Football

Tony O'Donoghue's Career Highlight Is The Piece Of Commentary We Need To Hear

Tony O'Donoghue's Career Highlight Is The Piece Of Commentary We Need To Hear

You may have spotted that it is Cork Week on Balls.ie, and that offered us the perfect excuse to chat to RTE Soccer Correspondent Tony O'Donoghue on this week's episode of our football podcast. For the week that's in it, we indulged Cork's own Gavan Casey and allowed him to do the interview.

It was a long and wide-ranging chat, as Tony talked about his own, fascinating career, what Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane are like behind the scenes, and his experience of managing a band in Cork in the 1980s. You can listen to the full interview on the podcast on the Soundcloud link below, or by subscribing/downloading/rating/saying nice things about the show (if not its presenters) on iTunes.

One of the highlights of the conversation was the discussion of the career moments which stand out in Tony's memory. He was asked to commentate on the famous UEFA Cup tie between Cork City and Bayern Munich in Musgrave Park.

While honoured to be commentating on the game, Tony did reveal that it clashed with another of his business interests. He also has never heard the commentary of the goal back. He explains why during the interview.

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One thing that kind of upsets me a little bit is that the commentary on that goal has rarely been heard since it went out live. I had the great Donie Leahy as my co-commentator, we were up on the roof of the main stand, in a sort of portakabin set up. It was a bit new to us, there was a bit of scaffolding around us. Full house at Musgrave Park, and it was a beautiful, sunny day.

At the time, I don't know if you know, Gavan, but I had a bit of history in the music scene in Cork, as well. I looked at this as a great opportunity -  Bayern Munich, one of the biggest clubs in the world, and coming to Cork - and it was around the time of the U2 album Achtung Baby, so I decided to make t-shirts to commemorate the game, reading Achtung: Cork City v Bayern Munich, Musgrave Park, along with the date of the game.

The problem is, when I was asked to commentate on the game, here's where the intersection of my two careers collided. I couldn't be commentating on the game - and what a privilege it was to be asked - and also out selling t-shirts before the game. So I thought I'd put together a crack sales force, but I didn't really. Frankly, I had hundreds of t-shirts left over in black refuse sacks. If I had them now, I'm sure they would be worth a fortune as a collectors' item.

They had - classic stereotype -  a German soldier with a hard helmet, and a Cork guy with a flat cap and a Guinness and a lager. It was crass really, and they were my t-shirt selling days in Musgrave Park.

But on the game itself, and the goal, as Davie Barry exchanged passes with Pat Morley,  got to the edge of the box, and he's just about to shoot, I go for it. I go to that commentator's zenith, and Donie Leahy in the commentary box beside me in the commentary booth - tiny little area, surrounded by headphones and cables what not - and just as I'm about to shout, he shouted out OH JEEEEEESUS!!! and I think I described the goal really well, but we could never play the clip ever again, which is possibly the biggest disappointment of my career, on the best day of my career, watching Davie Barry score that goal against the great Bayern Munich.

He [Donie Leahy] nearly choked himself, he jumped up and nearly threw himself out of the Musgrave Park stand. Those were marvellous times, to be witness to those sorts of events.

On the music scene, by the way, Tony managed a band called Cypress Mine in the 1980s. They bagged a record deal, but ultimately things did not work out as intended. He still retains a lot of affection for the band, and his fantasy football team is called Cypress Minors in homage. Find out the full story on the podcast.

See Also: Stephen Kenny Becomes 3rd League Of Ireland Manager To Win Philips Manager Of The Year Award

See Also: Roy Keane's Cobh Ramblers Career In Contemporary Press Cuttings And Stats

Gavin Cooney
Article written by
Changed the spelling of his name upon pressure from Michael Owen.

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