The boisterous Galway racing crowd stood for a minute’s silence in tribute to legendary racing broadcaster Colm Murray.
Thousands of punters stood with jockeys and trainers in silence as a picture of the broadcaster was put on the racecourse’s big screen. He had been fighting motor neurone disease.
Galway racecourse manager John Maloney said the racing world had lost not only a great reporter but a “dear friend”.
“I speak on behalf of the Galway Race Committee when I say that we have lost a dear friend and a great reporter in Colm Murray,” he said. “My sympathies go to his wife, Anne, and his girls.
“Colm had a wonderful grá for Galway and his reports from here and from all race meetings were always to the forefront of RTÉ sport. He was a great ambassador for the sport.”
Champion trainer Dermot Weld said the race community had lost a “wonderful person” who was “larger than life”.
“He was just a wonderful, wonderful person and a wonderful character,” he said. “I have a photograph on my wall of Ansar and Colm is in it so I’ll see him every day. He was larger than life and such a kind, genuine man.”
Longtime colleague Tracy Piggott described Colm Murray as a “one off” with an infectious enthusiasm for the sport.
“He had this amazing enthusiasm for racing and of course that amazing voice,” she said. “He just lit up when he talked about racing.”
Mr Murray’s RTÉ colleague Joe Stack said he’d “lost a colleague but more importantly a great friend”.
“It’s an extremely sad day that we’ve all known was coming for a long time, so in a way, it’s a relief that he’s not suffering any more,” he said. “It’s such a terrible illness because it destroys the body but leaves the mind intact, but he handled himself with such dignity.”
Mr Stack also spoke of Murray’s popularity. “He once asked me to go for a drink at a nearby bar, but it took us 20 minutes to get there because he kept seeing people he knew or who knew him. I actually said to him ‘you go on because they’ll be closing up the bar soon’.
“And even if he didn’t know you, he’d do his best to figure out how he knew you and your people… He’ll be sadly missed by all that knew him, and even those who didn’t know him but felt they did.”
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