Nice and Snappy – Stephen McCarthy

Recently we showed you 100 of Sportsfile’s best pictures from the year just gone. Now we are asking the photographers to give an insight into their favourites and the story behind the pictures.

Stephen McCarthy

Dark days are over

Sportsfile Images of 2014

My favourite image selected in the Sportsfile Images of the Year features two legends of Irish rugby; Paul O’Connell and Brian O’Driscoll.

The image was captured as the pair held the 6 Nations Trophy aloft on a lap of honour in Paris after beating the hosts in the final game to secure the Championship. During the lap of honour the lights were out and a small spotlight followed the trophy.

Initially this was a nightmare for photographers following the celebrations because at any one time only two or three players were lit and the rest followed in darkness. After some time I got the sense that there was a really nice image to be had due to the erratic lighting on the pitch. I decided to keep a high shutter and held the dark backgrounds of the stadium.

The match was all about Brian O’Driscoll, his last game in the green jersey, so I followed him for the duration of the lap and sure enough as the players crossed in front of the Irish supporters Paul and Brian came together and held the trophy together. Although they were in darkness I felt that at some stage the light could catch them.

As with the frantic nature of championship decider I was not sure of what I had until I went to the photographer’s room. After shifting a number of images of the trophy lift I went through to the Paul O’Connell and Brian O’Driscoll sequence.

Although there were MANY black frames I found one I was really happy with. I was delighted I held my high shutter and knocked off my flash and in turn got a very different image to the rest of the photographers in the same position.

After following Brian O’Driscoll’s send off in both the blue and green jersey for a number of months I was chuffed to have captured such a unique picture that I can take pride in.

See the full set of Sportsfile Images of 2014 here: