The team behind The42 publish Behind The Lines each year, featuring some of our favourite long reads.
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Your support for The42 means more than ever

We’re committed to telling the story of Irish sport each day despite these uncertain times.

As well as loads of podcasts, events and other benefits, we send members of The42 regular updates from our newsroom.

Today, given the news about Journal Media — and the hugely encouraging reaction from our readers to our membership scheme — we thought it might be worthwhile sharing here the letter we sent to our community. 


It’s one of the many topics we’ve been amusing ourselves with over the past long, weird fortnight.

One of the best, The Boys of Summer by the recently deceased Roger Kahn, should be on any list.  

An immediate success when it was published in the early 70s, it’s “a baseball book the same way ‘Moby Dick’ is a fishing book”, as one reviewer noted at the time. 

We like to think The42 is a sports site in the same vein. Our staff have spent the past few weeks trying to tell the story of Ireland in the time of coronavirus through the lens of the country’s sports people, well-known or otherwise. We’re heard brilliant tales of pain, struggle and resilience told by our talented team of writers. 

And like everyone, The42 is also trying to chart a way through this uncertain time.

Earlier this week Journal Media management announced new measures aimed at securing the company’s future; it means pay cuts across the board, the shuttering of our sister business news site Fora, and a number of staff on reduced hours. 

For us in the sports department, we’ll scale back our operations for the next quarter with most of us working part-time.  

“At this time when local news and quality information is of particular importance to our society it is essential that we take action to protect and sustain indigenous news publishers,” our managing editor Susan Daly told the Irish Times this morning when talking about collapsing advertising revenue. 

Encouragingly, plenty of you believe the same and I’m now writing to a huge number of new members who have signed up today to support us. Thank you. 

All of your support of us and independent Irish sports journalism means we will continue to produce quality long reads, in-depth analysis, podcasts, newsletters and more ambitious projects throughout this period and beyond. 

Now more than ever, we’re committed to real quality sports journalism.  

Next week, we’ll launch a new project in which we ask novelists we admire to write about sport. We’ll start with one of my favourite writers, Donal Ryan. 

Hugh McIlvanney - who comes up a lot for mention in our Behind The Lines podcast series - once said he struggles over writing a note for the milkman. I knew what he meant as I tried to construct an email to Donal, a man who has been nominated for the Booker Prize on multiple occasions, about his submission which you’ll very much enjoy.

We’ll send details of the Bylines Project, as we’re calling it, directly to you in the coming days, and we have some great writers lined up for the next few months.   

Elsewhere, our colleague Kevin Brannigan - or TV’s Kevin Brannigan, as he likes to be called – has been working on a hugely enjoyable series in which we’ll tell some of our favourite stories from Gaelic games. 

We’ll begin, as we mean to go on, with a documentary about Wexford’s 1996 All-Ireland win. An hour with Liam Griffin is just what the country needs right now, believe me. 

The powerhouse Rugby Weekly Extra motors on with Gavan Casey and Murray Kinsella reliving some classic games and watching along with our wonderful WhatsApp group community. 

The aforementioned Behind The Lines podcast has moved to a once-a-week rhythm. The most recent guests were Jonathan Wilson, Kieran Cunningham and Jeff Pearlman, while host Gavin Cooney will be on the line with Dara Ó Cinnéide tomorrow to record next week’s show. Please let us know if you have other suggestions. 

As well as that, Gavin’s been busy developing a new podcast with Séamas O’Reilly, the brilliant writer for the Observer and elsewhere. We’ll get more detail for you on that in the coming days, as well as another exciting series in which former Wexford Youths and Galway United boss - and Off The Ball pundit - Shane Keegan interrogates some of sport’s most interesting coaching minds on their philosophy. It’s great stuff.  

On the site, we’ll continue to have the stuff that makes us The42 each day too and we’ll continue to be a companion through this mad period. There’s plenty to keep you - and us – off the streets for the next while. 

Your support is appreciated now more than ever and we’ll reciprocate by doubling down on what we’ve always believed in; intelligent, passionate, independent Irish sports journalism. 


Adrian Russell
The42 Editor 

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