EMBARRASSMENT comes in many guises. For broadcaster and commentator, Marty Morrissey, it was the day he ran after supermodel Cindy Crawford, in Beijing, to secure an interview. He shouted “Marty Morrissey, RTÉ Sport, Ireland.
What do you think of the Olympics?” The lady vanished.
While his charm was lost on Crawford, his empathic interviewing endears him to many. But is he hurt by the parodying?
“I don’t mind a bit of slagging, provided a certain line isn’t crossed. That said, if an impressionist made me out to be something I’m not, I might feel differently. Mario Rosenstock doesn’t do that. He makes me laugh,” Morrissey says.
Morrissey doesn’t seem to be someone who would ever need cheering. “Well, while I love Christmas, it can be tough, as my father died at this time of year. That said, I’ll be spending the day in West Clare, with my mother, and I’m looking forward to it. I’ll be doing an MC gig on my father’s anniversary, so I’ll bring mother with me, in the hope that the outing will distract her a small bit.”
Do you always call her ‘mother’? I ask him. “I call her that for fun.”
Does she mind? “She doesn’t like it, but she knows it’s a term of endearment.”
He must be the apple of her eye. “I am. Too much so, but that’s probably because I’m an only child.”
She isn’t the only female who’s keen on him, by all accounts. “Well, there’s Susie the cat,” he grins, mischievously, but, of course, I wasn’t thinking of the cat.
“Sometimes, young, pretty girls approach me for an autograph, then say: ‘My dad loves you,’ or, worse: ‘My gran loves you’.”
At last, Marty reveals the nugget I’ve been trying to extract: “I’ve been going out with a lovely Cork woman, called Liz (Kidney) for many years. She’s a blue-eyed blonde. She’s kind and understanding and I’m lucky to have her in my life, and blessed with the way she puts up with me. ”
He’s kept that relationship relatively private, despite his iconic status among Irish sports fans, so why is it that his Wikipedia page lists a woman of another name as his partner? “I’ve no idea,” he says.
But doesn’t it bother Liz? “I doubt she reads that stuff, but, if she did, it wouldn’t bother her in the least.”
He’s even tried deleting it himself, but it showed up on the page again. “Someone — I don’t know who — added it again,” he says. That’s puzzling. But then he’s no stranger to the quirks of female admirers. One fan took to the airwaves recently to declare her excitement at getting a framed photograph of him for her beside locker. Morrissey seems to thrive on the attention. “I get letters from women stating their undying love for me; that sort of thing. Some send photographs of a rather alluring nature, but I’ve never showed those to anybody,” he says.
Alluring, as in explicit? “A little bit. Yes. But in a tasteful way,” he smiles.
Morrissey’s not in the market for a woman, but, if he were, would he feel tempted to go there? “I wouldn’t. I’d be afraid, more than anything else. I mean, if I was looking for someone, I’d rather meet someone accidentally,” he says. I can’t help wondering if there are other mysteries about Marty to be discovered — for example, is he a good cook? “No. Not really. I’m lazy. If I’m at home and I get hungry, I cook a rasher. That would probably be the limit, really.”
He also exudes a quiet confidence. “I’m not saying I’m perfect. I’m still learning my trade. But, even so, I can’t think of one incident when someone has come up to me and said: ‘You’re crap’.”
Fair enough. But being good on the radio and the television is hardly enough to make women swoon over you, is it? “I work hard and I don’t indulge in office politics. I just do my job and try my best to deliver.”
Women like men who do that. But I’m convinced he has some secret weapon that makes him irresistible to so many ladies, so I press him on it.
After a lengthy pause, Morrissey fixes me with a steady gaze. Then, with a suggestive grin, he delivers what I can only presume to be the censored version of what he wanted to say: “Kissing. I’m great at kissing.”
Maybe he should have told that to Cindy Crawford.
Marty Morrissey is MC-ing the the Bord Gais Energy Munster GAA Awards on Sat Dec 7th at the Malton Hotel in Killarney.
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