SECOND Captains is one of the long-running success stories in Irish podcasting. Ostensibly a sports show led by Eoin McDevitt, Ken Early, and Ciarán Murphy, the former Off The Ball team from Newstalk launched the podcast in mid-2013. two Monday shows are offered for free, with Tuesday-Friday behind a Patreon subscriber model and dubbed ‘The World Service’. It has more than 11,500 subscribers.
Chances are, at this stage, you’re already a convert. Sometimes with paywall shows, there’s a sense of out of sight, out of mind. Every so often though, Second Captains strikes a chord with one of its shows and releases it for wider consumption — you might have heard episode 1,124, about the so-called Belfast rape case, featuring Richie Sadlier (who has his own irregular ‘Player’s Chair’ show on the SC feed) and journalist Sinead O’Carroll.
Following the recent RIC commemoration furore and the Wolfe Tones going to number one on the iTunes charts with ‘Come Out Ye Black and Tans’, Early discussed the story on his occasional SC politics show with historian and author Brian Hanley. It was released for all to hear.
“People have been too blasé about how all this was going to work out,” eyerolls Hanley, “in terms of everyone understanding everyone’s history, shared history, reconciliation, and so on. I don’t think, as a historian, that history can be very good at reconciliation, that we can portray history as a succession of tragedies in which everyone’s entitled to equal respect.”
It’s a sober, matter-of-fact discussion. Early, an adept, incisive inquisitor, is in his element on this political/historical beat — you sense he relishes the break from the world of Jose Mourinho’s latest comments.
On Leo Varadkar’s statement about seeking ‘maturity’ in the RIC debate, Early reaches for an Ernie O’Malley line, “It’s easy to lie in another man’s wound”.
The episode is a showcase of the wide-ranging quality of Second Captains — and why history should be compulsory in schools.
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