Studio left speechless as Cork and Tipp serve up a cracker

Joe Brolly like a mosquito buzzing in your ear as championship gets up and running

Ah, the sounds of summer. Waves lapping on the sparkling shore, a symphony of lawnmowers filling the air, ice-cream vans tinkling their merry way up the road, carefree children frolicking on the green 'til late, sparrows splashing gleefully in their bird baths, and Joe Brolly, like a mosquito buzzing in your ear, telling you how crap the championship is going to be until at least late August.

We’re up and running.

Joanne Cantwell probably wished she hadn’t asked, but she kind of had to, Saturday being the start of RTÉ’s championship season, Joe, Colm O’Rourke and Tomás Ó Sé on duty in Clones for the meeting of our televised opener, Monaghan v Fermanagh.

A good season ahead?


Colm and Tomas were mildly buoyant, crossing their fingers and toes for a year to remember, but Joe stunned no one by declaring the championship to be a “farce” and insisting that being hopeful about its 2017 prospects was “a triumph of optimism over reality”. Brand Brolly intact, then, divil a hint of hope. Everything is muck.

But at least Fermanagh made our championship starter palatable enough for a while, before Monaghan’s 10 points in a row put paid to any possibility of an upset, Colm conceding that he thought “it’d be a bit of a duck of a game”, so he was pleasantly surprised.

He did, though, tar Fermanagh with the ultimate slur by describing them as “spirited”, Joanne noting that this was akin to “calling someone harmless”, a bit like being told you meant well, but.

Ran out of ‘jizz’

Meanwhile, Martin Carney was suggesting that Fermanagh ran out of “jizz”, Darragh Maloney’s response notable by its absence, and that was pretty much that from Clones.

RTÉ closed with The Undertones' "Here Comes The Summer" as the 7,473 crowd headed home to squeeze the rain out of their clothing.

Sunday and Michael Lyster said hello from the pitch in Thurles, before introducing a montage thingie that featured Des Cahill fox-trotting in the vicinity of Croke Park and Marty Morrissey directing Artane Boys Band traffic up Jones Road, before grabbing a trumpet and blowing the bejaysus out of it.

Cyril Farrell featured in the production too, in a Tarantino-esque cameo that saw him trade Sam Maguire for Liam McCarthy with a brooding Ciaran Whelan, and was beaming when we went back to the Semple Stadium studio, Ger Loughnane slapping him on the knee in congratulations while Henry Shefflin could only purr, him being a Cat.

Cyril, of course, is the anti-Brolly.

Michael: “What’s your gut feeling about the hurling championship, are we in for a good one?”

Cyril: “I’d say a brill-ant one!”

Mayo v Sligo ding-dong

And then Michael chucked the hurling lads out of the studio so he could bring in Colm and Pat Spillane for the Mayo v Sligo ding-dong in Castlebar.

Colm had forecast on Saturday that Mayo would “create more headlines than Donald Trump over the summer”, Michael asking him to comment on the first set of them pertaining to miscellaneous voices calling for Aidan O’Shea to be impeached for having a life, despite not yet winning an All-Ireland.

“I wrote a few years ago that he was a big man on the small occasion, but he hasn’t been the big man on the big occasion,” he said, sounding like a fella who’d spent too much time in the company of the Brolly man.

Even without the benched/not-fully-fit O’Shea, Mayo had a comfortable enough afternoon of it.


Michael: “Can Sligo turn this around? What do they do?”

Colm: “Well, they could pray.”

Pat: “To St Jude.”

It wasn't that long ago that the Cork hurlers were regarded as a hopeless cause. And then they did what they did to Tipperary in Thurles.

“It was a game in keeping with all the lore that surrounds the Munster Championship,” said Ger. “Sometimes Cork and Tipperary serve up something that’s just beyond words, and today was one of those days. It was just epic from start to finish.”

See, Joe? Hey, Jude? There’s always hope.