Battle Lines Being Drawn

O'Driscoll Newstalk“Good to be back as part of a team.”

Those were the first words of Brian O’Driscoll as a professional broadcaster, only 72 hours after hanging up his boots on Ireland’s most successful rugby career.

There was a giddy excitement among the presenters of Newstalk’s Off The Ball as they unveiled their new star signing on the show last night and while the new Senior Rugby Correspondent’s voice was a bit gruff after a weekend of celebration he was very upbeat about the switch in career.

It will be a big boost for Newstalk which recently stepped up its role within sports sponsorship as a backer of the Cricket Ireland inter provincial series and which has fought back well from the loss of key members of the team to what became the Second Captains podcast via the Irish Times and on RTE TV.

Battle lines

Their is a drawing of battle lines in the multi media world with Newstalk and the Irish Independent sharing an increasing number of links.  Dave McIntyre will double up his role as a commentator on the station with a similar role on Sky Sports’ GAA coverage getting underway this weekend.

O’Driscoll’s coming on board in a permanent role from September may see a lessening of opportunity for the Irish Times rugby correspondent Gerry Thornley who has largely filled the role on the programme that is being suggested now for O’Driscoll.

It was interesting to listen last night as he outlined the increasing role of analysis within sport, both of your own game but also that of the opposition.

“Everything is recorded now live in real time via GPS monitors and there is nowhere to hide.”

“At the end of the game you are presented with a one page sheet on everything you have done as was recorded.”


“Knowing that you have access to that information also means your next opponent will be armed with more knowledge about you than was ever possible and part of the challenge for players now is not to be obvious, not to always play the same way, because if you do, no matter how effective it is at first, you will be stopped.”

Off the Ball is sponsored by Ford who will have been buoyed not only by the boost to the show’s ratings that O’Driscoll will bring but also by the figures released yesterday which showed that new car sales in Ireland remained over 20% ahead of 2013 with Volkswagen, Toyota and Ford leading the way.

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