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The First Guest On 'The Marty Squad' Yesterday Sparks Uncomfortable Memories...

The First Guest On 'The Marty Squad' Yesterday Sparks Uncomfortable Memories...
Conor Neville
By Conor Neville
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It's fourteen years since a Taoiseach first grappled with the nuances of sporting analysis on the national broadcaster.

On September 8 2001, Bertie Ahern took his seat between then presenter Eamon Dunphy and John Giles on 'The Premiership'. While his appearance was overshadowed by events later on in the week, the Irish Times letters page on September 12 still contained letters (largely from League of Ireland fans) complaining about Bertie's appearance.

For what it was worth, Bertie expressed satisfaction with Manchester United's 4-1 win over Everton, proclaimed Mikael Silvestre 'a great player', called Michael Owen 'Michael Owens' and referred to a mysterious Man United midfielder called 'Luke Chapman', who appeared to occupy roughly the same space on the pitch as Luke Chadwick.

He also risked some votes by appearing pleased with Liverpool's sluggish start to the season.



Yesterday, a Taoiseach once more delivered his thoughts on the sport of the day. This time it was Gaelic football and the most famous Mayo football nut on the planet.



Enda Kenny was the first guest on 'The Marty Squad'. Happily, Enda referenced the title in his opening remarks.

His analysis veered towards the traditional rather than the cutting edge and he steered clear of offering detailed critiques of the players and management. No one was labelled a disgrace. Mindful that Fine Gael candidates are trying to get elected in Galway too, he said they were 'a coming team' and described Gary Sice's goal as 'a peach'.

I think from Mayo's point of view, physically, they're very well prepared. The question is... I was reading an article by Darragh O'Se last week which I think is very true and he said, if you're taking it out of a team at this level for five, six or seven years, out of particular players, and they don't have the ultimate success, it's incredibly difficult to get that incentive to climb the cliff. And Mayo are in that position. 65 years without an All-Ireland, Connacht champions four times in a row, going for five, but when you don't have ultimate success, it makes very difficult at this level of training for players...

But sunshine-y day in Pearse Stadium, a win's a win. Ten week lay-off, back to the drawing board for the next day.

Enda's Gaelic football credentials are reasonably strong, having won a few intermediate championships in Mayo. He was 'a tight marking wing back' who didn't let people by him easily, an exchange which produced gales of laughter obviously.

The Marty Squad replaced Second Captains Championship for this year and has adopted a more populist tone. Second Captains decided against employing Brenda Donoghue to interview couples from opposing counties. It was probably the better for it.


Read more: Martin McHugh Offers Bizarre Explanation Why Meath Football Is In Big Trouble



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