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What did you think of last night's Second Captains TV show?

They never go home those boys.

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WHEN SERIES PRODUCER Mark Horgan addressed the studio audience minutes before going live on air for the first live Second Captains show last night, he reminded those who’d been present for one of the two pilot shows in Montrose that jokes are even funnier the second time around.

He might well have been talking to the rest of Ireland too.

This TV show — served up by RTÉ as digestif for a main course of Ireland losing to Austria — is the first of four green-lit TV shows by the five journalists who were behind Off the Ball until on Newstalk until March.

We all know the story; Ken Early, Simon Hick, Mark Horgan, Eoin McDevitt and Ciaran Murphy leave Digges Lane suddenly when long-running negotiations with Newstalk station chiefs fail, they sit out a gardening leave period in which their radio silence is only broken by cryptic and half-naked tweets and ultimately pitch up with a podcast on the Irish Times. Then they land this gig at Donnybrook.

Lights, camera, action.

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When you borrow, Noel Gallagher once said, you borrow from the best.

If the Second Captains team started to devise this show with a blank sheet and ended up with laundry list of names featuring like Jools Holland, Chris Evans and Baddiel & Skinner, then one wouldn’t be surprised. Fantasy Football and Later aren’t bad reference points.

With hipster-jocks Hermitage Green playing in the corner and sporting guests seated on high stools at a bar, this is TFI Friday for people who think Trap should go.

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House guests: Richie Sadlier, Oisín McConville and Derval O’Rourke on the sofa.

If the Second Captains crew reached for the familiar in the first live show, no one can blame them.

And friends of the radio show, Richie Sadlier, Oisin McConville and Derval O’Rourke are excellent guests; Early and McDevitt sat opposite to steer a conversation that was a lot more abstract than expected particularly on a night in which news was developing in Vienna. But perhaps a more flexible format will come with experience.

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Back to the future: Ryle Nugent with a young Ciarán Murphy.

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Others have already said this morning that the show should stick to the interviewing and steer clear of comedy.  What do you think?

For me, there was plenty of laughs. The familiar trope of Ciarán Murphy’s Blackboard Jungle and Gridlock appearances was given a run-out, a ‘Kearn-o-meter’ that I sadly fear may be cast in the role of Norm’s wife in Cheers and never fully be introduced to the audience was mentioned and a class Golden Boys insert featuring the RTÉ soccer panel deserves to be a YouTube hit.

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Ronan O’Gara is interviewed by Eoin McDevitt and Murphy.

And then there was ROG.

Without doubt the centrepiece of the show was a typically honest and interesting interview with Ronan O’Gara.

“I’ve made a very new friend… Jonny,” said the former Munster man to laughs from the audience standing around the stripped-back Late Late Show studio.

Thanks to prodding from McDevitt, the Corkman opened up on his relationship with former rival Sexton, his new life in Paris, the controversial end to his Ireland career and watching the hurling during the training. If we get one of these every week, this show won’t go far wrong.

O’Gara later bumped his pal Brian O’Driscoll off the ‘good wall’ top spot — another set-piece — in favour Roy Keane.

“It’s baby steps at the minute, see if I like it, see what’s involved, I think I do like because I enjoy people, I enjoy company, I enjoy challenging myself, I enjoy being challenged,” said the Racing Metro kicking coach of his new gig, rather than Second Captains’ second coming.

“I enjoy, ultimately, having a crack off something that you believe in.”

What did you think?

Pics: RTÉ

Watch the show here>

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