Commentator Jimmy Magee dies - Now we have the memories

OF all the tributes paid to the sports broadcaster, Jimmy Magee, the most poignant and most memorable came from former president, Mary McAleese.

Commentator Jimmy Magee dies - Now we have the memories

She recalled her time as Uachtaráin na hÉireann and of seeking the assistance of Magee, when she and her husband planned to host a series of events and receptions for Ireland’s sporting heroes.

He was, as she put it, the go to person in sport, as he knew everybody and they knew and revered him. “Jimmy was a man that had a sparkle about him,” she said, remembering one particular occasion when a group of sportsmen and women were honoured at the Áras. “I was standing there, thinking, ‘I am President, but Jimmy Magee is King’.”

Indeed, he was. Like Micheál O’Hehir before him, and Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh to the present day, Jimmy exuded a charm that endeared him to millions of sports fans in Ireland.

Unlike those mostly GAA contemporaries, Magee was unique in having a knowledge and passion for all codes of sport, starting his career with RTÉ in 1956, as a hockey correspondent, and going on to become known fondly as “The Memory Man” who could recall instantly the successes and failures of major sports figures, spanning six decades.

He commentated on 12 World Cups and is remembered for his role in RTÉ’s Olympic coverage, particularly boxing, covering every Games between 1968 and 2016. The king of sports broadcasters is dead, but his memory lives on.

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