Second Captains

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Second Captains
Industry Media
Founded 2013
Headquarters Dublin, Ireland
Key people
Eoin McDevitt, Mark Horgan, Ken Early, Ciarán Murphy, Simon Hick.
Products Television, Online, Radio

Second Captains is an Irish media company set up in March 2013 by Eoin McDevitt, Ken Early, Mark Horgan, Ciarán Murphy and Simon Hick. Their independent, member-led, commercial-free platform called The Second Captains World Service is now the 4th biggest podcast in the world on Patreon.[1]The company specialises in television, radio and online production and currently broadcasts from their studios in Dublin daily on Second Captains were the first major radio show to move from traditional programming to podcasting in Ireland[2] and remain the most-popular podcast ever produced in Ireland.

The company has produced 5 series of the IFTA nominated Second Captains Live for RTÉ 2 television and also produce and present radio shows for RTÉ Radio 1. They have hosted TV shows and live events in the UK, San Francisco, New York, and all around Ireland.

The 5-man team had previously produced and presented the "Off The Ball" show on Newstalk national radio station for 9 years, garnering numerous PPI radio awards.[3] They left their jobs in Newstalk in early March 2013. Their departure caused major ripples in the Irish media industry[4][5][6][7] and they had to see out a period of gardening leave, during which there was great speculation about what their next move would be.[8][9]

Second Captains Podcasts[edit]

The Second Captains Podcast began on 14 May 2013 in conjunction with The Irish Times. The show quickly became the most popular podcast in Ireland, winning the iTunes podcast of the year in 2014. In 2015, the podcast was chosen as one of the top ten British and Irish podcasts of all-time as part of iTunes Essentials list and it was selected as one of The Guardian’s 50 best podcasts of 2016. It remains Ireland’s most-listened to podcast.

Each edition is hosted by main anchor McDevitt, with Early and Murphy. It is produced by Horgan and Hick and although there is an Irish focus to some of the programming, international sport (particularly football), current affairs and pop culture all play a major role.

Second Captains expanded it’s online shows in February 2017 and launched The Second Captains World Service podcast feed available only to Second Captains members. The Player's Chair Podcast hosted Richie Sadlier and Ken Early's Political Podcast were added to the roster of programming. The commercial-free, subscriber based model had over 10k members after 12 months.

Regular guests include Shane Horgan, Richie Sadlier, Oisin McConville and Brian Murphy from San Francisco's KNBR radio station, who speaks weekly on US sports.

5th Birthday Celebrations[edit]

In March 2018, Second Captains celebrated their 5th birthday with five high-profile interviews with Ken Loach, Vincent Browne, Lynne Cox, Michael Chieka and Paul Kimmage.


PBESO (pronounced pee-bezzo) stands for Pierce Brosnan's Emigrant Shout-Outs and is a regular slot on the show. During PBESO, correspondence with listeners from around the globe is sought and broadcast, with emigrants contacting the programme with funny stories of their travels and missing home. A clip of Brosnan on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno is used to intro the slot.

Second Captains Live[edit]

In August 2013, three months after the podcasts began, Second Captains made a not-for-broadcast pilot for RTÉ television. Soon after, they were commissioned for a four-show run on RTÉ 2 in September/October 2013. The first broadcast was scheduled to coincide with a vital World Cup qualifying match between Ireland and Austria, going on immediately after the live coverage of the game. Thereafter the show reverted to Wednesday nights. Second Captains Live was enthusiastically received by audiences, the Irish Independent calling it "sports broadcasting of the highest quality"[10] and the Irish Times describing it as "ridiculously fabulous".[11]


Second Captains Live was hosted by McDevitt, with Early and Murphy sharing co-hosting duties. Mark Horgan was the series producer, with Hick acting as producer and making some on-screen appearances. The show is divided into three parts - the first part is a panel discussion between three current or former sports stars on a particular topic broadly analogous to the big news of that week and touching on their own experiences. The second part is an interview with a main guest (e.g. Ronan O'Gara on episode 1). The third part is a quiz between one of the guests and Murphy, called Challenge Second Captains, playing on Ciaran's previous experiences of competing on old RTÉ school quiz-shows Blackboard Jungle and Gridlock. The show is influenced by Fantasy Football League, TFI Friday and Nighthawks.[12] The show is shot completely live in front of a studio audience, and in between the interviews, RTÉ archive is used extensively, often for comedic purposes. It is described on the RTÉ website as "the place in Irish television where sport meets entertainment".[13] Second Captains Live is directed by Maurice Linnane, whose work also includes the popular music programme Other Voices.


