How was your Sunday? Spent trying to watch Mayo v Roscommon and Liverpool v Arsenal and Brooks Koepka v Jon Rahm (v Viktor Hovland) all at the same time?
There are some who will contend that this was a first world problem, but the struggle was real.
At least the weather Gods had intervened on Saturday to draw an early halt to the golf so we could watch the Republic of Ireland take on USA! in peace, Paul McGinley telling us that the rain and wind whistling through his Georgian hotel windows that night made him feel like he was “up in Rosses Point”.
Nick Faldo chuckled, as did most of his Sky colleagues, but probably because he was still wearing his Green Jacket, lest anyone forget he’s a former Masters winner.
It’s only a 15-hour drive from Augusta to Austin, so Nick, with time on his hands, could have taken his Green Jacket on a road trip to support our women as they took on the world’s top-ranked nation, but divil a sign of him in the 20,593 crowd.
It’s not all that long ago that not even Ireland’s competitive games were covered by the telly, now we get to see them play friendlies live on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, so the times they are a-changing.
And while Karen Duggan and Rianna Jarrett, on duty with RTÉ, weren’t entirely without trepidation about the prospect of taking on the USA in one of several of their back-yards, they weren’t without hope either that Ireland could put it up to the World Cup holders. There was a time you’d anticipate a severe throttling in such a fixture, but, yes, the times have a-changed.
Clare Shine was in the commentary box with George Hamilton, and was as deliciously droll as ever.
“They’re an entertaining nation, to say the least,” she said when we were distracted by that ‘Go Card Stunt’, the crowd instructed to raise cards that would read ALWAYS POSSIBLE at a particular moment in the game. Why? Ah here, God knows. You’d be worn out from this guff.
Anyhow, it was shortly after George echoed our thoughts by declaring that Ireland’s display was “most encouraging” that the USA scored, the first time in almost a year that Courtney Brosnan had to pluck a ball from the back of her net.
They added a penalty in the second half, when Diane Caldwell tried to lift Lindsay Horan all the way back to Balbriggan, Tony O’Donoghue deeming the penalty harsh in his post-match chat with Vera Pauw when Diane was lucky not to receive 200 hours of community service.
That might be the very least Constantine Hatzidakis receives after being accused of elbowing Andy Robertson at half-time in that quite magnificent tussle between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on Sunday.
It was, intermittently, a cranky affair, Sky’s Martin Tyler worn out from apologising for the industrial language emanating from the crowd, like when one local urged Trent Alexander-Arnold to “GET ON WITH IT YOU ****ING KNOBHEAD”.
The most (tediously) fashionable thing in the world is to scoff at the English Premier League, but when it chucks up a game of this class, a perfect blend of exquisite excellence and some of the worst defending you’re ever likely to see, what’s not to love?
And, to top it all, we had an assistant referee (”linesman”, in old change) allegedly elbowing poor Andy in the neck.
Roy Keane’s heart bled for the Liverpool left-back. Jesting. “He should be more worried about his defending . . . d’you know what he is, that Robertson? He’s a big baby!”
Gabriel Jesus had put Arsenal 2-0 up, prompting an unforgivable line of ‘JESUS SCORES ON EASTER SUNDAY’ quips – looking at you, instigator Gary Lineker – but then Liverpool produced the mother of all resurrections, even surviving Mo Salah’s missed penalty to earn a draw. Only New York, after slaying Leitrim, celebrated harder.
Actually, that’s a lie. Sandy Lyle topped the celebratory charts when he concluded his Masters career by downing a copious amount of tequila and whiskey the night before he had to return to the course to play his final shot in the tournament, a 12-foot putt for par.
He missed, need it be said, ending up as square-eyed as those of us who tried to watch Mayo v Roscommon and Liverpool v Arsenal and Brooks Koepka v Jon Rahm (v Viktor Hovland) all at the same time. First world problems are real.