This much I know: Darren Frehill

Growing up, Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh and Jimmy Magee were the voices in my head. I pretended to be them. Now I feel honoured to be following in their footsteps.
This much I know: Darren Frehill

My shift on Morning Ireland starts at 5am and there is not one morning that I don’t wake up and jump out of bed, excited to start the day. And Sunday Sport is one of the longest-running sports shows in the world.

Growing up in Galway, I was obsessed with sport. My mum and dad split up when I was 10. I was the eldest of four and had a lot of responsibility placed on my shoulders at a young age. It affected me and I was quite angry growing up. I developed some behavioural issues and got into a little trouble. Sport became an escape for me.

Obviously, sport can be a team thing but initially I loved being outside on my own with a ball in the fields, and the freedom that gave me. I developed a passion for hurling and soccer but at 14 realised I was not good enough to play for a living. Becoming a sports commentator became my plan B.

One of my better attributes is confidence, and a sheer will to get things done. My biggest fear is failure. That ties in with being driven.

My idea of misery is a desk job, having to be at an office 9-5. I’m a very practical person and need to be outdoors.

My English teacher at school took me under his wing and got me a part-time job in Galway Bay FM and I went on to study radio broadcasting at the Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design & Technology.

I starting working with TV3 in 1998 and spent nine years with the station’s sports department, before joining RTÉ Sport. There is a lot more focus on sports in schools now, which is a good thing as it is so great for your head. When I was a kid you were really only encouraged to play it if you were particularly good at it.

My wife Joanne is an educational psychologist. We met at my mother’s wedding. She remarried in 1999. I was best man. Joanne wasn’t into sports when we first met but I think my passion must have rubbed off on her as she’s into running now.

We have three kids of six, four and one. We’re not fitness fanatics but we like to eat well, get out on our bikes or for a walk in the Dublin and Wicklow mountains.

I’m 40, so my days of team sport are over, but I like to set myself challenges in cycling and running and mountain trekking.

I believe you get what you deserve in this life. If you want something badly enough and work hard enough for it, you will probably get it.

My biggest fault is that I’m a perfectionist. A bit of an anorak in terms of getting things right.

If I’m broadcasting at a match I am the eyes and ears for the public and that is a lot of responsibility.

You’re not in a job like this to impress people. The story is the most important thing. Starting out, it was a big learning curve. One of my first jobs in TV3 was interviewing Alex Ferguson. I was bowled over — some people have a definite aura about them. Instead of interviewing the guy and asking hard questions I kind of licked his arse a bit. I wanted him to like me and to impress him with my questions. Thankfully I had a mentor who pointed out my mistakes to me in a nice way.

My biggest challenge is being a father. It may sound a bit corny but family is the most important thing to me. My mum did a great job with us and inspired me and that has helped shape me as a parent. She was a school principal.

Being a dad is seriously hard work. It’s a roller-coaster with highs and lows, and my house is a mad house.

I’m not sure of an afterlife. I’m not someone who goes to Mass every weekend, but I definitely believe in God.

So far, life has taught me to treat people as I’d like to be treated myself and to never take anything for granted.

Darren Frehill is the co-presenter of Sunday Sport on RTÉ Radio 1 on Sundays at 2pm, and presenter on Morning Ireland.

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