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Sporting highs and lows on the pitch and in the saddle

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Lance Armstrong...riveting television.

TV Watch with Dave O’Connell

Naturally, the World Cup overshadowed all else at the weekend, marking the end of some of the greatest sporting careers we’ve ever known. But that’s enough about Bill O’Herlihy.

Alan Hansen signed off too, although those eyebrows may still have employment potential if the BBC decides to construct a smoking lean-to outside its studios. Alan’s eyebrows would provide the perfect semi-permeable cover to accommodate at least 20 heavy smokers at any given time.

Billo’s departure marks the end of an era in Irish sports broadcasting because it’s hard to remember a time when he wasn’t the anchor man with the plaid sports coat, asking questions as though he’d just dropped in from Planet Zog.

Indeed those with good memories might remember that quintessential king of the airwaves, Liam Nolan, holding that slot back in the early days; now happily domiciled in Loughrea, Liam was the voice of radio and sport back when this fascination with football really began.

But for most of the modern history of the Green Army, Bill and the boys have been as much a part of the fabric as Jack Charlton or Roy Keane. They’ve been there to laud our big performances and to dive in with a high, two-footed, studs-up tackle when we lost.

The pretenders like Kenny Cunningham and, heaven help us, Richie Sadlier, couldn’t lace their boots and you’d wonder if Daragh Moloney – even with his new ‘burgeoning banker’ look – could ever play the gombeen like Billo.

Because that was O’Herlihy’s real strength – the ability to just ask questions, not to trade knowledge like most broadcasters try to, but to simply be a conduit for the viewer.

It’s different when Gary Lineker does it on the BBC because he did play at the highest level and it would be utterly disingenuous to try and pretend he didn’t have the inside track.

But of late Billo had started to believe his own publicity and that’s why it’s best now to put it all behind him. Let’s hope he brings Sadlier with him.

A different sport featured on a spellbinding Channel 4 documentary last week, as the rise and fall – and rise and fall – of Lance Armstrong was deconstructed in minute detail over as mesmeric a two hour televisual experience as you’ll experience.

This documentary started out with something entirely different in mind, because Alex Gibney – the man behind documentaries on everything from WikiLeaks to Al Qaeda – wanted to capture Armstrong’s return to glory and victory in the Tour de France.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

CITY TRIBUNE

Maeve named as Film Fleadh programmer

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Maeve McGrath.

Limerick woman Maeve McGrath has been named as the new Director of Programming for Galway Film Fleadh, taking over from Will Fitzgerald. She will be responsible for curating this year’s festival, which will run from July 11-16.

She previously worked as artistic director of Kerry International Film Festival, producer at Carlow Arts Festival and joint short film programmer at Dublin International Film Festival.

Maeve is involved with  Limerick’s artist-led, community-focused facility, The GAFF where she recently curated a community audio/visual project, Tiny Little Histories, and produced TravFest, a Traveller wellness festival as part of Guth na Mincéirí.

She has a Master’s in Media Studies from Limerick’s Mary I/UL, graduating in 2015 with the thesis, Irish Short Film: The Road To Oscar.

“The Fleadh has a very special place on the film festival circuit, nationally and internationally, and I am delighted to be part of the team that will programme the 35th edition,” she stated.

“I forward to being part of the continued growth of the Galway Film Fleadh and supporting the development of emerging and established filmmakers.”

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CITY TRIBUNE

Mystery of Wolfe Tone’s death

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Leader of the 1798 Rebellion Theobald Wolfe Tone.

Historical entertainer Paddy Cullivan will be at the Town Hall Theatre on Thursday next, February 2, with The Murder of Wolfe Tone, the incredible story of the mysterious death of Theobald Wolfe Tone, leader of the 1798 Rebellion and the man who is regarded as the founding father of Irish republicanism.

In this audio-visual show featuring hundreds of images, shocking new research and a vast array of songs, Paddy works to unravel the secrets and lies around what happened that fateful week in Dublin’s Provost’s Prison in November 1798 when 35-year-old Tone was found dead in his cell.

Tickets for The Murder of Wolfe Tone, which starts at 8pm are €20/18, plus a €1 booking charge. They are available at tht.ie, 091-569777 and at the Town Hall Theatre Box Office.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Funnyman Neil brings latest show to Athenry

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Neil Delamere

Comedian Neil Delamere will bring his new show, Delamerium, to the Raheen Woods Hotel in Athenry on Saturday, February 18.

Audiences can expect hilarious stories, wry observations and quick-witted improvisation as Neil tries to makes sense of the world around him.

Neil is one of the top acts working in the Irish comedy scene today, well-known to audiences for his regular television appearances on RTÉ and BBC, as well as his hilarious sell-out stand up tours.

His shows have received stellar reviews and resulted in several platinum-selling DVDs, while Neil has also written and presented comedy documentaries including programmes on the Vikings and St Patrick which won IFTA and Celtic Media awards.

He also presented a series on heroes from Ireland’s past, Holding out for a Hero, on RTÉ 2.

He’s a regular on BBC Northern Ireland’s popular panel show, The Blame Game, as well as being a panellist on BBC 5 Live’s Fighting Talk and has featured on BBC 4’s The News Quiz.

According to the Irish Times, ‘no TV camera could accurately measure the lightning speed of Delamere’s wit’, while the Scotsman awarded him five stars during an appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe, stating: ‘You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more gifted comic at the Fringe.’

He continues to tour at home and abroad and audiences can catch his latest show, Delamerium, on February 18 in Athenry.

Tickets for Delamerium are available from the hotel or at ticketsolve.ie

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