Football

'We're Knowledgeable Gobshites!' - The Glorious Time RTÉ Flirted With A Studio Audience For USA 94

'We're Knowledgeable Gobshites!' - The Glorious Time RTÉ Flirted With A Studio Audience For USA 94

Perhaps it was the absence of Eamon Dunphy from the studio during the summer of 1994, but RTÉ was emboldened to introduce a specially selected studio audience for their post-match analysis for the USA World Cup.

Italia '90 was only a few short years before and the inflatable hammer brigade still had the run of the pitch. Getting Eamon to talk about Ireland football matches in front of a crowd of people could have precipitated a mini-riot, no matter how respectable the designated guests.

Yes, long before BT Sports and Setanta Sports introduced a live studio audience to supplement their analysis, RTÉ did so for USA 94.

GAA players and managers (Brian Mullins, Mickey Linden and Mick O'Dwyer), rugby players (Tony Ward), politicians (Michael D Higgins), former footballers (Paddy Mulligan).

The high point arrived following Ireland's 0-0 draw with Norway, a monumentally boring game which nonetheless guaranteed Ireland qualification for the last 16.

Morning Ireland anchor Cathal Mac Coille said he didn't feel one bit sorry for Norway on the grounds of what happened to Brian Boru in 1014.

My first instinct was to say, 'Yes, I am sorry for Norway, it's tough' but remembering back, the last time we had a fixture against Norway, our manager wasn't anywhere near the action and what did ye do to him? Ye took the head off him. So, after Brian Boru, 980 years later, ye owe us one.

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Just before that, Ted Walsh, seated beside Michael D., proudly owned up to being a 'soccer gobshite'. At the time, Ted regarded the thought of the Queen of England belting out the national anthem in Croke Park as being the height of fantasy, for he chose that analogy to describe the thought of Ireland reaching two World Cups would have seemed to the population in the late 1970s.

How close Ted's fantasy scenario came to playing out 17 years later. Between visiting the Garden of Remembrance and traipsing around Croke Park, Mrs Windsor (as Gerry Adams still called her back in 1994) did everything short of singing the Soldiers Song.

To say, 15 years ago or 20 years ago, we were going to be involved in two World Cups, you might as well say the Queen was going to sing the national anthem in Croke Park.

Video: [killianm2]

See Also: These 34 Magical Photos From USA 94 Make Us Feel So Proud To Be Irish

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