With apologies to Barry Davies and whoever cut together RTE's closing montage from the 2002 World Cup, we don't think it is hyperbole to say that Après Match is the best thing about any World Cup coverage anywhere, ever.
Whereas the comedy trio's participation in RTE's Euro 2016 coverage two years ago was shrouded in doubt in the run-up to the tournament, there is no such equivocation this time around. RTE have confirmed to Balls this afternoon that Après Match will be involved in their coverage of Russia 2018, with more details on their involvement to be announced closer to kick off on June 14th.
Among the highlights from the last few World Cups has been the trio's commandeering of the full live coverage for the 3rd place playoff.
Barry Murphy was the first of the trio to appear during RTE's coverage, performing sketches during the '94 World Cup. He was joined by Ristead Cooper for Euro' 96, before Gary Cooke joined to complete the trio for France '98.
Prior to Murphy's debut, RTE dipped their toe in comedy coverage with a sketch before Ireland's clash with Holland at Italia '90. It starred beloved Cork comedy duo 'Cha and Miah and consisted of two drunk Cork lads sitting in front of a small little portable telly, singing Danny Boy (or rather 'Jackie Boy') and mispronouncing Dutch players names (Marco Van Basten becomes Marco Van Bastard). You can watch that here.
In other football-broadcast related news, ITV and BBC have unveiled their punditry teams for the World Cup, while TV3 have stolen a march on RTE regarding rights for the Champions League. From next season, TV3 have the rights to show the final and all games on a Wednesday, while they will also have their pick of a Tuesday evening game.