Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

Billy on the Box: Championship finally goes live via web-cam

Just four weeks into the Ulster Championship and finally a game worth shouting about and what luck for the Beeb that it coincided with them turning up live on Sunday.

For the previous three weeks we’ve had to settle for highlights and then the daftness that is ‘deferred’ coverage when you get the full game a few hours after it’s all over and anyone who was remotely interested in the match knows who won and how they did it.

Live is really the only option and in Armagh and Tyrone BBCNI were always going to be onto a winner, although RTE got in on the act too but a slip of the thumb meant I accidently found RTE2 and the International Eucharistic Congress at the RDS but someone was clearly listening to the prayers of Austin O’Callaghan.

“We’ve been waiting for a match to ignite this year’s Championship,” and verily his prayer was answered.

“It’s a game covered in a web of intrigue,” continued Austin as we cleverly panned onto a shot of a spider’s web and all creatures great and small put on a display in Armagh that St. Patrick himself would have lauded.

A lack of healing hands meant that Sean Cavanagh wasn’t able, but at least he was beside a man called Kane for the day. Hopefully after their stint on the sidelines together, big Sean will lend Thomas his sling to stop his uncontrollable habit of his left hand rising into the air every time he asks a question. It was the usual suspects in the studio, Martin McHugh locking horns with Jarlath Burns and his new unshaven look — not so much George Clooney as Clooney Gaels. In the commentary box, Mark Sidebottom was joined by Oisin McConville and was as excited as a very excited thing, and in the first 38 seconds used approximately 4,000 words. Thank goodness there was a free or they’d have had to resuscitate him.

There was an early goal for Armagh’s Aidan Forker, who ‘gave up the Irish League for the Ulster Championship’, a bit like the Beeb then, although Mark’s later comment of ‘what a difference six inches can make’ would have had them tutting and saying ‘down with that sort of thing’ at the Congress.

Then Mugsy became bugsy as we looked at Eoin Mulligan’s new tattoo, Mark suggesting ‘he and Spiderman have been on a date by the looks of things’ and finished it off with ‘he’s been spinning his own web for a decade or more.’ Ker-boom!

But remember, as Peter Parker once said: “Not everyone is meant to make a difference. But for me, the choice to lead an ordinary life is no longer an option,” especially with a game against Derry or Donegal to come.

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