TV View: Uplifting sporting moments in the middle of the storms

Harry Maguire scored United’s first goal from a corner in 140th attempt this season

You know what they say, there's always someone worse off, so when news filtered through from Beijing about Finland's Remi Lindholm ending the 50km skiing race with a part of his anatomy quite literally frozen – and we're not talking ear lobes here – it put our nation's stormy experience the last few days in perspective.

Until hearing about Remi the bulk of our veneration had been directed towards our most essential of stormy workers, the electricity-restoring ESB people and the folk who operated TG4's cameras for their coverage of the Allianz Football League on Sunday.

The TG4 crew stationed in Omagh for the clash of Tyrone and Kildare were, perhaps, the most heroic of all, not least in that little spell before half time when four seasons arrived all in the one minute.

In or around the time one of the counties – possibly Kildare – scored from a free – possibly taken by Mark Donnellan – the sun came out to put a blinding dazzle on the upper half of the screen, like it had been taken over by disco balls, the lower half obliterated by the horizontal sleet driven by the hurricane-ish winds. Like Storm Dudley and Storm Eunice had hung around Omagh for a ménage à trois with Storm Franklin.


When the obscured player hit the free it initially seemed to be heading for Ballybunion, the effort disappearing behind the disco balls. Our commentary team of Brian Tyers and Mark Harte were none the wiser until the umpires raised their flags. Someone had, indeed, scored.


In the heroism rankings TG4’s Emer Gallagher was right up there too, the (currently injured) Donegal footballer asked by Micheál Ó Domhnaill to provide the stats from the first half at the break. Somehow she managed to fulfil the request while looking in to a camera that appeared to be positioned on a trampoline, when such was the visibility it might as well have been the Harlem Globetrotters v Panathinaikos out there.

But that was the day that was in it.

The channel-surfing accidentally took us to rugby, the United Rugby Championship meeting of Dragons and Ulster at Rodney Parade in Newport, South Wales. where a Garryowen might well have ended up in Newry.

Eddie Butler had a hearty chuckle when the ref hollered "not straight!" after Ulster hooker Bradley Roberts chucked the ball in at a lineout, its trajectory initially perfectly fine before Franklin intervened, having much the same impact on Roberts' throw as it did on Nathan Doak's kicking. "It's like Roberto Carlos," as Tom Shanklin put it.

“It’s a day to get it over and done with,” said Eddie, “the conditions have been... disgusting.”

They were too, even helping Manchester United score from a corner, their first at just their 140th attempt this season, Harry Maguire's wind-assisted header flying past Leeds' Illan Meslier.

His ‘I’M BACK!’ sort of celebrations, though, sent Roy Keane’s cheek muscles into overdrive on Sky, the kinder Keane on the panel, Robbie, opting for a “fair play” kind of assessment of the goal, which made Roy simmer all the more.


There were no wind-assisted goals from Ireland against Russia over in La Manga on Saturday evening, the game brought to us on YouTube by a hardy camera-person who, no more than ourselves, might have thought that the weather in La Manga would be pleasant, it being La Manga.

Instead Storm Dudley, Eunice and Franklin dropped by, rendering La Manga Omagh-ish. But no matter, we got to see Chloe Mustaki make her senior international soccer debut, which is one of the more uplifting sporting stories of our time.

A lengthy battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, followed by close enough to two years out of the game with a cruciate ligament injury, and there she was taking to the field for her first senior cap. And finishing the game as player of the match.

Sport can break your heart, like with Kamila Valieva’s Winter Olympic experience and the treatment of her by her truly hideous coach Eteri Tutberidze. But then days like Saturday come along and you see a warrior like Chloe Mustaki rewarded for her courage and your heart is warmed to its very core.

Despite the best efforts of Dudley, Eunice and Franklin.