Micheal will miss magic but still go to the matches
THE first day of the rest of his life.
Legendary GAA commentator Micheal O Muircheartaigh hung up his microphone after Saturday's second International Rules test in Croke Park, marking the end of his extraordinary broadcasting era.
Yesterday was the first day of his retirement -- but he doesn't forecast many changes.
"I have been attending hurling, football and sporting events since I was a boy, and I will continue to do so now, so there will be no major changes there," he said from his home in Co Kildare last night.
"I suppose it will be nice to be able to attend a game without having to take lots of notes," he added. "I will be able to just relax and enjoy it more."
The octogenarian said what he will miss most is meeting and talking to the players and managers before a big match and all the "magical anticipation" that it brings.
"Sometimes, particularly ahead of very important game, you get a real sense of the tension, or what is now described as atmosphere, as you meet and talk to the players and manager, which obviously really helps build up the excitement. I have always enjoyed that element and I will miss it," he said.
Picking up the microphone for RTE for the first time in 1949, O Muircheartaigh went on to become inextricably linked with the GAA.
Among the highlights of his career was this year's All-Ireland hurling final, when Kilkenny aimed for immortality by attempting to win an unrivalled, fifth All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship in succession.
Kerry's five-in-a-row bid against Offaly in 1982 also stands out in his mind as one of the greats. "The anticipation around those two five-in-a-row bids was intense," he said.
"This year's final was one of the best I have ever experienced -- the tension, the team work and the anticipation was absolutely amazing. Some of the best hurling I have ever seen.
"It was the same with Kerry in 1982. Seamus Darby's dramatic late strike is one of the most famous goals of all time. Those two games definitely stand out in my mind," he said.
For now, he intends to just keep busy with his involvement in several organisations, such as the Irish Hospice Foundation, and by spending more time with his family and eight grandchildren.