O’Brannagain: "I love my job"Article
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ehfTV.com live commentator Tom O’Brannagain is excited before the start of the VELUX EHF Champions League season and his six "Matches of the Week" until end of November.

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O’Brannagain: "I love my job"

He is the voice and the face of the VELUX EHF Champions League: For two seasons Tom O’Brannagain has been commenting the "Match of the Week" of the VELUX EHF Champions League on the official live streaming platform www.ehfTV.com.

The former Irish national team player and current coach of the Irish men’s national team talks about the upcoming season.

ehfCL.com: Are you already excited before the start of the next VELUX EHF Champions League season?

Tom O’Brannagain: I have been waiting five long months for the start of the new VELUX EHF Champions League season. Currently I am getting withdrawal symptoms.

I have been busy preparing the Irish national team along with my co-coaches Carsten Klavehn and David Bregazzi for the Challenge Trophy in Ireland in November, but nothing excites me more than watching top level handball.

The arenas are fantastic and the preparations on every match day are impeccable.

ehfCL.com: Looking back, how was your experience at the 2011 edition of the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne?

Tom O’Brannagain: The VELUX EHF FINAL4 was amazing this year.

The previous year I was so nervous. Not this time.

In 2011, I could appreciate the venue, the crowd, the technology. It is like being a kid on Christmas Day waiting for your surprise. Handball never fails to surprise me.

ehfCL.com: What makes commenting top matches of the VELUX EHF Champions League so special?

Tom O’Brannagain: Not many people can say they love their job, but I love my job. I get a bird’s eye view of all the games and I get to tell people what I see. How great is that!

The only thing I do not like is that although I stand 1,83 metres, I feel like a very small person when I interview the players - especially Kim Andersson, who is a giant.

For that reason I think I will choose more wing players next season - this which makes me look a little taller.

ehfCL.com: You travel all through Europe to be at the games of the VELUX EHF Champions league – is there any favourite place to be?

Tom O’Brannagain: It would be unfair to choose a favourite place, but I love Kiel and Barcelona.

I love meeting up with Xavier O Callaghan and Enric Masip at Barca, and Kiel does a great dinner. Szeged too!

But I am always made feel very welcome everywhere I go. Even though they wonder what an Irish guy knows about handball.

ehfCL.com: Nowadays you are the face and the voice of the VELUX EHF Champions League on ehfTV.com. How is your contact to coaches and players?

Tom O’Brannagain: Barca coach Xavi Pascual is a great guy. He always talks to you even when he is under pressure.

Most of the coaches will chat even though their English is not always the best. And slowly but surely they are getting to know the Irish guy. Even Dujshebaev chats to me in English!

Kim Andersson from Kiel and Magnus Jernemyr from Barcelona always chat to me about handball in general which I love, Dominik Klein from Kiel also.

I received a great mail after the game in Szeged last year from Pick player Frantisek Sulc who watched the commentary of the game in English and made some lovely comments to me.

Match of the Week schedule

Tom O’Brannagain’s opinion on the first six matches of the week of the VELUX EHF Champions he will comment on www.ehfTV.com:

Round 1

Sunday, 2 October 2011, 15:00 hrs (local time)
KS Vive Targi Kielce (POL) vs. MKB Veszprém KC (HUN)

Tom: Kielce is a great venue to visit. The management and president are wonderful people. I met the manager at the VELUX EHF FINAL4 and they were worried about not winning the Polish League, but the wild card could be a wild card to even more this year. Who knows!

Round 2

Sunday, 9 October 2011, 19:00 hrs (local time)
THW Kiel (GER) vs. Montpellier Agglomeration HB (FRA)

Tom: Kiel is one of my favourite places to visit. The crowd, the atmosphere and the way they treat me is first class. Their start in the Bundesliga must be sending a shiver up everyone's spine.

Round 3 

Saturday, 15 October 2011, 16:15 hrs (local time)
Pick Szeged (HUN) vs. Reale Ademar Leon (ESP)

Tom: What a fantastic club Szeged is. This was one of my favourite visits last year. Hungarian hospitality along with a great family atmosphere. This will be a good game to see where Leon are and of course the home team.

Round 4

Sunday, 23 October 2011, 15:30 hrs (local time)
Füchse Berlin (GER) vs. BM Atletico Madrid (ESP)

Tom: I am most looking forward to this game. Firstly I have never been to Berlin and they have also started the league well and it will be odd to see Ciudad in the colours of Atletico. Two major cities in a potentially great game – enormous!

Round 5

Sunday, 20 November 2011, 17:00 hrs (local time)
Chambery Savoie HB (FRA) vs. Croatia Osiguranje Zagreb (CRO)

Tom: I love France and the view in Chambery is second to none. Two very good teams but you would expect a home victory in this one. Aside I am looking forward to seeing my old mate Karel Nocar there.

Round 6

Sunday, 27 November 2011, 17:00 hrs (local time)
MKB Veszprém KC (HUN) vs. Füchse Berlin (GER)

Tom: Veszprem, back to Hungary! It is a great team. I love watching Marco Vujin play and this will be another chance after game one. Veszprém Arena is another great stadium with a great atmosphere.

TEXT: Björn Pazen