Paul Kimmage: 'Words and truth matter to journalism's new generation'
"By 1998, Reilly had mostly given up the longer stories to write the back-page 'life of Reilly' column at SI, where his humour was still on display...
"By 1998, Reilly had mostly given up the longer stories to write the back-page 'life of Reilly' column at SI, where his humour was still on display...
What's so interesting about Gareth Farrelly? Well, some would say it was the goal he scored to keep Everton up on the final day of the season in 1998.
It started, starts, with a photo that was sent from Cagliari at Italia '90. Mick McCarthy and Chris Morris are sitting on a shaded terrace of the team...
On the night before the flight to Bristol, and the drive to the Cotswolds, and the search for his...
The world's best tennis players are in Florida this week for the Miami Open, an ATP Tour Masters 1000 event. But what if we come down to the level below that (the ATP Tour 500 series)? And below that (the ATP Tour 250 series)? And below that (the ATP Challenger Tour 125 series)? And below that (the ATP Challenger Tour 100 Series)?
We were sitting having coffee at home last month when my brother started raving about Shane Lowry.
"And how appropriate was it that Panadol were sponsoring RTÉ's coverage of the game? You should, of course, carefully read the dosage instructions on the back of the packet, but the temptation...
Twenty-three years (to the day) have passed since Justin Marshall made his debut for New Zealand against France in Paris and became the 948th All...
It was a sunny Wednesday morning in April and Floyd Landis had been sitting at his dining room table and checking his emails for 20 minutes when I noticed that the mug he was drinking his coffee...
"You have to begin to lose your memory, if only in bits and pieces, to realise that memory is what makes our lives. Life without memory is no life...
It must have been this time of year, because we rarely trained in Wicklow before April or May, and it would have been the usual suspects - myself, Raphael, Thompson, Delaney and Coll - drilling it across Sally Gap like a stage in the Tour de France.
We didn't get where we are today by pandering to trends on Twitter but that 'five jobs I've had' thing does have a certain appeal so - just this once - we'll indulge you: paper boy (Evening Herald), labourer (Cement Roadstone), apprentice plumber (Dublin Airport), professional cyclist (RMO), caddie (Nick Faldo) . . .
The problem with being there was finding a place to watch. Every blade of grass was covered by a witness and the chanting had reached fever pitch as the Comeback King marched from the 18th green:
A roomful of reporters waited to hear what Ken Green had to say after his round, which went up and down like some of the greens at Augusta National. The first thing he told them was: "I am not an unknown. Everybody in Connecticut and my family knows me. I also have colour. I want you to write that."
In the summer of 2006, on the eve of the French Open, I was sent to Paris to interview a prodigiously gifted tennis player. There wasn't a lot of joy in my heart. Andy Murray lived on his PlayStation, had a reputation for being stroppy, and had just turned 19. What were we going to talk about?
Munster had just beaten Gloucester at Thomond Park and the focus of the post-match analysis on Virgin Media One was the dismissal of Danny Cipriani. Joe Molloy was pitch-side with Ronan O'Gara and Shane Jennings, and as the rights and wrongs of the game's pivotal moment were tossed back and forth, the rarest thing happened.
A Monday morning at the Kensington Hotel in London. He descends from a suite on the first floor with his wife, Marie, at 8am and invites you to join them for breakfast. Twelve years have passed since our last interview; 27 have passed since our first time to spar. He's wearing G-Star jeans, a patterned Falken shirt, shoes by Angelo Galasso and tinted spectacles a-la Bono.
Two years ago, on the morning of my first visit to the Straight Blast Gym (SBG) on the Naas Road, I scribbled a last-minute warning in my notes. "The danger of interviewing John Kavanagh is that it becomes all about Conor McGregor." His book, Win or Learn had just been published and it was obvious, reading it, that Kavanagh was a seriously interesting man and I resolved not to make it...
What I like best is a book that's at least funny once in a while . . . What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though.
It's not every day he had shared a house with a three-time Major winner; it's not any day he had played in a tournament when history had been made; and yet, late on Friday evening at the Portugal Masters in Vilamoura, as he holed a putt for birdie on the 16th green, Robin Dawson knew that his first tournament as a professional was not the stuff of dreams.
I sat down a couple of weeks ago with the first episode of Sharp Objects - the eight-part psychological thriller based on the novel by Gillian Flynn. It's about a reporter, Camille Preaker, who returns to her home of Wind Gap, Missouri to investigate the murder of two young girls.
