It was a good fall, not a great fall!
You won’t find this story in Eamon Dunphy’s best-selling biog The Rocky Road – a great book, not a good book!
It was Paddy Agnew, then sports editor of the now sadly defunct Sunday Tribune, who put Eamo up to it!
I called into see Paddy before Easter 1984 at at his Baggot St. office. “Paddy,” says I, “any chance you could join some fellow journos, some showbiz heads and a few politicos for the start of a tandem cycle involving Ireland’s visually impaired sportspeople?”
Paddy, feet on desk, thought for a second and beckoned Dunphy (then a Tribune writer). “Yeh, ok, I’ll do it but I haven’t cycled a bike since I was 10!”
Fair play to Eamo as, a few weeks later, he turned up for the ride. There were none of these high viz vests, helmets or reflectors then. He went straight at it and piloted a tandem bicycle accompanied by partially sighted athlete Philip Dunne.
Legendary broadcaster Michael O’Hehir put Eamon and about 20 other celebs under starter’s orders at Dublin’s GPO.
Well, Eamon was on for about 50 metres until he got to the Carlton Cinema. Then, crash, bang, wallop, off the bike and poor Eamo landed flat on his ass!
Nobody was hurt.
However, then Irish Press editor Tim Pat Coogan was piloting another tandem close by and loved it all. He had great fun teasing Eamo in his print column a week later.
In the modern era no celeb would try what Eamo tried that day: hop on a tandem bike 30 years after your last childhood cycle! Sure YouTube would go into over-drive.
Thank you Eamon Dunphy for a great memory.
– JOE GERAGHTY
Acknowledgement: Thank you to Patricia McVeigh at Penguin Books for kindly helping us in getting green light from Eamo to publish a great old memory. We also wish to acknowlege soccer-ireland.com who have an excellent review of Eamo’s new book The Rocky Road on their website. See link at bottom of this article.
Eamon Dunphy is also the author of Only a Game?, A Strange Kind of Glory: Matt Busby and Manchester United, Unforgettable Fire: The Story of U2, and as the ghost-writer of Keane : The Autobiography.
Title: The Rocky Road
Author: Eamon Dunphy
Publishers: Penguin Ireland
Published: October 2013
Hardcover: 400 pages
Availability: In any good book store
The soccer-ireland.com review: