Tuesday 20 February 2018

Offensive line erased from RTE's new script

NOW that the dust has settled and Tyrone are out of the championship, Mickey Harte's refusal to talk to RTE no longer matters, although they did miss out big time on his after-match comments last Saturday which went beyond the normal "all credit to the lads they never gave up" sort of crap.

It is worth, however, reflecting on the dispute, if only in the hope of avoiding a repeat. John Murray and RTE apologised profusely for a skit based on Harte's refusal to talk to the station because he felt Brian Carthy had been badly treated by the station. The sketch turned out to be clumsy and in bad taste. What worries us here at FTS is the line in RTE's apology which stated, "It is never RTE's intention to knowingly offend any individual."

Apart from programmes like The Sunday Game where players and officials frequently have their performances examined in a critical manner, what about some of the great moments in Irish TV history? Like the days when The Late Late Show and other ground-breaking programmes shone a light into the dark corners of Irish society, causing offence to the Church and political elite who ruled Ireland with scant regard for the welfare of its citizens. What about Scrap Saturday? What about Ted Walsh and his wonderfully politically incorrect patter?

If it is now RTE policy to only broadcast programmes which are considered inoffensive by everyone what are we left with? Nationwide and Winning Streak?

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At 22, Rory McIlroy is set to enter golf's Hall of Fame -- about 20 years before his time. But he won't be in the same area as Irish inductees, Joe Carr and Christy O'Connor Snr.

"The plan is to have a special display case for Rory, probably on the first floor," said Hall of Fame chief executive Jack Peter at the PGA Championship. "This is a relatively new development for us, aimed at dealing with current events."

To this end, Peter has been in contact with Chubby Chandler of McIlroy's management team at ISM regarding memorabilia from his runaway US Open triumph at Congressional in June. "Ideally, we want Rory's entire outfit from the closing day which we will put on a mannequin," said Peter. "We have also asked for two or three clubs, whatever he feels comfortable about giving us. And some balls. The choice is up to Rory."

Recent inclusions in this special section of the Hall of Fame near Jacksonville in Florida have included memorabilia from Stuart Appleby's 59 when capturing the Greenbrier Classic 12 months ago. Joe Carr was elected posthumously into the Hall of Fame in 2007 and O'Connor became the second Irish inductee in 2009. Normally, a player is aged over 40 before being considered.

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For a country with such a rich sporting heritage do we come up short when it comes to celebrating the wonders of our past? The GAA has the splendid Croke Park museum and the vast promise of the oral history project but other sports are often found wanting. What does it say, for example, that there has long been a statue of Arkle at Cheltenham yet no such tribute exists in the land where he was born?

Thankfully, that gaping hole in our racing history will belatedly be filled. Thanks to the efforts of a small but committed group of people -- including Jim Dreaper, Arkle historian Nick O'Toole and Bellewstown chairman Alan Delany -- the required €100,000 funding is all but secured and a statue to be crafted by renowned sculptor Emma McDermott will be unveiled in Ashbourne, near where Arkle was born and trained, in 2013 on the 50th anniversary of his first Cheltenham victory. There is also talk of a museum being built which, among other artefacts, could include Arkle's skeleton, currently residing at the National Stud.

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Two over-eager GAA fans were left red-faced in Croke Park during last weekend's All-Ireland football quarter-final between Dublin and Tyrone. The men were sitting comfortably in their seats in the Hogan Stand, anticipating the throw-in, when two other spectators turned up with tickets for the same seats. A steward arrived and after a few minutes of confusion he noticed that their tickets were in fact for the next day's hurling match. It was worth a try lads!

Fergus McDonnell, Marie Crowe, Dermot Gilleece, John O'Brien


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