Nemeton Spotlight Feature: Micheál Ó Domhnaill
The ever-present face of GAA BEO for over two decades, presenter Micheál Ó Domhnaill tells us about his experience working in the industry.
Thosnaigh mise amach le Nemeton i 1996. Bhí daoine ann romham ach bhí mé ar an gcéad sciar de fhostaithe sa chomhlacht. I was there close to the beginning when we all crammed into one ridiculously small office. There were around 5 of us then, how times have changed! I’m sure that none of us could have foreseen how things would change so much, where thousands of hours of television have been screened over the years and so many people work either full-time or as freelancers for the company. Tá sé ag dul ó neart go neart go fóill!
My days with Nemeton are spent on location with GAA BEO. Having presented the programme for over 2 decades now, there’s probably not a road I’ve not driven or a county ground I’ve not been in over the years. Every weekend is the same. Getting the notes in order and the clothes ready for whatever the weather will throw at us, and heading off in the car early in the morning. By the time I get to the ground, the team have most things ready. The crew get in much earlier than I do, to get the cables and equipment out and tested, so I rock up after they’ve already done half a day’s work! From then, it’s fairly full on between rehearsals and production meeting, so once the red light comes on and we go live, there’s no going back and everyone needs to be primed and tuned in. Tá criú iontach againn, agus oibrímid go hiontach le chéile. É sin ráite, bímíd ag cur brú orainn féin agus ar a chéile, agus tógann sé daoine ar leith gur féidir linn comhoibriú le chéile gan an iomad strus a chruthú. Agus ag deireadh an lae, níl ann ach clár teilifíse, agus faoin am go dtagann an chéad deireadh seachtaine eile isteach sa radharc dúinn, táimid ar fad réidh chun oibre arís.
My favourite part of the job is definitely the fact that you’ve a front row seat at the matches. Normally you can also move around, so if you want to check in on a particular player or matchup, there’s usually no restrictions on that, except in Croke Park, where understandably things are a bit tighter in terms of where you can be while the match is on. I also enjoy the banter with the guests. We have a great group of analysts to choose from agus bíonn sé go maith cúrsaí ón gcluiche a bheith faoi chaibidil againn agus cothaíonn sé go leor díospóireachtaí. I also really enjoy the drama, especially at club matches like we had at the All Ireland Finals this year when Ballygunner and Kilcoo won with last minute scores.
It’s good, or I wouldn’t still be at it. I’ve spent most of my adult life in broadcasting in one shape or another, and have had quite a varied career. The thing I like most is that variety - no two matches and therefore no two days are ever the same. Mar a deir daoine go minic liom, ní job ceart é ar aon chor!
I’m proud that I’m part of a team that has constantly worked to push the envelope, and of course doing it in our native language. Maybe it’s because we are working as Gaeilge that the viewers don’t go as hard on us when we try things and don’t get them right first time. I suppose we work hard to ensure that if we develop new things in the programme, that we get them right as quickly as possible. We’ve introduced elements over the years that are now common practice for other broadcasters, and it’s gratifying that others consider those innovations useful enough that they’ve been adopted elsewhere.
Áit iontach é chun oibre, ina dtugtar an deis do dhaoine forbairt pearsanta a dhéanamh agus treo nua a thógaint nuair is féidir. I remember in the early days when I was able to dabble in camera work, editing, production, all elements that I continue in my weekday work outside of Nemeton. I’ve no doubt but that many of the opportunities that have come my way over the years have come about by being part of an adaptable and driven team. And between all of the different programmes we’ve been involved in over the years, we’ve all had a brilliant time while making them, and that job satisfaction is really the main reason all of this has been such a positive experience.