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Sin Sceal Eile – TG4 doing it’s bit for Rugbai Beo

21 December 2017

Sin Sceal Eile – TG4 doing it’s bit for Rugbai Beo



Caoimhin MacDonnacha is ainm dom. I was born and reared (rugadh agus a tógadh) i Sceiri ach ta me in mo chonaí anois i mBaile Atha Cliath. Níl aon Gaeilge agam ach beagnach (despite a healthy ‘C’ in Honours Irish in the Leaving Cert in the now long gone De La Salle!!). If you, like me, like to take your rugby as often as you can get it, but on numerous occasions are forced to watch it on TG4 – then read on or should I say ‘Lean ar Aghaidh’.

  1. I am grateful to my father-in-law, Robert Cosgrove, for his assistance with this article. Robert hails from The West and since my entry into the Cosgrove Clan has accompanied me to various matches in Dublin, Galway. Limerick and once to Rome (Grand Slam year 2009). Robert speaks fluently and eloquently in our native tongue – he fairly blasts out Amhran na Bhfiann at the matches. He may slightly overuse Connaught Irish (to quote himself ‘what you speak up there in Dublin is not Irish at all!’) but he does have a great grasp of the language including some lovely sayings which I will include at the end (not necessarily directly related to Rugbai but can be applied in general situations).
  2. I am also grateful to my daughter Harriet, now age 15, who since age 9 ¾ has been attending Irish Summer College in Rinne, Co Waterford and lately in Letermore, Connemara– Harriet was aghast when I informed her that she was only going to learn Irish so that she could provide the running commentary for me during TG4 rugbai beo!! Harriet’s Irish is ‘go hiontach’ thanks to Rinne and her SeanDad, the aforementioned Robert.


The essentials just to get by when Rugbai Beo is on

Let’s be honest – you can see the game unfold with your eyes – you can even turn the sound down if the ‘cupla focal’ (or in this case ‘a lan focal’) are annoying you. However, most of us would agree that the commentary and associated punditry do add something to our understanding and enjoyment of a game.


Des Bishop, that great analyser / comedian who hails from Queens in New York, but who has resided in Ireland for 20 years now, spent a whole year in Connemara learning to speak our native tongue and he cracked it – in fairness he was up and running after 6 weeks. You and I don’t have 6 weeks free to throw at this – we just need enough Irish to allow us to understand roughly what the TV people are spouting on about so that we can agree / contradict / counter argue. Let’s start with the simple stuff







Choinneail ar an scorchíar tic ós cionn – keep the scoreboard ticking over



Cic Saor


Free – half penalty which is usually tapped (beartaionn and dul – tap & go)
Sprioc titim Drop goal
Scór den scoth Great score
Pointe Deontais Bonus Point
Tús an chluiche Kick Off (time) Poist reamh-cluiche – Where are we meeting before the match
Céad leath / Leath ama First half / Half Time Am le haghaidh toitiní / deoch / an leitreas – time for sustenance / relief
Dara leath / Diereadh an chluiche Second half / Full Time


 Am le haghaidh anailise agus diospóireachta – what did you think of the match?

Now you are up and running – you can understand / converse about the main events in the game – I know you want to be able to give out about the ref and his decisions – let’s move on…..


An Reiteóir The ‘Ref  You will want to talk about him.


Fear/Reiteóir Dall (or Amadán or Leibidé) The Bleeding Blind’ Man/Ref  Most refs are not great with the eyesight.
Na Tosaí


The Forwards The big angry looking lads
Na Tacaí The Backs The fancy lads that don’t like to get the gear dirty
Cosanteoir Defender Tá ionsaí fhoirm is fear na cosanta – attack is best form of defence.
Cliathain Wing The fast guys – Fir tapaidh
Cliathain Cle Left Wing Tommieeeeee Bowe agus Zeebs
Cliathain Déis Right Wing
Cul Taca Full Back The calm brave guy – fear croga
Lar Tacaí Centres Backs who want to be forwards


Leath Taca Out-Half & Scrum Half (Half Backs) The skilful guys
An sraith tosach Front Row Club eisiach – An exclusive club
Bean Na Sráide Hooker Who knows what goes on in the front row e.g Woody (Adhmadach)
Greamadóir (Uimhir a hocht) Lock / No. 8 e.g. Willie Duggan – ag cait tabac at half time…..
Cabhradoirí / Tosaí cliathain Wing Forwards The brave guys put their Ceann where no man should put their Cos
Ceann Teann Tight Head See hooker!!
Ceann scaóilte


Loose Head Scaoilte sa cheann – loose in the head!
An Dara Sraith Second Row The biggest guys – na fir millteach mhora e.g Mick Galway (Gallimh)
Clibirt Scrum Ní thuigim – does anyone?
Mál (rollta) (Rolling) Maul Big lads ag rith go mall with the liathróid stuck up the geansaí
An Carta Buí / Pheaca Bin Yellow Card / Sin Bin  

Do bhuachailli dana – for bold boys!!

