noble sand battle when he smirkingly announced: "And so to the most expensive consignment of human flesh on display in London," but he was merely talking about America's all-conquering basketball beanpoles as they got ready to swat a bunch of French pretenders into oblivion.

Mitt Romney, who had wondered about London's "readiness" for these games, would have loved being at the basketball -- that's if he had dared to linger on and risk running into Boris Johnson, who has shown himself to be more than ready for this Olympian moment in his city's history.

Irish Independent

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