Saturday 24 March 2018

Legendary broadcaster Sean Og O Ceallachain dies aged 89

Sean Og O'Ceallachain pictured in 2003
Sean Og O'Ceallachain pictured in 2003
Sean Og O Ceallachain

PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins has led tributes to broadcaster and voice of the GAA, Sean Og O Ceallachain, who has died aged 89.

The record-breaking journalist, a former Dublin hurler, was recognised by the Guinness Book of Records for his 63-year stint reporting the full round-up of Gaelic games' results.


"As a bi-lingual broadcaster and writer he made an outstanding contribution to the use of our native language in sports commentary," President Higgins said.


"As an athlete himself, he excelled as a Gaelic footballer and hurler both at club and county level, and will be remembered as one of the finest all-round contributors to the GAA over many decades."


O Ceallachain's distinctive voice and broadcasting style was a staple for avid GAA fans tuning in late every Sunday for a run-down of nationwide results.


In an interview following his retirement O Ceallachain joked that a statue may be erected in RTE headquarters in Montrose to mark the fact that he was the only commentator from the network in the Guinness Book of Records.


He was immortalised as his results show was recognised as the longest running in the world of sports broadcasting.


Noel Curran, RTE director general, said O Ceallachain was a legend in sports journalism.


"When he signed off on his last Gaelic Sports Results programme in 2011, it was a momentous moment not only in broadcasting but in the sporting life of the nation," Mr Curran said.


"His passing will be acknowledged by the many thousands of listeners for whom Sean Og's Sunday night broadcasts were an essential part of our sporting Sundays."


O Ceallachain's career on RTE Radio 1 began when he joined his father, Sean O Ceallachain, on air in 1948. His first time on air was in 1935 as part of the Scoil Colmchille school choir.


Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said: "In many ways, this simple results programme captured the essence of the GAA - an organisation that is rooted in every community across Ireland.


"Sean Og brought Gaelic games to life over the airwaves long before all the advancements in media we now take for granted."


Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said: "The voice of Sean Og O Ceallachain saying 'Go mBeannai Dia diobh go leir' was synonymous with Sunday night for generations of us who followed GAA and who waited for his results programme with bated breath in days before instant results on the internet."


Clare Duignan, RTE Radio managing director, said: "His voice became not only a familiar staple to the general sporting audience, but synonymous with Gaelic Games for over 60 years.


"His was a unique voice, with a unique place in Irish life."


RTE broadcaster Adrian Eames said that his was "a voice that echoed through the ages. A lovely man and a real gentleman".

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