BROADCASTER George Hook has decided to hand over the mantle to the next generation – but it will be a long goodbye.
A year after his wife, "the lovely Ingrid", retired from Trinity College University's School of Pharmacy after 40 years, the 72-year-old announced that he intends to follow suit – but not just yet. Hook will bow out of RTE punditry after the Rugby World Cup in 2015 and end his Newstalk Radio programme in 2016.
"The Right Hook will end at the end of September 2016 if God spares me," he wrote on his social networking page yesterday. "Plan to leave TV after Rugby World Cup 2015."
Hook has become an integral part of RTE's rugby panel, bantering alongside his pals Brent Pope and Tom McGurk since the 1990s.
His decision to call it a day in 12 months may come as a surprise to 68-year-old soccer pundit and fellow commentary stalwart Eamon Dunphy. Despite being asked by station bosses to consider retirement, Dunphy earlier told the Herald that he would not leave the RTE studio until Hook had done so.
"I am five years younger than George Hook and Johnny Giles so I'm not leaving the building until they go – and you can quote me on that," Dunphy said last week.
Cork-born Hook has just kicked off his 12th season on the air with The Right Hook on Newstalk Radio and will continue to host the drivetime slot for another two years.
The weekday show currently has 134,000 listeners according to the latest JNLR figures.
No doubt the anchor will be hoping to surpass TodayFM rival Matt Cooper in the listenership figures before hanging up his microphone.
"I always had Matt Cooper in my sights and at the beginning when Newstalk went national there was the best part of 200,000 listeners between Matt's show and mine," he said.
"That's significantly less today, so obviously my big thing is to catch him."
Hook and Ingrid have three children and six grandchildren.
In 2005, he published his autobiography Time Added On. The book followed his years in business and how he decided to pursue journalism.