'Legendary' sportscaster Philip Greene dies aged 90
Published 16/05/2011 | 08:41
FORMER RTE sportscaster Philip Greene has died at the age of 90.
The radio football commentator and former RTE Head of Sport was one of Ireland's first sportscasters who came to prominence in the "heyday" of radio during the 1950s.
"He was a legend," fellow sports broadcaster Jimmy Magee told the Irish Independent last night.
Born in Dublin's northside, Mr Greene began his radio career in the 1940s and went on to become presenter, editor and producer of the 'Sports Stadium' programme.
His first live commentary on international soccer was the Ireland v Argentina match in 1951 at Dalymount Park.
Many recall his breathless commentary during the heartbreak match between Ireland and England in the 1957 World Cup qualifier when Ireland lost in the last seconds as John Atyeo equalised.
And then there was that famous 1,500-metre race commentary: "What a race! What a time! In Dublin tonight, history has been made!," on August 6, 1958 when Australian runner Herb Elliot broke the world record at Morton Stadium.
Philip Greene was an avid Shamrock Rovers fan.
"He was such a fan of Shamrock Rovers that his nickname was Philip Greene and White," Jimmy Magee said.
And he told Gay Byrne on 'The Late Late Show' in 1987 that a priest who was also a dedicated Rovers fan admitted to listening to one of his broadcasts with an earpiece and a transistor radio while simultaneously hearing a confession.
Although he had been confined to a wheelchair recently, he was still bright right to the end and had recently been awarded a medal in honour of his contribution to Irish sport by the Association of Sports Journalists in Ireland, Magee added.
Last night, John Delaney, CEO of the Football Association of Ireland, said Philip Greene's career "was synonymous with the spectacular growth in popularity of the game in Ireland".
"He was a committed and enthusiastic supporter of football and his love of the game enhanced his lively commentaries," he said.
The broadcaster, who retired in 1985, is survived by his wife Patricia, sons Philip and Eoin, daughters Rhona and Edeana and his sister Carmel as well as grandchildren.
Funeral services will be announced later today.