Irish Open Sundays have always brought out the best in him, and for most of that Sunday in Ballyliffin last July, it showed.
Not since Down won their first senior football crown in 1960 has Croke Park witnessed such scenes of overflowing enthusiasm as those seen at headquarters yesterday afternoon when Eamonn Grimes raised the Liam MacCarthy trophy high in triumph after Limerick had beaten the holders, Kilkenny, by 1-21 (24) to 1-14 (17) to win their first All Ireland Senior Hurling title in 33 years.
Almost eight years have passed since November 2010 and my last interview with Floyd Landis - a magazine piece for The Sunday Times and a 30,000 word Q&A with a classy, and ballsy, website called NYVelocity. The total cost was three writs, five years of harassment from a Swiss court, and 18 months as an unemployed writer when I lost my job. But here's the thing: Floyd was worth it.
We were sitting in the front room of his home in Belfast talking about the ones that had got away: the three years he had spent with Nick Faldo before the Englishman's triumph at Muirfield; the six years he had spent with Nick Price before the Zimbabwean's triumph at Turnberry; the offer he had declined from John Daly, a week before the American's triumph at St Andrews.
He is having dinner on the terrace of a boutique hotel in the Algarve. England are playing Tunisia on a giant screen in the corner and have taken an early lead. Most of the other diners are England fans but there are no requests for his thoughts or attempts to engage him. It's as if he had never played the game; as if none of it had ever happened.
It's 20 years since the town of Longford was twinned with Noyal-Chatillon-sur-Seiche and Google was formed and the Good Friday Agreement was made and Frank Sinatra died and Michelle de Bruin was banned and France won the World Cup and the Tour de France started in Dublin with the Festina affair.
"I'm always more concerned with what we do with the money as opposed to where we take it from" - Tom Ryan, the new GAA Ard Stiurthoir, April 17, 2018
It's fair to say my mind was elsewhere that Friday. I'd spent the day pushing hard to get a story across the line, and the evening having dinner with a woman so hot I didn't think of looking at my phone. So it was the late train from Pearse before I pulled it from my pocket and cranked up the Twitter machine.
Twenty-one years ago. It was a hot Thursday afternoon on my first visit to the Masters and the late Cecil Whelan, a great Dubliner and devoted golf fan, was guiding me around. There were plenty of names I wanted to see: Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, obviously; Tom Watson and Bernard Langer, naturally; Greg Norman and his return to Amen Corner 12 months after his dramatic collapse. But...
In December 1997, four months before Catherina McKiernan won the London Marathon, one of my favourite all-time movies opened in Hollywood. As Good As it Gets was the story of Melvin Udall, a cranky, compulsive-obsessive and gifted writer of romantic fiction whose life is turned upside down when he is smitten by a local waitress.
The sound of heavy breathing.
Pádraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy have shared seven Major championships and were born just 100 miles apart but there has always been something curious about the chemistry between them. There was the North v South thing, obviously, but most of Rory's management team are southerners. There was the age difference, naturally, but Pádraig's wing-man on Tour was Shane Lowry.
What happened to all of our great rugby folk? They used to be the bravest, toughest and brightest people in sport but they're as bad as footballers now when it comes to playing dumb or diving for cover. I've almost given up trying to interview them. They're fine when you're tickling their tummies or plugging their hair gel or moisturisers, but confront them with a simple truth and they start...
It's Oscar season, and of all the great movies coming down the tracks, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is the one that most excites. It's a Martin McDonagh film, obviously, with Frances McDormand, naturally, and opens in the office of a small advertising firm where Mildred Hayes (McDormand) is negotiating the rental of three billboards.
Kieren Fallon has left The Westbury and has almost reached Grafton Street when I spot him coming towards me. He pauses and looks at me curiously, his mind working overtime.
'Chris Froome's secret battle: Eight doctors, six clinics, four countries and five different illnesses . . . the remarkable personal struggle of Great Britain's Tour de France champion.'
When it comes to the business of words and music, I’ve always been fascinated by how they are put together. Take the Dionne Warwick classic 'Walk on By'.
I made a list the other day of the cricketers I've interviewed. It runs something like this: Twelve Brett Lees, three Ian Bothams, three Kevin Pietersens, two Freddie Flintoffs, two Shane Warnes, a Michael Vaughan, an Adam Gilchrist, a Geoff Boycott, an Andrew Strauss, a Justin Langer, a Nasser Hussain, a Mark Ramprakash, a Graham Thorpe and a Stuart Broad. So there's an obvious question...
