Arkle wins at the IFTA’S!!!

On Thursday last, the Arkle documentary I cut won the IFTA for Best Sports at what was a lovely evening in the Burlington (It will always be the Burlo to me). It was such a good day that its taken me this long to write about it!
I was absolutely thrilled for Arkle director Luke McManus and Stephen and Denis from Touchline Media who produced the film.

Stephen, Luke and Denis with their little friend
Stephen, Luke and Denis with their little friend

Despite coming from a place a few years ago where Luke, by his own admission, knew damn all about horses, he has now directed several superb horse related documentaries. A few years back he was IFTA nominated for Jump Boys which showed the harsh realities of being a top level jump jockey and then last year he made a 4 part series on the Galway races. In between these two was Arkle: The Legend Lives On which was made for TG4 and Channel 4 and as you might imagine told the story of Irelands legendary wonder-horse Arkle.

The documentary has achieved a Bill Nicholson like double, winning the Celtic Media Award and now the IFTA and all done with a certain panache! For me personally, this marked the third year in a row that I’ve cut the winner in the Best Sport’s Documentary IFTA category. I’m not entirely sure how that happened but I’m obviously thrilled with it.

The IFTA’s themselves were a great laugh and it was great to catch up with so many friends and I was delighted on the night that my buddies Mark Henry, Mick Mahon, Colm Bairéad, Cleona Ni Chrualaoi, James Ryan, Tracy O’Hanlon, Gemma O’Shaughnessy all got their hands on an IFTA.


It was also pretty cool that I got to go to the show with my brother, even if he and his boys did end up on the receiving end of a paddling from Arkle.

Ifta Nominations for Arkle and GAA USA

I was delighted this morning to see that 2 shows I edited were among the Nominees for the IFTA Television awards to be held in Dublin in 3 weeks time. Unfortunately both Arkle: The Legend Lives On and GAA USA are up against each other in the sports category. To further complicate the matter my brother and my office mates the Second Captains also received a nomination in the same category. So its safe to say I have some divided loyalties. One way or another as long as the Conor McGregor documentary doesn’t win I’ll be happy!

Arkle: The Legend Lives On was a Touchline Media production for Channel 4 and TG4. The film was a look back at the legendary race horse Arkle. The documentary was wonderfully directed by Luke McManus and produced by Denis Kirwin and Stephen Cullinane. I had a terrific time editing the doc with Luke over 4 frantic weeks last year in Highwire. The film already won the Best Sports Award at the Celtic Media Festival earlier this year and I’m sure you could get could good odds on Luke taking home another trophy in a few weeks. Personally I also really enjoyed writing about it here and calling the post ‘Blogging a Dead Horse’ which was a punning highlight of this blogs output.

GAA USA was produced by Sonta Films for TG4 and aired earlier this year. The series looks at the oft forgotten history of Gaelic Games in the United States and is presented by All-Ireland winning captain Dara Ó Cinnéide. The series was directed by Seán Ó Cualáín and produced by his brother Eamonn, Raemonn Mac Donnacha shot it and Darragh Dukes did the music. I spent the best part of last winter working on the series and I’m incredibly proud of it. This series marked my fourth time working with Seán (we are currently on number five) and its proved to be a really fruitful collaboration. An Godfather:Bryan Rooney, Rás Tailteann:Rothaí an tSaoil and Mar A Cheile Muid are all very diverse films that I’m thrilled to have played a part in. These films added with Seán’s previous work I think position him as one of the premier chroniclers of both rural Irish life and the Irish immigrant experience and he’ll kill me for saying it but I think he may well be this generations Bob Quinn.

Like I said complicating the matter is that the boys in Second Captains have been nominated for Second Captains Live. The live sports show is quite frankly outrageous in its ability to not only set new standards in sports broadcasting but maintain them too. I think this clip of them interviewing Ciaran McDonald exemplifies pretty well the work they do.

The show also features a weekly opportunity for my brother Ciaran to demean himself and his journalism degree by dressing up in humiliating costumes. Whats not to love about that?

I share an office with the boys and I can safely say that they along with Aideen, Karen, Rebecca, Pat and Collie are the hardest working motherfuckers in the business and if they do end up taking home the gong it’ll be richly deserved. They also, as I’m frequently and embarrassingly reminded, play a mean game of table tennis.

