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Kneejerk: Our Controversial Columnist Lets Loose On The Marty Squad - And Thurles

Kneejerk: Our Controversial Columnist Lets Loose On The Marty Squad - And Thurles
By Sean Og O Kneejerk
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Sean Óg couldn't be found in his normal haunt in Mulligans yesterday evening. We had to conduct our interview via a phone conversation while he was sat in a filling station on the M7.

For a man so devoted to watching matches every week, Sean Óg is ferociously resistant to the idea of actually going to a game. 

Yesterday, after much persuasion, he agreed to allow his son take him to the All-Ireland quarter-finals in Semple Stadium. 

Judging from the tone of our shorter than usual conversation yesterday evening, it is a decision he looked back on with nothing but regret.

"Home of hurling my hole," was his ominous opening gambit.

Semple Stadium has to be the most overrated place on the planet. Our tickets were in the 'New Stand', as everyone calls it. I don't know why everyone calls it this.

The 'New Stand' hasn't been what any half-reasonable person would describe as 'new' for the last 20 years. And the seats didn't even have a back to them. Just an arse groove.


Naturally, when we took our seats, we were sat behind a bloody pole. We had to crane our necks around the pole to see what was happening when the ball went down towards the Killinan End goal.

And for a place that's supposed to be the home of knowledgeable hurling people, the man reading out the announcements over the tannoy wasn't too clued in to what's what.

After about forty minutes, he told us that someone called 'Brendan Bolger' was coming off for David Fitzgerald. We're fed all this bullshit romanticism about Thurles and how it's nearly a sacred place. It's crap from start to the finish.


Navigating his way out of the stadium, his biggest concern was to avoid bumping into Brenda Donoghue of the Marty Squad.

His son reassured him that Brenda was probably too preoccupied with finding Galway women with Clare boyfriends to bother with the likes of him.


But he still wasn't able to relax until he had got all way down the end of Parnell Street. And even then he wasn't 100% sure she wouldn't be prowling around the square.    


Worst of all, on the way home, he was forced to actually listen to the Marty Squad.

He longed for the days of Sportscall with Des Cahill, a show he even rang into on a couple of occasions. Namely, to defend Colin Lynch after the 1998 Munster Final replay, and to tell the world that Brian Cody had been found out after the 2001 All-Ireland hurling semi-final. The latter clip was apparently dredged up by a Kilkenny radio station and replayed for comedic purposes a couple of years back, but news of this has apparently yet to reach Sean Óg.       

While we were booting it down the motorway, we had to put up with the aural pollution that is the Marty Squad. The show almost drained me of the will to live.


This is what match-goers are treated to on their drive home from the match. No wonder attendances are down. Managers and players and media hangers-on mouthing cliches. And then there's Brenda outside among the crowds, thrusting her RTE microphone in their face.

She reminds me of Sean South. From Garryowen. The guy they sing about in the Big Tree after big matches in Croke Park.

Sean South used to break up couples canoodling in the cinema in Limerick. He did it because he was a member of Opus Dei and was an out-and-out Holy Joe. As someone suggested to me a while ago, he'd have been killed long before the RUC got hold of him had he tried that on in Limerick these days. Brenda, on the other hand, breaks up couples canoodling because she wants to stick a furry mic in their face.


She had JP McManus on about a month ago after Tipperary beat Limerick in the championship. Platitudinous shite about how it didn't go so well today, but they gave it their all and they train hard and they'll be back the next day.

How about asking him about the fact that it has been recently reported that he paid no income tax or capital gains tax in Ireland for the past twenty years? (This particular segment was carefully reworded by our legal department. Sean Óg was rather more loose-tongued in his accusations about JP McManus financial dealings and isn't usually as legally precise as implied by the wording of the sentence above.)

We put it to Sean Óg that Brenda did not purport to be Vincent Browne or Sean O'Rourke. She was engaging in light-hearted banter with the fans, and that many listeners, such as former Fine Gael councillor Bill Tormey, believe that the show is a nice antidote to the cynicism of much GAA analysis. 


Furthermore, we tried to argue that the Marty Squad does do the odd bit of serious analysis. They had Damien Hayes and Anthony Daly on talking about the game yesterday, for instance. And Marty is an effervescent personality and a fine commentator on his day. We were forcefully rebuffed.

It's an abomination. What was wrong with Sportscall?

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

Read more: Pat Spillane's Analysis Of 1992 Semi-Final Makes Particularly Interesting Watching In 2016

Read more: KNEEJERK: Our Controversial Columnist Knows Exactly Who Is To Blame For Galway Loss

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