Effin Eddie rides again

IT MAY be one of the most famous commentaries in the history of GAA match broadcasting, transmitted all over the world, sold in video format, on DVD, copied onto the web; so famous, in fact, that it has several dedicated websites where copies can still be purchased.

The match itself was of no great consequence except to the two competing clubs, and even for those, it was certainly not a classic.

What was memorable was the commentary, by one Eddie Moroney.

The Tipperary county U21 football final of 1992, his own club, Aherlow, playing Nenagh Éire Óg; roped in shortly before that to do the commentary on the club match-day videos because of his renowned loquaciousness, Eddie delivered the most colourful, irreverent, honest, heartfelt, biased commentary ever presented.

On the day before that county final Eddie Moroney had buried his father-in-law, Mickie Foxy O’Brien of Glencussabinnia. As happens in rural Ireland, it was done in style, a few glasses raised in memory of the dead.

Eddie was in rare form next day; this was reflected, in all its glory, in a unique commentary. Natural, unforced, unpretentious, without even the merest tip of his famed red woolly cap to propriety, Eddie called that game exactly as he saw it, called the unfortunate referee a few choice names, called the names of the Aherla’ players into posterity. ‘The Bear’ Paddy O’Shea, Leo ‘The Lion’ and Lionel ‘The Tiger’, both Leonards, another brother ‘Lew-key’ — Luke Leonard, all now writ into history.

In all the hilarity, however, all the fuss, what’s overlooked is the very real passion Eddie felt, and still feels, for his local football team. Fourteen years on, Eddie is still on commentary duty for the club video and Aherla’ are in another county final, the big one this time — tomorrow in Cashel, a Tipperary SFC final against Declan Browne’s Moyle Rovers.

Eddie is hoping for the same outcome as on that famous afternoon, a win for the Glen, but he is also hoping that this time at least, the football will be memorable.

Several of the big names from that video are still there for Aherlow. “The goalie is there,” says Eddie, “but he’s not in goal now, Mark Leonard (Claw), he gave fierce service to this club, a mighty man; there’s Mark O’Shea, Dinny O’Shea — still going well — Conor O’Shea.

“The Bear isn’t playing anymore, Paddy O’Shea, he retired, gave it up. Lukie Leonard was in the forwards, he’s on the junior B team now, and they’re in the West final today against Galtee Rovers

“My son Michael — The Barra’ Mick they called him — they had nicknames on them all — he’s on the junior team as well, scored 1-3 in that U21 game. I have two other sons as well on the senior panel, Anthony (High Tower) and Brian (Bony, because he breaks so many bones — his own, we presume.”

Eddie too has picked up a nickname, on the strength of that video. Effin Eddie, and it’s not because he’s from Effin, a parish in Limerick about a dozen miles up the road. “People often ask me, where’s Effin? And Jaysus, I say to them, you’re very close to it now, the human form of it, you’re actually standing alongside him! But that’s all a long time ago now.”

Did he get any offers to turn pro, on the strength of it?

“Begod I did not, I’m working away you see. I work in the Co-op in Tipperary, collecting the milk, driving — it’s alright but a lot of work in it. Sure you’re meeting people all the time, talk about anything and everything, you know yourself. I have the flags flying on the car anyway, the ould green-and-gold, you have to keep the colours flying.”

And all the fame, worldwide, the downloads in every country across the globe? “If ‘tis worldwide I don’t know who’s doing it, I’m not able to use that. But I enjoy it anyway. It’s gas the way people talk about it — it’s the ould Glen accent I’d say.”

What of this Sunday? According to Eddie, having lost three senior finals, Aherlow have yet to match fierce local rivals Galtee Rovers and Arravale Rovers in the senior title stakes. A win tomorrow, and the Glen will go wild.

“Hopefully” says Eddie. “It’s long overdue. They’re not too bad now, we just need to get a bit of steam into them. There’s a nice blend between the new lads, like Ciarán McDonald, Seanie Mullins, and the boys who’ve been carrying us down the years.”

And the commentary? “We’ll give it another rattle on Sunday. If we reach the promised land all hell will break loose!”

*If you wish to purchase the video or DVD of Eddie’s commentary, visit http://www26.brinkster.com/aherlowgaa/.

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