Eamon Dunphy

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Eamon Dunphy
Eamon Dunphy 2013.jpg
Eamon Dunphy in 2013
Personal information
Full name Eamon Martin Dunphy
Date of birth (1945-08-03) 3 August 1945 (age 69)
Place of birth Dublin, Ireland
Playing position Midfielder
Youth career
1962–1965 Manchester United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1965–1966 York City 22 (3)
1965–1974 Millwall 274 (24)
1973–1975 Charlton Athletic 42 (3)
1975–1977 Reading 77 (3)
1977–1978 Shamrock Rovers 33 (2)
Total 448 (35)
National team
1965–1971 Republic of Ireland 23 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Eamon Martin Dunphy (born 3 August 1945) is an Irish media personality, broadcaster, author, sports pundit and former professional footballer. Since retiring from the sport, he has become recognisable to Irish television audiences as a football analyst during coverage of the Premier League, UEFA Champions League and international football on Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ).

As well as his slot with RTÉ, Dunphy has worked for its rival television station, TV3 (for which he has presented a chat show and a game show), and rival radio stations Today FM and Newstalk. He was the original presenter of The Last Word on Today FM. Between 2004 and 2006, Dunphy presented the breakfast programme on Dublin's local Newstalk 106 radio station before it became a national broadcaster. Later he moved to RTÉ Radio 1, where he presented a weekly programme, Conversations with Eamon Dunphy until 2009. He then returned to Newstalk, now broadcasting nationwide, only to leave again in 2011.[1] Dunphy continues to write a column on football for the Irish Daily Star newspaper.

Early life[edit]

Dunphy grew up in Drumcondra, Dublin, in what he described as "a one-room tenement flat [with] no electricity, no hot water".[2][3] He attended Saint Patrick's National School, Drumcondra. In later years, future Taoiseach Bertie Ahern attended the same school.

Club career[edit]

A promising footballer, he left Dublin while still a teenager to join Manchester United as an apprentice. Dunphy did not break into the first team at United and subsequently left to play for York City, Millwall, Charlton Athletic, Reading and Shamrock Rovers. It was at Millwall that Dunphy made the most impact; he was considered an intelligent and skilful player in Millwall's midfield.

Dunphy was a member of "The Class of '71", the Millwall side that lost out on promotion to the old Division One by one point.

In 1977, he accompanied John Giles back to Ireland to join Shamrock Rovers F.C. Giles wanted to make the club Ireland's first full-time professional club and hoped to make Rovers into a force in European football by developing talented young players, who would otherwise go to England, at home. Dunphy was originally intended to be in charge of youth development. However, despite an FAI Cup winners medal in 1978 (his only medal in senior football) and 2 appearances in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, Dunphy became disillusioned with the Irish game and dropped out of football altogether to concentrate on a career in journalism.

International career[edit]

Dunphy played 23 times for the Republic of Ireland and remains Millwall's most capped international footballer along with David Forde.[4]

He made his Ireland début in the play-off at the Parc des Princes in Paris for the 1966 FIFA World Cup which Spain won 1–0, thanks to a José Ufarte goal. He went on to become, in his own words, "a good player, not a great player".[5]


After retiring from the game, Dunphy first began writing on football for the Sunday Tribune and then contributing regular columns on both football and current events for the Sunday Independent. He currently writes a column on football for the Daily Star's Irish edition.

He has also worked for Ireland on Sunday (now The Irish Mail on Sunday), The Sunday Press (now defunct), and for the Irish Examiner.[2]

Since the 1980s, Dunphy has written a number of books. His first and most widely praised book is Only a Game?: Diary of a Professional Footballer, which is an autobiographical account of his days playing for Millwall. Dunphy wrote a diary of his 1973–4 season which began well for him at second division Millwall but subsequently ended in disillusionment. Written during the season, it recorded events from the dressing room.

In 1985, rock band U2 and manager Paul McGuinness commissioned him to write the story of their origins, formation, early years and the time leading up to their phenomenally successful album, The Joshua Tree. His book Unforgettable Fire - Past, Present, and Future - The Definitive Biography of U2 was published in 1988. It received some favourable reviews, but critics close to the band spoke of many inaccuracies. A verbal war erupted in the press during which Dunphy called lead singer Bono a "pompous git".[6]

Dunphy has also written a biography of long-serving Manchester United manager Matt Busby and in 2002 ghost wrote the autobiography of Republic of Ireland and Manchester United player Roy Keane.

