TV view: Con and Graham like a pair of Larry Gogans with their shouty-out requests on famous night for Rovers

The very least the Hoops deserve when they get home to Tallaght is a red carpet, harp and fiddle-playing cailíní

You might recall Donald Trump landing at Shannon Airport eight-ish years ago en route to his golfing playground in Doonbeg, and Ireland being so grateful for him making that region of Clare great again they greeted him with a red carpet, harp and fiddle-playing cailíní and an entire Minister for Finance.

Donald hid it well, but you guessed he was chuffed, even after being grilled about Doonbeg’s protected snails, which he promised to safeguard before possibly asking for them to be grilled for his supper.

Regrettably, KF Shkupi were considerably less chuffed about their recent visit to Shannon Airport, the North Macedonia club describing their flight’s diversion from Dublin to there as an act of “evil”.

They might, of course, have found the experience more pleasurable if they’d been greeted by a red carpet, harp and fiddle-playing cailíní, an entire Minister for Finance and grilled snails, but a bog standard céad míle fáilte ahead of their commute to Tallaght for the first leg of their Europa League qualifier against Shamrock Rovers left them spittin’.


Rovers won 3-1, Shkupi assigning much of the blame for their defeat to their two hour, 15 minute road journey, when, if there’d be a holdup on the M50, caused, say, by spilt tangerines, it might have taken twice that long to get to Tallaght from Dublin Airport.

“Unfortunately this has not been done to any other team except the North Macedonian team,” read their decidedly peeved statement, “our loneliness has emerged again as we progress on the European road”.

“We would like to say to the Irish that they should know well that we have a very characterful team. The reward of being a team is to respond as a team to the evil done to you,” they said, not even duty free Chanel perfume at Shannon placating them. “Our team will show you their character, like lions on the field, it will show that there is no team that will not bow down to such cheap games.”

That, then, set the scene for the return leg at Skopje’s National Arena Todor Proeski where a sprinkling of Rovers fans had made their way. But their journey to seeing the game live was nothing compared to that of their comrades back home after no Irish channel opted to pick up on the encounter.

Initially, then, the sole option appeared to be the finding of a completely unlawful stream of Albania’s Supersport coverage of the tussle, most of the test efforts resulting in a stream of intrusive ads inviting you to contact voluptuous blonde booby babes who kept winking at you while you tried to establish if the channel would indeed show you the Rovers game live.

But then LOITV banjaxed the booby babes’ evening by announcing that they would have live coverage of the game, the cost a mere tenner.

And with that we could hear Con Murphy and Graham Gartland’s dulcet tones, not a booby babe in sight, the music blasting from the stadium sounding a little like an Olivia Newton John (RIP) and Metallica tune played over each other, pointing to North Macedonia’s musical tastes and possibly explaining why they’ve never given us more than deux points in the Eurovision.

Con and Graham begged to differ on the pronunciation of Shkupi, Con opting for Schko-pee, Graham for Schoo-pie, but other than that they were as one, hailing this as a very special night for Rovers.

It was too, especially for their supporters, like Ross in Ho Chi Minh City, Jamie in Manhattan and Emma in her back garden in Dublin. Con and Graham were like a pair of Larry Gogans with their shouty-out requests.

Ross, Jamie and Emma no doubt lost their tiny minds when Rory Gaffney inserted the ball in Schko-pee/Schoo-pie’s net, and may well have expired through sheer ecstasy when Aidomo Emakhu did the same.

The Rovers faithful might have had a Macedonia ahead of the game in their ceaseless quest for live coverage, but their lads? Not a bother. On they march. The very least they deserve when they get home to Tallaght is a red carpet, harp and fiddle-playing cailíní and an entire Minister for Finance. Not to mention, grilled snails.