Tuesday 27 September 2016

'I miss the RTE studio and would consider new roles' – Bill O'Herlihy in one of his final interviews

Published 25/05/2015 | 12:38

Bill O'Herlihy
Bill O'Herlihy

In one of his final interviews, veteran broadcaster Bill O'Herlihy admitted that he missed the RTE soccer panel and said he would be open to other media opportunities.

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The Cork native passed away peacefully at home this morning and tributes have been pouring in for the hugely popular presenter.

In a career spanning more than 40 years, O'Herlihy presented ten World Cups for RTÉ, including Brazil 2014, and ten Olympics Games. Bill also presented the first Rugby World Cup on RTÉ television as well as co-presenting the very first Sunday Game with Jim Carney in 1979.

Speaking two weeks ago on The Neil Prendeville Show on Cork's Red FM, the 76-year-old admitted that he has missed his role as the anchor on RTE's football coverage.

"I had a great time, I had a terrific experience," he told the show. "I enjoyed it immensely."

"There is a certain amount of regret I'm not in the studio.

Bill O'Herlihy during the Italia '90
Bill O'Herlihy during the Italia '90
Bill O'Herlihy
Bill O'Herlihy in the studio with grandchildren (from left) Bill O'Herlihy-Ryan (4), Jack Conlon (5) and Martha O'Herlihy-Ryan (5)
John Giles, Bill O'Herlihy and Eamon Dunphy
Bill O'Herlihy presenting RTE's Munich Olympics coverage in 1972
Bill O'Herlihy with John Giles, Eamon Dunphy and Liam Brady ahead of the FIFA 2014 World Cup Final
Bill O'Herlihy and Babs Keating at the Excellence in Sport Awards in Dublin.
Bill O’Herlihy launching the DSPCA’s free online will drafting service with Glenda, an eight-week-old Chihuahua cross in 2014
Bill O'Herlihy
Bill O'Herlihy
Bill O Herlihy and wife Hilary at the screening of "The Price of Desire" in March of this year
Bill O'Herlihy hosting his last World Cup for RTE. Photo: Damien Eagers
Bill O'Herlihy
Bill O'Herlihy and his wife Hilary
Bill O'Herlihy with RTÉ soccer pundits John Giles and Eamon Dunphy in 1998
Bill O'Herlihy
Bill O’Herlihy prepares for another broadcast in RTÉ as the veteran broadcaster calls time on his illustrious career with World Cup 2014 coverage. Photo: Ronan Lang.
Bill O’Herlihy, John Giles, Liam Brady and Eamon Dunphy in studio
Bill O'Herlihy
Bill O'Herlihy alongside RTÉ soccer pundits John Giles and Eamon Dunphy
RTE sports pundits John Giles, Liam Brady, Eamon Dunphy and Bill O'Herlihy join local soccer star Gary Kelly at the launch of the Camino 'Walk for Cancer' in aid of the Gary Kelly Cancer Support Centre in Drogheda.
Pictured at The Aviva Stadium to launch The John Giles Foundation Walk of Dreams in 2012 were;, John Giles, Bill O'Herlihy, Liam Brady and Paul McGrath.PIC CO'R...HX
RTÉ sport presenter Bill O'Herlihy alongside RTÉ soccer pundits and former Republic of Ireland internationals John Giles and Eamon Dunphy
Bill O’Herlihy
RTE's Bill O'Herlihy with his granddaughter Isla Conlan at his book launch in 2012. Photo: Collins
Bill O'Herlihy
Bill O'Herlihy

"I miss it, but I don't I don't miss it in a sense that I made a mistake or anything like that."

O'Herlihy paid tribute to the "extremely good editors" he worked with down through the years and said that the real work on the highly successful show was done behind the scenes, making his job easy.

"I never really felt any real pressure as because there was so much work done in advance and I think that showed in the response from viewers."

O'Herlihy's style of broadcasting, facilitating detailed and often heated discussion involving John Giles, Eamon Dunphy and Liam Brady, won many admirers and he revealed that he based it off two esteemed peers.

"The people I admired the most were Gaybo [Gay Byrne] and Michael Parkinson because they always listened. They had a rapport with their guests and developed discussion in a way that a lot of others didn't do.

"I said that's the line I'm going to take when I went into soccer and developed that over the years."

O'Herlihy said that while he has done "various things" on television since his retirement last summer, he hasn't been approached by any other media outlets, joking that this Cork accent may have cost him job opportunities.

"Nobody has ever come calling and I often wondered why," he told listeners.

"I have never once been approached by anybody and I said to myself that must be for two reasons. First of all that I am considered a very RTE person, and the second thing is that I have a Cork accent that wouldn't translate to any foreign station."

Poignantly, the broadcaster said that he would consider any roles in the future if they piqued his interest.

"I don't regard myself as being on the scrapheap. If someone came looking for me I'd consider it, but I've reached an advanced age and I want to relax."

Read more: 'Ah come on now Eamon, that's out of order' - A look-back on Bill O'Herlihy's greatest TV moments

Read more: Tributes pour in following death of beloved broadcaster Bill O'Herlihy

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