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27th Nov 2015

Ireland’s top sportspeople reveal their favourite childhood toys

Late Late Toy Show Fever

Kevin McGillicuddy

There is only place to be if you’re a kid of any age at 9.30 tonight.

Shut the blinds, get the kettle filled and settle in to watch the best TV show of the year, The Late Late Toy Show on RTE 1.

Ahead of tonight’s promised mayhem we’ve asked some of the country’s best known sportspeople what their favourite toys were growing up, and some of their own memories of what was under the tree on Christmas morning.

Ireland and Colorado Rapids striker

UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifer 11/10/2014 Republic of Ireland vs Gibraltar GilbraltarÕs Joseph Chipolina and Kevin Doyle of Ireland Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

Favourite Toy: Atari 2600

“The most exciting Christmas ever was when we got I think an Atari 2600. It was top of the range at the time so getting someone to hook it up to the TV at the time was pretty stressful. The best game was ‘Commando’ where you ran around blowing people up from an overhead view.

atari 2600

“I do remember one time my folks had a party on Christmas Eve and when I got up in the morning the rechargeable batteries for my remote control car had been thrown in the fire, so that must have been a drunken incident which stuck in the memory.

“I broke my brother’s train set that he got from Santa on Christmas Day. I stood on two of the carriages so I got a good beating from him when I was very little, deservedly so.”

Will you be watching the Toy Show?

“I will. My son has been taking about Christmas for the last few months. It’s his first proper one as he’s three and he’s been asking Santa for toys for the last six months.”

Former Cork Camogie player

Anna Geary and the Cork players with the O'Duffy cup

Favourite Toy: Fisher Price Kitchen


“It’s funny now as I hate cooking but when I was growing up I loved the Fisher Price kitchen.

“My Favourite film ever is “Home Alone 2″ and the gadget in that, the Talkboy, I absolutely loved that. I had some great fun with that growing up.”

Stephen Ferris
Former Ireland and Ulster 

Heineken Cup Quarter-Final 8/4/2012 Ulster Stephen Ferris celebrates after the game Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Presseye/Darren Kidd *** Local Caption ***

Favourite Toy: Super Mario Brothers

“I was a big man for the games when I was younger and even though Sonic was good, I was literally unbeatable at Super Mario Brothers. It’s funny, because me and my brother used to box, but with homemade gloves. We’d stick football socks on our hands, stuff them with towels, tape them up and knock the pan off each other.”

FC fighter

Paddy Holohan 31/3/2015

Favourite toy: Sega Mega Drive

“My favourite ever was the Sega Mega Drive. It had a hotwired plug so we were always taking a big chance plugging it in. I remember plugging it in when I was in a hotel once and it blew the whole electricity in the room.

“The other one I can remember from when I was a bit younger was the Bosco doll. I gave it a bit of a makeover with some Crayola and I actually still have it in my house now.


“One thing I was jealous of was a mega garage toy that my cousin had. His family always had a bit of money and he always got the best toys every Christmas. Unfortunately that garage ended up breaking but I always remember wanting it when I was young.”

Will you be watching the Toy Show tonight?

“Of course I bloody am. It’s a national event at this stage, isn’t it?”

Kilkenny hurler and current Hurler of the Year

Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Final, Croke Park, Dublin 5/7/2015 Galway vs Kilkenny KilkennyÕs TJ Reid with Padraig Mannion of Galway Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Tommy Grealy

Favourite Toy: Farm set


“As young lads living on a farm, tractors and trailers and animals were the big ones. We’d pretend cutting silage on our hands and knees in the sitting room. Batteries were always a big issue if you got a remote control car and that happened  a few times too.

“We got a Playstation as well and I was always a big fan of Fifa. I’m the Fifa king in the Kilkenny dressing room these days, even if they don’t believe me.

Will you be watching the Toy Show tonight?

“Definitely. I wish I was in the audience as Ryan is very generous so that would be good craic.

“Kids now are so lucky with new gadgets. In our day we didn’t have the robot machines and all these things weren’t as big and as good as they are now.”

