From banjoed to wojous: The Brian Kerr World Cup phrase book

RTÉ co-commentator’s unique contribution is so informative – and richly entertaining

The research hasn't been entirely scientific, a random chat here and there, but it would seem that the country will not rest until Brian Kerr fits all of this in to one sentence:

“The knicky-knacky redser was right to have a ging from there, but it was a wojous effort, hit the ’keeper straight in the mush and now he’s gone down banjoed.”

If you're a tourist in Ireland at the moment and you've been tuning in to RTÉ, this might have left you asking "what?"– so we're going to try and help you out below.

But be assured, the man in question is the man of the tournament thus far. Never mind your Luka Modrics and Harry Kanes.


Indeed, as the former Cavan footballer Alan O'Mara put it last week: "I won't lie, I would pay a small sum of money to have Brian Kerr's voice direct me on Google Maps".

Some co-commentators are informative, some are entertaining, you rarely get it all in one package.

Which is why we say: Brian Kerr, we salute you.

The top 20 essential Kerr-isms:  A guide for RTÉ-watching tourists

(1) Wojous: "That was a wojous attempt."
After an effort on goal by Poland's Kamil Grosicki almost ended up in Lithuania. Rubbish.

(2) Banjoed: "Looks like he's banjoed now alright."
After Morocco's Noureddine Amrabat was floored by an Iranian shoulder. Wrecked.

(3) Helter Skelter: "I'd say we'll have a bit of helter skelter around the goal now."
The likelihood of a mad scramble taking place in the penalty area as the attacking side desperately try to score.

"(4) Dunt: He gave him a right dunt there."
Bump, shove, thump.

(5) Rattle: "He's gonna have a right rattle at this."
In this case, when Ivan Rakitic stepped up to take a free-kick for Croatia. Give it the mother of all whacks.

(6) Knicky-knacky: "Peru have a couple of knicky-knacky players."
Tricky, skilful, that kind of thing.

(7) Makie-uppie: "It looks like that was a makie-uppie one. They never practised that on the training ground. Just bang it in there and hope for the best."
When a Nigerian corner was so wojous it was highly unlikely it had never been rehearsed.

(8) Linkie-uppie: "Nice linkie-uppie play there."
When a team puts together a string of very lovely passes.

(9) Ging: "Ah, he had to have a ging from there!"
When Iceland, needing a goal, opted not to attempt to score one. A shot.

(10) Blem: "Ah go on, have a blem!"
We were going to say 'see ging', but during a heated debate in the office one faction insisted there is a subtle difference between a 'ging' and a 'blem'. We still have no clue what it is, though. So, see 'ging'.

(11) Rag Order: "Tunisia are in rag order there at the back, they're all over the place."
Not defending with a tremendous amount of shape or discipline.

(12) Mill: "It looked like the goalie was gonna mill yer man out of it."
To send an opponent in to the middle of next week.

(13) Wingery: "He looks more like a wingery type of bloke, but he's playing in midfield."
In this case, on an Iranian player with a physique more suited to playing on the wing.

(14) Mush: "It hit the keeper right in the mush."
Face, as in when the ball struck Peru's Pedro Gallese in the mush.

(15) Banger: "Peru are kind of lucky to be there, in the group they were struggling early on, but then Bolivia played a banger in their match, so the result was overturned."
RTÉ: 'Brian Kerr's Word of the Day – 'Banger', noun. An ineligible Dublin soccer player, usually an older player in a younger group age.'

(16) Stick That In Your Pipe And Smoke It: "He stood on his mate's toe a minute ago, so he stands on his and says 'there's a hard tackle back for you, stick that in your pipe and smoke it."
Used to indicate that the person addressed will have to accept a particular situation, even if it is unwelcome. In this case, Mario Mandzukic being flattened by Nicolas Tagliafico in revenge for his challenge on Nicolas Otamendi.

(17) 'Malojen': "Tunisia have been malojen at the back."
When Belgium put five past the Tunisian defence. Brutal.

(18) Redser: "I wasn't expecting to see a redser in the Tunisian side!"
Red head. And Tunisia had one too, Fakhreddine Ben Youssef.

(19) Nut: "Lewandowski gets a bang in the nut there for his trouble."
Head. And not what you were fearing.

(20) Loaf: "He needed to throw himself at it and hope it hit his loaf."
See 'nut'.

Top 10 things probably only  Brian Kerr would know

(1) "He once shaved off his beard and made his brother a fishing fly out of it. His brother plays handball for Iceland."
Kerr probably knows more about Aron Einar Gunnarsson and his family than Aron Einar Gunnarsson and his family know about themselves.

(2) "This Honda fella wears two watches, one on each arm, I'd say he was looking at both of them and saying to the manager, 'there are only 13 minutes left, it's time you put me on'."
On Keisuke Honda's fondness for time-pieces.

(3) "I'm not sure that's actually how they'll line up – Ziyech will be in a more advanced position, the three in the middle, El Ahmadi, Boussoufa and Belhanda, they'll run the game for Morocco."
Questioning Morocco's formation on the Fifa graphic before they played Iran. He was, of course, correct.

(4) "Yuto Nagatomo has written a book on Yoga, so I'd say the dressing room was very relaxed at half time."
Kerr has probably read it too.

(5) "He was voted 'Best Dressed Man' in Sweden in 2016. I don't know if that's relevant."
It's certainly relevant to the debonair Oscar Hiljemark.

