Ó Muircheartaigh honoured in special show

Ó Muircheartaigh honoured in special show

Legendary GAA commentator Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh was last night honoured in a special two-and-a-half hour live programme broadcast by RTÉ Raidio na Gaeltachta in front of an invited audience of over 200 people, which included GAA officials, former players, media colleagues, family and friends.

The audience at the Galway Bay Hotel were held captive by the many stories about Ó Muircheartaigh's career, not just in the GAA world but also his major assistance to the promotion of the Irish language through his involvement with the Gaelscoileanna movement and also Bord na Gaeilge.

Several former inter-county managers and players were present for the event, including former Derry player Phil Stuart, John Joe Doherty of Donegal, John Allen of Cork and Galway's 1980 All-Ireland winning hurling captain Joe Connolly.

The programme had begun with a piece of commentary from Micheál on the 1975 National Hurling league final, a game which involved Connolly and the Tribesmen.

There was also a strong representation from the world of GAA administration with two of the Association's former Presidents, Joe McDonagh and Sean Kelly, giving their words of praise to the Kerry native, along with GAA patron, Archbishop Dr Dermot Clifford.

Former GAA Director General Liam Mulvihill said he knew Micheál for over 30 years, and had many fond memories of him on GAA trips abroad such as the All-Stars tours.

"Anywhere a GAA team goes on a tour, one of the Ó Muircheartaighs is usually around. We were on a tour to Australia once, and it happened at the time that the Americas Cup boat race was on when we were in Perth," he said.

"Micheál had said that he had done work on the race, but we didn't know exactly what we that he had done. He told us that he had done two versions of the commentary, one with the Australian boat ahead and the other one with the USA boat winning.

"When we heard the exact result of the race that night, Micheál sent the correct version back to Ireland!"

RTÉ GAA commentator Ger Canning said that Mícheál was without equal, and recalled a comment made by one spectator after a match, ‘Micheál, you're everyone's friend!'

Dignatories from the political world including Taoiseach Brian Cowen, Fine Gael Leader Enda Kenny and the leaders of the Green Party, Labour and Sinn Fein parties also paid tribute with pre-recorded audio tributes.

The Taoiseach said that he had known Ó Muircheartaigh for over 20 years, but that he had felt he had known him a lot longer than that as he had been listening to him since he was a young boy.

He added that there was little doubt that Micheál was the greatest commentator of our time, and that he was the best marketing instrument that the GAA ever had.

The programme was presented by Sean Ban Breathnach, with former Kerry All-Ireland winning captain Dara Ó Cinneide assisting.

It also included contributions from Micheál's family and RTÉ Director General Cathal Goan, former Head of RTÉ Nuacht Pádraig Ó Gaora, Padhraic Ó Ciardha, the Deputy Chief Executive of TG4, and Head of RTÉ Raidio na Gaeltachta Edel Ni Churrain.

Ó Muircheartaigh was born on August 20, 1930. His first ever match commentary was a Railway Cup clash on St. Patrick's Day in 1949.

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