A good sports documentary hinges on the subject matter. Ideally, the narrative would be multi-layered, controversial, a sea of emotion and passion that delves into unexplored yet gripping subject matter. The Irish boxing team's fortunes of 2016 unquestionably meet that bill.
Tonight, Eir Sport airs the first of a two-part documentary series that tells the story of the chaos and heartbreak experienced by the Irish Boxing Team at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The entire debacle, from Michael Conlan's disgraceful loss, Paddy Barnes weight issues, Billy Walsh's departure, Michael O'Reilly's failed drug test and Katie Taylor's disappointment is examined in the sweeping show that, in the end, leaves the viewer that little bit closer to understanding what was frankly an incomprehensible affair.
There were allegations of drug use, gambling and corruption. There were governmental inquests and unrelenting newspaper headlines. Featuring contributions from Kenneth Egan, Andy Lee and Billy Walsh, Broken Rings is a fully comprehensive look at the scandal and setbacks associated with this bizarre episode of Irish boxing's history.
In episode one, the departure of Billy Walsh, the coach credited with Ireland's unprecedented success in London, is again presented as the absurd failure that it was. There is a striking moment when the then Minister of Sport, Patrick O'Donovan, tells the Oireachtas in no uncertain terms what led to Walsh's move to the US: "A total and absolute halms has been made of this, from start to finish."
Cut to a blunt Walsh whose assessment of it all is damning.
Ger Gilroy: In a way, you called there bluff and decided to take a job in America?
Walsh: Yeah and that was torturous for me. The reason why it lasted so long, the ten-month negotiations is because I didn't want to go. I gave them every opportunity. The Minister came in, the sports council came in and said sort this guy out.
He went to the USA team, they won three medals and Ireland won none.
The documentary will air on Eir Sport at 9.30pm on both the 16th and 23rd April.