HomeFootball‘Little interest’ in Leinster football final as Jim McGuinness and Donegal come...

‘Little interest’ in Leinster football final as Jim McGuinness and Donegal come sprinkled in magic


Related stories


In many ways GAAGo is the Bambie Thug of sports broadcasting: not universally loved, but appreciated by those who see it as a rebellious, progressive, defiant infiltrator of conventionality. Granted, it’s hard to think of too many persons who fit into that latter category but maybe Cork hurling folk? Because without GAAGo they mightn’t ever have seen their lads produce a performance for the ages on Saturday.

That their triumph over Limerick wasn’t on our normal telly screens did, of course, whip up yet more debate about this less-than-loved behind-a-paywall-service, and more questioning of why RTÉ hadn’t aired the match when they were bringing us, say, the Leinster football final on Sunday, when Louth had as much chance of prevailing as Bambie Thug had of receiving douze points from Israel.

It was left to Ciarán Whelan, on duty in Clones with Joanne Cantwell and Peter Canavan, to try and sell that Leinster final to the viewers, maybe persuade them that the Leinster championship finale would have viewers’ buttocks clinging to the edge of their couches.

“It’s become routine, it’s boring, there’s very little interest in it in Dublin . . . it’s a damp squib of a spectacle, to be honest with you.”

That sales pitch wasn’t silky smooth, then, but when the Wee County led the Big County by a point at half time, Ger Canning asked, not unreasonably, “who would have thought that back at 2pm?”

“Dublin have taken them for granted,” said Peter.

“Didn’t we all, perhaps,” asked Joanne. Yes indeed, but the Dubs won out in the end, collecting in or around their 875th Leinster title in a row.

Donegal v Armagh was a touch tighter in the end. So tight it went to a penalty shoot-out. That meant the delay of the airing of Goldfinger on RTÉ2, and if you’d be so kind as to forgive this seamless link, it was Shaun Patton’s Goldfinger that prevented Shane McPartlin’s effort from entering his net in sudden death. Donegal: Ulster champions. Armagh: shaken, not stirred. They live to fight another day.

Glory Days boomed over the speakers in Clones, Marty Morrissey noting that Jim McGuinness had “sprinkled his magic all over his county – again”. “Jimmy’s winning matches – again,” said Ciarán, while Peter mourned Armagh’s fourth penalty shoot-out defeat in three years – again. “You couldn’t make it up.”

Armagh would have been forgiven for believing that if the contest had been on GAAGo they might have won out. Because evidently that’s where hapless fortunes are reversed. Which is why Arsenal would have been relieved that the platform didn’t have exclusive rights to their tussle with Manchester United. As it proved “Arteta’s winning matches – again”.

Now that outcome was always likely when United’s team was named, Roy Keane inserting his face in his hands when he saw that Casemiro and Jonny Evans were once again the central defensive partnership, a handful of days after Crystal Palace played with them much like a cat might torment a mouse.

David Jones pointed out that there were 29 points between the sides, the largest margin for nigh on half a century, the club’s only joy this season coming from their women’s 4-0 FA Cup mullering of Spurs down at Wembley on Sunday afternoon (go on Aoife Mannion, ya good thing). The chances of their lads beating Manchester City in the FA Cup final? “If they do, ten Hag should get knighted,” Paul Merson suggested, intimating that it won’t be “arise Sir Erik” any time soon.

But first Arsenal. Casemiro, in fairness, played a key role in the game’s only goal, although that it was scored by Arsenal takes away, a bit from that contribution. Roy’s octaves went through Old Trafford’s leaky roof when reviewing the footage, Casemiro’s ambling allowing Arsenal remain onside when they progressed towards United’s goal.

The upshot? Title race still alive. Ish. But Arsenal probably need Spurs to take something from Manchester City on Tuesday. How confident is Merse of them helping themselves to even one, not douze, points from the game? “If they do I’ll get a Spurs tattoo.” Not very.

- Never miss a story with notifications

- Gain full access to our premium content

- Browse free from up to 5 devices at once

Latest stories