Ireland's Greatest Sporting Moment has almost run its course when Ruby Walsh reaches for his whip. The 12-time champion jockey knows a dead horse when he sees one and from the opening credits the programme - a monument to cheap TV - has been out on its feet.
Paul Kimmage details his past friendship with paedophile Tom Humphries and the fallout from his conviction.
Five years ago. I'm sitting at a table with Jason Sherlock at the Louis Fitzgerald Hotel. The talk is Dublin and Donegal and Lance Armstrong and Katie Taylor. It's an awards dinner. The usual fare:
Under cover in pursuit of insight and entertainment.
Cheat: v. 1 act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage. > deprive of something by deceitful or unfair means 2 avoid (something undesirable) by luck or skill n. 1 a person who cheats. 2 an act of cheating
Twenty-one years ago, on a pleasant autumn morning in September '96, I sipped tea with a man in Castlebar who had come within 60 seconds of tasting sporting immortality. Ten days had passed since the drawn All-Ireland final when a miraculous lob had earned Meath a replay, but if John Maughan was disappointed, he was wearing it well.
I once cooked dinner for Hugh McIlvanney.
It had been bothering him all week, a simple question that was fundamental to watching sport: Who did he want to win? It had happened before at the World Cup and the Tour de France and watching tennis tournaments and athletics meets, but rarely when an Irishman was involved. And you could say a lot about Conor McGregor.
Okay, I hear you, not another bloody column on that boor Conor McGregor! You’ve seen the headlines and read his clothes (the ‘Eff You’ suit) and concur with the opinions:
Nine years ago, during a pleasant drive from Girona in Spain to a ski station called La Molina, I had a fascinating conversation with Jonathan Vaughters, the kindly (and slightly zany) director of the Slipstream Cycling team. We were talking about Dan Martin, and his cousin Nicolas Roche, and Vaughters' conviction that only one was destined for greatness.
For as long as she has been running, Ciara Mageean has raced with a taste of blood in her mouth, and the sound of a voice in her head. The blood told her she was trying as hard as she could try. The voice told her not to stop.
Real Paul Kimmage every week in the Sunday Independent
He was playing golf with his father in Dunfanaghy when he took the call. It was two days before the Irish Open and Paul McGinley was fine-tuning his game on the links where he had first learned to play.
Read Paul Kimmage every week in the Sunday Independent.
The 104th Tour de France starts in Dusseldorf on Saturday and to mark the occasion, HBO have been flagging trailers for a new movie, Tour de Pharmacy which airs a week later when the race reaches the mountains. No, I kid you not: T-O-U-R D-E P-H-A-R-M-A-C-Y.
When I first met Fergus Connolly, he was a gifted but frustrated woodwork and construction teacher who had chosen the wrong path and aspired to a career he would never attain. His passion was sport. He yearned for a life working with coaches and teams and was fascinated by what made them tick.
Whenever anyone asked Jericho why he was a mathematician - some friend of his mother, perhaps, or an inquisitive colleague with no interest in science - he would shake his head and smile and claim he had no idea. If they persisted, he might, with some diffidence, direct them to the definition offered by G. H. Hardy in his famous 'Apology': 'a mathematician, like a painter or a poet, is a...
"If you listen to them on the course, you often hear Rory asking, 'What happened there?' More than once I've heard JP saying something like, 'OK, hit a soft draw with a six-iron off that tree.' And I've immediately thought, 'This ball is going over the green'. And sure enough, it does. So you have to wonder. I see Rory up close only occasionally, and I know he's going to hit the ball over the green when his caddie clearly doesn't. It makes no sense." - Golf Digest, April 2017
"Sure, it's a great experience. The international players had their dinner on Monday night which was very enjoyable." Then he made a very telling comment. "I don't believe, however, you can really appreciate what Augusta is all about until you win here.
Two letters. On February 1, 1967, a lawyer called Robert Tyre Jones Junior from Atlanta, Georgia, sent a typewritten letter to a businessman in Dublin called Joseph Benedict Carr. Mr Tyre Jones Junior - or Bobby, as he was known - was the best amateur golfer in history and the founder member of Augusta National Golf Club. Mr Carr - better known as JB - was a three-time winner of the British...
Read Paul Kimmage every week in the Sunday Independent.
Ten days ago, on the evening after the opening round of the AT&T Pro-Am at Pebble Beach, I was sitting in the media centre perusing the news when I was drawn to a column by the always brilliant Michael Bamberger on Golf.com: 'Dear Rory: In an intimate series of emails, Rory McIlroy reflects on love, life and happiness.'
