Des Cahill

Desmond "Des" Cahill (born 12 December 1959) is an Irish sports presenter and commentator with national broadcaster Raidió Teilifís Éireann. Presenter of RTÉ television's GAA programme, "The Sunday Game" & RTÉ's flagship weekend sports radio programme, "Saturday Sport". He is also the regular weekday morning Sports Presenter on "Morning Ireland" & "Today with Sean O'Rourke" programmes. He presents "Up For The Match" at the hugely popular pre-All Ireland Final TV programmes.

Des Cahill
Desmond Cahill
EducationColaiste Mhuire, Dublin
Known forThe Sunday Game, Saturday Sport, The Road to Croker, Play It Again, Des, Up for the Match Morning Ireland, “Ireland’s Greatest Sporting Moment”

Cahill was named "Ireland's Most Influential Journalist on Twitter" in 2015 & 2016.

He emerged as a hugely popular figure the first series of Dancing with the Stars in Ireland. He reached Week 10 in the 12 Week series, partnered by professional dancer, Karen Byrne.[1]

His claim to fame is that he received the first ever standing ovation on the show for his Paso Doble. But it was his "Dessie Swim" move, while posing as Austin Powers, that will be most remembered!

In 2017He presented a daily radio programme called Drivetime Sport on RTÉ Radio 1,[2] while on television he has presented The Sunday Game, The Road to Croker, Play It Again, Des, and Up for the Match.[3]

In 2011, he was blacklisted by the Football Association of Ireland.[4]

Early life

Cahill was educated at Colaiste Mhuire, in Dublin, and he began his career as a newspaper reporter. While studying journalism in Rathmines, he spent a couple of years working with The Irish Press group, before moving on to two of Ireland's leading provincial newspapers - the Carlow Nationalist and The Kerryman.


In the late 1970s, while still a Journalism student in Rathmines, Cahill began freelancing for The Irish Press group. He did a weekly match report for the Evening Press called The Big Match, featuring a club GAA match in Dublin.

Before finishing in Rathmines he was offered a full-time job with the Carlow Nationalist, by Editor Liam Begin.

Cahill replaced Joe O'Brien, who was to be a future colleague in the RTE Newsroom. While in Carlow, Cahill played football with the Eire Og club.

In 1981, Cahill moved to The Kerryman newspaper. He was based in Killarney, covering all of South Kerry. He was a member of the Dr Crokes GAA club.


Cahill joined RTÉ in 1984 as a TV news reporter, but quickly began reporting for the Sunday Sport programme on RTÉ Radio 1. By 1987 he had taken over as presenter of the flagship programme from Jimmy Magee.

He has presented programmes from many of the world's top sporting events, including some memorable Irish victories at Olympic Games, FIFA World Cups, UEFA European Championships, Tour de France and the Ryder Cup.

For 20 years he was associated with early morning radio - presenting the sports news on the main news programme, Morning Ireland on RTÉ Radio 1, and in a very different style, with Ian Dempsey on 2FM. It was on Dempsey's show that he began the ABU (Anyone But United) Club and each year he supported the main rivals of football team Manchester United in the Premier League. He designed an ABU shirt, with a crest in Latin, reading "Uppus Cantonis Aris". He engaged with listeners, whose letters and e-mails became a key part of the show.


In the mid-1990s, Cahill began a sports phone-in programme on RTÉ Radio 1, Sportscall. At one stage it ran three nights a week, but it was on Monday nights, after the weekend games, that fans from all over the country let off steam.[5] He also helped Gay Byrne out with The Gay Byrne Show before Byrne retired in 1998.[6]

On television, he presented Sideline View, RTÉ's first midweek Gaelic Games Championship programme, in the mid-1990s. Apart from special reports from the counties, the programme used the existing panellists from The Sunday Game, and added the likes of Pete Finnerty and Tommy Lyons who themselves went on to become panellists on The Sunday Game.

This was followed by Play It Again, Des where Cahill invited some of Ireland's top sporting names to choose their favourite sporting moments from the archives. Guests included Mick O'Dwyer, Johnny Giles, Eamonn Dunphy, Ken Doherty, Moss Keane, Christy O'Connor Jnr, Fergus Slattery, Jimmy Barry-Murphy, Ted Walsh, Liam Brady, Kevin Moran, Mick Doyle, Ger Loughnane, Ollie Campbell and Brian Kerr.

In 1993, Cahill received a Jacob's Award for his radio broadcasts.


In May 2004, while discussing Westmeath's first victory over Offaly in 55 years with Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh on Morning Ireland, Cahill attracted criticism for his remarks that Westmeath had been under BIFFOs for all that time.[7]

Before the launch of The Road to Croker a weekly Gaelic Games programme, that included a live audience as it visited clubs around the country ahead of the big Championship. When Cahill went to Beijing for the Summer Olympics in 2008, Bertie Ahern took over presenting duties on The Road to Croker.[8][9] Cahill also presents Up for the Match, the RTÉ entertainment programme that celebrates the All-Ireland final, on the eve of both the Hurling and Gaelic Football finals. Initially he co-presented with Mary Kennedy, but in 2008, Gráinne Seoige became his co-presenter.

He has appeared on The Restaurant, where he scored five stars from the critics.[10]

In 2009, he became the presenter of the evening highlights edition of The Sunday Game.[11][12] Also that year he celebrated 25 years in broadcasting, and was reunited with Ian Dempsey when he appeared on The Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show on Today FM.[13]


On 9 June 2010, Cahill co-hosted the opening ceremony of the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games Irish heats at Thomond Park with Ian Dempsey.[14]

In July 2011, the Football Association of Ireland complained about remarks made by Cahill while discussing the organisation's AGM on the Saturday Sport radio show. RTÉ bosses "rejected outright" the complaint, and the FAI threatened to sue.[15] Dion Fanning in the Sunday Independent said, "Refusing to talk to Des Cahill is a bit like forbidding your children to read Gentle Ben because playing with bears is dangerous."[16]

Cahill is featured on Nob Nation.[17]


During his career, Cahill has won a Jacob's Award in 1993, an ESB Journalist of the Year award for sport, and was named PPI Sports Presenter of the Year in 2007.

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1993Des CahillJacob's AwardWon
????Des CahillESB Journalist of the YearWon
2007Des CahillPPI Sports Presenter of the YearWon

Personal life

He is married to Caroline, a native of Ballyshannon.[18]


  1. McGowan, Sharon (16 December 2016). "RTE's Dancing With The Stars professionals have been revealed". irishmirror. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  2. "Drivetime Sport". RTÉ Radio 1. Archived from the original on 9 March 2008.
  3. "Up For The Match Wants You!". JOE. 25 August 2011. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  4. "No further questions: RTÉ presenter "banned" by the FAI". The Score. 29 July 2011. Archived from the original on 6 April 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2011.
  5. Horan, Liam (6 February 1999). "Reeling on the ropes over Abbeyleix fracas". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 13 September 2012. Retrieved 6 February 1999. One Dublin woman chilled listeners to Monday evening's Sportscall with this tale ... On the same programme, presenter Des Cahill relayed the experience of another Dublin woman who ``saw her son being hit on the back of the head. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  6. Power, Bairbre (10 August 1998). "Top of the bill year after year on the airwaves". Irish Independent. Retrieved 10 August 1998. Gareth O'Callaghan later did the job but left for 2FM after becoming disgruntled. Des Cahill co-chaired the show with Gay last season. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  7. "Complaint made by: Dr. Tim O'Neill Ref: 90/04". BCC. 24 May 2004.
  8. Finneran, Aoife (22 August 2008). "Bertie relishes his time on the box but Des Cahill needn't worry, his job is safe". Evening Herald. Retrieved 22 August 2008.
  9. "Bertie subs for Des". The Irish Emigrant. 24 August 2008. Archived from the original on 17 September 2008. Retrieved 24 August 2008.
  10. "The Restaurant". RTÉ.
  11. "Des Cahill takes over The Sunday Game". RTÉ Sport. 8 April 2009. Archived from the original on 10 April 2009. Retrieved 8 April 2009.
  12. "Cahill for 'The Sunday Game'". Irish Film and Television Network. 9 April 2009. Retrieved 9 April 2009.
  13. "Des reunited with Ian in studio this morning!". Today FM. 9 December 2009. Retrieved 9 December 2009.
  14. "Limerick prepares to host Special Olympics". RTÉ News. 9 June 2010. Retrieved 9 June 2010.
  15. Keane, Kevin (30 July 2011). "RTÉ defends Des Cahill in ban row as FAI threatens to sue". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 2 August 2012. Retrieved 30 July 2011.
  16. Fanning, Dion (31 July 2011). "Mancini building towards destruction of old order". Sunday Independent. Archived from the original on 4 August 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  17. "The Sunday Game Winners' Hotel". Nob Nation. 5 September 2011. Retrieved 5 September 2011. Des Cahill reports from the noisy Kilkenny hurlers' celebrations on The Sunday Game.
  18. Daly, Michael (19 September 2012). "Des Cahill, up for the match - and Donegal". Donegal Democrat. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
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