Tuesday 12 December 2017

MNS lacks bottle in deference to Tallaght

Last week Sligo Rovers gave a terrific performance at The Showgrounds when trouncing reigning champions Shamrock Rovers to extend their lead at the top of the table to six points.

The coverage of the match on RTE's Monday Night Soccer programme seemed inordinately preoccupied with an incident in which Chris Turner of Shams was sent off following an altercation with Sligo's Alan Keane. Fair enough, I suppose, MNS has to cover controversial moments. However, viewers could have done without show host and self-proclaimed Shams fan Con Murphy rounding off the coverage with a cheap jibe at Keane.

Because the fact of the matter is that there was a more troubling incident involving Alan Keane in the match. The player was struck by a bottle thrown by a Shamrock Rovers fan, one of several launched in the direction of the Sligo right-back by visiting supporters. There was no mention of this on MNS, even though the show made a great fuss of an incident in which a bottle was thrown during the match between Dundalk and Bray Wanderers.

You'd wonder why the people at RTE's League of Ireland programme decided the attack on Keane wasn't worth a mention. And if they realise that by ignoring it they run the risk of condoning it. Keane, by the way, also received a death threat from a Shams fan who was tracked down, named and shamed by Sligo fans.

You didn't hear about that on MNS either. Instead we got Cheap Shot Con. By ignoring the attacks on Alan Keane, MNS failed in its duty to the league, its audience and the national broadcaster to an extent which makes you wonder if the programme shouldn't be quietly axed during the mid-season break.

Fans outside Tallaght pay their licence fee too. The show has disappeared up its own Hoop.

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Roy Hodgson's decision to include Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the England squad for Euro 2012 may have been surprising, but Hodgson's reasoning also raised some eyebrows.

"He's a very, very exciting player," Hodgson said. "He's given one or two performances which have made quite an impression upon me, not least when Arsenal played Milan at the Emirates Stadium. I was there and saw how well he dealt with (Andrea) Pirlo and (Massimo) Ambrosini at the centre of midfield."

Don't know what game Roy was watching that night as neither Ambrosini nor Pirlo played. Ambrosini picked up a yellow card in the first leg and was suspended for the return game. Even more bizarrely, Andrea Pirlo doesn't play for AC Milan anymore, since he moved to Juventus last summer. Not sure what that says about Hodgson's judgement but it will definitely make England team briefings interesting.

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WE are indebted to a reader, Richard Martin, who contacted us after Katie Taylor had secured her place in the Olympic Games to point out that she was joining a very elite group.

Taylor hails from the tiny townland of Boghall in Bray, Co Wicklow, which was also the birthplace of fellow Olympians Bertie Messitt and Peter Crinnion, who both competed in the Rome Games in 1960.

Messitt, a noted distance runner who had a happy habit of breaking records, set a blistering pace in the marathon, but unfortunately had to retire with exhaustion after 20 miles, while Crinnion made a brave effort in the cycling road race before being brought down in a pile-up. He remounted and finished 12 minutes behind the winner.

Let's hope that Taylor meets with better luck in London.

* * * * *

At the launch of RTÉ's coverage of the European Championships, Liam Brady pointed out that the panel of analysts at the top table were all Dubs bar one, Bill O'Herlihy. The lone voice from outside the Pale will take charge of a panel of five for the tournament, which begins on June 8.

"I'm glad Bill is on the team, otherwise we would have been accused of Dubliners monopolising the RTÉ panel. So we have a Cork man and I'm glad he's here to pull it all together," laughed Brady.

The usual suspects of Giles, Dunphy, Brady, Cunningham and our own Sadlier will have a little international flavour thrown into the mix with the return of Didi Hamann to the panel.

Eamonn Sweeney, Aisling Crowe and Fergus McDonnell


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