Off the Ball team leave Newstalk
Off the Ball host Eoin McDevitt and his team have left Newstalk.
Newstalk Radio’s award-winning Off the Ballteam resigned from the station today with immediate effect.
The show continued this evening, hosted by sports editor Ger Gilroy, who was joined by remaining members of staff Cian Murtagh, David McIntyre and Joe Molloy.
Opening the show, Gilroy got straight to the point, confirming the reason for the departures was a scheduling dispute and paying tribute to his former colleagues Eoin McDevitt (host), Simon Hick, Ken Early, Ciaran Murphy and Mark Horgan.
"All that I really want to say about this now is that we’re going to miss our friends," said Gilroy. "Ken, Eoin, Mark, Simon and Murph are an amazing group of people with. They’ve helped change how sport is talked about in Ireland forever. They make great radio and they helped make radio great."
The dispute with the station’s management arose from the team’s request to move the show to a slot between 6pm and 9pm, a shift that would encroach on George Hook’s drivetime show (4.30pm to 7pm). The Right Hookis the most commercially successful show at the station and management were not of a mind to alter its format. When no agreement was reached the team gave notice but were told they were not required to see it out.
A statement released by station earlier today, read: “Newstalk has confirmed that Eoin McDevitt, Simon Hick, Ken Early, Ciaran Murphy and Mark Horgan have resigned from its sports department.
“Ger Gilroy, Newstalk sports editor, who devised Off the Ball in 2002, will be joined by mainstays of the Newstalk sports team - Cian Murtagh, David McIntyre and Joe Molloy - in taking over the running of the show, starting tonight.
“Newstalk would like to thank Eoin, Simon, Ken, Ciaran and Mark for their contributions to the station and wish them luck in their future endeavours.”
The news has shocked and disappointed loyal listeners, who tuned in to the three-hour show on weekdays between 7pm and 10pm (Friday’s 7-9pm) for its irreverent but insightful coverage of national and international sport.
Irish TimesFootball Correspondent Emmet Malone, a contributor to the show, tweeted: “Am hoping the lads from Off the Ball have been poached en masse by a rival that writes much bigger cheques. Otherwise, it's terrible news.”