Setanta\'s RWC Coverage

Was pleasantly surprised by quality of Setanta’s RWC preview programme tonight.

Your man Dara or whatever his name is was hosting it and he’s grand. A little smug but nothing on McGurk or, God forbid, The Lizard King himself, Jim Rosenthal.

Had a panel of Neil Francis, Matt Williams and Ciaran Fitzgerald. Turned out to be a pleasant mix. Francis is kind of your “I’m not here to cheerlead” fella and he said he didn’t think Ireland would get out of the group. This was well-balanced by Ciaran Fitzgerald’s patriotic but sincere belief in the Irish players and management. Williams provided your foreign and supposedly but not too much so, objective third party view.

Williams isn’t actually as dislikable as normal in this kind of role because although his inherent arrogance is always there, he’s not involved and hence not defending anything.

Would have liked to see a bit more inter-panellist discussion rather than straight question and answer from the compere, but this might develop over the tournament.

The whole thing was pretty impressively capped with an interview with Eddie O’Sullivan. It was different to see the panelists get to ask him questions, though obviously nobody was exactly grilling him yet.

Tbh, bit of a relief to get away from the whole RTE Hook and Pope jamboree which has kind of lost the run of itself at this stage. Setanta have done well to go for straightforward analysis and discussion, rather than trying to ape RTE’s increasingly obnoxious coverage.

Neil Francis has something up his hole. Prostate! I didn’t say it.

However, the thoughts of fuzzy of TV3 footage just puts me off. You can’t argue with the NewsTalk lineup. If only they were televised.

But yes, Fats is right. The RTE problem lies in the in the Heineken Roadshow problem. It’s not analysis anymore. And the fact that it’s not on a drinking night means leaves a very bad taste in my mouth.

Fully agreed with that. It was a decent show and there was a decent level of analysis and speculation with some contrasting views. You could kind of tell already that Francis and Fitzgerald aren’t really going to get on. Dara strings it all together in a fairly unobtrusive manner.

Is it Dara O’Briain? Glad Fitzgerald has joined Setanta. Excellent analyist who knows his stuff. I think the Newstalk lineup is pretty tame to be honest. Hook is a fool obviously, while Mick Galwey was a great captain and a good player but he doesn’t strike me as someone who would be brutally honest in his analysis (very honest player mind you). Keith wood is decent. No more no less. How many matches do TV3 have? Going to opt for Setanta for all matches most likely.

Dara O’Briain is an excellent broadcaster - totally devoid of any bullshite

I hate Neil Francis with a passion. Good point by Piper though on the merits of Fitzgerald…

I’m well impressed with Setanta’s coverage so far.

The other night they showed the full uninterrupted coverage of O’Sullivan’s press conference after he announced the team. It was quite tense and you could feel the surprise in the room with Thornley in particular asking him a couple of times about Murphy. Some Nordie journalist then started asking was there more honesty amongst the team than being given at press conferences.

At one stage O’Sullivan stopped and asked a journalist if he was alright, presumably at the look he had on his face.

Interesting to see EOS under this kind of pressure.

TV3 on the other hand is predictably crap. While I don’t mind Matt Cooper on the radio, he’s a bit of a gombeen on TV. Also, Victor Costelloe is ridiculously laid back. He looks like he’s going to slide off the chair. As so often with TV3, it feels cheap and shallow.

Agreed that Setanta’s coverage has been good. It seems a bit tabloidy at times with Paul Dempsey screaming at the television and Matt Williams with his one liners (he was talking the other day about the P Rule). On the other hand O’Briain and Fitzgerald are better than anything else on any other station and the clips they show to go along with the coverage is also well edited.

Yeah, Dempsey’s a bit much actually, forgot about him.

It annoys me when he says ‘we’. What’s his provenance?

Also, don’t think Francis rates Toland. He never engages with him on anything and just has a generally sniffy air towards him. Maybe because he never played international.

I noticed that about Francis and Toland too. Francis just ignores absolutely everything he says and you start to feel sorry for Toland because nobody’s paying attention to him.

Dempsey is Irish - just moved to England for the broadcasting job with Sky as far as I know. He used to cover all the Irish soccer internationals on Sky too and it was “we” then as well in fairness to him. He’s never hid his Irishness at all, except by his accent which isn’t very Irish.

That was a cracking preview of the match tonight I thought and a decent interview with Eddie in the middle of it all.