"All that for this?" - the anticlimax of winning an All-Ireland for Joe Brolly 3 years ago

"All that for this?" - the anticlimax of winning an All-Ireland for Joe Brolly

"So when you say it was an anticlimax, you mean there weren't enough orgies?"

Joe Brolly is a high-achiever. As a footballer he helped his club and county to heights they've never been near since. As a barrister, he's renowned. As a pundit, he became one of the most influential in the country. At one stage, he even played basketball for Ireland.


But along the way, he learned what's important in life and one of the steepest curves on that journey came on September 19 0f 1993 when Derry clinched the county's only Sam Maguire title. For their number 13, it was all a bit of an anticlimax.

"It's just a trinket. It's just a thing. It's not your real life."

Brolly calls himself an escapist and whilst football remained one of his favourite forms of it, reaching the top was not how he dreamed it would be.

On Ireland Unfiltered, he sat for an in-depth conversation with Dion Fanning and opened up about RTÉ, about the Troubles and about his own personal demons. He also spoke candidly about winning All-Irelands and what he described as the falseness of some of the stuff that goes with it.


"Football is a real thing. I loved football, I adored it - I kept playing until I was 42. Because of the rituals of it and the honesty of it, the camaraderie, the collaboration and all the surprises and possibilities and disappointments of the game. 

"The winning of it was an anticlimax.

"When we won the All-Ireland, it surprised me. Because I sort of thought, a bit like the suicide bombers, I'm going to have a life now of sex in heaven. There'll be lots of orgies and this is going to be fantastic."

The Holy Grail is what they call it. The dream for every GAA person, the purpose for most of them.


It was for Brolly, until he got there.

"You had seen people winning All-Irelands and thought, 'wow, this is going to be...'

"I was standing in the shower with Fergal McCusker, my great friend, and I said to him, 'like... is this it? All that, for this?' And I felt that. 

"Everybody was celebrating like mad and they were going wild. There were loads of women on the go and all that and I was just thinking, 'fuck, what a disappointment all that was.'

"But it was a good lesson for me."

Watch that frank conversation here from 41:11.


Ireland Unfiltered, brought to you in partnership with Carlsberg Unfiltered, will be available everywhere you get your podcasts and on YouTube every Tuesday.