Sport Horse Racing

Sunday 18 August 2019

Martin Breheny: 'Michael Fortune was a man of many parts who lived life to the full'

Journalist and broadcaster Michael Fortune who passed away. Photo: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
Journalist and broadcaster Michael Fortune who passed away. Photo: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Although his professional life revolved around greyhound and horse racing for more than 50 years, a GAA column is also an appropriate place to remember Michael Fortune who has died after a short illness, aged 70.

That's certainly the case for me, as over the 40 years I knew him, hurling and football played a big part in our chats, for 12 years as work colleagues in the Irish Press Group and since then as friends who enjoyed our regular get-togethers in St Jude's GAA club in Templeogue.

He had been active in the south Dublin club since its foundation in 1978, holding various positions, including PRO and captain of the golf society.

He was in hospital when his beloved Wexford won the Leinster senior and minor hurling double for the first time in 39 years a few weeks ago, successes that cheered him up immensely.

He covered Gaelic games, greyhounds and horses for many years during his 'Irish Press' days, before becoming group sports news editor in 1982.

His passion for greyhound and horse racing eventually took his career exclusively in that direction when he left the 'Irish Press' to set up a specialist agency, catering for both sports, in 1990.

He wrote on greyhounds for the Irish Independent and on horse racing for the 'Sunday World' up to the time of his illness, as well as working for the 'Racing Post' and the 'Talking Dogs' slot on the Irish Greyhound Board website.

Together with his son Ian, he was track commentator at Shelbourne Park and previously at Harold's Cross. He also covered greyhound racing on RTÉ television and radio for many years, commentating on all the major races.

Regarded as one the foremost authorities on greyhound racing in the country, he edited the 'Irish Greyhound Review' for more than 40 years.

Michael is survived by his wife Rita, son Ian, daughter Michelle, daughter-in-law Niamh, son-in-law Karl and four grandchildren.

Reposing today at the Brian McElroy funeral home, Crumlin Village (4-8pm). Funeral Mass will take place tomorrow at Church of St Jude the Apostle, Templeogue (11am). RIP.

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