Clare have two commentators on All-Ireland final day – Marty Morrissey calls things for RTÉ, while Syl O’Connor is the man behind the microphone for Clare FM. They spoke to Joe Ó Muircheartaigh about the day and the roller coaster that is All-Ireland final afternoon.

THE All-Ireland final is in injury time. Nearly everyone in the press box is on their feet – neutrals and partisans alike are open-mouthed in disbelief. This is Offaly v Limerick in 1994 all over again.
Some can’t even bare to watch, while some of those who are can’t see anything in the blur of what’s happening. Cork, the great sorcerers of the game along with Kilkenny and Tipperary, have drawn level.
Not from no where, because the game was never gone from them, but for Clare supporters it seemed so. They led by four points with less than eight minutes left on the clock – now they just wanted to clock to stop.
The sides are level and RTÉ’s Marty Morrissey and Clare FM’s Syl O’Connor are calling it all through the maelstrom.
They’re on their feet like everyone else, but working at the same time. If possible?

Marty Morrissey: “It was heartstopping, it was pulsating, it was breathtaking. You’re in the moment and you’ve got the microphone in your hand, you’ve got DJ Carey beside you and it’s a case of being breathless. You wouldn’t want to have a bad heart.”
Syl O’Connor: “It was unreal – it was an absolute dream. The way the whole game had gone and then to be able to try to tell people what was happening at the end. It was a dream and we just got it over the bar from an audio point of view and it from a Clare point of view it didn’t turn into a nightmare.”
Marty Morrissey: “The excitement and the adrenaline rush. I have never experienced a game like it. It doesn’t matter where you’re from. I just happen to be a Clareman, but it didn’t matter. If you were from Louth or London, you’d feel the same sort of incredible breathlessness – that’s the only word that comes to mind.”

Syl O’Connor: ‘The clock 70 minutes up – two minutes of additional time. 0-24 for Clare 3-15 for Cork.’
Marty Morrissey: ‘Where will Liam McCarthy reside over the winter months of 2013 and 2014? Right now none of us have a clue. It’s 24 points Clare, 3-15 Cork, 24 points each. Seventy minutes, 34 seconds as the sideline ball has gone in. Trying to gather it is Patrick Horgan and he hits a baaaaaaaaall, the ball is going ooooooover the bar. Incredible, awesome play by Patrick Horgan. Is that the winner? Is that the All-Ireland for Cork? Is Horgan the hero?’
Niall Gilligan: ‘This is just unbelievable. I can’t describe. Wherever you’re listening around the world. The tension here with a minute and 40 seconds left. It’s a sideline ball for Cork. God, there shouldn’t be a loser. No one deserves to lose this match.’
Syl O’Connor: ‘Christopher Joyce getting ready with the line-ball. We’ve 90 seconds left in the All-Ireland. It comes across and Patrick Horgan winning this ball and strikinnnnnnng, and sending it over the baaaaaar. Cork got into a one-point lead.’

Marty Morrissey: “It thought was over, I was looking at the referee but the whistle didn’t come and while Clare had the ball there was a chance. There’s always the chance and I just went with the flow.”
Syl O’Connor: “I was prepared for the final whistle. I was mentally prepared. In the back of my mind, while I still had to be conscious of telling the story of what was happening, for those few seconds it wasn’t what I was worried about. I was waiting.
“It was listening. Even though I had headphones on, I was listening and waiting. I wasn’t looking, just listening. It wasn’t a vision I was waiting for, but the shrill sound. While it didn’t come we were still there. That was it.”

DJ Carey: ‘It’s very hard to see Clare getting the equaliser.’

Marty Morrissey: ‘Patrick Kelly. How much time? Kelly has to go for distance. The referee doesn’t blow his whistle. Towards Domhnall O’Donovan. Clare have the ball. Patrick O’Connor sends it into the centre. They have to hold possession. The referee gets out of the way. Passes the ball off. Domhnall O’Donovan the left corner back, he hits it, he hits it, it’s over the baaaaaar.’
Syl O’Connor: ‘Cork line ball. They’re in no hurry whatsoever here. Fifteen seconds left in the All-Ireland. Cork lead by a point. Stephen Moylan still in no hurry, sends it in and the ball goes left and wide.
‘Is there an opportunity for Clare to win one last ball. The puck-out is right down to the far side. Up they go for it. Domhnall O’Donovan. Patrick O’Connor. Patrick O’Connor still holding on to it. Into Nicky O’Connell. Nicky O’Connell trying to go through. To Domhnall O’Donovan. O’Donovan. O’Donovan.’
Niall Gilligan: ‘Yeeeeeeees’.
Syl O’Connor: ‘Over the bar. Domhnall O’Donovan sends it over the bar. Levels the sides here. There’s no voice left in the commentary. It’s all overrrrrrrr. It’s all over in Croke Park. The voice is nearly gone.’
Niall Gilligan: ‘I have never ever ever experienced anything like that. Some of the Cork supporters, they were booing Brian Gavin because there were 72 minutes gone on the clock when Patrick Kelly pucked that ball out. It would have been a travesty had Clare lost that match. It would have been a travesty. Syl. We’ll remember that score for the rest of our lives.’
Marty Morrissey: ‘Oooooooh, Holy Moses. What a match. I have never experienced anything like it’.
DJ Carey: ‘Blow it up ref. Blow it up.’

Brian Gavin did what he was told, with Morrissey and O’Connor, together with the All-Ireland winning sidekicks living to commentate another All-Ireland day.
Syl O’Connor: “If we were beaten we’d have to be pulled off the ground.”
Marty Morrissey: ““I went biblical for some reason. It’s not something I say all the time, but it was the only way I could describe what I thought was a miracle score from Domhnall O’Donovan. It was a miracle. The match was a miracle.”
Now to do it all over again.
For the teams, but also the commentators. They’re at the ready.

Previous articleAll-Ireland Banner raised at Machu Picchu
Next articleMike Mac backs Banner
Joe Ó Muircheartaigh graduated from University College Dublin in 1989 with a degree in history and politics. After completing a Diploma in Journalism at The College of Commerce, Rathmines in 1991, he embarked on a career in journalism. Joe spent four years with Clare FM from 1992 and was with The Clare Champion from 1996 to 2005. He has won two McNamee Awards for GAA journalism and has published two books. Contact Joe on [email protected]

Leave a Reply