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Tadhg de Brún - Tunnel Vision

Friday, 13 November 2009

Mentor press release:
"TADHG DE BRÚN, RTÉ Sport's Floor Manager for the past four decades, has seen it all. With 40-plus years spent behind the- scenes at every major [and quite a few minor] televised sporting events, Tadhg has some great stories to tell.

SNOOKER: Dennis Taylor gets his knuckles rapped midmatch for complaining about facilities at Goffs after his chair collapsed from under him; Alex Higgins offers a
Spontaneous blow-by-blow commentary on his winning performance in 1989.

SOCCER: World Cup USA 94 and George Hamilton's shortest-ever interview with Jack Charlton - it consisted of two words; watching Niall Quinn in the commentary box suffer through the Ireland v Italy match; the sideline incident during Ireland v Mexico involving FIFA's own Mickey Mouse.

GAA: Teams who take to the field on big match days before the appointed hour and teams who won't come out until it suits them. All the excitement - good and bad - behind the scenes as the managers, teams, stewards and RTÉ prepare to go live on All-Ireland Final days.

RUGBY: The day Ulster Said 'Yes' in Lansdowne Road to the European Heineken Cup;

Munster's impossible win over Gloucester in 2003; Moss Keane's inspired reaction to being offered a few lumps of sugar at half-time during a Five Nations match against England.

GOLF: The early days of Bernhard Langer, the refreshment needs of Sam Torrence, the charm of Olazabal, the short temper of Colin Montgomery and the betting coups of the RTÉ team! All the glory days of the Irish Golf Open - from Portmarnock to Druids Glen.

BOXING: The ups and downs, literally, of Bernard Dunne's fighting career from a ringside point of view that was sometimes too close for comfort. And the not-so-famous: the stewards, corner boys, car park attendants who all have a word for Tadhg as he hurries back and forth massaging egos, organising events and making sure that the show goes on".

How did this book come about?
I was asked to write out two anecdotes for someone's book. Then at the launch a publisher asked me would I have more anecdotes and I said hundreds. They asked would I be interested in putting them down on paper and I said I wasn't bothered. It was only sometime afterwards when I was ill that I began to think about it and I started making notes. I had about 100 pages of written notes and I handed them in to the publishers to have a look. They went through them and they said if you write it we'll publish it. I went out and bought myself a laptop and started typing the book.

Did you always have intensions of making a book as you have taken so many pictures over the years?
I took the pictures as a record for myself. I always had a camera in my pocket. I also always kept a match program of all the matches I worked on. I have thousands of them and they proved a great reference point.

You have been at so many sporting events - can you tell me what your highlight was in the '94 world Cup?
I really couldn't pick a highlight. There were so many. I suppose was the Ireland Italy game in New Jersey. A personal highlight was when I was offered a ticket to the Three Tenors Concert while I was out in LA. The tickets cost $1,000. I went and I was in the VIP area. I met Bob Hope. He was incredible - he had just been in Ireland to visit his daughter was living in Galway. Then he told me to go to speak to Frank Sinatra but when we tried his security wouldn't let us. We also saw Whoopi Goldberg and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

You met Arnold Schwarzenegger again in Dublin what was he like?
The night before his people said I wasn't allowed to talk to him unless he spoke to me and I said that that was ridiculous and that I wasn't going to work for them. This scared them and they got me back on board. The next day he was so nice and he even spent 30 seconds making sure he got the pronunciation of my name right.

He was super. When he was finished that day publishing Planet Hollywood he asked me had the news crew left as he wanted to say one more thing. I said I didn't know I said I'll try to find them. He said he forgot to do something they asked. So I went off and got the crew back and what he forgot to do was say 'Beidh me Arais.' It went out on the 9 o clock news that night.

Tell me about the incident at Goff's?
Denis Taylor was playing brilliantly at the semi finals on a Saturday. He played a bad shot and came back and threw himself into a chair and the chair collapsed. The chair, the table and the water all came down on him and the place erupted in laughter. They hammered the chair back together. At the interval he asked me could he use my walky takey to call the tournament director and told them that he would not be going out for the second half of the match unless he was guaranteed that his seat would not break. The reply came back as the director now knew he was joking and said 'Denis if you spent more time at the table then you wouldn't have to worry about the chair'.

What's your favourite sport? Or do you always see the technical side of sports instead of enjoying it?
I love all sport but if I had to pick one I'd say hurling. But I follow all sports in my spare time.

Who is the greatest Irish sportsman?
I don't have one.

You met Jack Charlton on numerous occasions - any funny stories?
We arranged an interview in New York with Jack. We waited for him outside the hotel and Jack emerged and George Hamilton was waiting for him and George said 'So today is the big day' and Jack's response was 'bugger off'. That was the interview. That was Jack he could be a bully, he could be gracious but as long as you stand up to him he was fine.

Jack was fortunate that he inherited a great team but he was also a good manager.

What's your prediction for this Saturday's match and then the rugby on Sunday?
I am working on both these matches. I think we have a chance of winning both of them.

What's your plan when you retire?
I haven't thought about it but I won't be idle.

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