An Carta Dearg / Sheoladh amach Red Card / Sent off


An Triu Reitteóir (Fear na Telefís) Going upstairs (TMO) Ud / Gan ud (Try / no Try)
Feall or imirt mi-churamach Foul Play


Filleann an feall ar an bhfeallaire (he who lives by the sword dies by the sword) e.g. Alan Quinlan / Trevor Brennan!!
Fear Taobhline Touch Judge Just in case you want to give out about him too

  Ok – so now you are really motoring – ready for some phrases which will help you converse on a game


An Rí Féin BOD He is not as good as BOD (or me!) – nil se chomh maith le ‘BOD’ / mise!!
Sar imreoir Great player Bod – mise – tusa…..
Scór den scoth Great score


All mine were – so were BOD’s
An-luas Very quick An tapaidh or an scioptha
An-laidír Very strong e.g. The Claw
Amadan A bit thick Nil mor an aige idir na cluasa (not much between the ears).

Folus glantoir nadurtha (natural vacumn)

Beagan mall A bit slow Like myself….is mise mall
Taobh dall Blindside
Briseadh iontach Great break (line break)  

Reachtail mar a bheadh giorria Marta – run like a March hare

Dul ar liathróid ar aghaidh / móiminteam Go forward ball / Momentum



  There is no stopping you now if you have made it this far – push on and really go for it (Is Feidir Linn)


Slua sceitiminí Excited crowd Always in Thomand – increasingly in the RDS


Goideadlh an liathróid / iompu san imirt


The Lost ball (turnover)  

Ma taimid tar eis an liathroid nach feidir leo scor – Derek Jones’ coaching philisophy in 1980s – if we have the ball the opposition can’t score

Baiseadh imirt The Break-Down
Seilbh maith  

Possession / Good Ball




Ag sceannadh greasai

Nimh san aeir / talamh

Gaoith laidir ag seideadh


Various weather conditions


Bucketing down

Icy / hard surface

Strong wind blowing


Sportsground in Galway – you will need all these plus Baisteach Direach sios (rain coming straight down!!)

Imirt in aghaidh na gaoithe Playing against the wind Sportsground again – in both directions!
Ceim leathtaobh Side Step
Dummaí Dummy
Corr coise Foot trip e.g. Stinger – the expert – an chuid is fearr
Brú Pressure
Bua Advantage
Buatoirí / Caillteoirí Winners / Losers Leis an bhuaiteoiri an luach saothair – to the victors the spoils
Foireann The team
Bainisteoir The Manager You already knew this one!



Some useful general phrases

These are well known in our wider family and are often trotted out when English just won’t quite do it.


Nil aon tinteann ach a tinteann fein


There is no rugby ground like your home ground
Ni bac le mac an bhacaigh (pronounced wok-key)…is ni bhacaigh mac an bhacaigh leatsa Don’t ever pass the ball to a forward!!….and a forward will never have to pass to you!!!

Nil tú ceasta go dti go bposann tú

You are never crucified until you get married!! i.e. get as much rugby out of him as you can while they are still single (quote from Jim Glennon on hearing I was engaged!!)
A suile ina phoca aige


His eyes in his pocket – see ref above
Is teann gach madra ag a dorais féin


Hometown decisions are easier for the ref to make!
Tus maith leath na hoibre


Get stuck in the opposition early
Ni feidir le cumhacht a bheith ro-milis i dteagmhail Power cannot have too gentle a touch


  Finally for the non believers – some useful stuff to demonstrate you truly understand our native tongue


Cumann Dhearg    Red Hurley


Gluaisteann Coinneanni


  Bunny Carr
An bhfuil cead agam ‘bursting’   I need to go NOW


Is fir for you


  You’re right
Níl aon seó cosúil le seó Seosamh   No show like a Joe show


Go hIfreann (Hell) no go Connaught


The IRFU’s motto for players not quite performing

Kevin McDonough 2017