'A lot of the boys got clattered but I kept out of trouble'
His love of sport helped him become a whizz at geography and even back then, Jimmy 'The Memory Man' Magee's sharp recall came in handy. So we spoke to the legendary commentator about getting clattered and the sporting greats with whom he wished he had shared a desk.
So, kiddo, where did you go to school?
A place called Monksland, in the heart of the Cooley Peninsular in north Laois.
I really enjoyed my time in school, especially playing football during lunch break. I really have no bad memories of my school days, although I saw a lot of guys sitting beside me getting clattered.
But that was par for the course. I think I was just good at avoiding getting into trouble.
What type of pupil were you?
I tried to learn as much as I could. I wouldn't have been one of the wild boys but wouldn't have been a nerd either. I realised that if you didn't do your homework you would get battered.
So, what was your favourite subject?
I loved geography. And now it is a living thing for me as I can get to go and see the places that were only names on a map in school.
And what about your love of sport?
My interest in sport actually combined really well with geography! I would always be looking at the results in the paper for local GAA matches, going through each of the counties. So when the teacher asked what were the chief three towns in Meath or Kerry or wherever, I could rattle them off.
Ah, were you also known as the Memory Man in school?
I didn't have a nickname back then, at least not one that was ever said in my presence [laughs]. But I could remember things because I was interested in them.
If you could go back in time to the classroom and bring a famous sports star with you who would it be?
A heap of Gaelic footballers and other fellas I admired like Stanley Matthews, Joe Lewis and Joe Hogan, the golfer. But I have been very lucky and met a lot of my heroes through my work, like Carl Lewis, Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Pele and Maradona.
And, finally, why do your school days mean so much to you?
You don't realise it at the time, but your school years are such an influence on your life. And for that I am very grateful.