Broadcasting career[edit]


Since the mid-1980s, Dunphy has regularly appeared as an analyst during football coverage on Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ). Since RTÉ acquired the rights to show English football, Dunphy has been a regular contributor to Premier Soccer Saturday. He also contributes to analysis of UEFA Champions League games and, in international football, RTÉ's coverage of FIFA World Cups, UEFA European Football Championships and qualifying matches involving the Republic of Ireland national football team. He contributed to RTÉ Sport's coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.[7][8] Dunphy's earnings from RTÉ for his football analysis (plus a radio show) include €328,051 in 2008 and €285,915 in 2007.[9]

In 2001, Dunphy became the first male host of the quiz show The Weakest Link,[2] which aired on TV3, for just one series. In 2003, Dunphy was hired again by TV3 to host their new Friday night chat show, entitled The Dunphy Show. Pitted head-to-head with RTÉ's long-running flagship programme, The Late Late Show, Dunphy's show lost what was a highly publicised "ratings war", and was cancelled before its original run was to conclude.[10]

Dunphy is the first presenter of a made-for-mobile TV show on the 3 mobile network in Ireland. Dunphy's rants and "Spoofer of the Week" are watched by thousands of 3 customers. The shows were awarded "Best Entertainment Show" at Ireland's Digital Media Awards. Dunphy readily admits he never uses a mobile himself but enjoys filming for a mobile audience from the comfort of his own living room in Ranelagh.

In 2009, he made an emotive outburst on The Late Late Show during a discussion regarding then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's financial affairs.[11]


Dunphy has also had a prominent radio career with several stations including Today FM, Newstalk and RTÉ Radio 1.

He was the original host in 1997 of the popular current affairs show The Last Word on Today FM.[12] In September 2004, Dunphy took over The Breakfast Show slot on the Dublin radio station Newstalk 106 from David McWilliams. The show tried to court controversy and listeners in equal measure. He failed to attract the large listenership predicted, with only a few additional thousand tuning in. In June 2006 Dunphy announced his intention to leave Newstalk 106, citing an inability to sustain the demands of an early morning schedule. Subsequent to his departure from Newstalk 106 Dunphy confirmed he was suffering from a viral illness. He later recovered.

In July 2006, RTÉ announced that Dunphy would present a new weekly programme as part of the new RTÉ Radio 1 autumn schedule.[13]

Dunphy rejoined Newstalk but left again in 2011 "due to interference from management and a push to put a more positive spin on the news". On his last show he accused his boss Denis O'Brien of "hating journalism". The Sunday Times, he had quit after Sam Smyth was sacked from Today FM (also owned by O'Brien) and said management at Newstalk were trying to remove "dissenting voices" like Constantin Gurdgiev from the airwaves.[1]


Always a journalist who courted controversy, among the targets of his disapproval were television figures such as Pat Kenny and a concept he called "Official Ireland"—by which he meant the Irish media and cultural elite, epitomised by the newspaper The Irish Times and then President of Ireland, Mary Robinson. He argued at the time that people such as former Taoiseach Charles Haughey represented the "real people of Ireland", and were being attacked by the false left-wing consensus of "Official Ireland".

Dunphy is also noted for his unique and controversial views on football, views which he regularly broadcasts on RTÉ.

On Michel Platini[edit]

Dunphy was repeatedly critical of Michel Platini during the 1982 World Cup, claiming that Platini was over-rated as a player.[14]

On Jack Charlton[edit]

Dunphy was a harsh critic of Jack Charlton, Ireland's most successful national team manager. Dunphy accused Charlton of being a bully, of playing ugly football and of not making the best use of the players at his disposal.[15] Charlton labelled him a "bitter little man".[15] An enmity developed between the two men. Dunphy caused a massive controversy and a national outcry in Ireland by attacking the performance of the national team, under Charlton, at the 1990 World Cup. After a 0–0 draw with Egypt, he called the team "a disgrace".[16] This performance temporarily turned Dunphy into a figure of public hatred in Ireland. Dunphy remained critical of Charlton for the remainder of his tenure as manager, but the public ostracism of Dunphy eventually subsided.[17]

On Roy Keane[edit]

In 2002, he aggressively defended Roy Keane following his dismissal by Mick McCarthy from the Irish team at the World Cup in Japan and Korea over the team's training facilities and programme in Saipan.[18][19]

In 2008, Dunphy described Roy Keane as a "bullshitter" accusing him of selling his soul and criticising him for his sympathy towards Steve Staunton and the proposal to play Premier League games in different countries. He also said that when he worked on Keane's biography six years ago Keane said the two things he hated most in life were "politicians and bullshitters". Dunphy then wrote that he had turned into both.[20]

On Cristiano Ronaldo[edit]

Initially critical of Cristiano Ronaldo, he said on RTÉ after the Manchester United-S.L. Benfica UEFA Champions League game the way Ronaldo "clicks his heels", is the "most wicked thing in the game." Before the second leg of Manchester United's game against Roma in 2006–07 he branded Ronaldo "a simple cheat" and a "Poof ball who's never done it in the big games". He also called Michael Carrick a "nothing player" and described Roma as "a cut above" United. Carrick and Ronaldo each scored two goals as Manchester United won the match 7–1. Following the match Dunphy reluctantly praised the United performance. In an article he wrote for the Irish Daily Star, January 2008, Dunphy admitted that he "couldn't have been more wrong about Cristiano Ronaldo". He further claimed that Ronaldo "looks like the real deal", and concluded by saying: "Ronaldo is something special. I was wrong".

On Steve Staunton[edit]

During Staunton's reign as Ireland manager, Dunphy once posed the question on television: "Would you let him drive the train to Cork?".[14]

On Terry Venables[edit]

During RTÉ's UEFA Champions League coverage in November 2007, Dunphy expressed his concern over the possibility of Terry Venables replacing Steve Staunton. Venables later retorted, "How can a self-confessed cocaine-user and convicted drink-driver lecture me on my character?"[14]

On Giovanni Trapattoni[edit]

During Ireland's 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign, he became a critic of Giovanni Trappatoni's style of play and managerial decisions. After Ireland's tough away win against Cyprus on 5 September 2009, Dunphy stated: "The performance over 90 minutes was depressing; it exposed the limitations of the coach's philosophy." Dunphy also summed up how he felt about the type of play: "When kids see Lionel Messi, Steven Gerrard or Ronaldo they want to go out in the park and do what they've seen the guys do the night before. Nobody wants to go out in the park in the morning and hit the ball 60 yards up in air".[21]

Dunphy blasted Giovanni Trapattoni as "amateurish and arrogant" and said Ireland's performance against the Czech Republic on 29 February 2012 was "embarrassing".[22] During UEFA Euro 2012, Dunphy described Giovanni Trapattoni's suggestion that his players needed to seek a bit of "redemption" in their match against Spain as "bullshit: self-serving bullshit”.[23]

On Manchester City, Roberto Mancini and Yaya Touré[edit]

During RTÉ's coverage of Ajax v Manchester City in the 2012–13 UEFA Champions League, Dunphy launched into a tirade against Manchester City and poured scorn on the English league champions and their manager, calling them "an expensive folly of a project, and it's actually bad for the sport [...] They're the champions of England and they did nothing right [...] I've never liked Mancini. I've never believed they are a team. [...] Yaya Touré is on £220,000 a week, and he never tried a leg tonight from start to finish. There's too many guys out there who don't care." He also called Mancini a "clown", blaming him for falling out with Carlos Tevez the previous season, and questioning why he had left Tevez on the bench against Ajax. And when discussing Touré's ineffectiveness throughout the match Dunphy quipped about how he had "picked up a knock early on. He dropped his wage packet on his ankle."[24][25][26]

On Shay Given[edit]

When Shay Given expressed interest in returning to the Ireland team from which he had retired, Dunphy dismissed the goalkeeper as fat and of being guilty of an unforgivable "crime" for playing at UEFA Euro 2012 while unfit, as a result conceding nine goals in the three games Ireland played.[27]


Dunphy described "Rule, Britannia!", a patriotic song, as "jingoistic nonsense" during RTÉ Two's post-match analysis of the England versus Slovenia football match at the 2010 FIFA World Cup on 23 June 2010.

During an interview with presidential candidates Martin McGuinness and Gay Mitchell, Dunphy admitted his support on air for McGuinness. Two complaints were made to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. Dunphy later admitted that his comments had violated the BAI's code in regard to broadcasting during elections, which states that a broadcast must be presented "without any expression of the broadcaster's own views".[28]

On 17 June during RTE's coverage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Dunphy unaware that he was still live on air before the Brazil v Mexico match said, "When Neymar was shaping up to take that penalty, I thought he was f***ing dreading it".[29] Bill O'Herlihy immediately informed Dunphy he was on air before saying sorry to the viewers.[30] At half time in the game Dunphy apologised saying "I'd just like to apologise to anybody. I thought we were on an ad break and I used a four-letter word. I'm very, very sorry for the offence I'm sure I caused some people. It won't happen again."[31]

In popular culture[edit]

The deceased satirist Dermot Morgan, known to international audiences as Father Ted, did a much admired Eamon Dunphy impression on the satirical radio show Scrap Saturday. Different sketches had him engaged in apparent inane and ridiculous arguments. They ranged from his criticism of Mother Teresa for not being a real nun to his attack on the week's weather.

Dunphy's hyperbole is also parodied on RTÉ's Après Match show lampooning celebrities, footballers and broadcasters.

Oliver Callan also does an impersonation of Dunphy, of which Dunphy approves.[32]

Personal life[edit]

Dunphy was a daily Mass-goer until he was preparing for marriage to his first wife, Sandra from Salford, when he was 21. He was Catholic and she was Protestant. The priest instructing them for marriage disapproved strongly of the mixed couple, saying that he should not marry her because she was not a proper person. Dunphy's observance was already weakening but he quit his daily Mass-going at this point. He and Sandra had two children, a boy and a girl, and Dunphy is now a grandfather. His first marriage ended and he moved to Castletownshend in Cork for two years on a bender in the early 1990s. He lived with another partner, Inge, before meeting his second wife, RTÉ commissioning editor Jane Gogan, in the Horseshoe Bar in Dublin in 1992. They married at the Unitarian Church on St Stephen's Green on 24 September 2009.[33][34]

In an interview with An Phoblacht Dunphy, who had previously written highly critical articles on the Provisional IRA and Sinn Féin, stated that he is now a Sinn Féin supporter and declared he had voted for them in the 2011 general election. He described their representatives as "incredibly hard-working and incredibly intelligent".[35]

He published his autobiography entitled The Rocky Road in October 2013.[36]

Today, Dunphy generally resides at his home near Ranelagh in Dublin. He also owns a holiday home in Deauville, France.[2]


  1. ^ a b "Eamon Dunphy leaving Newstalk with a bang". JOE.ie. 30 October 2011. Archived from the original on 5 March 2015. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Planet Dunphy". The Sunday Business Post, 25 August 2002.
  3. ^ Eamon Dunphy (2 October 2013). "Eamon Dunphy: My Rocky Road". Irish Independent. Retrieved 3 October 2013. 
  4. ^ "Hall of Fame – Eamon Dunphy". Millwall F.C. Archived from the original on 5 March 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  5. ^ Leahy, Ed (10 November 2011). "Ireland's chequered play-off history". RTÉ Sport (Raidió Teilifís Éireann). Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  6. ^ McGee, Matt (2008). U2: A Diary. Omnibus Press. p. 111. ISBN 978-1-84772-108-2. 
  7. ^ Black, Fergus (2 June 2010). "RTÉ hopes Ossie and squad will spur fans to back home team". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2 June 2010. 
  8. ^ O'Malley, Carl (2 June 2010). "RTÉ roll out big guns for their 56 live games". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2 June 2010. 
  9. ^ Clarke, Denise (10 October 2009). "Kenny tops the RTÉ richlist". Irish Independent (Independent News & Media). Retrieved 10 October 2009. 
  10. ^ "Sacked Dunphy in career crisis". Guardian. 7 December 2003. Archived from the original on 5 March 2015. Retrieved 9 October 2013. 
  11. ^ McCann, Fiona (23 May 2009). "A host of memorable moments". The Irish Times (Irish Times Trust). Retrieved 23 May 2009. 
  12. ^ "Cooper talks the talk". The Sunday Business Post, 23 April 2006.
  13. ^ "Eamon Dunphy is to join RTÉ Radio 1". RTÉ News (Raidió Teilifís Éireann). 7 July 2006. Archived from the original on 5 March 2015. Retrieved 7 July 2006. 
  14. ^ a b c "A team for all the rages – Eamon 'bruiser' Dunphy's 11 most controversial spats". Irish Independent. 5 November 2011. Retrieved 5 November 2011. 
  15. ^ a b Shaw, Phil (22 May 2004). "Eamon Dunphy: From journeyman to journalism: how a hero of The Den found his voice". The Independent. Archived from the original on 5 March 2015. Retrieved 22 May 2004. 
  16. ^ "Big Jack sparks war of words". New Straits Times. 27 June 1990. p. 26. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  17. ^ "Why I broke down in a cascade of tears". Irish Independent. 9 October 2013. Retrieved 9 October 2013. 
  18. ^ "Roy Keane sent home". CBBC Newsround (BBC). 23 May 2002. Retrieved 23 May 2002. 
  19. ^ Hogan, John. "Eamon Dunphy & Roy Keane". Soccer Ireland. Archived from the original on 5 March 2015. Retrieved 15 January 2010. 
  20. ^ Taylor, Louise (13 February 2008). "Dunphy accuses Keane of becoming rent-a-quote". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 February 2008. 
  21. ^ Beckles, Kieran (6 September 2009). "Ireland stay on course for World Cup 2010". The Sports Review. Archived from the original on 5 March 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2009. 
  22. ^ "Dunphy blasts 'amateur and arrogant' Trap". RTÉ Sport (Raidió Teilifís Éireann). 1 March 2012. Archived from the original on 5 March 2015. Retrieved 1 March 2012. 
  23. ^ Hannigan, Mary (13 June 2012). "Play McClean, Trap – ah go on, go on, go on". The Irish Times. Retrieved 13 June 2012. "I think it's bullshit: self-serving bullshit,” said Eamon Dunphy of Giovanni Trapattoni’s suggestion that the team (his players, not the RTÉ panel) needed to seek a bit of “redemption” against Spain. “Yeah,” said Kenny Cunningham. Didi Hamann, sandwiched between the pair, observed the exchange like he might a tennis rally. 
  24. ^ "Eamon Dunphy lays into Roberto Mancini and Manchester City after Ajax defeat". 101 Great Goals. 25 October 2012. Archived from the original on 5 March 2015. Retrieved 25 October 2012. 
  25. ^ Browne, PJ (25 October 2012). "Eamon Dunphy's anti-Man City rant". Balls.ie. Archived from the original on 5 March 2015. Retrieved 25 October 2012. 
  26. ^ Tidey, Will (25 October 2012). "Was Eamon Dunphy Right to Attack Roberto Mancini's Manchester City Project?". Bleacher Report. Archived from the original on 5 March 2015. Retrieved 25 October 2012. 
  27. ^ Glennon, Micil (14 January 2013). "Eamon Dunphy says Shay Given should not reverse his decision to retire from international football". RTÉ Sport. Archived from the original on 5 March 2015. Retrieved 14 January 2013. 
  28. ^ McGreevy, Ronan (5 October 2011). "Complaints at Dunphy candidate preference". The Irish Times (Irish Times Trust). Retrieved 5 October 2011. 
  29. ^ "Eamonn Dunphy apologises for World Cup f-bomb live on air". Irish Examiner. 17 June 2014. Archived from the original on 5 March 2015. Retrieved 18 June 2014. 
  30. ^ "Eamon Dunphy Apologises". Irish Independent. 17 June 2014. Retrieved 18 June 2014. 
  31. ^ "We're not on air are we?' – Eamon Dunphy drops an f-bomb live on TV". The Score. 17 June 2014. Archived from the original on 5 March 2015. Retrieved 18 June 2014. 
  32. ^ Doohan, Niamh (20 July 2008). "BCI fails to see funny side with warning over radio ads". Sunday Independent (Independent News & Media). Retrieved 20 July 2008. Broadcaster Eamon Dunphy and Senator David Norris had given permission to the charity to have their voices mimicked by Callan for the adverts. 
  33. ^ Mirror, Mirror on the Wall... Sunday Independent, 8 December 2013.
  34. ^ "Sports pundit Dunphy ties the knot". RTÉ Arts (Raidió Teilifís Éireann). 25 September 2009. Archived from the original on 5 March 2015. Retrieved 25 September 2009. 
  35. ^ Hedges, John (May 2013). "Nobody liked him... but he does care – You haven't heard the last word from Eamon Dunphy". An Phoblacht 36 (5). pp. 16–17. 
  36. ^ "Eamon Dunphy: My Rocky Road". Irish Independent. 2 October 2013. Retrieved 9 October 2013. 
  • "Eamon Dunphy". Post War English & Scottish Football League A – Z Player's Database. Retrieved 22 July 2007. 

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