Welcome to our weekly sprinkling of the Second Captains World Service.
It's been a dark time for the Gaelic football fans out there, as their game has been ignored in favour of the small ball, on television at least. So there's no better antidote for that than a reunion of the Second Captains punditry dream-team of Mike Quirke and Oisin McConville on today's show. It will be a Cavan/Donegal Ulster final, after their stunning wins at the weekend - just what exactly has happened to make the Ulster championship the greatest show on turf this summer? And with the Dublin dominance continuing unabated, what steps are Meath taking to ensure that one day they'll be able to mount a challenge? Plus there's another very profitable weekend on the golf course for Rory McIlroy, a day of shame for hurling (as one of their refs actually applies the rules), good news at last for Graeme McDowell, and a silver medal for the Irish oche-artistes at the world darts championship.
The Women's World Cup is underway in France, but the best player in the world is nowhere to be seen. We discuss the case of Ada Hegerberg and the Norwegian Saipan. Meanwhile Ireland are top of the Euro 2020 qualifying group after an encouraging performance in the 1-1 draw in Copenhagen. The Nations League final was a fascinating duel - we talk about Matthijs de Ligt, why he's so highly rated and why he hasn't yet decided on a destination. Damien Delaney gives his view on Ireland's performance - are there real reasons to be hopeful, or is optimism getting the better of us? Lars Johnsen of Josimar magazine joins us to talk about the case of Ada Hegerberg - why isn't she at the World Cup, and how has her stance gone down in Norway?
WELCOME TO HELL, or as its better known, Copenhagen.
Champions League Final Fun, chilled Klopp, Ken On Tour and Rice to Man United all feature on our latest snifter of the Second Captains World Service. Disfrutas!
Leinster were able to bounce back from defeat in the European Champions Cup final to secure a third trophy in the last 2 years with a 18-15 defeat of Glasgow. Eoin Reddan and Gerry Thornley run the rule over the Pro 14 final - a game where that defeat to Saracens, and the opening game of the Rugby World Cup against Scotland, both cast a shadow. While Leinster were winning in Glasgow, Roscommon were doing what Roscommon do best - wrecking the best laid plans of Mayo with a stunning one-point win in Castlebar. We're joined by Shannonside FM legend Willie Hegarty. Plus there's polished wood swing seats, Sir Bradley Wiggins' culture fix (and John Lennon fixation), the Connacht internecine hatred pie-chart, and another summer of Mayo.
The president of La Liga, Javier Tebas, has attacked Manchester City and PSG for inflating the European football market, prompting a spicy response from Khaldoon al Mubarak. The City chairman's smooth delivery has charmed McDevitt - but do his arguments stand up? We also discuss whether Matthijs de Ligt would be throwing his career away by joining Manchester United. Finally Terry Daley joins us on the line to talk about the Chelsea culture war: Maurizio Sarri's first season seems respectable enough from a results point of view - so why are so many Chelsea fans against him?
Munster have now lost 8 semi-finals, and 2 finals since they last won a trophy. Many people saw last Saturday's Pro14 semi-final against Leinster in the RDS as a must-win game, but what they were left with was more questions, departing coaches and a thoroughly bewildered-looking head coach and captain. Former Munster player James Coughlan and Gerry Thornley try and assess their next move as they look to progress, while Leinster have another final to look forward to, this one against Glasgow in Celtic Park next weekend. Oisin McConville joins us to talk about an extraordinary game in the Ulster championship which saw Armagh beat Down and win their first game in the province since 2014. Plus Ken scouts Glasgow Rugby, while marvelling at all the Scottish players who have first names that are surnames, and there's golden Fairview days, the GAA herrenvolk, and Leo Cullen's cultural insensitivity.
"What is life, what is the reason why we live? It is to live these kind of emotions..." So Pep Guardiola told the BBC in his pre-FA Cup Final interview. By this standard Saturday was another great day for the City manager, as he got to live almost the full range of emotions - from exultation as his players gave another fantastic performance, to fury as a reporter took the opportunity to ask him about money matters. Why do City feel as though they're not getting the credit they deserve? What more do they have to do? Jonathan Wilson and Rory Smith join us to analyse a week that was the most successful and perhaps the most irritable in the history of Manchester City, and the part the media have themselves played in the apparent decline of trust in their integrity. We also chat about Kompany's next move, Mbappé's bombshell, and a flurry of dubious quotes involving Gareth Bale.
