In the first of a new series of high-brow interrogations of Ireland’s broadcasting pillars, Eoin McDevitt – presenter of the marvellous Off The Ball on
Newstalk 106-108 fm – takes a seat in the makeshift Commentary Box gantry.
Earliest footballing memory?
Euro 88 homecoming, Aldo clocking me from the top of the double-decker bus and giving me a wink and a thumbs-up, at least that’s the way I remember it.
Finest personal sporting achievement?
1990 Mini World Cup at St Joey’s Boys, Sallynoggin. Playing for Germany, I slotted the winning penalty in an epic second round shootout win against a strongly-fancied Spanish side. Bang, keeper’s left, pick it out.
How can you tell if a girl is really into you?
Tell her the story of that winning penalty you scored for Germany in the 1990 Mini World Cup in Sallynoggin. If she feigns interest, you’re in.
Radio role model?
The “Reverend of Irreverence” himself, Ken Early.
Egg-chasing, is it right?
Of course. The Irish footie team could probably learn something from the rugby boys. As my favourite motivational speaker Tony Robbins would say “If you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want and copy what they do and you’ll achieve the same results.”
Is George Orwell’s 1984 sci-fi?
Nope, it’s actually a sports book, all about Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea. The Winston Smith character represents Damien Duff, aching to show a tiny bit of individuality but aware that such a course of action would result in the worst fate imaginable… losing his place in the team to Geremi.
Best interview you’ve ever done?
More a monologue than an actual interview but the American fighter is always good value. Sample quotes: “I’m an icon, bigger than the legends”, “I’m gonna give Joe Calzaghe a free plastic surgery facelift” and “Mary Poppins is a powerful lady”.
Person you’d most like to interview?
Language barrier might be a problem but interviewing El Diez would be pretty sweet! “So Diego, tell us about that famous video clip of you warming up before a game for Napoli… you seemed really, really, REALLY pumped up out there…”
Barry Davies or Motty?
Barry Davies edges it with that “just look at his face” commentary after Franny Lee scored a goal. Actually Barry Davies edges it \’cos Motty’s a bit of a pain in the arse really, isn’t he?
George or Jimmy Magee?
It’s gotta be the Memory Man, if only for his uncanny ability to sneak at least one boxing metaphor into every footie match he commentates on – it rarely makes any sense but it’s all good.
Favourite commentary of all time?
I’m not big into the whole Anglo-bashing thing but it’s hard to not to have a giggle at the Norwegian “Your boys took a hell of a beating” rant in 1981. Altogether now: “Clement Attlee… Henry Coooopeerrr…”
Worst gaffe you’ve made on air?
The rest of Team Off The Ball have gotten good mileage out of me describing Harry Kewell as “the prawn in a murky deal.” Pawn was the word I was looking for there… pawn.
Last time football made you jump out of your seat?
The last time Messi got the ball.
Scarlett Johansson or Sky Plus? One time offer.
Ah I see what you’re going for here. A real man would love Scarlett Johansson. But a real man would also love to watch loads of football on Sky Plus. I suppose I’d have to settle for watching Scarlett Johansson on Sky Plus… after the footie is finished of course.
Brazil or Argentina?
Gentleman Jim Robinson or Big Alf Stewart?
Jim Robinson. Say, have Scott and Charlene tied the knot yet?
Is there genius lurking deep within Aidan Cooney?
Yes and it goes by the name Trevor Welch.
What football team do you support?
Trap’s Boys in Green.
Steve Sanders or Dylan McKay?
Eoin draws a blank. Sanders will be gutted.
Ooh Aah Paul McGrath.
Do you have a Know Your Sport umbrella?
Had one, Murph nicked it.
Commentating Dream-team (past or present)
Anchor: Bill O’Herlihy
Three Pundits: John Giles, Brian Clough, Ken Early
Commentator: Brian Moore
Co-commentator: Tommy Smyth With a Y (ESPN)