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KNEEJERK: Our Controversial Columnist Was Furious At RTE Yesterday

KNEEJERK: Our Controversial Columnist Was Furious At RTE Yesterday
Sean Og O Kneejerk
By Sean Og O Kneejerk
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A demanding character in all senses, Sean Óg never seeks to explain away a result with reference to the winning team’s quality when an alternative theory presents itself in the shape of the losing team’s shiteness.

Often times, after suffering through a dreary match, he might toss out the opinion that the winning team were actually no good either. It was just that the losing team pushed the boundaries of badness to such radical extremes that the winning team couldn’t help but win handily in spite of themselves.

Yesterday's Connacht final was one such game. But only up to a point. You see, Sean Óg, as has been explained before, is nothing if not a purist, and, as such, he is remarkably swift to proclaim the revival of Galway football and has done so many times over the past eight years, often on the basis of the flimsiest of evidence. 

Predictably, however, the main thrust of his commentary centred on the almost willful terribleness of Roscommon, most especially their attacking strategy which consisted of cumbersome, crab-like, panicky bouts of hand-passing. 


Following a sustained bout of grumbling from Sean Óg on Saturday evening, Paídí the barman, who is in his early 20s, brought in his laptop on the Sunday, switched on the RTE Live Player and hooked it up to the big screen. Thus the punters could enjoy live coverage of the Connacht Football Final replay in Castlebar.  

Arguably the biggest positive of this for Sean Óg was that it ensured he would miss the Leinster football final, a game he has gone out of his way to avoid for the past three years.


What did we hear from the apologists last week? It was all about the conditions. Roscommon, these Division 1 high-fliers, only stank the place up last week because they were handicapped by the drizzle in Salthill. Well, now we know that their ability to play rubbish, turgid shite is undiminished in decent weather conditions.

A perfect day for football and we're still treated to the spectacle of these plodders fist passing the ball from side in side in front of the Galway defence. After about three minutes of this, one of the Galway defenders would horse into them and break up their aimless fannying about sessions, or else one of their forwards would blaze a ball wide from about forty yards out.

At least that was the evidence of the bit of the match I saw.


Unfortunately, from 28 minutes on, by which the time scoreboard already read 'Galway 2-8  Roscommon 0-3', Sean Óg and the other punters had to make do with staring at a frozen screen which bore the message '#Error 2032'. 

While no one could accuse him of being an internet boffin, Sean Óg is no Luddite. He has tried to make use of the RTE Player service in recent times. At a wedding last year, he missed the evening edition of the Sunday Game, a programme which he appears to hate but still watches religiously. He tried to catch up on the Player on the Monday morning. 



Having procured his nephew's laptop for the purposes of watching it in the hotel, he found the Sunday Game and waited for it to load. 

19 ads later and with no sign of Des Cahill appearing on screen, Sean Óg had already gone well past the point of restlessness and was now boiling with very visible frustration. His obvious agitation attracted nervous glances from the other guests who were milling around the lobby area. 

The experiment ended with Sean Óg giving up in disgust, slamming the laptop down on the coffee table, causing considerable damage to its undercarriage and rendering it more or less unusable from then on. There followed a financial wrangle as his nephew's parents attempted to wrestle money out of him for the repairs. 


We stared at the frozen screen for about twenty minutes. Paídí fiddled around with the laptop a few times (refreshed the page) and managed to get it up screen again. It'd stall a few times and you'd be looking at a still shot of some Roscommon lad halfway through misplacing a pass into Danny Cummins's hands for the next five minutes.

Some of the lads at the back of the room were getting a bit impatient looking at this. And Paídí was fairly resigned to it not changing after fifteen minutes. He asked me did I want to stick on the Leinster final.

I wasn't having any of that so I told him to stick on the golf instead.


It's good to know that the tech wizards in RTE are making such good use of our licence fee. The last time I sat down and looked at the RTE Player was to watch the Sunday Game evening show. They showed at least 45 ads and then when I finally did get to see a bit of action, it stalled about 400 times in ten minutes.

The RTE Player is mainly ads from what I can see. I suppose they have to pay Ray D'arcy and Ryan Tubridy's wages somehow.



The RTE bashing didn't cease there.

There are many things in this world that Sean Óg happily admits are beyond his comprehension.

He doesn't understand how Enda Kenny got to where he is.

He doesn’t know why the large fortunes paid to RTE presenters hasn’t sparked a violent, Bolshevik style revolution yet.

He doesn't understand why his heterosexual teenage nieces were so invested in the gay marriage referendum. He voted Yes, we should add, but in a gruff 'what's it got to do with me' kind of way. He wasn't sending endless tweets about it. 

He doesn’t know why anyone, anywhere, votes for the Labour party.

But the thing he struggles to understand more than anything else in this world is why the first game shown on the Sunday Game evening programme is always the game that was shown live on RTE 1 that afternoon.

His bafflement is such that he no longer even feels outrage at the fact, this being an emotion he can usually summon up at will.   

He has spent years pondering this question. He has even sought the answer from other people he concedes might be better placed to know the answer, a rare move for a man who usually relies on his own instincts to form an impression of things.

There were scores of football matches on at the weekend. Four qualifiers on yesterday and three provincial finals on today. RTE screened two of the games live and the internet showed us a few seconds of the Connacht final replay up in Castlebar.

One would have thought, if you were a producer in RTE, that you might give top billing to one of the games that hadn't been shown on RTE that day.

The Connacht Final replay, which only the privileged few who were in the ground and those who have prisitine internet were able to see, might have been the obvious candidate here.

But no, RTE decide to show the Ulster final at the top of the show, a match that the vast majority of people have already watched live that afternoon.

Meanwhile, there qualifiers from yesterday which only merit piffling little past tense reports of the type you get on the News. And these are games which no one has seen.

Can anyone out there tell me this is so? Anyone?

(Sean Óg Ó Kneejerk was in conversation with Conor Neville)

Read more: How Courageous Management Transformed Dublin Football Between 2009 And 2011





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