I was also thrilled to see my buddies Mark Henry, Colm Bairéad, Cleona Ni Chrualaoi, Katie Holly, Mick Mahon and David Power get richly deserved nominations in other categories. Best of luck to them and to all the other nominations. Overall the standard of work last year was incredible, heres the full list of nominees

Irish Sports Doc’s online

kid sport
There are some great Irish sports doc available to watch online so I decided to collate some of them together for future reference. Perfect for days like today. If there’s any I’ve left out, leave a link in the comments. Enjoy

We Got Game

When droves of seven foot tall black ball players, who have just missed out on the NBA draft, arrive into a very white Ireland in the early 80’s, it makes for a very interesting story.
Directed by Garry Keane

The Millon Dollar Deal

A documentary about the World Series Of Poker in Las Vegas. Featuring Andrew Black, Donnacha O’Dea, Mike Magee, “Mad” Martyn Wilson, Mark Napolitano, Amarillo Slim, Scotty Nguyen, Dave “Devilfish” Ulliott & Matt Damon. Narrated by John Hurt.

Directed by John Butler, Produced by Luke McManus

Darragh O’ Se

The story of one of Kerry’s greatest ever football players, narrated by one of Irelands finest voice over artists.
Directed by Garry Keane

This is the story of Thomond Park, the home of Munster rugby. Through never before seen archive and filmed over 2 years this documentary showcases the unique relationship between the city of Limerick, the sport of rugby and the magical days seen at the stadium which was once used for grazing sheep but is now one of the worlds greatest stadia. Fans, players and ex players relive the magical days including beating the All Blacks in 1978, still the only Irish side to do so, cementing the stadium in Irish sporting folklore.
Directed by Shane Tobin

The Rod Squad
Directed by Cormac Hargaden
Episode 1


Episode 3

Episode 4

Reaching For Glory – Inside Irish Rugby 2007

Irelands Grand Slam Journey 2009

Jimmy’s Winning Matches

Produced and Directed by Joanne McGrath

Pride of the Parish



Part 2Part 3

Big Time – Bernard Dunne’s Fight For Glory

Part 2Part 3 Part 4Part 5

Marroned – Paidi Ó’Sé

Part 2Part 3

Green Is the Colour
Episode 1Episode 2Episode 3Episode 4

Final Words – Munster Hurling Final 2004

Documentary about the fantastic Munster Hurling Final of 2004 with contributions from all the principal players in that dramatic game

Return of the Rod Squad

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

Part of What We Are
Directed by Imogen Murphy, Produced by Motive Television

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

Rás Tailteann – Rotha an tSaoil wins big in Wales

TG4’s cycling documentary ‘Rás Tailteann – Rotha an tSaoil’ scooped two awards at this year’s Celtic Media Festival held in Swansea.
The double-winning documentary tells the story behind one of Ireland’s greatest sporting institutions, the Rás Tailteann cycling race. Established in 1953, its aim was to symbolise the nationalist aspirations of its organisers and promote Irish culture at a time of fierce political and sporting division. The programme tells the tumultuous history of the Rás and also offers a unique take on the cultural and political development of late 20th century Ireland – a revealing through-line from the 1950s to the modern day.

Produced by Dot Television and Sónta, the production received funding from TG4 and from the BAI. Producer David Burke and director Seán Ó Cualáin were in Swansea to receive their two Torc awards. On Wednesday the show won the Bronze Torc award for best Sports Programme and then on Saturday got the prestigious Gold Torc for Spirit of the Festival Award.
The Celtic Media Festival is held annually and presents awards in a range of programme categories. Entries go through a national pre-selection phase in each of the Celtic countries with the best advancing to compete in the international phase. TG4 had eight programmes shortlisted in various categories in this year’s Festival. The Spirit of the Festival Award is given to the best programme in a Celtic language.

I’m delighted to have been part of the programme and just wish I could have been over there with the lads for what sounded like a great weekend in Wales.

2012 – When Sport was King

Earlier this week we had the broadcast of When Ali Came to Ireland on RTE One and the entire production staff behind making the film were blown away by the positive feedback we received in person and online. All those nice things people said about it really do make the effort involved in making the film seem worthwhile. So thank you so much for that.

