Ruairi “Hagz” O’Hagan – “Give Him A Ball (and a yard of grass)” – Sultans of Ping FC

When I joined RedFM Ruairi O’Hagan was one of the few people in there of which I was definitely aware and being a sports fan I was in awe of him. His JOB was sports. Amazing. The dream.

For the first few months working there I was pretty sure that The Hagan didn’t like me and as it turns out, I was very much right. Over time I wore him down and eventually he came to his senses, realised I’m an absolute legend and we’ve been fast friends ever since (the term “fast friends” isn’t used enough).

I flat-out love Ruairi, he’s just aces. He’s a very funny and friendly guy, knows an awful lot about an awful lot, loves his music, his sport and most importantly is just the right amount of bitter and sarcastic. What’s not to love?

We tended to overlap work-wise on Saturday and Sunday as part of the incredibly imaginatively-named “weekend crew” in Red and partook in many a round of “in-the-bin” and “office golf”. One of my all-time favourite sporting moments was watching Watford vs Leicester in the championship playoff semi-final with Hagz and Jozo on the little TV in the sports department of RedFM, if you don’t know what I’m talking about you should watch this right now – I genuinely get chills every time I see it.

When I finished up on the RedFM promotions team and became an office monkey, Ruairi and I used to stroll around the corner to Curraheen Stores every morning for some fresh air (and delicious candy). The Hagan was particularly fond of sour balls (he also liked sweets – hup!). When I made the decision to leave Red I don’t have to tell you about how upset I was that I’d be leaving Mr O’Hagan, he was (and still is) one of the first people I go to for advice because I know there’s no bullshitting or dancing around awkward topics with Ruairi – he’ll give it you straight, like a pear cider made from 100% pears. A perfect example of this being when Ruairi (remember, he’s a sports journalist) was asked on-air to sum up Ireland’s chances in a football match in one word followed by his curt reply –

“I’ll give you three words, I don’t care”.

On top of the delicious ice-cream sundae that is Hagz, the very best thing about Ruairi is his loyalty and affection for those that he actually cares about, and there’s no-one he cares more about than Devina & Cecelia Rose. This guy was destined to be a dad/favourite uncle. I was pretty honoured to be invited to Cecelia’s christening and I spent a good chunk of my evening being bullied by Stevie G’s kids (it was affectionate bullying I’m sure).

Why do I associate this song with Ruairi? on one level it’s because of his top notch twitter bio which bears an homage to Sultans of Ping FC –

“Give me a ball and a yard of grass… and I will fall over and tear ankle ligaments.”

Funny guy that Hagan. That could be considered quite simplistic but it does go a long way toward summing up a good chunk of Ruairi’s personality. I always think of Hagz every time I hear it play. He once asked me to have a listen to this top-notch documentary he made to commemorate Cork City’s League win in 2005 (have a listen, it’s aces). I loved it, told him I could hear that same song in my head all the way through and didn’t he go and add it in to the finished product. What a guy. Love you Hagz.






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