I was sent of to Páirc Tailteann in Navan to cover Castlegar’s All-Ireland club final in 1980.
I pulled out the recorder and managed to get most of the match, because they told me to do a documentary called ‘Bliain na gCaislean’ (Castle’s year).
Win, lose or draw I was to do this documentary. Thankfully Castlegar won the game and I spoke to everybody and anybody inside the dressing room and outside the dressing room. Then on Sunday night we came home and ended up in the Merlin Bar in Renmore. I stayed with the Connollys in Ballybrit afterwards. I don’t know how many more stayed there. I slept on a double stool. And the same thing happened on the Monday night and on the Tuesday night. We were in the Merlin Bar singing songs and replaying the game. On Wednesday at about four o’clock in the afternoon somebody asked me, ‘When are you going to work on the documentary?’
I said: ‘I’ll start tomorrow, sure it only needs to be half an hour long.’
Then it dawned on me that I had everybody bar John Connolly.
I said: ‘Jesus, Mary and Joseph what will I do?’
We were sitting at the bar and John says, ‘You know the toilets in the Merlin bar, you’d hear the noise of its cistern so you would. We’ll go into the toilets, put someone on the door and we’ll pretend it’s the dressing room in Navan’.
Here I go into the toilet. I rhymed out a couple of lines, ‘Here we are in Páirc Tailteann, tá an cluiche thart’. The fella at the door was telling us to rise it up, ‘Louder lads, louder,’ he was saying.
Well we replayed the game over and over, there wasn’t a move in the game we didn’t discuss. We started our procedure using the toilet, pissing, when I had the tape recorder on. Little did John know that I had pissed into his shoe.
The bad one was Steve Collins. I covered his two fights live against Chris Eubank from Cork in 1995. The first one was in Millstreet and the second was in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. It was a very wet evening in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. I met Collins in America sometime before his fights in Cork and did an interview with him as gaeilge. Now his gaeilge was poor but I got three minutes out of it after talking to him for a while.
When that fight against Eubank came around, he contacted me and said, ‘Will you do something for me? Will you write me something as gaeilge and I will learn it off by heart and recite it for the press conference’.
I wrote it out for him and it went, ‘Buaileadh mise macaigh Eubank in Millstreet’.
Now Eubank walked out of the press conference because he felt had been insulted. This was before the first fight.
We came to the return fight. Sky had the rights for it and you couldn’t go near the ring until they were finished. My producer was Joe Brennan. At the end of the fight Collins was right on the rope beside me and Joe Brennan said I think Sky have lost the sound. ‘Will you come on,’ he says. ‘Don’t mind the exclusive rights, push in, go for it.’
So I was trying to climb the ring and if I got him it was going to be an exclusive, I shouldn’t have been there at all. But as I was climbing through I was trying to talk to Collins and all Collins was saying was, ‘Iontach, iontach, iontach’. I was doing all the talking, Collins was so excited all he could get out was, ‘Iontach, iontach, iontach’.
Next thing, I heard an English voice beside me. Some fella said to another fella that, ‘The sound is gone’. The other fella replied: ‘I know, I know.’
I was standing on some kind of a box and it could have been a sound box and one fella said to another, ‘It's gone and do you know it's that bollix, that bald headed bollix speaking the Mongolese who caused it all’.
He was a big man and I all could see was the white of his eyes. I was halfway in, one leg inside and the other one on the box ready to be knocked out, trying to do an interview Collins.
Then I realised I was about to get an uppercut from someone in Sky. That for me is probably the most disastrous interview.
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