Sunday 21 January 2018

RTE's expert bias irks Neutral Ned

Postman Pat dropped the following missive in our letterbox this week. Can't say we disagree with the sentiments.

Dear Liam and Sam,

I am sick of RTE – both Radio and TV – regularly using 'assistant commentators' who have an allegiance with one of the participating counties.

Last Sunday's TV coverage of Mayo v Roscommon featured Martin Carney, a Donegal man who has been living in Mayo for a very long time. Indeed, he starred for them as a player and later managed the U-21s, as well as helping out with the seniors. However insightful he might be, isn't he too closely aligned to Mayo to be classed as neutral?

Surely, if a Connacht expert was required for Sunday's game, a former footballer from Galway would have been a better fit. Padraic Joyce, a man who knows Mayo and Roscommon inside out for the last 15 years, springs to mind. He would have at least ensured a level playing field in the commentary box, which would have been welcome, given how uneven the action was out on MacHale Park.

Yours,

Neutral Ned

IT'S GOOD TO TALK

We took a brief break from all things GAA around midday on Tuesday to check in on the At The Races channel to see if there were any interesting tips for Ascot flying around.

Next thing, up pops an interview with Joseph O'Brien which had been recorded a little earlier. No problem to the 20-year-old Ballydoyle jockey to do an interview a few hours before lining up for seven mounts aboard some very valuable horses at one of the big Flat racing festivals.

Contrast that with the gagging of even the most experienced GAA players (unless of course they're plugging something). And even when they agree to share their wisdom, some are insisting that it be carried at least eight days before the game. Ah lads... have you (or your manipulators) any idea how pathetic that is?

As for young Joseph O'B, doing an interview a few hours before the off didn't stop him romping home on a 15/2 shot in the first race.

MULVEYS SPLIT IN MIDDLE

There is a huge novelty factor about Sunday's Connacht semi-final between London and Leitrim and for one of the Exiles, it will be a huge family affair with conflicting loyalties.

Lorcan Mulvey may be from Cavan and playing for London but both of his parents are from Carrick-on-Shannon and two of his uncles will also be heavily involved.

His uncle Brian Mulvey is the chief steward at 'Pairc Sean' for Sunday's game and his mother's brother Tom Guckian is also a match-day steward and was centrally involved in the spectacular redevelopment of Leitrim's HQ in the past decade.

When the multi-million revamp was completed, Carrick was the first county ground to have flat-screen TVs in the press box! We actually recall seeing one supporter arriving by helicopter at the height of the Celtic Tiger, a practice that has now gone the way of the nation's savings.

Tweet of the week

Aidan Carr @AC_0404

"So the big issue is programs are wrong but they don't mind boys having to take off work to play a match?????"

The Down footballer sums up some of the frustration among the playing body after dummy teams, rather than Friday night football, become an issue.

Number of the week

7 Of the 20 players that Cork hurling manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy used in last year's All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Galway, seven are unavailable through injury, retirement and rugby.

Irish Independent

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