As co-host of 2FM’s Game On, alongside champion jockey Ruby Walsh, Marie Crowe covers a plethora of different sports on the Monday to Friday radio show. It could be cycling, soccer, cricket, boxing or even American football.
For Marie, though, speaking about a variety of sports is a space she feels more than comfortable in. Although soccer and GAA were her mainstays when it came to playing sport, growing up she was exposed to a whole host of different sports.
Now Dublin-based with three sons, Marie is from Sixmilebridge, Co Clare – her parents run the shop in the village. As one of seven siblings with a sport mad father, Marie was brought to a diverse range of sporting events.
“The whole lot of us were thrown into everything and brought everywhere as well. I think maybe because I was one of the older ones, I got to go places,” Marie recalls. “On our holidays we went over to football matches or to the Aviva Stadium (then Landsdowne Road) to Ireland rugby matches. We’d go off to the races and the Irish Open golf.
“Dad was a selector on the Munster schools’ rugby team, I remember getting off school to go to one of those matches. He was involved in the Clare senior team, so he would have been coaching all the time too. I didn’t know any different than to be exposed to sport. For me, it’s totally normal. Whereas something like being interested in music isn’t. That’s just our thing as a family.”
Considering the sporting nature of her family, it’s no surprise that Marie initially wanted to be a PE teacher like her father – who managed the Sixmilebridge senior hurlers to two county titles in recent years.
However, for Marie, being a PE teacher wasn’t to be. She didn’t get the points. Having done work experience in ClareFM, she thought she’d try her hand at sports broadcasting. None other than fellow Banner native Marty Morrissey helped her land a role in ClareFM.
“Marty Morrissey was friends with my dad and he helped me with ClareFM,” Marie says. “Once I was in ClareFM, I absolutely loved it because I was getting to go to matches. I just realised that this is actually what I want to do.”
From local radio, Marie went on to work for the Sunday Independent as a sports journalist. She then landed her first television role with UTV Ireland.
“I moved there and unfortunately UTV Ireland closed down. So I was in a bit of limbo and I had the three small kids as well, so it was a bit of a tough time,” Marie explains.
“Then I started freelancing for RTÉ and that went well. I eventually got the job on Game On with Donnacha O’Callaghan and Ruby Walsh. Donnacha has since moved on to the breakfast show, Ruby’s still there. That’s what I’ve been doing since and I absolutely love it
“It’s every day. It’s my passion. It’s just a great buzz being on the radio, talking about sport, doing what I love and having a bit of fun as well.”
Alongside reporting on many different sports on Game On, Marie also fronts the television coverage for many different sporting events for RTÉ. Recently she presented the analysis of the Women’s Irish Open golf and the Women’s Euros.
Given her involvement with the elite women’s sporting events, Marie is well placed to discuss the current lie-of-the-land for women’s sport.
On having female role models in sport, Marie knowns first-hand the importance. When she was growing up, both the Sixmilebridge hurlers and camogie players had great success.
“The Sixmilebridge hurling team won an All-Ireland club, but it was actually the camogie team that inspired me. I was playing camogie in Sixmilebridge and in school. The senior camogie team at that time had a load of county titles. So without even knowing it, I had all these heroes just around me.
“I had been brought to all their camogie matches by my parents. A lot of them were aunts of the girls that I played with, were working in the village or you’d see them at mass. It was such a big deal. I didn’t know then that I was one of the really lucky ones that had female role models and heroes everywhere around me.”
Overall, Marie feels that the trajectory for women’s sport at present is going in the right direction, having seen the point from which it has come.
“I’d be glass half full [on the current outlook on women’s sport] because I’ve been there when there was nothing. When I started working in journalism back around 2008 and 2009, I remember when the All-Ireland final came along, we’d just do one big interview.”
Marie references the increased coverage now – the pullout sections for All-Irelands in the paper and of course the women’s sporting events (of which she has been at the helm of many) now covered on TV. “We’re never going to go back to what it was before. For me, that gives me the glass half full, because I know what it was like back in those days.”