Friday 23 February 2018

Obituary: Fred Cogley

Third generation sports journalist who joined RTE and became 'the voice of Irish rugby', writes Liam Collins

Fred Cogley: Completed 49 seasons as a commentator. Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Fred Cogley: Completed 49 seasons as a commentator. Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Liam Collins

Liam Collins

Fred (Frederick) Cogley was 'the voice of Irish rugby' in the pre-professional era when the Interprovincial series and the four-yearly internationals, including the Triple Crown, were the highlight of the rugby calendar.

But following his death last Wednesday at the age of 82, a look back at his career also reveals an impressive record as a sports journalist, covering 11 Olympic Games, 12 World Cups and 49 seasons as a rugby commentator, since his first broadcast on Radio Eireann as a schoolboy.

Sport and reporting were in his blood. His grandfather, also Fred, was a news reporter and publicist for the Republican, during the War of Independence and Civil War, ending up in The Curragh prison for his troubles. His wife, the exotic Madam Desiree 'Toto' Bannard, a theatrical Parisian, made a similar journey to the women's prison in Mountjoy Jail. Released, she later introduced Hilton Edwards and Michael MacLiammoir to Dublin's theatrical circles.

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