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The Top 11 Irish Sports Radio Commentary Moments Of 2016

The Top 11 Irish Sports Radio Commentary Moments Of 2016
Donny Mahoney
By Donny Mahoney
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We can all agree it was a remarkable year for Irish sport. Remarkable sporting events call for remarkable broadcasters and Ireland's sports commentators stood up this year. Radio brings with it a unique intimacy and the below selection represents a selection of both memorable and lesser known sports radio broadcasts from Irish stadia this year, on both local and national radio. These may not be the biggest sports moments of the year, but the most poignant ones captured on radio.

One note before proceeding - Ireland's historic win over the All Blacks is not represented on this list because bizarrely no Irish radio stations were broadcasting from Soldier Field on that fateful Saturday.

11. James McClean goal versus Austria - Newstalk

The sole Irish football moment on this list: Nathan Murphy brings wild delight to Ireland commentary, as James McClean scored an unexpected and brilliantly-taken goal that put Ireland up 1-0 in Vienna.


10. John Casey's Croke Park tunnel schmozzle report -Midwest Radio

One of the more perplexing moments from the drawn All-Ireland final came before throw-in, when Mayo ambushed Dublin in the tunnel...or so you'd believe after hearing John Casey's prematch commentary. Casey's report of prematch violence dominated the media conversation in the days after the draw. How bad were the handbags? Unless tunnelcam footage surfaces, we'll never know.

9. Kerry lose to Dublin in the All-Ireland semifinal - Radio Kerry

For an hour last August, Kerry had Dublin thoroughly rattled at Croke Park and the Radio Kerry commentary of that day -  Ambrose O'Donovan and Gary O'Sullivan (deputising for Weeshie Fogarty) - wonderfully captured the madness that followed. The bewildered confusion around the Paul Geaney goal is particularly joyous. In the end, though, the lads have no choice but to bow before the greatness of the Dublin team marching towards Sam.



8. Connacht hang on to beat Glasgow at the Sportsground - Galway Bay FM

The defining radio moment of Connacht's remarkable Pro 12 run last season did not take place at Murrayfield in the final against Leinster but rather at the Sportsground a week earlier, when Connacht held off Glasgow for a 16-10 win. Rob Murphy and Joe Healy of Galway Bay FM were on hand to narrate those final improbable moments. The stadium countdown to the 80 minute mark is extraordinary.

7. Daithi Regan reminisces on 1995 All-Ireland final - Newstalk

Not technically a sports radio commentary moment but this incredible exchange between Daithi Regan and Joe Molloy was recorded in the Croke Park press gantry during the 2016 All-Ireland minor hurling final and owes its intensity to that particular hurricane of emotions that the first Sunday of September tends to stir. This piece of radio could not have been recorded in a studio.

Regan was thinking of All-Ireland finals past that day, particularly his man-on-man battle with Ollie Baker. He speaks with an honesty that is almost unique amongst sporstmen while capturing the outright war of '90s hurling.

6. Cillian O'Connor equalises for Mayo in the All-Ireland final - Midwest Radio

There's a sad poignancy to this clip in light of Mayo's ultimate defeat to Dublin in the replay, but the joy and giddiness in the voices of the Midwest Radio commentary team as Cillian O'Connor's equaliser clears the bar speaks directly to the eternal flame of hope burning in the heart of every Mayo supporter.

5. Jack Carty conversion helps Connacht beat Leinster - Newstalk


Like the old Thomond, the Sportsground is a magical place for radio commentary, especially on European nights. We've been privileged to get a few Newstalk commentaries from the Sportsground this season, and Connacht's highly unlikely win over Wasps this month provided one of the most memorable commentary moments of the year, as Liam Toland and Keith Wood were left in stitches as Jack Carty's kick fluttered over the bar.



4. Daryl Horgan equalises in Alkmaar - LMFM

The best use of 'Get in there, ya lad ya!' on an Irish sports radio programme this year. Adrian Taaffe and David Crawley in Holland for Dundalk's remarkable draw vs Alkmaar in September and marked the moment we all started believing in Dundalk's Europa dreams with full-throated hysteria.



3. Cillian O'Connor misses a free and Mayo lose another All-Ireland final - Midwest Radio

Outright despair filled the soul of all Mayo people in the moments after Cillian O'Connor kicked that wide in the dying moments of the All-Ireland final. Midwest's commentary of the final moments of that match - with 'The Auld Triangle' blaring in the background - is still haunting. Mike Finnerty, Billy Fitz and John Casey struggle for words in the aftermath of another heartbreaking loss. They seem to experience the five stages of the Kubler-Ross model over this three minute clip.

Casey seems to lose all faith.

'Them fellas now have three All-Ireland's in their back pockets and what have we? Is ever a god going to smile on us? Ah give us a break. Give us a break, for God's sake."


2. Marty Morrissey's All-Ireland Hurling final soliloquy - RTÉ Radio 1

The All-Ireland hurling final should be a national holiday. That was the argument passionately made by Marty Morrissey during his two-minute-long soliloquy  to kick off RTE's radio commentary of Kilkenny vs Tipp this year. It was a broadcast not just for people listening in their cars in Ireland, but for Irish people sitting in front of their computer speakers around the world.  "We are thinking of you. We are Irish and and we are family," Morrissey declares. The All-Ireland hurling final may never be a holiday but it nearly a holy day on the Irish calendar, and last September on RTÉ, Morrissey supplied a benediction.

1. Munster's Stand Up and Fight after Glasgow win - RTÉ Radio 1

Thomond Park was drowning in emotion after Munster's immense 38-17 win over Glasgow six days after the death of Anthony Foley. Sky Sports brilliantly captured the post-match scenes on camera, but RTÉ's broadcast was equally - if not more - intense. Des Cahill, Michael Corcoran, Donal Lenihan and Denis Hurley added context to a truly extraordinary day in Irish life but the real power came when the commentators fell silent and let listeners hear the sounds of the grieving stadium.







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