Hav­ing a ball

Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - The Shape I’m In -

AS pre­sen­ter and com­men­ta­tor on New­stalk’s Off the Ball, Nathan Mur­phy has seen the show go from strength to strength and di­ver­sify to cater for its grow­ing au­di­ence of sports fans. “We’ve ex­panded the show mas­sively. Now we do a morn­ing show ev­ery morn­ing on­line. We’ve built a new stu­dio. While keep­ing as much fo­cus as pos­si­ble on the ra­dio, we’ve added a lot of strands to what we do.”

A fan of all sports and golf, soccer, GAA, and rugby in par­tic­u­lar, Nathan agrees it’s been a ter­rific time for Ir­ish sport­ing achieve­ments. “The [Six Na­tions] grand slam would be up there as a high­light. I’m a Mayo man, from Bal­ly­hau­nis, but see­ing Lim­er­ick end their long wait for the All-Ire­land of­fers hope.

“Per­son­ally, cov­er­ing the Ry­der Cup was great as I’m a bit of a golf nut. At the prac­tice round the day be­fore, we got to spend about an hour go­ing around the course with Tiger Woods. Cov­er­ing golf is prob­a­bly the best sport for hav­ing in­side-the-ropes ac­cess.”

As well as the big matches, Off the Ball en­deav­ours to cover a va­ri­ety of sports, and its cov­er­age of the Ir­ish women’s hockey team’s ex­tra­or­di­nary suc­cess at the World Cup proved very pop­u­lar.

“We would try to put more fo­cus on other sports. At the hockey [last] year we had the coach and play­ers on air within an hour of the world cup semi-fi­nal. They were re­ally keen to pro­mote their sport, it was the big­gest mo­ment in the his­tory of Ir­ish hockey.”

Nathan is a healthy eater who has got into the habit of reg­u­larly go­ing to the gym. It’s at the week­ends, when he’s in Bri­tain com­men­tat­ing on Premier League matches for New­stalk, that he has to be mind­ful of what he eats. What shape are you in? Pear-shaped. Hard as it may be to be­lieve, for the first time in my life I’ve ac­tu­ally got into a rou­tine of go­ing to the gym three to four times a week. I ac­tu­ally feel fit­ter and stronger than I have for a long long time. I’m sure my body will ac­tu­ally re­flect that at some stage, right? What are your health­i­est eat­ing habits? I’d say for 90% of the day I’m pretty good but the other 10% is a dis­as­ter. On a work day I’d gen­er­ally go with gra­nola for break­fast, salad for lunch and a freshly cooked din­ner. My prob­lem would be when I’m trav­el­ling. At Premier League grounds when you’re com­men­tat­ing on matches they gen­er­ally treat you very well. You’re rush­ing around and just eat­ing what­ever is put in front of you. What are your guilti­est plea­sures? This is where the prob­lems be­gin, I don’t suf­fer enough guilt from my var­i­ous indulgences. I have a lethal sweet tooth, I have also been known to in­dulge in a nice glass of wine on a school night. What would keep you awake at night? Very lit­tle, three kids un­der the age of seven means ev­ery minute in bed is savoured. We have a six- and five-year-old and a three-month old, so a lie-in would be an ab­so­lute rar­ity, though the youngest is a great sleeper. How do you re­lax? I def­i­nitely find it a strug­gle to switch off from work/phone etc. I’m prob­a­bly at my most re­laxed on a Sun­day evening, sit­ting in an air­port some­where in Eng­land af­ter com­men­tat­ing on a Premier League game, lis­ten­ing to a golf pod­cast

with a glass of red in my hand. Who would you in­vite to your dream din­ner party? Paul McCart­ney, Phil Mick­el­son, and Tom Wat­son. I’m a huge golf fan. I’m also a big Bea­tles fan, so Paul McCart­ney would be a great guest and a man who’s had a life like that, you couldn’t not en­joy his com­pany. What would you like to change about your ap­pear­ance? There’s a spare tyre that I could do with los­ing. And I’d like to have bet­ter hair. When I was a teenager I wanted to grow my hair long like Kurt Cobain, but it was just a fuzzy mess. It grows out­wards rather than down­wards. When is the last time you cried? I won’t lie, I did shed a tear af­ter full-time in the 2017 Al­lIre­land fi­nal, there’s only so much heart­break a Mayo man can take. What traits do you least like in oth­ers? Ar­ro­gance and tar­di­ness. I don’t like cocky peo­ple, and in this in­dus­try you come across peo­ple who’ve been very suc­cess­ful. You al­ways have more time for peo­ple who re­main grounded. What traits do you least like about your­self? I’ve been known to be a lit­tle bit lazy from time to time. Do you pray? Hell no! What would cheer up your day? A smile from my three-mon­thold Rose usu­ally does the trick. That or a sleep in.

Es­ther McCarthy

NEW ME: Nathan Mur­phy feels fit­ter thanks to his gym rou­tine which sees him work­ing out three to four times a week.

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