Wednesday 7 December 2016

Voice of Irish summers to call it a day after 62 glorious years

Published 17/09/2010 | 05:00

AFTER 62 seasons of powerful sporting commentaries full of legendary wit and intelligence, Micheal O Muircheartaigh has announced that this Sunday's All-Ireland Football Final will be his last.

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A national institution described as "one part commentator, two parts seanachai", whose voice is synonymous with the Irish summer, Micheal said: "There is only a while in everything" and that he wants to go while he still enjoys it.

He will, however, continue to contribute to RTE Radio on a regular basis and will be in the commentary box for the international rules series with Australia in October.

Born in Dun Sion just outside Dingle, Co Kerry, in 1930, the fourth child in a family of eight, Micheal first began his broadcasting career in 1949 as a teaching student at the age of 18 when he covered the Railway Cup for RTE.

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The natural successor to the great Micheal O'Hehir, his career spanned seven decades and saw him become a household name for his original turn of phrase and off-the-cuff witticisms.

Married to Helena, the couple have eight children and live in Blanchardstown, west Dublin.

The 80-year-old powerhouse -- who climbed Mount Brandon in his native Co Kerry to mark his birthday last month -- was typically busy yesterday.

After appearing on 'Morning Ireland' to announce his retirement and doing an interview for Raidio na Gaeltachta, he went into the recording studio for an interview with Miriam O'Callaghan, accompanied by his daughter Doireen, before going on to a photocall at Jurys Croke Park in the afternoon to highlight sudden adult death syndrome.

He will also appear on 'The Late Late Show' tonight.

"I decided maybe the time to go is when you're still enjoying it. I've been at it a long time; it's been most enjoyable and a privilege to be in that position," Micheal said yesterday.

Asked by the Irish Independent how he felt about his retirement, he responded with typical quick wit: "The same as yesterday."

He said he had always regarded his long association with RTE's broadcast of Gaelic games as a "massive privilege".

He added: "It was an honour for me to be at the source of this wonderful entertainment, to be part of a continuous and successful venture."

Irish Independent

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