Belfast Telegraph

Billy on the Box: It’s official, the Beeb have totally gone to the dogs

Do you ever get the feeling that BBC Northern Ireland are just taunting and laughing at you?

Maybe I'm getting paranoid, but when one hour of live TV is given over to greyhound racing from Drumbo, you have to wonder if people are chasing their tails so much in Broadcasting House that they're getting a tad dizzy.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all for local sport getting it's rightful place, and I've been to Drumbo on a few occasions and had a great time, but, and I know we've been here many times before, when the three quarter-finals of the Irish Cup (and don't worry there'll be a rant later about that) can attract roughly 10,000 people over a weekend, then surely there's justification for better coverage.

Although Jackie Fullerton did tell us there were 'over 300 people here' at Drumbo, so the licence fee being spent well for us all then. Most of them appeared to be there for Jackie to interview, but rather than a sporting event it felt more like Children in Need.

I have watched Match of the Day, Grandstand, Sportsnight, even World of Sport, and I never remember May McFettridge turning up to give us her unique insight into the day's action.

Nor do we get a Radio Ulster country and western presenter, but we did have Martin Rogan, Martin McHugh and Paul Leeman (who plays for some team in a league no-one is interested in) and the Tele's own resident canine colossus Ballyregan Bob Fenton, but even he couldn't add bite to this dog's dinner.

Give us dog racing, but throw us all a bone and save us from May and big Patricia.

At least I knew we could depend on Final Score to rescue us, there's bound to be pictures from all three quarter-finals. That would be no. The game between Glenavon and Ballymena United conveniently over-looked.

Perhaps the cameraman was still trying to escape from Drumbo with greyhounds nipping at his ankles?

“We're now at that anomalous state of affairs where we're at the semi-finals but eight teams remain,” smirked Mark Sidebottom, conveniently forgetting about Larne — no bad thing.

The poor ninjas from the Inver were also cruelly over-looked in the caption department, although that is more excusable as to get all the teams on for ball one they would have needed a plank. Try the IFA, there are plenty to choose from.

There has been less acrimony between Jim Allister and Ian Paisley Jnr than there has in this embarrassing delay when the decision was simple.

Replay the game, at a neutral venue, tell both warring clubs to wise up and give their share of the money from the hundreds who would attend round two, sorry, the replay, to charity.

Onto the draw, and Coleraine/Loughgall//Larne/Newry/Melchester Rovers/two boys playing kerbsie will play Linfield and Thomas Kane, manfully trying to make something out of a pig's lug, asked David Jeffrey what he thought. Thankfully he didn't answer.

Still, back to the studio, where we could at least expect some incisive, sensible thoughts from Sidebottom.

“It's about as clear as mud. Let's go back to muddy old Seaview...” Mud? It's a 4G plastic pitch, what mud is there going to be, unless the BBC have lent them some from between the ears of its presenters. Time to send for May.

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