Guests on series one included O'Gara, Sonia O'Sullivan, Colm Cooper, Mark Rohan, Derval O'Rourke, Jerry Flannery, Donal Óg Cusack and staples from the podcasts such as Horgan, Sadlier and McConville. Series 2 of the show began on 12 March 2014 and included Neil Lennon and Six Nations winners Joe Schmidt, Gordon D'Arcy, Pádraig Harrington, Niall Quinn and Peter Canavan amongst their guests. Series 3 featured Henry Shefflin, Graeme Souness, Paul McGrath, Anthony Daly, Paul Galvin, Kieran Donaghy, Anthony Tohill amongst others. Brian O'Driscoll, Ciarán McDonald, Johnny Sexton, Luke Fitzgerald, Andy Lee and Liam Brady were the main guest on series 4. Series 5 featured Jim McGuinness, Barry McGuigan, Noel McGrath, Richie Hogan, Tony Cascarino, Kevin Moran.

The Good Wall[edit]

The Good Wall is a feature on the show where the top ten Irish sportspeople of all-time are chosen by Second Captains contributors. Each week, the programmes major guests can make one change to the existing wall, and introduce a new sportsperson to the top ten. O'Gara made a stir when he removed former teammate O'Driscoll from the top spot in show 1. O'Sullivan subsequently removed Irish golfer Pádraig Harrington from the wall entirely.[14]

Origin of the Second Captains name[edit]

The name 'Second Captains' comes from a press conference exchange Ken Early once had with then-Ireland football manager Steve Staunton. Commenting on the return of experienced goalkeeper Shay Given to the starting team, Early asked Staunton if it was "almost like having a second captain on the team." Staunton paused for a moment and then said - "Pffft... second captain, first captain, whatever."[15]


  1. ^ "Graphtreon: Patreon Earnings + Statistics + Graphs + Rankings". Graphtreon. Retrieved 2018-06-25. 
  2. ^ "Second Captains prepare to go viral". Irish Times. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  3. ^ Colm, O'Connor. "Newstalk's 'Off the Ball' team off the air". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 5 March 2013. 
  4. ^ Lynch, Declan. "Declan Lynch: Their work done, Ken and Co take leap into legend". Sunday Independent. Retrieved 10 March 2013. 
  5. ^ Burke-Kennedy, Eoin. "'Off the Ball' team explain why they quit". Irish Times. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  6. ^ "Oh captains, our captains: 22 reasons why we'll miss the Off the Ball team". The Score. Archived from the original on 8 March 2013. Retrieved 5 March 2013. 
  7. ^ Mullally, Una. "Off The Ball team leaves Newstalk". Irish Times. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  8. ^ "Great news! The OTB lads confirm they'll be back on air soon". The Score. Archived from the original on 17 March 2013. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  9. ^ Ken, Sweeney. "Off The Ball crew aim for return ... to TV and radio". Evening Herald. Retrieved 4 May 2013. 
  10. ^ O'Doherty, Ian. "On Television". Irish Independent. Retrieved 13 September 2013. 
  11. ^ Hannigan, Mary. "Shemozzles and she dazzles as Maher the All Star takes senior All-Ireland at last". Irish Times. Retrieved 16 September 2013. 
  12. ^ O'Dwyer, Davin. "Second Captains find a new pitch". Irish Times. Retrieved 7 September 2013. 
  13. ^ "Second Captains Live". RTÉ. 
  14. ^ Cahill, Paul. "Oh Captain, My Captain?". Back-Post. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 25 September 2013. 
  15. ^ . The Score Archived from the original on 8 March 2013.  Missing or empty |title= (help)