Ciaran O’Doherty’s venture into sports reporting began at a McKenna cup meeting between Tyrone and Antrim, in 2012. He explains, ‘I was aware that there was no official coverage of the match being provided, so I started tweeting updates from my phone. When I got home, one person said, “only for you, I wouldn’t have known what was happening.”’ Since then, under the guise of DOCSport, Ciaran has gone on to have over 3,000 followers on Facebook and nearly a thousand on twitter, including local GAA and soccer stars.
Ciaran admits that he’s delighted at the number of followers he has, but says it comes as a shock more than anything else, in what remains a humble and admirable pursuit aimed at promoting local sport within and around Omagh and building on the cross community atmosphere that sport can provide.
For Ciaran, occasions such as Trillick’s county win, or the recent success of the Tyrone under 21 team have been notable highlights; while occasions when he manages to catch goals and key moments on video also give him great satisfaction, as well as generating the most social media interaction. However, he admits there are times when he feels the responsibilities associated with online sports reporting. When providing live updates from a match, and receiving a flurry of interactive responses, there is always a necessity to continue to keep those following up to date. Another challenge comes with having to remain impartial. Ciaran admits that like any fan he has his favourites, and jokes that he received complaints when he didn’t congratulate Killyclogher on their league win; an omission that was a simple oversight.However, the positives far outweigh the negatives, and the interaction doesn’t stop away from the keyboard. Being recognised as ‘Doc’ – a nickname that existed before, and inspired the name Docsport – is commonplace to him. ‘You find that people who you haven’t spoken to in person recognise you from the page, and will say hello,’ he says. ‘There’s times you can get a kick from the teams you’re covering knowing who you are.’
Recently, new platforms such as Periscope have allowed Ciaran to live stream sporting events under the title ‘DOCSport live’, while a trip to America last year, dubbed ‘DOCSport on tour’, allowed him to showcase his visits to iconic venues such as Madison Square Gardens and the Yankee stadium. Ciaran says, ‘It was nice to see their sporting culture out there, and to be able to use the page to show a bit of it to people back home was a bonus.’
For now, however, DOCSport remains very much a recreational hobby
, and although people like Jerome Quinn and KMAC Vision are potential inspirations, Ciaran insists that DOCSport doesn’t have to get any bigger. A great passion of his, it continues to give him and those who follow him great joy, something he is very proud to do. There can be little doubt that this will continue, and Ciaran is confident that he is getting better at what he does, as he explains, ‘simple things like vocabulary and grammar improve as you go and get used to doing it.’ Others seem to agree with him. Several clubs have recently invited him along to their games, including Beragh Swifts and Ballynamallard. ‘Clubs generally make me feel very welcome,’ he says. ‘They like the coverage, so it’s all very positive and inviting.’ With this continued encouragement, and Ciaran’s endless signs of enthusiasm, DOCSport shows no signs of stopping