A Day in the Life: Ruaidhrí O'Connor


A GOOD SPORT Ruaidhri O’Connor from Ballintubber is pictured with World Heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua in Budapest recently.

I’VE been working full-time with Sky Sports in London since February as an Assistant Producer in the Multisports department.
Darts, GAA, netball, NFL, table tennis, speedway and pool are some of the sports we cover.
Since I started I’ve been working mostly on Sky’s darts coverage, which is headed up by Rory Hopkins, who has strong Mayo roots in Westport.
But for the next few months I’ll be working on Sky’s GAA coverage and for the last few weeks I’ve been back in Ireland every weekend, working on matches.
I love living and working in London. You meet so many different people from different backgrounds and it broadens your mind and your horizons.
My alarm goes off around 7.30am during the week. I’m out the door of my house in Clapham around 8am to catch the bus to Clapham Junction, where I get the train to Syon Lane in West London.
It’s about a ten-minute walk from there to the Sky building, and I’m there for 9am.
On the hour-long commute to work I tend to listen to Irish radio stations or podcasts. I’d stick on something like the Sky Sports GAA podcast or The Mayo News Football podcast.
I eat my breakfast in the canteen at Sky. Usually it would be something like porridge or cereal or an omelette and a yogurt.
After that I head to my desk, open my laptop, and get stuck into whatever has to be done that day.
On a Monday I’d be doing the prep for the GAA highlights show that goes out on a Wednesday night. That involves watching all the games that were on live TV that weekend, as well as the highlights of other games, and cutting them down into small packages.
I’d be writing some of the scripts for the smaller reports too and generally just pulling everything together.
I’d finish up around 6pm and, because there’s a gym on site at Sky, I’d try to get in there for an hour after work. I’d catch the train home then around 7.30pm.
Tuesday is an ‘edit day’ where we’d be cutting the different games into small packages, putting in the score and information graphics, and the programme for the Wednesday night starts to take shape.
You’d also record your voice reports and build them in, and Rachel Wyse, who presents the show, records her links as well.
By Tuesday evening at 7pm you’d have the majority of the show put down on a timeline, and it would be almost ready to go.
But it’s Wednesday around 4pm or 5pm when everything is finished and it’s finally ready for broadcast.
The ratings for the highlights show for the first few weeks have been good too which is nice to hear.
I share a house in Clapham with a Welsh guy and an English guy, so I’d put the show on on a Wednesday night and they seem to enjoy it.
During the summer my days off are in midweek.
When people hear that you work for Sky Sports, a lot of them do seem to be genuinely interested in what you do.
The first Monday I worked at Sky I bumped into Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher on the corridor, two guys I would have watched on Monday Night Football.
That was pretty surreal.
It’s certainly a long way from studying Commerce in NUI, Galway before doing my HDip and going teaching for a year in London.
I just knew that teaching really wasn’t for me though, and I got great experience working with Irish TV before going to work as a freelancer with a production company called Loosehorse in Dublin.
That led to some work with RTÉ and Sky Sports and on to the full-time job I have now.
Of course, you’d miss the home-cooked meals at home in Ballintubber, and having a full fridge to choose from, but I’m really happy in London now.

In conversation with Mike Finnerty

Name: Ruaidhri O’Connor
Age: 29
From: Ballintubber
Lives: London
Occupation: Assistant Producer, Sky Sports

Quickfire questions

If money was no object, what would you do all day?
Travel the world, attending the biggest sports and music events.
Tell us something about yourself we don’t know?
My hands were once used in an online Jameson ad. I got paid to hold a glass of Jameson. Handy gig to get.

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten?
I’ve tried dried insects abroad.  
Where’s your favourite place in the world?
The West of Ireland in the summer is hard to beat.

What makes you nervous?
When I see my brother, Padraig, stepping up to take a free for the club.

What makes you angry?
Seeing Padraig miss said free.
First hero?
Ciarán McDonald.
Name three things that are always in your fridge?
Eggs, milk, meat.

Favourite TV show?
Room to Improve. RTÉ need to get it on the player abroad.

Who’s the most famous person you’ve met?
I met Anthony Joshua through work. He said he heard my brother, Diarmuid, enjoys his boxing.
Best holiday?
I travelled around Vietnam last January which was cool.
What do you miss most about being a kid?
Not having bills.

What’s your most prized possession?
I’d say our dog, Cooper. Even though I think he has moved into my room at home.
Best advice you ever got?
Feel the fear and do it anyway.
Describe yourself in three words?
I break the rules.