'I was a bit hurt they wrote me off so quickly' - Des Cahill wants to prove his Dancing with the Stars doubters wrong
RTE's Des Cahill says he is determined to prove the doubters wrong after he was named as the least likely winner of Dancing with the Stars (DWTS).
The Saturday Sport presenter was given odds of 25/1 to win the new RTE programme, which starts on Sunday. But he said that people shouldn't under-estimate his prowess on the dancefloor just yet.
"I think the bookies have it wrong and they're seldom wrong, but it was a bit harsh. I was a bit hurt by that," he said.
He told the Herald that he's been getting no end of grief from his RTE colleagues.
"Everyone just laughs when they talk to me about it. There's no, 'Yeah, that's really good, go for it'.
"I'm doing better now than a couple of weeks ago, when I thought, 'I've no chance'.
"The reality is, it's going out of my comfort zone and I live life in my comfort zone - it has been good for me. If I'm beaten, I'm beaten, but at least I've given it a go."
He's been burning the candle at both ends in the run-up to the first live programme this weekend, given that he's up at 4.40am on the early shift and then has to head to rehearsals for DWTS.
But the 62-year-old dad of two said that it's taken years off him and given him a whole new lease of life.
"I'm delighted I'm doing it. I feel much better. I've lost weight. My breathing and energy levels have improved a lot and I'm meeting people that I wouldn't have met otherwise," he said.
Far from there being any rivalry between him and fellow RTE broadcaster Teresa Mannion, they are giving each other a shoulder to lean on.
"We've been like a miniature support group for each other. She's putting a huge effort into it," he said.
When it comes to who he reckons is his big competition, he mentioned Hometown star Dayl Cronin as one to watch, along with actresses Aoibhin Garrihy and Denise McCormack.
"It's hard to say because we don't all practise together. Some of them have been to dance school when they were younger, which gives them a natural advantage. And obviously Aidan O'Mahony, the Kerry footballer, is super fit so that helps," he said.
"I'm much older than a lot of them. I'm nearly treble the age of one or two of them but we all get on really well and I like them a lot."
He has also been secretly swotting up on the show after recording the BBC version, which he said he found "intimidating".
"They were all at a very high level but they had all been at it for a few months at that stage," he said.
"I'm just going to give it my best shot. I don't think I'll be first out."