Ireland and Reading defender

Republic of Ireland v Georgia - International Friendly

Favourite Toy: WWF wrestling ring


“I can only remember one toy  really – it was a WWF wrestling ring. It came with two wrestlers, The Ultimate Warrior and The Bushwhackers. You could press a button on the ring and it had the commentary. Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler shouting ‘Oh my God’. The Ultimate Warrior was my favourite – he had the shaky arms.

“When I was playing for Joey’s and we went through a bad spell because all the lads on the team were staying up late the night before the games to watch wrestling. I started taping it and got up early to watch it before the game so none of lads would ruin it for me by telling me what had happened.”

Will you be watching the Toy Show tonight?

“I remember the Toy Show back when Gay Byrne was in his prime. It was a big night in the year.”

Kerry footballer

Darran O'Sullivan after the game 7/7/2013

Favourite Toy: Talkboy and Ecco the Dolphin on the Sega Mega Drive

“I remember Ecco the Dolphin was a great game. Travelling around the sea as a dolphin was unreal, and I’d a motorbike game called ‘Hang On’ I think too.

“Home Alone was big as well and the ‘TalkBoy.’  I used to practice my singing on that. I found the Talkboy too a few years ago, but I was clever enough to remove the tape so no-one could hear my dodgy voice.”


Will you be watching the Toy Show tonight?

“I always pencil in the Toy Show and I say ‘I wish I had that when I was younger’.  I’ll be on Twitter, especially to tweet herself for a few clues to what we’re looking at.”

Tyrone footballer

GAA Football All Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final, Croke Park, Dublin 23/8/2015 Kerry vs Tyrone Tyrone's Sean Cavanagh Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Favourite Toy: Sega Mega Drive

“Sonic the hedgehog was a firm favourite growing up. I loved Scalextric as well with me and my brother spending days on them. The other one would have to be the Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles. I had all the figurines and the van, the blimp and all that went with it.

“I find them the odd time at home too, games and the figurines. It used to be tough times on Christmas morning trying to get us to dinner fighting over some gifts alright.”

Will you be watching the Toy Show tonight?

“It’s always a big night in our house at home. I’ve a two-year old and a four-year-old so I might give them some sugar before bed to keep them up a little but later. It’s a legendary night of the year in our house.”

Trainer and RTÉ Racing Pundit

Fairyhouse Racing 19/1/2014 Andrew McNamara Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Favourite Toy: Commodore 64


“Leaderboard Golf was the game I remember but, same as everyone, my biggest recollection of the Commodore 64 was spending an hour and half loading the tape so that I could play two minutes of the game. The Commodore 64 was all about the anticipation.

“I had a Turbo Tommy too. It had like a gear stick, a steering wheel and a screen. Simpler times, all you did was move the car back and forth across the road to avoid crashing. I recall hours mindlessly playing with it.”

Will you be watching the Toy Show tonight?

“I’ve watched the Toy Show in the past but it’s not something I would pencil in for Friday night.”

Kilkenny hurler 

GAA Hurling All Ireland Senior Championship Final, Croke Park, Dublin 6/9/2015 Kilkenny vs Galway Kilkenny's Michael Fennelly raises the Liam McCarthy cup Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Favourite Toy: Remote Control Car

RC car

“I loved remote control cars as a young lad. There wasn’t many of them back then and they were expensive enough so I got one at Christmas when I was seven or eight, but unfortunately it stopped working within a month or so.

“The year before I got a farm set, and I only remember it because it certainly wasn’t what I’d written away for anyway. I was  expecting to see a load of guns, a handgun and a shotgun and Santy didn’t have any of them left is what I was told, so I got a farm set instead.

“I tried to play with it for a day or two but there was no craic out of it at all, so the sisters got Cindy vans that turned into houses, and that’s what I ended up playing with instead after a few weeks.”

Will you be watching the Toy Show on Friday?

“If I get a chance Friday I’m sure I’ll have a flick through. I think I’m at something on Friday night with work so I’m not sure.”

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