Who "barely fogs a mirror", and who "is as bould as a pig"? These, and other important issues are discussed on today's mini-promo-pod for non-members of the Second Captains World Service. The two men responsible for those illuminating, evocative phrases are US Murph and Michael Duignan, and you can decide for yourself who said what about whom. This week we cover Bielsa and Lamps, Tiger back to back, hurling's comedy show and Man City's many troubles off the field. There's also Ken on Harvard and it's pompous wrought-iron signs, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, stupid laughs, and the bizarre listening habits of our world service members.
Afterwards, it seemed inevitable that Saracens' power-game would eventually wear down Leinster in Saturday's European Champions Cup final. But - was it really all that inevitable? Or were key mistakes at key times the reason why Leinster couldn't add a fifth European title? Shane Horgan and Donnacha Ryan, a losing finalist last year with Racing 92, join us to discuss the turning-points, the decisions and the individual performances that turned this game in the London club's favour. Eoin McDevitt was on tour with the Dublin hurlers on Saturday, and was in the ground for one of the great moments of hurling shithousery from Dublin selector Gregory Kennedy - if he had seen it. Plus there's Mattie Williams getting confused with Declan Kidney, baldness is not a reason for despair, match-day car-parking, and genetics.
When City won the league in 2012, Carlos Tevez caused consternation by waving a banner saying "RIP Fergie" at the title party. This time the top two have expressed nothing but mutual respect, gratitude and admiration. It's all very decent and civilised, and everybody can congratulate themselves on their new found maturity. But with Guardiola promising City will return even stronger, where now for the chasing pack? Can Liverpool possibly sustain their form into next season? Must Jurgen Klopp turn to the dark side if he hopes to ruffle Pep's beautiful plumage? We speak to Sam Lee, Manchester City correspondent with Goal, about how Guardiola has kept City consistent and where they are planning to reinforce the squad for next year.
A snifter of Spurs lunacy, Richie Sadlier after his trip to Anfield and Ken on Ajax's trench foot
On this week's message to those of you wavering on the sidelines anxious but still unsure as to whether €5 can be spared for a subscription - we have a soupçon of our coverage of last night's Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona 'ridiculo', a sprig of Murphy misfortune, and a hefty dose of Ken Early. It was a ridiculous night last night, and you won't hear better analysis of the fall-out anywhere else, so why not sign up today at second captains.com/join and be a part of the magic.
Everything is settled except the destination of the title. For Manchester City to drop points once already to Leicester City this season might have been bad luck. But twice would look like carelessness. Liverpool are already counting the cost of their progressive stance on concussion with the news that Mohamed Salah has been ruled out of Tuesday night's semi-final against Barcelona after the head injury he suffered at Newcastle. It has been another tough weekend of headlines for the FAI, who are now openly soliciting ideas from the football family as to how they might sort out this mess. Kieran Canning and John Brewin join us to talk about the weekend's football. Will Pep be spooked by Liverpool luck? Can anyone explain the collapse of Arsenal? How would they advise Ed Woodward? And what exactly did Steven Gerrard think he was doing by announcing that Scottish football had surprised him - by how poor it is?
It's been another history-making week on the Second Captains World Service, as we call one of our most beloved guests 'a twat' live on-air. Come have a listen at some of the other non-insulting stuff we've been talking about this week by joining us on www.secondcaptains.com for just €5 a month - stuff like Ryan McHugh, Donegal footballer, on being the scion of a great footballing family, concussion, and winning All-Irelands with Donegal. Plus there's Damien Delaney on Lionel Messi... and why he thinks David Silva is the best player of the last 10 years in the Premier League! #awkward
Marcelo Bielsa ordered his Leeds team to concede an equaliser against Aston Villa for reasons of sportsmanship, but at least two people aren't impressed by his act of integrity: Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder, and our own Eoin McDevitt. The title race inched remorselessly towards what looks an inevitable conclusion with City's victory at Burnley, but Leicester's form means Liverpool still have hope. We discuss the high-stakes comedy of the top-four mini-league, with Arsenal and Spurs suffering bad defeats and Manchester United's good start against Chelsea undone by another baffling De Gea error. And Phil Hay of the Yorkshire Evening Post joins us to talk about how Marcelo Bielsa's self-sacrificing gesture went down with the Leeds fans.
In this week's sampling of World Service fare, Ken outlines the cure for dissociation from reality as caused by our obsession with technology: League of Ireland football. We looked back at the trauma inflicted upon the nation during last year's u17 European Championship quarter-finals with Ireland manager Colin O'Brien. And there's also Countdown, a la Second Captains.