Last year was a little odd for me in that the 3 projects I had broadcast were all Sports documentaries, having never done any before (unless you count, the Naked Election, which was a sports doc hidden inside a political one) I ended up spending most of the year concentrating on different sports, I even ended up on the radio talking about Sports Docs. Not that I mind, in fact as a sports fan it’s something of a dream come true to be telling various sports stories. One of those documentaries, Rás Tailteann – Rothaí an tSaoil is repeated tonight on TG4 at 9:50. If you haven’t already seen it, you’re in for a treat, its an amazing hidden history of what was once one of Irelands premier sporting events and a competition that reflects the troubled history of this island. Its informative and highly entertaining even if I do say so myself.

Sport is by its very nature dramatic and you can be assured of it reaching some sort of conclusion, which is a great thing to have when you are crafting a story, finding an ending in other docs can be really difficult. Last year was an incredible year of sport and with so much going on it was only natural that there would be an abundance of sports doc made in this country. Its a testament to the documentary makers working in Ireland today that so many of them were of such a high standard. For next weeks IFTA nominations, the best sports documentary is going to be one of the most hotly contested categories, something that hasn’t been true in the past. I’d like to think that the ones I worked on would be in with a chance but there were a couple of other stand-outs this year.

Jumpboys -TG4 – Dir: Luke McManus

This TG4 documentary follows the intense challenges involved in attaining the highest accolade of the National Hunt horse racing year in Ireland 2012, the title of National Hunt Champion Jockey. The documentary tracks three of Ireland’s top Jockeys, Davy Russell, Barry Geraghty and Ruby Walsh. The jockeys have to overcome severe injuries, dehydration and savage competition from the other competitors. before the close of the jumps season. Airs on TG4 tonight at 21.30 28th November 2012

The West’s Awake – TG4 – Dir: Kieran Hartigan

The West’s Awake is an exclusive fly on the wall documentary which tells the story of Connacht Rugby’s inaugural Heineken Cup journey in the 2011/ 2012 season.
With unprecedented access to the squad and management this one-hour film brings the audience on an emotional and sporting rollercoaster. From the modest Sportsground in Galway to the mighty Stade Ernest Wallon in Toulouse via the Stoop of London and Kingsholm in Gloucester, experience the agony and ecstasy of manager Eric Elwood and the Connacht Squad as they strive to compete against the cream of European Rugby in the face of overwhelming odds.
Join the players; Captain Gavin Duffy, Michael Swift, Ronan Loughney, John Muldoon and Johnny O’Connor as they line out for game after punishing game, the indefatigable manager Eric Elwood as he leads his charges, the die hard fans never wavering in the face of adversity and the pundits as their stories interweave with highlights of the games to tell a story not only about rugby but about passion, culture, community and a sense of belonging.

It’s Not The Taking Part – Setanta – Dir: Andrew Gallimore

This series documents the trials and tribulations of six of Ireland’s Olympic hopefuls as they battle against rivals, injury, money problems, inadequate facilities, the clock, the selectors and overwhelming odds for the chance to compete on the ultimate stage.

Green Is The Colour – RTE

Over the last 130 years Irish football has transformed, developed, grown and prospered in line with our own national identity, from 19th century garrison game to 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.
Presented by Darragh Maloney, this four-part documentary series looks back at some of the major events that shaped Irish football and the national soccer team, featuring the personal accounts of a rich host of footballers, managers, pundits, historians, and journalists. From the origins of the game through to qualification for Poland and Ukraine the series re-visits some of the most memorable moments in Irish soccer.

Paddy Don Patricio – TG4

This film deals with the life of Paddy O’Connell, former Belfast Celtic player, Manchester United Captain and manager of Barcelona FC during the Spanish Civil War.

Hill 16 – TG4 – Dir: Shane Tobin

Everyone knows what ‘Hill 16′ is, but how many know the rich history which dates back to World War 1 when its first name was “Hill 60” after a battle in World War 1? Or up to the 80s where barbed wire fenced in the fans from all counties but especially Dublin GAA fans who would make it their own over the years.

and the two other ones I worked on

Faster, Stronger, Higher – RTE – Dir: Ronan O’Donoghue

Sports science documentary Faster, Higher, Stronger sees journalist Ian O’Riordan examine how athletes are using science and technology to enhance their performance, asking whether or not we can ever again truly believe in the purity of sport.
The Olympic Games are meant to represent all that’s good and pure about sport – heroic acts of courage, fair play, and being all that you can be.

