Football’s premier league comedy trio are performing in Limerick next weekend but will RTE spending on 1916 commemorations see Après Match dropped from the schedules
Après Match, the much beloved comedy segment that follows RTE’s coverage of World Cup and European Championship matches since 1998 is touring its live show nationwide and coming to Limerick.
Gary Cooke, Risteárd Cooper and Barry Murphy are in Ireland’s premier league in comedy football punditry. The trio of comedians have lampooned the nation’s on/off love affair with the national soccer team and our favourite football pundits, Eamon Dunphy, Liam Brady, Johnny Giles and Kenny Cunningham.
Speaking to Limerick Post this week, comedian and Après Match writer Gary Cooke could not confirm if the comedy act would be playing its usual part in RTE’s coverage of the European Championships this June.
“With a lot of funds going into 1916 commemoration and the Olympics, they are a big financial drain this year. We’re not quite sure what we are doing yet.”
The Après Match comedy sketches have been an institution on national television for decades. While some of the material is prepared the comedians base their surreal sketches day by day on stuff that emerges out of the narrative with the panel.
Gary Cooke says that their comedy is a uniquely Irish phenomenon.
“When you are doing a tournament you are a hostage to fortune, to a degree, like living in Eamonn Dunphy’s slipstream really. He is the gift that never stops giving.”
We wondered if the panel of Dunphy, Brady, Giles and Cunningham have a relationship with the Après Match camp during a championships,
“We do bump into them and talk to them a little bit. We are doing two different jobs, it is a slightly uncomfortable relationship. On the one hand they are there to do their thing and we are there to take the piss, to try and make comedy out of what they are saying.
“That is a duality that could only exist in Ireland.”
For example, Gary Cooke explains that the audience in the UK don’t have the same engagement with their pundits as they do here, it doesn’t have the same resonance.
“The pundits don’t go on as long and they don’t get into areas of life that Dunphy does!”
Now following the recent success of Après Match of the Day on RTÉ2 when the comedy trio looked back on the Irish football team’s adventures in the 70’s and 80’s, Après Match is touring live.
Expect your favourite football pundits and some other loved and not so well loved topical characters including; George Hook, Paul Durkan, Joan Burton, Mary O’Rourke, Alex Ferguson, Martin O’Neill, Giovanni Trapattoni, Gay Byrne, Gunther, Sky Sports News and “the inimitable John Delaney”.
There will also be an exclusive performance from Ireland’s top tenors, not The Three Tenors or The Irish Tenors or The Celtic Tenors or The Priests, but The River Tenors!
Cooke explained to Limerick Post that The River Tenors sing soccer songs for cash.
Can Gary sum up what Limerick can expect from the Après Match live show.
“It will be a mix of all of the follies and the pretension of the Irish media scene in sport or politics where self appointed guardians of the nation will be pulled down.”
Apre Match plays at Lime Tree Theatre on Friday February 5.