By Ray O’Hanlon
As the Republic of Ireland takes the field against Cameroon Saturday, ABC, the television network that bought the U.S. rights to the World Cup, will not be broadcasting the match live.
But it will be showing a match of sorts come kickoff: a movie called “The Matchmaker.”
This according to the weekly TV listings published in Sunday’s New York Times.
Over on ABC’s sporting affiliates, ESPN and ESPN 2, wide awake Irish fans can avail of a variety of sporting features.
But the world’s largest sporting event ain’t one of them.
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The decision to only show the Ireland opening game on ABC 13 hours after the fact by means of a tape-delayed broadcast has infuriated Irish fans, even those on the eastern seaboard who would have to stay up into the wee hours to see the Irish team, with or without Roy Keane, take on the African champions.
“It’s a disgrace,” said Brooklyn-based fan of “de boys in green” Brian Murphy.
Still, Murphy was hoping against hope that there might be a last minute change of heart at ABC.
Virtually all other wee hour games are being shown both live and later on tape.
Only the Ireland/Cameroon and England/Sweden openers are being given the tape-only treatment.
Murphy, meanwhile, has been waging a campaign to have ABC changes its mind. His concerns have been reflected not just in this paper but also in the New York Times, Daily News and New York Post.
Murphy doesn’t care if the game is shown live by ABC or one of the ESPNs.
He does have the option of watching it on the Spanish language network Univision, a channel which, linguistically speaking doesn’t even have a stake in the Ireland opener.
Murphy indicated that he would keep trying to persuade ABC to show the game live. A call to ABC had not been returned by presstime.