Of all the rows ‘The Sunday Game’ programmes generated during the last 40 years, perhaps changing the theme tune 15 years ago was the greatest of them. Here our GAA correspondentlists 10 of the controversies prompted by comments and quotes.
Given last Sunday night’s peculiar but surely forgivable digression by Derek McGrath and Dónal Óg Cusack had half the nation yearning for the return of the plain speaking of Ger Loughnane, it’s worth revisiting what the great Clare man had to say about the weekend’s two victors back in his final summers on our screens.
Anthony Daly I was below in Cork the day that Galway played Carlow two weeks ago. It never even entered my head to check the result because I thought it was a foregone conclusion. Yet when I heard Carlow were just three points behind with eight minutes remaining, I honestly wasn’t that surprised.
Leading inter-county football managers run the risk of losing sideline privileges for several games should they continue the habit of keeping their actual starting teams for Allianz League fixtures under wraps until the 11th hour.
Just months after a riveting 2001 football championship had captured the public imagination with the advent and novelty of the backdoor, Ger Loughnane proclaimed in his book,: “The biggest problem with hurling is that it is in danger of being swamped by football.
As early as yesterday morning, some bookies had me priced at 5-1 to be installed as the next Waterford manager. Some free advice; keep yere money in yere pockets. The road from west Clare to Waterford is one significant reason I wouldn’t entertain the prospect. But the main one is pretty obvious — replacing Derek McGrath certainly won’t be an easy gig. For anyone.
The statute of limitations having elapsed, it’s time the following tale were told. Derek McGrath may be temporarily chagrined at having it revealed to the nation but he’ll cope. He’s coped with much worse in the past fortnight.
Alan Hansen doesn’t do live TV anymore. After 22 years, he finished up as BBC’s Match of the Day anchor pundit in 2014. Commanding he was, but not without sin, Manchester United coming back to haunt him following his infamous “kids” remark in 1995.
Ger Loughnane, as he is often capable of doing, not only had issued the last rites to this Tipperary team at half-time yesterday; he had also effectively organised the wake, was preparing the funeral, and was just about to start shovelling clay on top of the Tipperary coffin.
Twenty years ago, there were the three shadowy priests who, it was claimed, had knowledge of Colin Lynch’s suspension before the Munster Council had even met to decide his faith. In Liam Doyle, Seánie McMahon, and Anthony Daly, meanwhile, Clare had the three wise kings, forming one of hurling’s greatest half-back lines. Two decades on from the Banner’s last Munster SHC success and the All-Ireland title that got away, the trio recall that tumultuous summer of ’98, from Lynch’s ban to Jimmy Cooney’s bad time-keeping.
ON Wednesday, Seánie McMahon, Liam Doyle and I sat down with John Fogarty, of this parish, in Dromoland Castle. We rolled back the good times, regaled ourselves with old stories and rekindled those magical flames which burned in our hearts throughout our Clare careers (the details of the conversation appear elsewhere on the Irish Examiner website today).