The problem with being a pundit – Brolly
A FEW years ago, after a big game in Croke Park, we were undoing our mics in the RTE studio when a plump, red faced supporter burst in and approached Colm O’Rourke.
“You were wrong again today O’Rourke,” he shouted, jabbing his finger in the direction of the big man.
“You never give us any f***ing credit.” At which point, O’Rourke calmly stood up, all six feet four of him. As the blood swiftly rushed back out of the intruder’s head, the Meath man put his hand politely but firmly on his shoulder, making him look even smaller.
“You’re right,” he smiled, “I was wrong. But next week, I’ll be paid exactly the same again for explaining why I was wrong this week.”
At which point I burst out laughing and the poor man – now beginning to feel a bit foolish – managed a weak smile.
“Would you like a photo with the lads,” suggested Michael Lyster.
“That would be great,” he said. And so, we stood with him – Gaels together – as one of the RTE crew took the snap. Then, he shook hands with each of us, before heading off, thanking us as he left.
It is one of the occupational hazards of punditry. Or rather, one of the hazards of honest punditry. Darragh O Sé, in his highly entertaining Irish Times column this week, wrote this of the Mayo Dublin game
“All the way through the interval, I again proved my credentials as an expert fence sitter. To every Mayo man that said hello, I said, ‘Ye’re halfway there.’ To every Dub I said, ‘It’s not gone yet.’ I am a terrible cop-out artist sometimes.
“I made a note to myself that I should stop trying to be all things to all people so much. You cannot be a political animal all your life. Sometimes you have to choose.”
I made my choice 20 years ago.
The full story is in the current issue of Gaelic Life, published on Thursday September 6. Buy your copy now in your local newsagent, or you can purchase the online version – for only 90p – by clicking here