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Friday 22 August 2014

'I had a ball last night and for 49 years with RTE' - Bill O'Herlihy's farewell bash

Luke Byrne

Published 14/07/2014 | 15:36

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Bill O'Herlihy has signed off for the last time.
Bill O'Herlihy has signed off for the last time.

Bill O’Herlihy said although he “had a ball” at his farewell bash, he has woken up this morning with the harsh reality that “it’s over”.

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Billo hailed a farewell party thrown in his honour by RTE as a “wonderful gesture”.

The veteran broadcaster said that after the party held at RTE headquarters in Donnybrook last night, the reality of his retirement was kicking in.

“Today is the first day that has really dawned on me what I’ve done,” he said on Pat Kenny. “I could have stayed on if I had wanted to. I really have come to the end.

“It has dawned to me that 49 years of my life have gone down the tubes and today it has hit me that it is over. It’s gone.

“When it comes to September and we are playing in the Europeans, I will get a bit emotional, but I have made the right decision,” he added.

TRIBUTES

When speaking about the tributes paid to him following his final broadcast of last night’s World Cup Final between Germany and Argentina, he said: “They were so generous that they just couldn’t have been true, it really was extraordinary.”

And Billo took to Twitter to thank everyone for their support.

“Last night’s farewell party was a wonderful gesture by RTE. I had a ball last night and for 49 years with RTE,” he wrote.

John Giles said that his Montrose colleagues marked Bill’s retirement after nearly 50 years with the national broadcaster.

“We had a good night last night and I think Bill got a good send off, which he well deserved,” he said. “We’re all a bit sad that he’s gone.”

While the dad-of-two is stepping down, there is a chance he will be back on our television screens – he has said he would be “open possibly to a series of one-to-one sporting interviews.”

Bill said last night’s big match was a fitting finale as he reflected on his time chairing discussions of games during the 1990 World Cup in Italy.

“Poor old Gerry Ryan asked me after the World Cup if I was sorry I wasn’t in Italy for it, but I wouldn’t have missed Dublin for anything,” he said.

And his colleagues last night paid tribute to him.

“Bill is a fantastic broadcaster, one of the greats, he makes it look easy which, of course, it isn’t,” said Eamon Dunphy.

RTE director general Noel Curran said Bill had been one of the most outstanding broadcasters.

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