Legendary Gaelic Games commentator Micheal O Muircheartaigh is to hang up his microphone after 62 years on air.
Announcing his retirement today, the broadcaster said Sunday’s All-Ireland football final between Cork and Down will be his last.
The 80-year-old Kerry native, regarded as a GAA institution and the defining voice of a generation, first took to the airwaves to commentate on the Railway Cup final as Gaeilge in 1949.
“After much consideration, I’ve decided that some 62 seasons after my first transmission, this Sunday’s All-Ireland Final is to be my last,” O Muircheartaigh told RTE Radio.
“I have always regarded my long association with RTE, broadcasting Gaelic Games, as a massive privilege; it brought the national broadcaster and the GAA together from the time that 2RN went on the air in 1926.
“It enabled me to meet and get to know generations of great sportsmen and women and many of those associated with them.
“It was an honour for me to be at the source of this wonderful entertainment, to be part of a continuous and successful venture.”
Christy Cooney, GAA president, said: “Micheal O Muircheartaigh has made a huge contribution to the promotion of Gaelic Games through his unique commentary style, and it is no exaggeration to say that he has been the definitive voice of the GAA in homes and clubs across the country for over six decades.
“His gra for an Ghaeilge often shines through in his commentary and his attention to detail, recall and natural passion for our games has helped portray the very essence of what makes football and hurling so appealing to legions of supporters, not only in every corner of Ireland but all the way around the globe.”
Sunday‘s match will be his last final but O Muircheartaigh plans to be in the commentary box for the International Rules Series between Ireland and Australia in October, and will continue to contribute to RTE Radio on a regular basis.
Cathal Goan, RTE director-general, added: “In the sixty-something years that have followed, Micheal has become one of the most deeply resonant voices of the GAA on RTE.
“To say he is unique would be to understate the professionalism and the depth of the man.
“Equally, it doesn’t capture the colour of his work, the lyricism and richness of his delivery, or the deep, powerful connection he has made both with listeners and players.
“Let the numbers speak for themselves: this Sunday we will hear Micheal’s final commentary for the 114th All-Ireland Senior Football Final, his 25th final in the year of his 80th birthday.”