RTÉ chorus singing from the same hymn sheet

A case of Beauty and the Beast as the Montrose cast take a final bow, says Larry Ryan

IN the hours before the final, all the talk had been about the big selection dilemma. He’s had an indifferent tournament, seemed out of sorts at times; yet Ray Houghton got the nod alongside George Hamilton in the RTÉ gantry.

Behind him, the back three had picked itself and all were singing from the same song sheet — this was to be a return to Broadway for Beauty and the Beast.

Gilesy was determined to lead the chorus line for the beautiful game — and give the nod to Catalan independence.

“We have Barcelona, who we know are brilliant footballers and the Netherlands, who are trying to destroy.”

Dunphy and Brady agreed, although Liam shared Eamon’s long-standing doubts about the Spanish defence, adding an insight into his unique housekeeping habits in the process. “You can’t just sweep it out the window.”

That was enough for Liam to stick with the Netherlands, his tip from the outset, but Gilesy would have to look where he’d never gone before in search of a verdict.

“I am going with my heart a little with Spain.”

“I didn’t know you had one,” said Dunphy, as Gilesy looked a little bemused himself.

Half an hour later, it was Xabi Alonso rummaging gingerly in his ribcage to see if a heart still beat within after Nigel de Jong’s kung-fu lunge typified a rugged approach from the Dutch.

At the interval the Beast was the talk of the hall, after yellow cards had littered the half like discarded programmes.

“I’m appalled at what we’ve seen there,” shuddered Brady. “If this is how they are trying to win the World Cup, it’s a bad day for football.”

“That could kill a man,” said Dunphy of the de Jong tackle.

Gilesy blamed Howard Webb for not shaking up the cast list. “It gives them license to continue.” License to kill perhaps.

With the audience rooting for the rottenest of tomatoes, George Hamilton switched production mid-run. “It’s been much ado about nothing-nothing.”

“Awful,” “shocking”, “shambles” rang out the equally-uninspiring full-time refrain. “Spain haven’t been able to overcome the intimidation of a very cynical Dutch side,” bemoaned Dunphy.

Gilesy wished he’d never engaged the heart in the first place.

“The game is not coming out of it well.”

By the end, George wished he was anywhere else.

“Still scoreless in Berlin.”

And on it went until Anders Iniesta finally, finally made himself a hero and the Beast was slain.

“The Dutch didn’t deserve anything out of it,” roared Houghton.

“It would have been a dark day for football if the Dutch had won,” agreed Brady.

“The whole of football will rejoice,” suggested Billo.

Eamo needed no encouragement to join in the chorus of disapproval.

“There are signs in that final game of the disease in football. Anarchy on the pitch. There’s no real rule of law. Histrionics, cheating and thuggery.

“Had they won the game, it would have been terrible for football.”

Gilesy’s heart could beat again and, in light of Iniesta’s thoughtful tribute to Daniel Jarque, we should reflect that nobody died.

“In the end, I was absolutely delighted the winners came out of it ok.”


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