Mickey Harte has had many battles on the football pitch but his latest one, concerning his comments on Brian Carthy of RTE, has resulted in the cosseted media lovelies flying into action to try to assert their perceived superiority.
With the retirement of Michael O Muircheartaigh last year, Brian Carthy was presumed by all fans to be the one to step up as RTE’s main commentator. To many, Carthy is the GAA with his annual statistics book a must for all fans and his use of language open mental pictures of all that is good in the GAA.
RTE appear to be trying to do a Jonathan Pearce on the public. Pearce is the BBC soccer commentator whose main pitch is to shout loudly. It’s not Brian Moore who used one word to perfection whereas the new breed believe constant waffle makes you a good relayer to the public.
Harte, the multi All Ireland winning coach wrote to RTE to make his point. Those in the print media seem to believe that only they are allowed to pontificate on matters and seem to view Harte and others as upstarts or backwoodsmen. Eric Cantona’s quote of seagulls following trawlers appears apt here.
Harte is correct in that the GAA is unique and a commentator on the two codes has to have this appreciation. Anyone who has ever lived abroad will recall the brilliance of tuning in on long wave back in the 80’s like I did and listening in as Barney Rock or Jack o’Shea came alive. They came alive on radio because the commentator made it so.
These self-same media types are the first to whinge when coaches and players don’t play ball with them. They can’t have it both ways. If RTE, paid for by the public of course, did a straw poll, I guarantee Carthy would be the people’s choice for the main commentator’s role.
Perhaps Carthy eats his dinner at lunchtime and the open necked shirt types in the national press who love throwing odium at any sense of middle Ireland, don’t like this. Who knows?
Mickey Harte has too much class to say, ‘’show us your medal’s lads’’ but those who use the pen to slaughter the voice of the majority really need to put down their cafe latte’s and get out of the press box and go talk to the punters who all know Carthy but then might not necessarily know the ‘’Correspondents’’. Perhaps this is the problem in this current controversy. They like the reflected glory of talking to coaches and players but don’t want to upset RTE just in case their mugs don’t appear on the Sunday Game. These are the same writers who slagged off Graeme Geraghty but somehow I don’t see them getting into the goalmouth at Croker, do you?
BBC famously showed a tub of lard in place of Roy Hattersley when the MP wouldn’t appear on Have I got News for you, a decade ago. I’d wager two cans of corned beef would make more sense on the Sunday Game than the two bucko’s currently going into bat for RTE against Harte.
If the RTE DG, Noel Curran, has any sense, then he will intervene and inform RTE Head of Sport, Ryle Nugent, to put Carthy at the top table again.
Another good solution would be for RTE to host a debate, live on air, with the two amigos and Harte. Let’s see if they have the neck to say what they write, direct to his face. Somehow I doubt. The decent skins don’t only exist in Irish Soccer. They are alive and well in GAA too.