MATCH POINT

Hard to believe that it was way, way back in the summer of 1996 that the very first Aprés Match was screened, this satirical football pundit show seeming to be both brand new and yet as old as, well, football itself.

Back on that original broadcast, it was just Barry Murphy and Risteárd Cooper taking the Michael out of RTE’s soccer coverage, and when Gary Cooke joined in 1998, the trio that we know and love today was ready to take on Ireland’s qualifying games for the 1998 World Cup.

In many ways, it’s hard to imagine the sometimes friendly, sometimes fierce banter that would bounce between host Bill O’Herlihy and regular match pundits Eamon Dunphy and Johnny Giles could actually be any funnier, but the Aprés Match boys knew how to turn that particularly Irish commentary up to 11.

As time went by, the English football pundits were dragged into Barry, Risteárd and Gary’s comic universe, with everyone from Jimmy Hill to Gary Lineker getting a good comedy kicking. As Aprés Match cast their football net even wider, tv and radio personalities such as Marian Finucane, Vincent Browne and Pat Kenny also found themselves being lampooned – only, you know, lovingly.

And now the boys have World Cup 2018 in their sights for a brand new show marking 20 years a-feckin’ around, hitting The Whale on Friday, July 13th at 8pm. When it comes to a special night out, this one is a bit of an open goal…

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