(6) "He has a degree in business studies and he did his thesis on corruption in British football, it was 5,000 pages long."
We completely missed who he was talking about during the Nigeria v Iceland game, the fact that he even knew how long the thesis was left us overwhelmed.

(7) "He speaks seven languages – I'd say he'll be getting abuse in seven languages after that one."
After Japanese goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima's clanger against Senegal.

(8) "There used to be Peruvian jerseys in Drimnagh back in the '70s."
Bet he had one too.

(9) "He was top scorer in the Tunisian league two years ago with 16 goals – and he's a defender."
Some pundits wouldn't know who finished top scorer in the Premier League two months ago.

(10) "This Japanese team are an unusual bunch, from three fellas writing books, one on training the mind, another on yoga, and then there's yer man wearing two watches. I don't know what to think, but they can play football."
You'd never get this from Glenn Hoddle.

The play-acting

"He did well at first, but then he went down like a big whinge-bag."
When Denmark's Nicolai Jorgensen took a big moany and entirely unnecessary tumble against Peru.

"He didn't shoot him or knife him, but he's gone down as if he was battered."
When Iran's Haji Safi fell to the floor like he'd been, well, battered.

"If he was a gymnast he'd be awarded a ten."
After Iran's Ramin Rezaeian rolled over a whole five times on been brushed by a Moroccan.

“Gerrup outta that, you’re alright.”

When Mbaye Niang collapsed in a heap after a challenge, looked mortally wounded, only to return to the field to score for Senegal against Poland. “A Lazarus job, that,” said Kerr.

"If you put the ball out every time Suarez went down injured you'd probably need 10 minutes extra time."
No offence Luis, but true.

In the crowd

"Was it the dancing that wore him out? Or the, eh, service in the posh seats?"
On spotting a tired and emotional Maradona.

"There's the Croatia fans in their jockeys tops."
Not a horse in sight, though.

"Jaysus, that's some gear – d'you think it would suit us?"
On seeing a group of Senegal fans in spectacularly colourful attire.

"They're applauding themselves for doing the Thunder Clap."
On spotting some self-congratulatory Iceland fans.

"That South Korean fan would give the penalty all day long, but he doesn't have a whistle."
On some less than impartial officiating in the stands.


"That was sensational! What a goal this is! Look at the distance out, it's probably 26, 27 yards. Deadeye Dick right into the corner!"
When Aleksandar Kolarov scored with a peach of a free-kick against Costa Rica. Kolarov has been called many things in his time, but possibly never Deadeye Dick.

"Bend, swerve, accuracy, power, whatever you're havin' yerself!"
Still swooning over Deadeye Dick's goal.

"That was great skill, he sent him around the shops for some messages."
When Tunisia's Wahbi Khazri left Belgian defender Toby Alderweireld in a knot with a dinky rabona.

"Absolute dingers!"
Doffing his cap to Ahmed Musa's double for Nigeria against Iceland.

"They don't pull out, those Serbia players – hardy boys!"
After a Costa Rican was left banjoed by a 50-50 tackle.


"The way Argentina played in their first two games they wouldn't have beaten Lourdes Celtic."
That's the last time he'll be welcomed in the Lourdes Celtic boardroom.

"Meza has had three touches since he came on – they've been bad, brutal and worse."
On Argentina's Maximiliano struggling a bit to make a positive impact after coming on as a sub.

"Naaaaaa! He had him in a stranglehold, but it was only for a moment – he wasn't strangled enough to get a penalty"
On Aleksandar Mitrovic's unsuccessful appeal for a penalty after only being half strangled.

"His first touch, second touch, third touch, fourth touch…. Shocking."
On Croatia's Ante Rebic somewhat failing to control the ball.

"It might be on its way to Peru."
After Christian Cueva sent his penalty against Denmark in the direction of Lima.

Top 10 random observations

(1) "If they'd scored that Iceland could have thrown the kitchen sink and whatever else they had, a few fishing boats, at them."
After Gylfi Sigurdsson missed a late penalty against Nigeria when they were 2-0 down and trawling for some hope.

(2) "He's wearing a pair of those small shin-pads. The sneaky ones. The type you think are made out of a Kellogg's Corn Flakes packet."
We'll never look at a Kellogg's Corn Flakes packet in the same way again.

(3) "I never needed sun cream in Iceland, but I always needed my raincoat."
On getting drenched in Reykjavik.

(4) "That's the stuff you normally use to wrap up your sandwiches – and now it fixes hamstrings."
On watching an injured South Korean player have his leg wrapped in what appeared to be clingfilm.

(5) "If you're taking the striker out of the box to take the throw-in he must be going to fling it in with a big one. He's doing a Rory Delap on it!"
We always thought Delap was unlucky not to make it to a World Cup - but on June 26, during the Nigeria v Argentina game, he finally did.

(6) "I think he's doing a counting job there after getting a hit of the ball."
On a Costa Rican player checking if he was still intact.

(7) "He has a bag of tricks, Christian Cueva. His nickname is Aladdin, so you would've expected him to pull something out of his of his magic ones out of the lamp or whatever."

(8) "Victor Moses had a reputation in the past for going down rather easily. But a good bloke in general, I'd say."
Forever more we will know Victor Moses as a good bloke in general.

(9) "Stefan Milinkovic-Savic – that's only one bloke."
But so good they double-barrelled him.

(10) "Looked liked a Coconut Cream tackle on Mercado there."
After Croatia's Ante Rebic floored Argentina's Gabriel Mercado, possibly humming 'someone you love would love some, Mum' while he did so.

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan is a sports writer with The Irish Times