Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Banter at First Fortnight: Over the Bar

How professional sports stars deal with the mental pressures to perform in public

Upcoming at Banter: Richie Sadlier

Wed, Dec 18, 2013, 13:40


2013 was a year of peak Banter. The series of talks and conversations produced 26 different days or nights out in 12 months as the Banter bandwagon took us up and down the country several times and even across to London. One of the best things about Banter is that it gets me to places I haven’t been to in ages so it was fantastic to put on events in Derry, Belfast, Cork, Dingle, Kinsale, Kilkenny and the Burren in the last 12 months. Here’s to more trips north, south, east and west in 2014.

It gives me great pleasure to start 2014 in the company of the First Fortnight festival. Since 2009, First Fortnight have been talking about and examining mental health through the creative arts. They’ve compiled a great programme of visual art, film, music, spoken word, theatre and discussions for the 2014 run.

Our contribution to the festival is a panel called Over the Bar which will look at how sports teams and individual athletes deal with the issue of mental health.

Given that sportsmen are exposed to win-at-all-costs pressure from a young age, there is a growing need for all codes to address how mental health issues are responded to and whether the culture around sport is conducive to promoting a tolerant response to those experiencing difficulty. The discussion will look at the many issues around mental health in sport and what teams, clubs, organisations and managers should be doing to help, both during and after a player’s career, especially given the reticence by men in particular to speak about these issues.

The panel: Richie Sadlier (formerly irish professional football player and CEO St Patrick’s Athletic and currently pundit for RTE Sports and Second Captains and Sunday Independent columnist), David Gillick (athlete – 400 metres gold medal winner at 2005 and 2007 European Indoor Championships) and Liam Moggan (Coaching Ireland).

Irish athlete David Gillick

Banter: Over the Bar takes place on Tuesday January 7 at the Twisted Pepper (Middle Abbey St., Dublin 1) and tickets for the event are on sale here at €5 each.