It probably wasn’t the news that he was part of Brian Cowen’s post-midnight party piece that made his mind up, but Micheál probably wasn’t overly-enamoured by the thought of An Taoiseach joining the exhaustive list of those who’ve mimicked the genial broadcaster’s delivery.
Golfer Philip Walton certainly wasn’t seeing the funny side of the Taoiseach’s apparently uncanny impression. You might think the Ryder Cup winner should have a thicker skin, but this wasn’t some ‘Gift Grub’ skit on Pádraig Harrington. Walton is especially sensitive about his pitch, having undergone therapy for a speech impediment throughout his childhood. Hence his horror at a barful of Fianna Failers’ bellicose laughter as the fella supposed to be running the country (into the ground?) took him off.
Cowen’s ‘people’ – who let it be known they were less than impressed when Oliver Callan lampooned him on the LLS a couple of years ago – then had the audacity to claim that Walton was one of his sporting heroes. “It really is the best form of flattery,” said hapless junior minister John Maloney, adding insult to injury. “Philip Walton and Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh are the people that the Taoiseach looks up to in sport.” He should hope he never gets to meet his heroes, so.
As a leader, the Offaly TD’s credibility was shot ages ago for reasons much more serious than a hungover interview. (He definitely had a face for radio that morning, I’d say.) The last man to give Biffos such a bad name was ‘Babs’ Keating. “Below par”? He’s the equivalent of having John Daly in the White House.