independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Legend Micheal takes lead to fulfil lifetime ambition

HIS 62 years of commentating on GAA matches earned him a place in the 'Guinness World Records'.

And when he announced his retirement earlier this year after a glorious career as the voice of the GAA, it seemed there was little else left that the 80-year-old would want to achieve.

But now legendary commentator Micheal O Muircheartaigh has revealed his ambitious New Year's resolution -- to win Ireland's top greyhound race. The broadcaster has told how his passion for gaelic games is matched by his passion for racing dogs.

And he says his greatest ambition is for one of his hounds to romp home in first place in the Irish Greyhound Derby.

"I've been involved in greyhound racing for almost 60 years and I love the sport," he said. "But my focus since retiring has been on winning the greyhound derby.

"Like every GAA player wants to lift the All-Ireland, I feel the same way about wanting to lift the top prize in greyhound racing.

"I've won a lot of races over the years, but never a major."

Greyhound racing isn't the only sport outside GAA that O Muircheartaigh enjoys.

The committed gaeilgeoir is also interested in that most English of sports, cricket.

"I've been keeping an eye on the Ashes and, of course, cricket was very widespread here when the GAA was founded and it still is hugely popular, particularly in north county Dublin."

The grandfather of eight says his identity is equally wrapped up with his native tongue.

"It's my favourite language and I love speaking it. Most days complete strangers come up to me and start speaking Irish, because they associate me with it. And more often than not, they are a lot more fluent than they think they are."

But even though he insists he loves every sport, he says nothing compares to the thrill of his greatest love -- hurling, which he wishes the rest of the world could get the chance to see.

"It's the greatest field game in the world and nothing compares to it. I would love to see it as an exhibition sport at the Olympic Games because it would be nice if people outside Ireland could get to see what it's about."

He does not regret hanging up his microphone at the end of the 2010 season.

"Not one bit. I did 62 seasons and I enjoyed every second of it. I was very lucky to do what I did -- and I always had the best seat in the house."

Irish Independent

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