Once Cork soccer’s pin-up boy, Carl Davenport will tomorrow night compete for the affections of a Cumbrian sheepdog trainer on primetime BBC2.
‘The Dav’, as he is known on Leeside, starred for Cork Celtic and Cork Hibs between 1967 and 1972. The Bolton-born striker also played for Limerick, St Pat’s, Preston North End and Stockport, among others.
His swashbuckling style and goals had crowds flocking to Turner’s Cross and Flower Lodge during Cork football’s glamour era. And there was success too. Davenport won the League of Ireland title with both Hibs and Celtic.
But The Dav was arguably better known for his prowess in the competitive field of romance.
As former Irish Examiner soccer writer Billy George put it, in the foreword of Davenport’s autobiography ‘Anecdotes and stories from inside and outside the box’:
The Dav was the subject of debate as much for his nocturnal activities, for his social transgresses - whether real or imagined - as he was for his goalscoring exploits. And his happy-go-lucky nature meant he enjoyed the exaggerated stories that surrounded his private life too much to attempt to discount them.
Tonight, however, the now 75-year-old starts from scratch in his efforts to win the heart of a contestant on Love in the Countryside, the show that, as the BBC puts it, “seeks to find the needle in the haystack for rural daters”.
Sara Cox is in charge as “eight singletons living in the countryside begin their journey to find love”.
In episode 3, series 2, airing tomorrow night: “Sheepdog trainer Katy invites three potential partners to experience a taste of country life in the Cumbrian Fells. While the weather is bleak, painter and decorator John, motorbike champion David, and former footballer Carl take to herding sheep and mucking out kennels with remarkable success.”
“It’s like a really fun country weekend… but with extra dog poo,” the BBC bills it.
We will see if The Dav has retained his legendary charm. However, spoiler alert, there’s a suggestion he isn’t quite as accomplished with a dog whistle as he was in front of goal.
“It’s obvious none of her suitors is going to be on One Man and His Dog any time soon.”