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Pundits at war... sport at its best

Well, well, well, what a truly incredible performance that was on Tuesday. I'm not talking about Ireland's 4-1 win over the Faroe Islands in the World Cup qualifier. In spite of the humiliating 6-1 hiding we took from Germany the previous Friday, most football fans with a brain under their euro-shop leprechaun hat still expected Ireland to be capable of banging a few in against a team of part-timers and so it proved.

No, the real action came after the full-time whistle, when an absolute corker of a row erupted between RTE analysts Eamon Dunphy and Liam Brady over whether or not it was time for the FAI to get rid of Giovanni Trapattoni. And we all know now how that one turned out.

John Giles was involved, too, taking Dunphy's side in favour of dispensing with Trap, but like Kenny Rogers' gambler, Gilesy is a man who knows when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em.

He sat there for a long time, letting the verbal pyrotechnics subside a little and exuding the Zen-like calm of a sage who's discovered the secret of how they get the figs into Fig Rolls, but isn't prepared to share his biscuits with just anyone.

If we're being honest, though, this was really the Dunphy v Brady show. Television doesn't throw up many genuine watercooler moments any more. I'd venture more people the following morning were talking about the post-match analysis than the match itself.


Dunphy and Brady have had their differences before (remember the Champions League programme where Dunphy likened Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to Basil Fawlty and Brady looked set to walk out of the studio?), while we've all grown so used to seeing Dunphy going into rant-overdrive, it's almost disappointing when he doesn't have a pop at someone.

There are so many clips of Dunphy in full flight on YouTube, you could easily set up a dedicated channel and never run short of material.

Dunphy calling Ronaldo "a brat". Dunphy, just after Steve Staunton's resignation, ridiculing the FAI's selection process. Dunphy shredding Terry Venables, at the time rumoured to be a contender for Ireland manager.

Dunphy leaping to the defence of Roy Keane, who'd acrimoniously parted company with Manchester United, and snapping at Bill O'Herlihy like he snaps at the burger in that McDonald's ad.

There's even the famous moment during the 1990 World Cup finals when Dunphy, with a smaller desk but bigger hair, flung his pen down in disgust after Ireland's dismal scoreless draw with Egypt. Tuesday, though, took things to a different plateau. Tuesday was a post-Saipan level spat. The hostility was so strong, it brought back memories of a Keane-less Ireland first match, against Cameroon at the 2002 World Cup.

A painful rift had opened between Dunphy and Giles, who we'd always thought as inseparable as Laurel and Hardy or Jekyll and Hyde, and they sat yards apart at opposite ends of the studio desk.


To compound the bad feeling, Dunphy's shirt and tie mimicked the Cameroon colours. It was a bright morning in Dublin, as I recall, yet you could practically see the frost forming on the studio camera lens.

Who can say how Ireland will fare come next March's qualifier against Sweden? There's one thing we can confidently predict, however: with the FAI backing Trapattoni, the Dunphy v Brady show is headed for extra time.

>GEORGIA'S TALENT I think I've finally come up with the answer to the head-scratcher, just what IS Georgia Salpa's talent?

Georgia (left) told The Irish Sun she'd been to Hollywood and could have a reality TV show in the offing. "I was over there on holidays, but I met with some people when I was over there. It went really well, I'll go back. I really like it there."

Mmm, but who were these people? "I loved it there. Everyone's so happy all the time, good moods all the time, nice food, nice everything."

Yup, got that bit the first time, but what kind of a show will she be doing? "I'm not sure yet, I'll let you know next time I go over."

Right, but is she still in talks with these LA bigwigs? "Yeah, I might go back over next year some time."

So there you have it: a knack for waffling b******s.

>DRUGS DRAMA And since we're on non-stories, the online trailer for the new series of Love/Hate has apparently been causing a bit of a kerfuffle because it features scenes of strippers and coke-snorting.

In case your memory is defectively short, Love/Hate is a drama about double-crossing Dublin gangsters who deal drugs and shoot one another. What did people expect?

CILLA REVIVAL Tomorrow night sees ITV's revival of Cilla Black's corny 1980s slushfest Surprise, Surprise, in which people were reunited with long-lost loved ones and everyone cried a lot.

The upside is we won't have to listen to Cilla bawling out the awful theme tune, but new host Holly Willoughby does have the power to irritate merely by breathing.