11 English Commentators' Mispronunciations Of Irish Names That Drive Us Demented

11 English Commentators' Mispronunciations Of Irish Names That Drive Us Demented

Here are those Irish names, complete with a guide to their English commentary pronunciations, which drive us up the walls when we hear them botched by our pals across the way.



English pronunciation: CON-awt, CON-nacked

We begin not with an Irish sportsperson but a place. English commentators' penchant for pronouncing the anglicised spelling of 'Connaught' at face value is, thankfully, dying out with the western province's recent success.

However, for many of Sky and BT's more peripheral rugby commentators - who were perhaps not heavily relied upon for big games in Galway during the Pat Lam era and Connacht's explosion, the word 'Connacht' remains too difficult to master.


One day...

Donncha O'Callaghan


English pronunciation: DON-chaw O'CALLA-haaaan (2000-2006); DON-ah-ka O'CALLA-haaaan (2006-present)

At some point during Munster's iconic Heineken Cup run in 2006, somebody from Cork turned to Sky Sports' Miles Harrison and Stuart Barnes and said, "Lads, it's fucking 'Dun-ick-ah!'". This good samaritan evidently failed to mention their relentless and equally annoying botchery of his surname.


The Sky Sports pair have gotten as close as they're going to get to pronouncing the Ireland international's admittedly difficult-for-a-foreigner first name; his surname, however, continues to have its last syllable harshened and elongated beyond comprehension.

Tomás O'Leary


English pronunciation: Tom-ASS O'Leary; TOM-ass O'Leary; TOE-mass O'Leary; THOM-Ass O'Leary; Thom-ASS O'Leary

The most infuriating thing about hearing English comms making an absolute hames of the Cork scrum-half's first name (pronounced Tom-AWSS, if you're a non-Irish reader) is that they saw the fada in 'Tomás' back in 2006, took a wild stab at what it might do to a word, and have presumed they were correct for the past 11 years.


Peter O'Mahony


English pronunciation: Peter O'MAAAWWW-ny

This one was sent to us by a huge number of people on Twitter when we innocently put forward the simple question below.


To be fair to Sky, BT and BBC's commentary teams, O'Mahony and his fellow Cork natives pronounce his surname 'O-Maaany', and so this one strikes as more as a fundamental accentual issue rather than botched pronunciation.

Nonetheless, they probably overdo it; O'Mahony's blood-and-thunder approach to his sport seems to evoke especially guttural roars of his name on either side of the Irish Sea. Thankfully, Ryle Nugent has - at least once - been to Cork.

Ken Doherty



English pronunciation: Ken DOCK-erty

Why? WHY??? Do you see a 'ck' combination in that name? Do you see either a 'c' or indeed a 'k' in there?

Also keep an ear out for the lesser-heard but equally irritating 'DOUGH-Herty'.

See also: Gary/Matt 'Dockerty'

Andy Keogh



English pronunciation: Andy KEE-Oh

I mean, this is the man who scored the first Ireland goal of the Giovanni Trapattoni era.

The biggest surprise here is the fact that the 'gh' combo doesn't seem to phase even the most English of English commentators - probably because it's generally silent in their own language (e.g. Ugh, why can't these gobshites get Andy Keogh's name right?).

But applying that logic to an entire Irish name is the pig-ignorant act of a commentary spoofer. If you didn't pronounce Thierry Henry's surname as 'Hen-ry', then you can sure as shit get Andy Keogh's name right as well.

Kevin Moran



English pronunciation: Kevin More-ANNE

A very difficult mispronunciation to make sense of, but then you remember how English commentators generally pronounce 'O'Callaghan' and it starts to click why they struggle with Moran.

They perhaps looked at the word 'moron' and presumed Moran required similar emphasis on the second syllable.

Incidentally, Mick Muldoon contacted us on Twitter where he recounted a particularly intriguing tale involving the BBC righting the wrongs of football games past. Muldoon indicated that the Beeb ran a clip of legendary Irish commentator Michael O'Hehir calling a piece of play by Kerry GAA legend Ogie Moran.


Now that'd be a clip worth finding. But while the BBC might have rolled their socks up, to most Manchester United fans in Britain, the former Dublin Gaelic footballer will always be more Anne than Moran.

Pádraig Harrington



English/American pronunciation: POD-rick Harrington, POD-rayg Harrington, POR-ick Harrington, Pdrg Harrington, Prfsfef(!?)rerg Harrington

In fairness to our friends in the UK, how the hell are they supposed to get this right when we can't even settle on a pronunciation of Pádraig ourselves?

One Twitter user voiced their ire to us that English and indeed American comms pronounce the 'd' in Padraig. But so do many, many Irish people - particularly in the south and southwest, where the name is generally pronounced 'PÁD-rig.

That being said, it's once more the abuse of the seemingly incomprehensible fada which leads to most of their problems where Harrington is concerned. But they don't even need to fecking learn how fadas work - they just need to learn how to repeat a bloody name.

Mark Kinsella



English pronunciation: Mark Kin-SELL-a

Another peeve that arrived in our Twitter mentions as soon as we hit 'Send Tweet'.

Indeed, one English gentleman informed us that his Irish wife had often scolded him for his pronunciation of the surname - along with 'Cahill', which we'll come to at the end.

Difficult to explain, this one. Just plain old wrong and irksome.

See also: KinSELLa's current club, Drog-HEED-a United


Paul McGrath


English pronunciation: Paul Mc-GRATH, Paul Mc-GRAWWWW

A cardinal sin which simply won't be justified by a dignified response akin to those above.

BONUS: Tim/Gary Cahill



English pronunciation: KAY-Hill

Neither are Irish athletes but it struck as remiss for us not to include arguably the most contentious Irish surname of all time, considering the droves of you who voiced concern at its anglicisation.

Of course, when English commentators say 'KAY-hill', they are indeed correct; both footballers pronounce their surname as such, and frankly, it's up to them how they pronounce their own names.

Granted, the surname is Irish, and in all other walks of life it's pronounced 'CAH-Hill', but - to take a diplomatic view on the KAY-hill saga - it's not uncommon for immigrants' family surnames to morph over the years; look at Donald Drumpf Trump, for example.

Within a sporting context, Aussie tennis player Bernard Tomic informed commentators in around 2014 that he pronounced his surname 'TOM-ick', and not 'TOM-itch' as his Croatian father would have known it, because that's how everybody incorrectly pronounced his name back home in Australia. Similarly, Borussia Dortmund's American wunderkind Christian Pulisic pronounces his surname 'Poo-LISS-ick', not 'PUH-lih-sitch' as you or we may know him.

And so Cahills Gary and Tim may go by 'KAY-hill' through no fault of their own. It's not a conscious choice on their behalf; it was their Irish ancestors who made a fecking balls of it.

This, however, isn't to remotely suggest it doesn't sound extremely wrong on a weekly basis.

Cheers to those of you who got in touch on Twitter, and if anybody has any more suggestions, hit us up on Twitter or in the comments section on Facebook.

SEE ALSO: 'Are You Willo Flood?' - Former Ireland U21 International Recalls Being Robbed By Man City Fan


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