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These Irish Teens Fooled The Biggest Media Outlet In The UK. Here's How.

A few weeks ago, The18 reported a story on 3 teenagers from Ireland that managed to prank the biggest media outlet in the land: Sky Sports. Yes, somehow Matthew Flanagan, Patrick Moran, and Scott Kilker had managed to convince the prestigious Sky Sports that their friend, Kieran McDaid, had been transferred from the Buncrana Hearts to Exeter City. 

Shortly after the story was posted, and much to our surprise, we were contacted by the mastermind of the whole operation. Unknown to us at the time, there was a fourth wheel at work in the machinery behind this quaint prank turned internet sensation. Rory Kelly was his name, and he "bloody started the whole thing."

We at The18 realized an opportunity was on hand. We couldn’t resist the chance to pick the brains of these youngsters and, much to our appreciation, Rory and Kieran complied. 

Here’s The18’s exclusive interview with the mastermind and the star player behind the fake transfer that won Transfer Deadline Day.  

The18: First things first, how do you two know each other?

Kieran: I've known Rory since I was about 11. We grew up together becoming very good friends. Patrick Moran and Matty Flanagan are two lads I've known since September. We are doing a FAI/FAS Football course in Castlebar, County Mayo together. 

The18: And whose idea was it to pull of this prank?

Rory: Mine! 

K: Rory does it every single Transfer Deadline Day. He starts a few rumors, gets a couple of people convinced but nothing major. But Patrick and Matty decided to join in on it this year, thinking it was hilarious, and when they started to get people biting to it, well it just spurred them on even more and made more of the lads get involved. 

R: I've had Kieran transferred to about 10 teams at this rate - your usual lower league English sides, as you would find that fans of these clubs are genuinely excited by the prospect of their club signing an unknown Irish “wonderkid”. But this year, the other lads gave it good exposure and it managed to just keep growing and growing in the space of a few hours.

The18: Going back to the start, how did you originally come up with the idea?

R: Honestly, I think everyone knows how anti-climatic Deadline Day is most years, so a few years ago, I just decided to see if I could add a bit of buzz about it for myself - hence the “Kieran McDaid signs with…” campaigns!

The18: Brilliant! So was it hard to convince your friends to go along with it?

K: At the start I was trying to discourage them from acting on it - telling them they were wasting their time. How wrong was I?!

R: I had been talking to a few other mates of mine and Kieran's to get involved, and one of our mates who's actually based in Toronto even got in on the act, so it wasn't too difficult at all!

The18: Looking back, what was the hardest part of pulling this prank off?

K: It was all going so well until a couple of Exeter fans started catching on that there hadn't been an announcement from the club itself, so I suppose just trying to convince them that it was definitely happening. 

R: [Yeah] It was funny [when they] began to question it, others would try to convince them that it was happening! The Wikipedia page helped a bit too! 

The18: We have to ask, why Exeter City? Did you choose it strategically because of its size, or did you just like/dislike the club?

R: There was no real thought into why I chose Exeter. In the past I have gone for other giants of English football - Bristol City, Doncaster Rovers, Accrington Stanley...

K: Who are they?

R: Exactly... But I genuinely closed my eyes, and picked from the League Two table and Exeter were the lucky team! And they have a few Irish players too - notably Clinton Morrison, No. 2 to Robbie Keane as Ireland's greatest striker!

The18: Speaking of giants of English football, do you all play for the Buncrana Hearts?

K: No, currently just me. Rory used to play with us, but he's now with Letterkenny Rovers, and Patrick and Matty are playing with sides in Mayo.

The18: Can you describe for us the league that the Buncrana Hearts play in, the Inishowen Football League?

R: The Inishowen league would be a junior league, but quite a good one at that. It's based right at the top of Ireland, and consists of two divisions, and two reserve divisions. The standard of football is quite good, and in recent years, there's been a lot of young players graduating to Senior football from it - the most notable being Stephen McLaughlin, who currently plays with Nottingham Forest in the English Championship. The grounds are all quite good - with the odd exception, and the league itself is improving year-by-year.

The18: Has this all turned into 15 seconds of fame?

K: It really has!  When I came home at the weekend from Mayo, I constantly had people coming up to me and asking all sorts about how it all happened. Buncrana is the best wee town in the world where everyone knows everyone - so when something like this happens, it's quite a big deal.

R: It was the first of two internet sensations for the town that week, too - the other being the local cinema's alleged refusal to show 'Fifty Shades' of something!

The18: Kieran, how have your teammates and coaches reacted?

K: With loads of stick of course. In our dressing room, we are constantly trying to take the mick out of each other about anything at all, so plenty of Exeter digs were given out this weekend. 

The18: If you could have chosen any media outlet to report your prank, which would it be?

R: It had to Sky Sports. They're the biggest outlet in the world for reporting football! In Ireland, we managed to be mentioned on all the big Radio Stations, and even on TV last week, so I think nationally, we did pretty well. The Sky Sports link just put us global!

The18: What was your reaction when you saw Sky Sports actually reported Kieran’s “transfer?”

K: That I had completed life!

R: That we had won Deadline Day!

The18: We can say without sarcasm that we are jealous. If you could say something to Sky Sports now, what would it be?

K: I'm sorry Jim. And please tell Charlotte Jackson I love her!

The18: In the spirit of fun, Kieran, which top flight club would you transfer to if you could?

K: Without a doubt, Arsenal. McDaid and Sanchez either side of Giroud. But honestly, I'm holding out for Exeter now.

The18: Arsenal, eh? So who would be your dream WAG?

K: Kaley Cuoco - perfection.

The18: For the two of you: if you could meet any footballer, who would it be and why?

K: Dennis Bergkamp - I loved that man with all my heart.

R: Cristiano Ronaldo - the world's best.

The18: We’re not completely sure, but we think you may have stolen that answer out of the dictionary. Putting our suspicions aside, care to tell us what your next prank will be?

R: Something a bit off-the-cuff. With the Deadline Day, you sort of have to wait until it comes around. Ideally, something similar but I'm sure people are on to us now. I'd love to do something to try and get one of my mates involved in a managerial appointment with a club - that would be unreal.

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