TV REVIEW: PORTUGAL v IRELAND and Darragh O’Brien v Eoin Ó Broin

This review first appeared in The Andersonstown News

Last week brought pain to my TV screen, not once but twice.

The first pain took the form of another footballing occasion, this time involving the Foreign Game. Alexa warbled that the Republic of Ireland was playing Portugal, in Portugal, and my heart shrank. Under Stephen Kenny as manager Ireland has won, out of fifteen games, just one. I flicked away from the Portugal game after the first minute and returned when I reckoned there’d be about fifteen minutes left. BUT WHAT’S THIS?  Not content with upsetting the bookies with Mayo beating Dublin, not content with upsetting RTÉ pundits with Tyrone beating Kerry – now Ireland were WINNING. Against PORTUGAL. With less than fifteen minutes to go.

Ronaldo, I was delighted to discover, had failed to score from the penalty spot. AND here was the Irish keeper, roughly half Ronaldo’s age, saving again from a Ronaldo free kick. Yeeeeehoooooo!! Time ticking away. Full time. Added on time. Five minutes to be played.

But wouldn’t you know it. Ronaldo scored with a header; the family cat, seeing the look on my face, darted from the room. Which was wise of him, because minutes later Ronaldo, that popinjay,that cockatoo, that self-worshipping bronzed son of a Portugese mother, has scored a second time, given Portugal the lead, has ripped off his shirt and is running around showing everyone how hair-free his chest is. I collapse back in my chair, calling on my Maker to spare me more pain.

It’s the hope that kills you.


Last Thursday’s Prime Time  (RTÉ ONE) saw  the south’s Housing Minister, Darragh O’Brien, tell Miriam O’Callaghan about the wheeze he’s developed to build 300,000 houses and spend something like €4 billion a year on doing so. Miriam didn’t ask him when he’d last been at Confession, but she did cut him short several times. Each time she did, Daragh would protest ‘No, hold on, I must finish this point because it’s very imp –‘ but Miriam would firmly flatten him: ‘No, Minister, let’s go on to…’ and she’d fire another probing question. Daragh, to be fair, kept his cool and even smiled, his flop of curl dangling playfully on his brow.

Later in the show Eoin Ó Broin came on and, magnificent in his Mr Magoo glasses, demolished poor Daragh and all his little housing plans and schemes. There is a hard drive of Housing inside Ó Broin’s brain, and last week he used it to telling effect. It was noted that Daragh the Minister for Housing had been asked to come on and debate his housing plans with Eoin but had refused. Eoin said that was a pity, he’d have liked to debate the plans and schemes with him. From somewhere in the depths of RTÉ, Daragh’s sigh of relief sounded like a camel’s cough.

Once when he had a cancer health scare, Ronnie Drew was asked how it had felt. “How would you feel if you’d nearly been run over by a bus?” Ronnie replied. Departing RTÉ, I suspect Daragh O’Brien knew exactly what Ronnie meant.

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