Three cheers for RTE Punditry

We’ve grown so accustomed to the sight and sounds of Johnny Giles and Eamon Dunphy on International football night that it’s hardly an exaggeration to say that they are a collective sporting institution in Ireland. The pair have been regular fixtures on RTE’S Studio programmes for two decades now and it is to RTE’s credit that they have remained loyal to the ‘grumpy old men’ of Irish football, whose analysis, bickering and outbursts have provided the bright spots on many’s a night when the football on display offered little to remember. The cantankerous duo have become a trio with the arrival of Liam Brady in recent campaigns, a development which has worked very well in providing a balance on occasion to Dunphy’s sweeping statements and Giles’ begrudging observations.

Dunphy even provided us with a throwback to his post-Saipan tantrums when he confessed on Saturday that he actually wanted the team to lose to Wales to hasten the departure of Staunton from the Managerial helm. On tonight’s programme, Brady and Giles had harsh words for Roy Keane’s intemperate outburst about Shay Given’s international caps tally, whilst Giles even found time to slander the footballing reputation of Rio Ferdinand in a manner that no pundit would be permitted to do on BBC or ITV.

Whether they are loved, liked, loathed or simply tolerated by viewers, the fact remains that football punditry in Ireland remains as sharp and opinionated as ever in no small measure due to the influence of these two giants of the Irish game. Long may they continue to rei[g]n!

  • Shore Road Resident

    Why don’t you just say “I didn’t watch the Six Counties match” and be done with it?

  • Pete Baker

    “Long may they continue to rein!”

    That, of course, should read.. Long may they continue to reign!

    Y’know.. like a monarch ;op

    As for Dunphy admitting “he actually wanted the team to lose to Wales to hasten the departure of Staunton”

    Well.. no surprise that Dunphy puts his own partisan objectives [re: Keane] before actual analysis.

  • GavBelfast

    Dunphy used to be amusing, up to about the point where he wore Cameroon colours at some game the breakaway-FAI side were playing a few years ago, when he started this ‘I hope we lose’ caper.

    Then, we had the drunken appearances, which RTE indulged for a while.

    Then we had his own chat-show on TV3, which bombed in he ratings and only lasted a few weeks, but not before the unedifying sight of him fawning and salivating, almost but (thankfully) not quite to the point of fellating at the real life image of ‘Keano’.

    He’s a bar bore.

  • Cahal

    SRR, what are you on about?

    As for Giles and co, they are superb. I’d rather watch them than the republic these days. The fact that the BBC are reporting that stan is both delighted and thrilled about beating slovakia, well that says it all.

  • Token Dissent

    Dunphy, Giles and Brady are stars. Their ability to see through the bullshit repuations of superstars like Ronaldo, Lampard etc. is a joy to watch. Especially compared to the cosy old pros club we see on the BBC and ITV.

    I believe that Dunphy’s regular speech about the importance of “character” and “moral courage” should be taught to all school children!!

    But there is only one footy story tonight folks – the unreal progress of Norn Iron! I’m I dreaming or is a trip to Austria and Switzerland really coming up on the horizion?

  • Pete Baker

    “Dunphy, Giles and Brady are stars. Their ability to see through the bullshit repuations of superstars like Ronaldo, Lampard etc. is a joy to watch.”

    But not, in the case of Dunphy, Keane.

  • sammaguire

    RTE have got it right with Giles and Dunphy. They’re head and shoulders better than BBC/ITV. What I like about Dunphy is his passion for the game. I love when he gets it wrong (“Platini’s a good player, not a great player”) more than when he gets it right!
    Anyway well done Norn Irn! Will IFA take advantage of the GAA’s generosity and request the use of Clones (it is in Ulster) for internationals while that stand is repaired?

  • he lay

    Ach, Chris – such a shame that you can’t enjoy tonight. The team of your own country continued their run of victories. Surely you’re not SO small-minded as to not feel any satisfaction at all in that?
    Please do let us know. We’re all Northern Irish now, sure 🙂

  • GAWA

    Did they have much to say about the best team on the island? 😉

  • Dave

    I like these two pundits along with the host but on a Saturday there does tend to be one or two drab pundits on the show.

    My favourite setup is Hansen and Linekar I like the mutual respect these two men have for each other and listening to their jokes and views is always enjoyable.

  • Chris Donnelly

    PB
    Knew somebody would ‘rain’ on my parade- will fix it now ta.

    As for the likely intoxicated trolls, well done to the six counties. To answer SRR, I actually did flick between the games to keep abreast of the scoreline in Belfast.

    GAWA
    Sure weren’t they watching the best team on the island?!?

    HELAY
    Tonight’s result was rather enjoyable. The team of my country played very well in the first half but were too defensive minded in the second. Well done on your victory. As your fellow Irishman, it’s good to see the two international teams winning.

  • Henry94

    I think the panel are too long at it and have descended into self-parody. I think prediction is the hard-currency of sporting punditry. On that Giles has very good form but the others are no better than you would do yourself.

