| 7.1°C Dublin

Iconic voice of rugby tells of operations to save his speech

IRISH rugby's PA announcer has witnessed many battles in Croker and Lansdowne but his greatest struggle was holding on to his voice -- and his job.

Declan King, who works for the IRFU and FAI, was involved in a horrific accident two years ago and has undergone five operations to repair his voicebox since.

Declan -- who relies on his voice for his livelihood -- was told he was suffering from voice box paralysis after his voice died during a Leinster awards night.

"I was involved in a very serious car crash in January 2008, a cement truck skidded on ice and careered into my car, completely writing it off," he said.

"I was on medication for a prolonged period and the following April I was doing a sound check at the Leinster Rugby Awards when my voice just died. My doctor told me I had very bad laryngitis and sent me to a throat specialist right away.


"I had my first of five surgeries on the day I met the specialist who told me I was suffering from voicebox paralysis.

"Fat tissue was taken from my stomach and I had a nerve removed from the back of my knee and they were inserted into my voicebox.

"Thankfully, I'm fine now, but it was touch and go for a while."

Declan has been working for the IRFU since 1996 and believes that announcing the English anthem at Croke Park was his most poignant moment.

"One of my greatest memories of Croke Park will be the playing of the anthems when Ireland played England, that was a really special occasion," he said. "The fact that I would be the first one to announce the anthems when England played in Croke Park was special.

"I still get a lump in my throat thinking about it."