The John Roycroft column: This is a dream weekend of sofa surfing with TV sports

The John Roycroft column: This is a dream weekend of sofa surfing with TV sports
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Picture: AP Photo/Matt Rourke

SOME weekends are made for the sofa.

An end to the working week, where TV sports offers such an appealing lineup of entertainment that one can be forgiven for forfeiting the delights of winter showers and polar temperatures by assigning one’s rear-end to the nearest chesterfield and enjoying the efforts of other people’s endeavours on the field of play. (That’s my excuse anyway and I’m sticking to it).

This is particularly true of this weekend where few alternatives can beat the delights on show on the gogglebox. This week has already been rewarding with the FA Cup six-goal thriller between Barnet and Brentford on Monday night followed by Man City’s surprise loss at Newcastle on Tuesday and Leicester’s draw at Anfield on Wednesday night.

But the weekend TV fun really kicked-off late Thursday night-Friday morning with the meeting of the Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks at Scotiabank Place in an even more frigid Toronto than here.

This was a meeting between two of the top three sides in the NBA standings and top sides in the Atlantic and Central divisions respectively. An intriguing battle between Bucks' playmaking Greek international Giannis Antetokounmpo and Raptors' season revelation Kawhi Leonard. This match was not a season decider but offered a great display free-flowing attacking basketball and long-range threes to entertain anyone.

The Bucks won, incidentally.

Later on Friday evening, we welcome the return of Six Nations rugby to our screens. The French host the Welsh with an 8pm in what is usually a lively encounter in Paris. 

That is on Virgin One from 7pm and BBC 1 from 7.25pm. But ones doesn’t have to wait if one needs a fix of Irish rugby, as the women’s team host England on RTÉ 2 and Sky Sports Mix from 5pm, while the U20 team, with 12 Munster squad members, face England at 7.15pm in Musgrave Park. If you can’t make it out to Turner’s Cross you can watch it on RTÉ 2.

Saturday morning has another top NBA confrontation between the Boston Celtics and NY Knicks on Sky Sports Action a 1am.

Saturday afternoon has Newcastle again on our screens, this time away to Spurs in Wembley on Sky Sports Premier League from 12.30pm.

The Scots and Italy will provide the preview to the wooden-spoon winner, if recent years are anything to go by, on Virgin Media One and BBC 1 fro 2.15pm. After the appetiser, we have the great main course of Ireland against England at the Aviva from 4pm, with coverage on Virgin Media 1 and UTV.

If the Brexit cup does not float your boat, then across the river, there is the unique Dublin double-header at Croke Park of the women side facing Donegal in the league, followed by their brethren men’s side up against Galway in the NFL on eirSport 1, with throw-in at 5pm and 7pm respectively.

Maybe a better choice will be the tasty meeting of All-Ireland champions Limerick against Tipp in the NHL under the Gaelic Grounds’ lights on eirSport 2 at 6.30pm. While the lack of relegation may have taken the bite out of this year’s league, but the meeting of the Munster neighbours and rivals always has the potential to be a cracker.

Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

The Premier League’s evening fare is the not very appetising Cardiff v Bournemouth on BT Sports 1 at 5.30pm. Whereas the rollercoaster action of the Championship and Leeds hosting Norwich may be a more entertaining choice on Sky Sports Football at 5.30pm.

If you still have the energy in the evening there is day three of the Phoenix Open on Sky Sports Golf from 6pm. The Phoenix Open is often regarded as the real serious opener to the PGA Tour. 

Which is more than can be said for the spectators at the event, who known for their raucous and beer-fuelled exuberance, quite unlike any other event on the Tour. It always seems that the players get a kick out of the laddish culture of the event. But one suspects they are happy to see the back of the beer-swilling mob for the more refined tour events come Sunday. Still, it is a hoot to watch the alcohol-fuelled banter out in the desert.

Sunday will see us nursing a TV hangover or maybe a real one if we take the atmosphere at Phoenix Open a bit too literally. But there will be little time to recover with the action commencing at 12.30pm and St Johnstone against Celtic on Sky Sports Football.

Celtic's Callum McGregor scores. Picture: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire.
Celtic's Callum McGregor scores. Picture: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire.

Racing types can catch up with the Irish Gold Cup from Leopardstown on RTÉ2 from 1pm.

But you will need to be back in quick time for the Premier League action of Leicester against Man United followed by Man City and Arsenal at 2.05 and 4.30pm respectively.

The NHL on TG4 has Clare against Kilkenny at 1.30pm. But if one is going to step out at any time this weekend then one could do a lot worse than wrapping-up and heading down to Páirc Uí Chaoimh for the interesting Cork double-header of the men’s senior footballers facing Kildare at 1pm, followed by the senior hurlers up against Wexford at 3pm.

When you get back from the Marina it’s time to get your beer and snacks ready for the final event of the weekend; the Super Bowl. The 53rd Super Bowl on Sky Sports Action and BBC 1 from 10.45pm. Super Bowl LIII, as the Yanks like to write it, will see New England Patriots quarterback legend Tom Brady play against the LA Rams in his ninth Super Bowl. The five times winner is 17 years older than his counterpart in the Rams, Jared Goff. Indeed, the veteran ring-holder is even 10 years the elder of the Rams head coach Sean McVay.

If the final lives up to the two conference finals or indeed the last two Super Bowls, which the Pats won against the Falcons and lost to the Eagles respectively, then we could be in for a real treat.

Just make sure you book Monday off work, which I have.

Whatever, enjoy this jam-packed weekend of sport.

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