    Lampard is a very good player. Keane was a great player and Ronaldo is the type of player that is the reason we all started watching in the first place.

    Comparing them to the giants of yesteryear is not fair because of the saturation coverage. When all you know are the highlights eveyone looks good.

    We take sport too seriously anyway.

  • slug

    In gerneral I tend to prefer these types of ‘expert’ people on panels to be switched around every couple of years.

    On the BBC where I am rather tired of hearing Larwo and Hansen. Though Martin O’Neill for some reason I never tire of listening to.

  • slug

    Lawrie Sanchez I think is impressive partly because when interviewed after these games he never seems greatly pleased by a NI win, the message is always that we have to focus on the next challenge and keep a level head.

  • Yokel

    Stiles & Grumpy are legends. For the GAWA lads, Grumpy has in the past had a fairly good grasp of the ngoings on with NI.

  • John

    I’m not a life-long soccer fan – doesn’t compare with baseball 🙂 – but I’ve always found Johnny Giles to be tremendously honest. I remember when I first started watching soccer how I talked about how much I would have loved it if the big US networks had employed someone half as honest and devoid of bulls**t as Giles to talk baseball.

    Dunphy can be all right, but he’s a minnow compared with Giles.

    Brady has grown on me. I used to think he was too dour, but now I think he’s relaxed a bit and he’s very good. I thought last night’s questions from O’Herlihy to Brady about Brady’s experiences at Celtic and how he sees Staunton in a similar situation were excellent. (If only Dunphy hadn’t butted in unnecessarily). Still, O’Herlihy did a good job of bringing it back to Brady’s analysis, which was very honest and almost moving. You can tell he has real sympathy for Staunton, but it doesn’t stop him being coldly analytical, which is his job.

  • Garibaldy

    “The team of my country played very well in the first half but were too defensive minded in the second. Well done on your victory. As your fellow Irishman, it’s good to see the two international teams winning.”

    Chris, does this mean the Free State now officially constitutes Ireland in your view? 🙂

  • pith

    Our pundits are better than your pundits so they are.

  • GavBelfast

    “Chris, does this mean the Free State now officially constitutes Ireland in your view? 🙂 ”

    It’s the $64,000 question for the Colonel Blimps of this world, isn’t it, especially when they were the Splitters.

  • fran

    Good result for the wee 6 last night

    Stan seems to be turning it around with Ireland

    A good six points and back in the mix with Germany & Czech’s. The players are giving their all for the manager and the young talent is starting to have an impact on the senior team.

    Unlucky result for the Ireland u21’s on Tuesday night against Holland in a friendly. Good to see the team being captained by Derry’s Darron Gibson and also Belfast’s Tony Kane continued his good form.

  • Yokel

    Pith

    Aye my uncle is bigger than your uncle so he is…..

  • Diluted Orange

    To be honest the punditry on NI matches is woeful but for me their limitations and the inadequacy of Jackie Fullerton all adds to the experience. NI are simply awesome.

    Well done to the Republic on last night’s result too, its just a bit of a shame that some folk North of the border won’t put their political differences to one side and give OWC a chance.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Well done to the Republic on last night’s result too, its just a bit of a shame that some folk North of the border won’t put their political differences to one side and give OWC a chance.

    DO

    See comments on other football thread as to why you need to get over that- it ain’t gonna happen and nor should you be particularly bothered about it.

  • Papist lovin’ Romanist

    Dunphy, Giles, Billo and Brady make a great puditry team. The chemistry is just right. There is always an air of disagreement about them, unlike the chummy, chumikin capers of the BBC and their wistful rememberances of innocent japes and capers in the dressing rooms.
    I remember after an England game during the world cup, can’t remember which, but England were terrible, and RTÉ used a BBC post-match interview with Sven. The BBC interviewer was on about what a great game it was. After they were finished the interview, they flicked back to the boys in the studio, and there was a look of shock on all their faces about what they’d just heard. Dunphy starts to laugh, and says, ‘That’s the first time I’ve ever seen two men make love on live tv’! Billo was shocked, as were the rest of them. ‘You can’t say things like that on a family show Eamon’. Dunphy just continued to p!ss himself.
    I remember the look on Graham Souness’ face when he first joined the team for the world cup coverage. He couldn’t believe the difference in honesty, compared to the usual in England. By the end of it, he was swinging as hard as the rest of them. You could see the relief on the mans face to finally let it all out!
    Other great Dunphy moments:

    Dunphy on Harry Kewell: ‘He’s a clown and fat. A fat clown for all to see.’

    Dunphy on Gordon Strachan and Alex Ferguson:
    Dunphy: ‘There are two types of Scot, the happy type and the dour type. Tonight we’ve seen the dour type.’
    Billo: ‘Surely that’s a very racist comment Eamon?’
    Dunphy: ‘No Bill. It’s ethnic stereotyping!’