President leads tributes to GAA broadcaster Sean Og
PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins has led the many tributes to the record-breaking GAA broadcaster, journalist and author Sean Og O Ceallachain, who has passed away at the age of 89.
The veteran presenter retired in May 2011 following a broadcasting career lasting decades on the RTE airwaves and having presented one of the longest-running sports programmes in the world.
Mr Higgins said he would be remembered as one of the finest GAA broadcasters of his generation and also as a highly respected journalist and author.
"Different generations will remember his familiar voice on the Sunday night radio programme on RTE, during which he presented all of the day's Gaelic sports results with such passion and clarity," said Mr Higgins.
"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."
GAA president Liam O'Neill said Mr O Ceallachain's passing was an enormous loss to the GAA and to broadcasting and he held "a very special place in GAA hearts". Former Dublin footballer Paddy Cullen described him as an "out and out painted blue Dub" who was also a friend and a lovely man.
"When I was a kid I would listen to Sean Og giving out the results in his meticulous diction and you didn't have to add up the scores – he did all that for you," said Mr Cullen.
Clare manager and Kerry legend Mick O'Dwyer said Mr O Ceallachain represented the voice of urban Dublin and rural Ireland and was a wonderful commentator.
"On a Sunday night, every GAA man would tune in to get the results of their club games all over the country. If you wanted to know something about Gaelic games, you just contacted Sean and he'd have the answer fairly quickly," he said.
RTE director general Noel Curran said Mr O Ceallachain was "a legend in sports broadcasting".
His passing would be be acknowledged by the many thousands of listeners for whom his Sunday night broadcasts were an essential part of our sporting Sundays, he said.
Veteran GAA commentator Micheal O Muircheartaigh described Mr O Ceallachain as a legendary broadcaster who for decades brought GAA county and club results into homes all over the country.
"He played hurling and football and was an all-round sportsman and a very competitive two-handicap golfer at The Hermitage Club," he said.
"In the 50s I recall coming home from a match and we would stop for tea at some hotel along the way to listen to Sean Og's round-up of the day."
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin described him as a "true Irish legend" who would always have a warm place in the hearts of generations of Irish sports fans who grew up listening to him.
Born in Newcastle West, Co Limerick, in 1923, Mr O Ceallachain grew up in Fairview, Dublin. He was an accomplished hurler and also played football. He was associated with the Eoghan Ruadh club in Dublin and represented Dublin in the 1940s and 1950s.
He played in the 1948 All-Ireland hurling final and scored a goal in Dublin's defeat to Waterford.
But it was his remarkably long career that will probably be best remembered. His voice became familiar to generations of GAA fans for his comprehensive round-up as presenter of Radio 1's GAA results programme on Sundays.
He presented the show from 1953 until his retirement in May 2011, when he brought the curtain down on his 63-year run.
He also worked for the 'Evening Press' until its closure in 1995 and published a number of books, including 'Giants of Gaelic Football: All-Time Greats'; 'The Dubs'; 'Tall Tales and Banter'' and 'Sean Og: His Own Story'.
Mr O Ceallachain is survived by his son and two daughters.