BY HARRY WALSH
IT’S the biggest day of the GAA’s football year and although they won’t be represented on the pitch, Donegal will still have an important team in place at Croke Park on All-Ireland final day.
Frances Nic Ruaidhrí and Caroline Brady work with outside broadcast facilities provider TVM who will beam images of the show-case event to homes across the country and to ex-pats living around the world.
A native of Tory island, Frances will operate ‘Camera 1’ from high in the Hogan Stand on Sunday while Caroline, from Kilcar, works as floor-manager and part of her job is to get players and managers for live post-match interviews.
“I’ll be doing the Minor final for TG4 so I’ll keep an extra close eye on Charlie (McGeever, Tipperary’s minor manager) as he was my PE teacher in Pobalscoil Chloich Cheann Fhaola,” Frances laughed.
On a more serious note, this will be her first final operating ‘Camera 1’ which is the main camera from which live pictures are taken during games. It was Frances who skilfully captured Michael Murphy’s magnificent leap and knock down into the path of Ryan McHugh for Donegal’s second goal against Galway at headquarters earlier in the summer.
“There’s thirteen cameras around the ground and another four in studio. Camera 1 is the wider shot that you tend to see most of the time when you’re watching a game on television,” she explained.
Frances has worked at all the championship games this summer for both RTE and Sky together with the minor games for TG4. It’s a high pressure job but one which she thoroughly enjoys.
“You can clock up a lot of miles in this job. I’m for Cork to cover the State funeral of Thomas Kent on Friday before I travel back to Dublin ahead of the All-Ireland finals. I live in Galway,” she said.
A graduate of DCU, Frances started working in Galway with RTE before taking on freelance work with TVM, a company with a reputation as a leader in the Outside Broadcast market.
“I’m married to a Dub (Donal Grae) but I would like to see Kerry win as their colours are closer to ours,” she joked.
Unfortunately Donegal didn’t make it to this year’s final, but it is a Tir Chonaill image which provides Frances with one of her best memories in her job.
“I was working with the BBC at the time of the 2012 final and was operating a camera right beside Martin McHugh at the final whistle when he and Mark (his son) embraced. It was brilliant. Another great memory was when Jim McGuinness started to work as an analyst with Sky,” she said.
Caroline Brady works for the same company (TVM) and she spent this week working at the Listowel Races. The Kilcar woman was floor manager at last month’s All-Ireland semi-final replay.
“It’s my job to check that we have sound and pictures for on-pitch and post match interviews. I’ve also got to make sure that the names and clubs are right in the programme and to make any late changes to team sheets while, during games, I work closely with the fourth official to confirm who got yellow, black or red cards and for what offence and to note which subs have come on.
“After games I’ve to get the manager and one or two players to do post-match interviews which isn’t that easy at times to sort from the losing dressing room.
“It’s still a great job. You get to sit along the sidelines and you’re right up close to the action and you can feel the tension,” she said.
The men from the Kingdom are back contesting both finals with Tipperary (minor) and Dublin standing between them and a historic double double, having defeated Donegal in both the senior and minor finals twelve months ago.
The Tipperary minor team manager is Falcarragh native Charlie McGeever while All-Ireland winning Donegal manager from 2012, Jim McGuinness, will be one of the Sky match analysts. Another All-Ireland winner Martin McHugh (1992) is a Sunday Game pundit.
With Frances and Caroline playing key roles, there’s no doubt that Donegal will lead the way once more today.
Posted: 7:43 am September 20, 2015