The Sunday Sports Pages: "It's very complex being a human being"

Joe Brolly and Vincent Hogan join Joe Molloy to talk about the sports stories making headlines, and life in general

Joe Brolly and Vincent Hogan joined Joe Molloy on Off the Ball on Sunday to take a look through the stories making headlines in the Sunday papers. 

The discussion began with a look at Joe Brolly's piece on Kieran McGeeney, and the effect that he had on his Kildare players both physically and mentally. 

"Psychologically, you can see how they perform on the big days, and they just had no belief," said Brolly. "The most striking example for me was against Donegal in 2011. It goes to extra-time, and Kildare go four up, and that team was super-fit. Whenever Kieran came in, the first thing they did was they went into a professional regime of fitness and it gave them an awesome bounce in Leinster against the weaker teams.

"That day, they went four points up and you thought 'well, this is all about the psychology now', and of course, you never thought that Donegal would lose it, because they played with passion, creativity and drive. The thing with Kieran's teams is they tend to become very formulaic and robotic, so that for example, you'll never see a McGeeney team working their way out of a difficult situation". 

Turning to the Irish Mail on Sunday, Hogan looked at the story of former jockey Robbie McNamara, who has been paralysed for the last year. For Hogan, this brings home the impact of sport and an overarching discussion about the nature of human beings, in particular those who pursue a career in sports.

"Just after watching that spectacle in Aintree, I've always said, and I've always believed that, when you talk about the toughest people in sport, you talk about boxers cyclists or whatever. No, for me, national hunt jockeys are the most fearless men and women in sport. I just don't know how they do it".

"You have these great festivals like Aintree or Cheltenham, and then when something like this happens, this pall comes down on everything and it's this realisation that yes, what we do is incredibly dangerous". 

The conversation turned then to Brolly's campaigns to raise awareness around kidney and organ donation as well as cystic fibrosis and host of other charities.

Image: ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan 

"I just became fascinated by it," said Brolly, "and then also if I go on the Late Late Show and do something for Cystic Fibrosis, well then funds roll in. The first night I was on Late Late, their website crashed with the donations. It's articulating something that's powerful".

Brolly added that up until he got a shock to the system with the kidney transplant, "my life was a sort of a fantasy. I sought out, sought after making large amounts of money, a hit sort of on the airwaves. All those sorts of things, all fantasies, not really real, and after the kidney you sort of realise that this is deep shit".

"It was maybe a a shock to me that I needed other people, because I remember, I had to get the kidney out in London and in hindsight that it was a very harrowing surgery. It lasted a long time, and then I went out on to London Bridge, probably sooner than I should have. The wound was seeping and I had to lie down. I was just lying down on the footpath, and there was nobody there. I had never needed anybody.

"I remember texting a guy, Gareth Bradley. He was the only person I could think of to text [...] There I was, and I couldn't get up for about an hour. So you sort of realise that 'I need other people too'. It's very complex being a human being. That's what I've discovered more than anything. I used to think it was simple".