DescriptionThis weekend, Documentary On Newstalk takes a trip back to 2002, when one of the greatest sporting icons in history sent a letter to Armagh GAA to wish them luck… in a new radio documentary: The Ali Ireland Final.
In ‘The Ali Ireland Final’ Producer Jonathan Farrelly talks to Hugh Campbell, a member of the 2002 Armagh coaching staff who got Muhammad Ali to send a letter to inspire the team to glory….
BROADCAST TIMES: ‘The Ali Ireland Final’ will be broadcast on Newstalk 106-108fm on Sunday 16th February at 7am, with a repeat broadcast on Saturday 22nd February at 9pm.
Before 2002, Armagh had never won an All-Ireland title. Appearing in finals in 1953 and 1977, it was a case of third time lucky when they struck gold in 2002. Hugh Campbell was recruited as part of the Armagh coaching staff that year. He didn’t have a background in the sport, but he specialised in sports psychology, something of an unknown quantity at the time. His initial appointment was met with scepticism from a sport that was notoriously traditional. It took a while for Hugh to settle in and gain the respect of the players. Hugh had just started to read ‘The Fight’ (Norman Mailer) about the infamous ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. Hugh thought that if he could get the players to believe in themselves like Ali did, this could be their year. He also knew that in order for something to really hit home, he’d need something from the man himself. His neighbour was a TV producer and reached out to the Muhammad Ali Center. They told him Ali would be delighted to send a letter to each member of the team. The night before the final, Campbell gave a presentation to the team and finished up by saying, ‘’If Ali was here in his prime right now, what do you think he would say to you?’ He left it at that and they all went to bed. The next morning, he got up early and slipped the letters under each player’s door. And the rest, as they say, is history…
‘The Ali Ireland Final’ will be broadcast on Newstalk 106-108fm on Sunday 16th February at 7am, with a repeat broadcast on Saturday 22nd February at 9pm.
Podcast goes live on www.newstalk.com after the first broadcast
LISTEN LIVE: ‘The Ali Ireland Final’’ can also be listened to online at: www.newstalk.com
CREDITS: ‘The Ali Ireland Final’’ was produced, recorded, and edited by Jonathan Farrelly and was supported by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, through the television licence fee.
ABOUT THE PRODUCER: Jonathan Farrelly is a writer and producer with over ten years experience in radio and TV, having produced sports content for BBC, RTE and Eir Sport.