A disgruntled reader sent me a barbed note on Twitter last week: 'Is there anything you actually like?' It's a hard question to answer in 140 characters and I was tempted to just say 'No' but there are certain things, I guess.
Tommy Tiernan has never been mistaken for René Descartes or Friedrich Nietzsche, but there was a lot of wisdom in an interview he gave to Nadine O'Regan in The Sunday Business Post last week. Asked about the positive response to his latest show on Twitter, the 47-year-old comedian explained that he "tended not to follow that star".
Planet Rory. During those countless days spent gazing in wonder and watching from afar perhaps the strangest was that morning in May 2014, when a statement was issued announcing the end of his engagement to the tennis player, Caroline Wozniacki.
Thirteen years ago, on a gloriously sunny morning in February 2004, I hired a car at Los Angeles airport and drove west for 130 miles to the Shadow Ridge Golf Resort in Palm Springs. I was there to spend time with Nick Faldo, Europe's most successful golfer, and make plans for a series of his columns that would appear in The Sunday Times.
The month was December, 2015. Conor McGregor was going head-to-head with Jose Aldo in Vegas that weekend and the fight was top of the agenda on UTV's now sadly defunct Friday Night Sport. Jody Sheridan, the producer, sent me an email with the details:
'What's special about Matt Hampson? Nothing. I can't make speeches like Winston Churchill; I can't do compassion like Mother Teresa; I am never going to be Nelson Mandela, Muhammad Ali or Bono. And I don't want to be. The only thing that sets me apart is my wheelchair and the pipe coming out of my neck, but I would like, and have tried, to make a difference.'
'I can't listen to the nonsense debate that rugby is a dangerous game. That's being sensationalist, and the game is being harmed by ill-informed debate. Because there are so many more cameras and angles, it makes things look higher impact and more ferocious. Rory Best makes his 100th cap for Ireland tomorrow, Sean Cronin too has been around for a decade and more, and both are making...
"As the alcohol hit, I wouldn't have any qualms about what I was doing. It'd be a case of 'I don't feel so good at the moment and this is what's going to help me get back on an even keel…"
Cathal McCarron tells Paul Kimmage how he will be battling his gambling addiction for the rest of his life.
For some time now - since that '60 Gs' moment on April 6, 2013, to be precise - Conor McGregor has ticked all the boxes:
Five minutes have passed since he glanced at his watch . . .
Damon Hill was sitting in the front seat of a chauffeur-driven Jaguar, studying the two-page memo with his schedule for the day. It was a Tuesday morning in July 1996, five days before the British Grand Prix, and he was being driven to Brands Hatch by John, a sponsor's representative, for a day of promotional activity.
Hey, Felipe, that was you on Wednesday morning, right? Holding the camera as the police entered the lobby of the Windsor Marapendi hotel? Filming the pictures as they crossed the marble floors from reception to the elevators? Capturing the moment when they reached the executive floor and marched purposefully down the corridor to the bedroom door.
This is how it starts: It's Thursday afternoon and I'm sitting on a sunny beach terrace nursing a glass of chilled wine when my phone shudders with a missile launched from the lilywhite land of Kildare. It's John. Twitter. He's not happy: "No comment from @PaulKimmage either about the Irish boxing positive, strange considering he targets other countries' athletes with glee."
O'Sullivan will not be the only Irish competitor going for gold on Sunday, however, following a brilliant finish from Ireland's men's coxless fours in their rowing semi-final on Lake Lanier yesterday.
Thursday at The Open started as most days have this week, with breakfast in the Media Centre and a review of the morning papers. A piece by John Hopkins in The Times caught my eye. He was reflecting on the state of the game, and the repercussions of Brexit for The Open at Portrush in 2019, and noted - "bizarre as it might seem" - that Portmarnock had once hosted the British Amateur Championship.
For years he was aimless, a lost soul in life, always searching through the emptiness yet never finding the right path. How could he move forward when all signs kept pointing to his past? So, a few years ago, Alexi Grewal rounded up a scrapbook from his victory at the 1984 Olympic Games road race, and the rest of the memorabilia from his cycling career, and threw them in the trash. “I lived through that once and I needed to move on,” Grewal said. “It was a weight.” — Scott Reid, The Orange County Register, August 2009
The month was January, 1983 and L'Aeroport Charles de Gaulle was like nothing we had seen before; white marble tunnels that channelled you from an arrivals satellite to the terminal; glass tubes with moving floors that whisked you skywards towards the baggage hall.