When Ali Came to Ireland – RTE – Dir : Ross Whitaker

The film centres on the 1972 fight, in Croke Park, between Ali and the American challenger Al “Blue” Lewis, an ex-convict who miraculously won parole from a life-sentence for murder in his native Detroit. They were brought together in Dublin by an ex-circus strongman from Kerry, a colourful bar-owner who billed himself as “The World’s Strongest Publican”.

heres a really interesting piece on what Setanta have brought to the table since they began commissioning hour long documetaries

There have been others this year that I’ve forgotten and some that I’ve heard about but not yet seen.

Faster, Higher, Stronger, RTE One Tues 9:30

Through a somewhat odd set of circumstances and despite being pretty busy I havent had anything I cut on TV since April 2011. That is until now, Tuesday sees the screening of this sports doc I did for Independent pictures. It was directed by Ronan O’Donoghue and I’m quite proud of it. I trust you’ll all be watching..
Sports science documentary Faster, Higher, Stronger sees journalist Ian O’Riordan examine how athletes are using science and technology to enhance their performance, asking whether or not we can ever again truly believe in the purity of sport.
The Olympic Games are meant to represent all that’s good and pure about sport – heroic acts of courage, fair play, and being all that you can be.
But ever since Ben Johnson failed a drug test in 1988, the biggest sporting show on earth has been dogged by scandal and suspicion.
And now, with the curtain about to rise on London 2012, Ian O’Riordan of the Irish Times looks at the growing impact science and technology has on sport – legal and illegal – and wonders if sport can ever regain our trust.
A lifelong sports fanatic, Ian O’Riordan’s world changed when Ben Johnson was caught at the 1988 Games.
Ever since, as a competitive distance runner, through his career as a sports journalist, he’s been trying to answer the question that was raised that September morning in 1988 – is any of this real?
In Faster, Higher, Stronger, O’Riordan looks at a range of performance enhancement techniques, both legal and illegal, to discover if science has become more important than good old-fashioned hard graft and talent.
He also spends time with members of the Irish Olympic team for 2012, to get inside the mind of the people that go to extraordinary lengths to gain a competitive edge.
Ian meets race-walker Colin Griffin, who’s living in a bespoke altitude house in Limerick, fitted out to mimic the air density of Kilimanjaro. While Rob Heffernan, another walker, has to make do with a tent over his bed to get the same effect. Ian asks if this method of manipulating the body’s make-up is really fair, using the example of a banned swimsuit as an instance technology was outlawed.

He reconnects with Martin Fagan and Geraldine Hendricken, two Irish athletes who received bans for failed drugs tests. He looks at the world of sports supplements, asking if these are really just legal performance enhancers.

The next big threat to fair play in sport is genetic doping. Travelling to the world centre for genetic doping, via a herd of Supercows in Laois, Ian explores whether messing with the DNA is a real problem or just science fiction. He meets the main players in the war on doping for London 2012 to discover how sport is putting up a fight against the cheats.
And in attempt to get inside the mind of a cheat, Ian undertakes to go on a course of performance enhancing drugs. In doing so, he discovers that the results might be more dramatic than he could ever have imagined.

Faster, Higher, Stronger is a comprehensive exploration of performance enhancement that combines an in-depth look at the science of sport with a personal search for the truth about fair play.
Watch Faster, Higher, Stronger on RTÉ One on Tuesday 17 July at 9.35pm.

So the football isn’t the only thing on today

The football is on today and I am very excited about Ireland v Croatia later on. There would appear to be a huge number of Irish over in Poland which means they wont be going to the Eucharistic Congress which also starts today. I remember learning in Primary and Secondary School about the first Eucharistic Congress held in Ireland back in 1932 and how that it was such a big deal for our fledgling nation. This years one has been more then a little low key, obviously we are all far more interested in whats happening in Poland and I’m sure the Church dont want to draw too much flack from the countless number of people who have legitimate reasons to protest the gathering. But just to get a sense of how huge the event in 1932 was take a look at this picture…

The final public mass of the congress was held in Phoenix Park. 25% of the population of Ireland attended the mass and afterwards four processions left the Park to O’Connell Street where approximately 500,000 people gathered on O’Connell Bridge for the concluding blessing.

So if we beat the croats, I’m hoping to see O’Connell street just as full tonight