RTÉ stalls its autumn schedule launch to watch fight

While the vast Irish contingent was raising the decibel level at London’s ExCel Arena yesterday, RTÉ’s stars were roaring Katie Taylor on to glory at the launch of the station’s autumn schedule.

Due to the Bray woman’s semi-final bout, RTÉ chiefs decided to delay their press briefing to allow the likes of Ryan Tubridy, Miriam O’Callaghan, and Craig Doyle a chance to watch Taylor’s fight.

Former Afternoon Show presenter Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh in particular was feeling every punch, and is planning to be among the crowds thronging Bray’s main street today to hopefully witness Ireland’s first Olympic boxing gold medal since Michael Carruth’s 1992 triumph.

“It’s absolutely brilliant, I’m just delighted for her,” said Bláthnaid. “I’m planning on bringing the kids down tomorrow to watch it on the big screen.”

Bláthnaid has a certain affinity to Katie herself. “She actually gave me a pair of her boxing gloves on the first or second season of The Afternoon Show and I still have them at home. They should be hung up and minded but they’re actually in the kids’ toy box.

“I remember asking her once what music she’d like to have on when she enters the ring, and she responded with ‘don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me’ by the Pussycat Dolls, which I thought was a great line! We’re all wishing her the best for tomorrow, she’s a great girl.”

Meanwhile, a record 2.1m tickets have been sold for the London 2012 Paralympics, organisers have confirmed.

More than 600,000 have been bought in the past month, pushing the total past the previous record of 1.8m tickets sold for the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe said the organisers were “absolutely delighted” with the interest from the British public: “The Olympic Games have shown us that the UK has taken the Games to their heart.

“With the tickets sold so far and more still to come I look forward to even more people getting the chance to join in and to form memories that will last a lifetime.”

A total of 2.5m tickets have been put on sale for the London 2012 Paralympics, which run from Aug 29 to Sept 9. Prices start at £10 (€12.50), or £5 for young people and seniors.

International Paralympic Committee president Philip Craven said: “To have sold the most ever tickets for a Paralympic Games three weeks before the opening ceremony is absolutely fantastic and shows the insatiable appetite the public has for top class elite sport.

“Normally the busiest sales period for the Paralympic Games is once the Olympics have begun. The difference in London, however, is that ahead of the Games starting we had sold over 1.4m tickets, giving us a great platform with which to build from.”

Craven added: “Our aim now is to sell every single ticket. It would be fitting that when the paralympic movement returns to its spiritual birthplace in three weeks’ time it does so in front of packed, sold-out venues.”

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