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Billy on the Box: I’m away with the Canaries

I must be getting old, but I'm sure I've been here before, having a moan about the lack of coverage of local football.

Now you may think my timing is a bit odd as the WWE Irish Cup, or whatever it's called, got wall to wall coverage it has never experienced before in all sorts of weird places and not even a ball kicked in anger.

There were many other things booted as all hell broke loose as Newry and Larne lost it and we all eagerly awaited coverage of the fight clubs’ border rumble. And waited. Ah well, at least the news covered it, sort of.

The best we had to offer was some photos, the protagonists not having the decency to stage their bout within touching distance of Belfast so that the BBC and UTV could film it, and while the latter did go to Dungannon's game with Malachians (must have a cameraman who lives near Stangmore), meanwhile Last of the Mohicans II was in full flow further south.

Stephen Nolan must have been salivating as if the chip van had just pulled up outside Broadcasting House, at the thought of putting his feet into the local game yet again on Radio Ulster. Funny how there's never the same hoo-hah when it's two GAA teams knocking lumps out of each other or rugby players trying to use someone's head as a bowling ball.

But well done to the wireless for being there on Saturday, Paul ‘Babyface' Gilmour and Alan ‘Big Boot' Paterson, commentating live from Madison Square Showgrounds.

Now I'm not belittling the trouble but the ultimate kick in the teeth for fans of the 28 other teams who managed to get a game played is that they then look at the national line-up and see Late Kick Off on the schedules.

In their wisdom, every BBC region (other than Scotland and Wales who already have shows) have put on a programme on Monday night focusing on the teams from their respective areas, meanwhile what are we left with? Jackie's Jaunts.

Still good to see someone from the sport department doing something, but following Mr Fullerton to Jersey while people were having jerseys ripped off them wasn't just the same, although I was quite glad that the only white bits on show were Jackie's legs.

“We thought we were God's gift and boy did we break some hearts,” Jackie reminisced. Not as many as those of us wanting to see some goals as some football broke out in Irish Cup weekend.

Newsline had plenty to say about the trouble but when it came to showing some action, the machine broke and we were left with nothing. Nice picture of Carnfunnock though, and I shouted something similar at the TV.

So, while Jackie and his golden oldies were living the dolce veda in the Channel Islands, I channel hopped and went east, BBC East, courtesy of the digital age to Norwich, where we had a football show presented by Matt Holland, with Paul Ince and Bryan Gunn guesting in the studio.

And it was the same across Britain, presenter and pundits discussing football and showing goals, with behind the scenes reports and analysis. It'll never catch on.

Still, it was apt that Jackie was staying in the Hotel Metropole, popping Sanatogen and raving the night away to Engelbert Humperdinck's ailing cousin, as it's the pits that we don't give our sport presenters some sport to do.

As Delia might say, come on Northern Ireland broadcasters, let's be having you.

Belfast Telegraph