For some time now - 13 years, three months and two days to be precise - Martin O'Neill has enthralled me. It started with an interview in The Sunday Times in March 2003 that opened, not with the latest glories from his reign at Parkhead, but with a furtive trip to London with his wife, Geraldine, to chase the ghost of Lord Lucan.
Paul Kimmage takes us back in time to when the Irish media enjoyed a healthy relationship with the Irish soccer team.
A few weeks ago, when the editor called and broached the subject of an interview with Alan Brogan, my initial reaction was: 'Christ! What will I say in the introduction?' It's become a pattern, you see, to begin these interviews with an anecdote or witticism or some past experience we've shared.
'The surprise tribute worked really well — Phil Knight was truly not expecting it. He thought he was delivering the closing speech for the big annual sales conference and that all the athletes were there as part of that. Then, as he wrapped up, someone grabbed the mic and one by one we all paid our individual tributes. He is such a humble and genuine person that when you meet him you have to...
'Cycling Ireland has warned against the 'inappropriate consumption of caffeinated substances' before, during, or after youth and junior bike races after a number of young cyclists took ill at an event in Cork last weekend.
'In 2009, almost from out of nowhere, he finished tied for second at the US Open at Bethpage Black. The oft-asked question that week was, "Where has David Duval been for nine years?" The answer was, in many ways, simple: he had been finding happiness. And once he found it, he didn't want anything, including golf, to take it away from him.' John Feinstein, 'One on One'
On a late Saturday evening in April 1996, Greg Norman handed his putter to his caddie, Tony Navarro, and walked off the practice green at Augusta National. He was the last man on the golf course, and for 15 years had been making the same walk, always turning left when he entered the clubhouse, never taking the stairs to the Champions Room where the legends reigned.
For seven years now, since his breakout win at the 2009 Irish Open when he became only the third amateur in history to win on the European Tour, I’ve stood back from Shane Lowry and thought: ‘Hmmm.’
"You're not anybody in America unless you're on TV. On TV is where we learn about who we really are. Because what's the point of doing anything worthwhile if nobody's watching?" - Nicole Kidman, To Die For
Murray's decision to speak out against such goings on has not been met with great enthusiasm by the former British tennis player Andrew Castle, who criticised Murray for going public with his claims. "I think he has been unguarded and naïve. If he has these claims he should take them to the ATP officials. Tennis has been thrown into something that doesn't make the game look good." The Guardian, October 2007
Seven years ago, on the third Friday of July 2009, I stood with a photographer outside the recorder's hut at Turnberry, watching as Sir Nick Faldo marched from the 18th green. His 33rd appearance at the Open, and first as a knight of the realm, had not gone according to plan.
The last time I saw (Muhammad Ali) before he went home he was at the wheel of a caravan-bus that was taking his entourage to New Jersey. As it pulled away through the crowds he gave a slow little smile and waved, like royalty. How else would he wave?
Francis 'Sammy' Davis is a man of order and routine. He leaves the house each Saturday morning for the bookies on Sundrive Road, orders a pint in The Stone Boat and arrives home at lunchtime as my grandmother prepares his bacon and cabbage.
In October 2011, five months after he had played his last game for Munster, Alan Quinlan was watching a training session in Limerick with two colleagues from Sky when he was reminded by Pat Geraghty, the Munster media manager, that the session was "closed".
"Perhaps all music, even the newest, is not so much something discovered as something that re-emerges from where it lay buried in the memory, inaudible as a melody cut in a disc of flesh. A composer lets me hear a song that has always been shut up silent within me." Jean Genet, 'Prisoner of Love'
Almost twenty-four years have passed since that night at Drimnagh Boxing Club when I first set eyes on Michael Carruth.
Part of a unique family dynasty in the GAA, it’s no surprise that football and the pursuit of honours have always been Tomás ó Sé’s twin obsessions
Here's how it starts. It's a Sunday afternoon and I'm lying on my bed with a pair of headphones on, trawling through books and papers and podcasts, when my daughter runs into the room. "What's so funny, Dad?" "That is so good," I reply. "What?" "Naah, you wouldn't get it." "Whaaaat?" "Okay, I'll play it for you."
What's the deal with Trevor Hogan? He spends his entire rugby career, almost a third of his life, trying not to draw attention to himself and succeeds, admirably. There's not one blotted copy in 57 games for Munster; not one lurid headline in 59 games for Leinster and not one stinking report in four games for Ireland. He's the gentle giant, the model pro, who lets others do the talking.