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And it's a lengthy hello as Championship back in style


Oisin McConville

Oisin McConville

Oisin McConville

Clearly a memo had been sent out to the BBCNI Championship team that read thus: 'we're going out on Saturday night, blue suits and brown shoes, see you like clones in Clones'.

And so it came to pass as the team, with Mark Sidebottom (who wore black shoes because he was the groom in the party) at the head of an all-star line-up as Monaghan played host to Fermanagh.

"Hi, the Championship is back, we are back and it is good to be back," he said and pictures then followed of the fans, suitably as the heavens opened, flooding in to the ground.

"So they come, first in a tribute and then a torrent," said Sidebottom as we delved into our Big Boy's Book of Geography to see what a 'tribute' was but at least I now know how an ox-bow lake is formed if he throws that in later in the competition.

"The respective managers are ready, Clones is ready and so too is the BBC's Championship team from Crossmaglen to Kilcar and beyond to the sumptuous Glens of Antrim we have you covered," he said, which, of course, is dominated by tertiary basalts which formed part of a massive lava flow some 55-60 million years ago overlying other older sedimentary rocks including sandstone, shale and limestone.

The problem with the Championship, and it is a common BBC one, is that there is this overwhelming need to get 'YOU' involved, whether it be by social media or as was bizarrely suggested on Saturday night, postcard, or Thomas Kane and his magical levitating left hand pouncing on spectators for their opinions.

We don't care, let us hear what Martin McHugh and Oisin McConville have to say, they know, and don't stop them to pay a visit to a woman barbecuing sausages in Crumlin, let the experts speak and show us the game, that's all we ask, and if you can throw in a bit of geological guff, then all the better.

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Equally annoying is that everyone is not just given a name, but it is accompanied by their club and county, I mean Sky don't feel the need to put up 'Martin Tyler, St Terry's, London' and things seem to go ticketyboo.

Remarkably a decent game broke out against all the odds, and at the break this seemed to have discombobulated Sidebottom.

"Before we hear from Jarlath and Martin, and there is much to mull over, a little something to extend you over the half-time break, can you identify our mystery player?" he mused although he seemed to have difficulty identifying who he was sitting beside.

Apology given and accepted afterwards, the second-half was a mundane affair, and by the end there was the air of a man killing time.

"We welcome all your observations and input via your preferred social media avenue but right now from this man from Kilcar and that man from Crossmaglen, I've really enjoyed both your companies this afternoon," concluded Sidebottom, but no goodbye came for Jarlath (Silverbridge, Armagh).

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