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Veteran Bill to be RTE's Olympics frontman - at 73

VETERAN RTE sports presenter Bill O'Herlihy will front RTE's coverage of the biggest sporting events until 2012 -- when he'll be 73.

O'Herlihy (71) has put pen to paper on a new three-year contract that will keep him in the sports hotseat until 2012.

The long-standing host, who successfully battled a colon cancer scare and a heart attack, will have the job of keeping Giles and Dunphy in check for this summer's World Cup, before signing off in 2012 anchoring coverage of the London Olympics.

A spokesperson for RTE said that the station was "delighted" to continue its association with the veteran presenter.

O'Herlihy has become one of the most recognisable faces on RTE since his debut appearance on our screens in 1965 in a programme commemorating the sinking of the Lusitania off the Cork coast.

The charismatic Corkman will forever be associated with some of Ireland's greatest sporting highs and lows over the last 30 years.

Since 1972, Bill has been a sports anchor on the Olympic Games, World Cups in soccer and rugby and the European Championships.

Bill was called to give evidence to the Mahon Tribunal in 2006 in relation to PR work which he did for Monarch Properties in 1991. His brief was to promote the firm's plan to build nearly 1,000 houses on 236 acres of land at Cherrywood in South Co Dublin. In his evidence, he recalled being told by the project manager that €127,000 in bribes had been paid to council members to secure approval for the project.

He won a Jacobs Award for his presentation of RTE2's coverage of the 1990 World Cup and was the winner of the 2006 personality of the year of the Irish Film and Television Awards.