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Hook's FF dig was 'a cheap shot' at me says Tubridy in Late Late spat

Ryan Tubridy accused George Hook of a "cheap shot" for referring to the Late Late Show host as a "keen Fianna Failer".

Mr Tubridy, whose family has strong connections with the party, appeared annoyed by the suggestion he favoured the majority partners in Government.

When he asked Mr Hook had he ever been approached by a political party, the rugby pundit replied: "Yeah, Fine Gael."

"I'm a Blueshirt. As much as you are a keen Fianna Failer, I'm a Blueshirt," Mr Hook told the Late Late Show presenter.

But Ryan said: "That's a cheap old shot, George."

"Well, you are. You're steeped in Fianna Fail," George explained.

"That doesn't mean I'm one myself," Ryan said.

The exchange took place on the Late Late Show during a discussion on Mr Hook's decision not to contest the European elections for Fine Gael.

The party had asked the pundit to run in the Leinster constituency.

George said he "took an awful long time" to make his mind up before refusing the invitation. One reason he turned down Enda Kenny's party was he felt he "could not make a difference".

He said he worried about former RTE economics editor George Lee who entered the Dail and has got "lost in the morass".

Ryan's brother Garrett unsuccessfully ran for Fianna Fail in the last local elections, while his cousins, Barry Andrews and Chris Andrews, are sitting TDs for the party.

His uncles, David Andrews and the late Niall Andrews, were also FF TDs.

Mr Hook's allegiances to Fine Gael are well known, although he embarrassed the party in 2008 when he branded them "losers". As a guest speaker at a two-day think-in at the Radisson Hotel in Clare, Mr Hook roared at the assembled Fine Gael members: "So, why are you losers?"

He added: "Because losers you are!"

When Mr Kenny entered the room several hours later for the closing press conference, he was repeatedly asked by reporters about his reaction to his party being called a bunch of losers.

"First of all, George is a pretty dominating figure when he speaks and I'm glad his voice travelled right throughout the hotel compound," he said.

Mr Kenny said: "The point being made by George, speaking as a former rugby coach is that second is no good; people do not remember who is second. He asked who was second to Ronnie Delany in Melbourne, who was second to Margaret Thatcher when she won her first election.

"And the point he was making to the Fine Gael party was that it's not good enough just to be good, we've got to win. Winners are what count in this business and the place to be is in power."