Sunday 25 February 2018

Premier 'fan' Finnerty fails neutral test

We have had occasion in the past to query RTE's practice (on TV and radio) of using panellists who have either managed or played with players they are then asked to objectively assess. Frankly, it's cringing at times.

That shouldn't have been an issue for Galway's Pete Finnerty on the 'The Sunday Game' last week. Straight down the middle -- that should have been our Pete.

But his voice came over all husky, the reason for which he saw fit to explain. "I went into Croke Park today, would you believe, with my voice and came out without it -- that was from shouting for Tipperary. So anybody who thinks I'm anti-Tipp, that's only a myth," he announced as he reached for a glass of water.

You can imagine the horror behind the scenes as producers realised that a so-called 'neutral' had declared a voice-cracking allegiance to one of the teams.

Des Cahill attempted to lighten the moment: "So, you're therefore anti-Kilkenny," he responded light-heartedly.

Somehow, we doubt if Finnerty's strange comment would have gone down too well in Kilkenny. And certainly not on Sunday night, of all nights.

Shefflin bemused by brazen 'maor'

The sympathy of the hurling world went out to Henry Shefflin last Sunday when his All-Ireland final came to such an abrupt and painful end after just 13 minutes.

But that didn't protect him from an outbreak of tactlessness by an on-duty 'Maor' who decided to follow the great Ballyhale man into the stand for an autograph. Shefflin had just settled in his seat and was, typically, bellowing out encouragement to the Kilkenny team when his view was suddenly blocked by the man in the bib.

Initially, Shefflin seemed to wonder if the 'Maor' was perhaps arriving with some official instruction. But, as the biro and match programme were pushed in his direction, reality dawned on Shefflin.

Faced by, at best, major surgery and a lengthy lay-off or, at worst, the end of his career, he was incredulous. We don't know the precise vocabulary of Shefflin's response, but we are assured that it was appropriate.

'Dan the man' needs a dose of reality

Dan Shanahan damned Davy Fitzgerald with faint praise this week, commending him for his training methods, but questioning his tactics.

'Dan the Man' was, of course, speaking from the perspective of a player who hadn't started regularly when he complained that Waterford didn't look like scoring goals this year, an area where he excelled in his peak period.

It's interesting that Dan's dramatic exit from the pitch after being taken off by Justin McCarthy during the 2008 Munster championship clash with Clare was followed by a player heave which forced the manager out. Now, McCarthy's replacement has come under fire from Dan.

Food for thought -- Waterford had won five Munster titles up to the start of 2002; by 2010 they had added four more (three under McCarthy, one under Fitzgerald).

Could their failure to win the All-Ireland possibly have anything to do with those inside the white lines?

Not, it seems, according to the players, which perhaps explains why they didn't win an All-Ireland.

Irish Independent

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