Life after Bill O'Herlihy as TV3 join battle of the box

What the four main TV channels are bringing to Euro 2016.

RTÉ

It’s the first major tournament in a generation without the late great Bill O’Herlihy, but the national broadcaster’s coverage still has a solid look about it. 

Sub-letting a bunch of games to TV3 has also made sense in terms of focusing resources.

Coaching staff:

The affable Darragh Maloney is the main man, backed up by Peter Collins, Jacqui Hurley, Tony O’Donoghue, and Aidan Power. Commentary from George Hamilton, Ger Canning, Stephen Alkin, and John Kenny.

Squad:

John Giles, Eamon Dunphy, Liam Brady, Richie Sadlier, Didi Hamann, Ray Houghton, Ronnie Whelan, Brian Kerr, Jim Beglin, Kenny Cunningham, Clinton Morrison, Damien Duff, Stephanie Roche, and Niamh Fahey.

Tactical innovation:

Look Jeff, there’s a woman talking football on the telly.

Crucial games:

All of the Republic of Ireland’s first-round matches.

Star players:

Richie Sadlier and Kenny Cunningham aren’t exactly fresh out the academy, but they have added some dynamism to a team where the traditional midfield trio look to have lost some of their dynamism. Brian Kerr is also fairly lethal around the commentary box.

Watch out for:

George Hamilton saying, “I don’t believe it. James McLean has only been on the pitch for nine seconds and he’s got himself a red card.”

BBC

The biggest budget and a cast of thousands will help beef up the coverage of a network that has done surprisingly little live soccer in recent years, but always manages to turn it on for the big tournaments.

Coaching staff:

Gary Lineker is at the helm, Gabby Logan is in the England camp, and there are also reporters with Wales and the two Irish teams.

Squad:

Alan Shearer, Rio Ferdinand, Thierry Henry, Gianluca Vialli, Jens Lehmann, Frank Lampard, Jurgen Klinsmann, Jermaine Jenas, Martin Keown, Danny Murphy, John Hartson, Robbie Savage, Kevin Kilbane, and Neil Lennon.

Star players:

Until recently, say something positive about Alan Shearer and the piano player would stop playing as the whole bar stared at you. People are at last seeing his merits.

And in fairness to Gary Lineker, he is the host with le most... until England lose, and the mask of composure slips as he struggles to suppress feeling like he’s traipsing off that pitch himself.

Tactical innovation:

The glorious lack of ad breaks remains the most reliable tactic of all. It may also give Thierry Henry even more time to finally say something interesting. But probably not.

Watch out for:

It’s John Motson’s 71st birthday on the day of the final. Are the stars finally aligning for England?

ITV

After losing the Champions League last year, ITV’s coverage of England games is more important than ever to the network. In Mark Pougatch, they’ve also found a decent replacement for Adrian Chiles. And no, UTV Ireland won’t be showing any games.

Coaching staff:

It’ll mostly revolve around Pougatch, with commentary teams of Clive Tyldesley, Sam Matterface, Joe Speight, and David Stowell.

Squad:

Slaven Bilic, Lothar Matthaus, Glenn Hoddle, Ian Wright, Andy Townsend, Iain Dowie, Lee Dixon, Peter Crouch, Tony Pulis, Emmanuel Petit, Christian Karembeu, Louis Saha, Norman Whiteside, Eniola Aluko, and Richard Dunne.

Star man:

Like the soothingly familiar voices of his countrymen who read the shipping forecasts and final scores and tales of Winnie the Pooh, there’s something endearingly English about Clive Tyldesley’s tones. They just seem perfect for the job at hand.

Key games:

Two first-round matches from both England and the Republic of Ireland.

Tactical innovation:

Andy Townsend adapting Graham Norton’s Eurovision-style “We” to prove you can be on two different sides in the same tournament. If England and the Republic meet in the final, he may combust.

Watch out for:

With his hands-on knowledge of both English and European soccer, Slaven Bilic should shine as one of the sharpest analysts.

TV3

It might be the channel’s first major international soccer tournament, but TV3 have put in the hard yards with European club competitions over the years. They’ve also signed up some excellent panellists and shown at the Rugby World Cup that they can ‘do’ big events.

Coaching staff:

Tommy Martin is on studio duties, while Trevor Welch and Dave McIntyre are the men at the matches.

Squad:

Graeme Souness, Neil Lennon, Harry Redknapp, Kevin Kilbane, Joey Barton, Keith Andrews, Gerry Armstrong, Emma Byrne, and Lawrie Sanchez.

Star players:

We sent a team of crack researchers around the world to find somebody who doesn’t like Kevin Kilbane. They failed. Joey Barton could also be a great find.

Crucial games:

TV3 won’t get the Republic unless we reach the later stages, but two England games and a Northern Ireland match are a good start. The network also gets the two semi-finals and the final, simulcast with RTÉ.

Tactical innovation:

After the Paul O’Connell furore, presumably they won’t cut to an ad break if Robbie Keane goes down injured in his last ever game for the Republic.

Watch out for:

Joey Barton being scathingly honest if England underperform.

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