GAA world mourns Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh

The late great Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh at the opening of a Community Garden of Remembrance, located beside Killarney Courthouse, which features an engraved life-size replica of the 1916 Proclamation.
Picture: Valerie O’Sullivan

The voice of the GAA is now still.

The legendary Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh passed away this Tuesday morning, in his 94th year, in the Mater Hospital in Dublin, surrounded by his family.

A man whose golden voice singled him out as the greatest and most colourful commentator in the history of the game, the Kerry native brought the game to life for a whole generation of people at home and abroad through his magnificent broadcasting skills on RTÉ Radio.

Nobody could relate the story of a game better than Micheál could and his quirky phrases and magnificent one-liners have become part of GAA folklore and legend.

Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh passed away this Tuesday morning

Born on August 20th 1930, Mícheál grew up in Dun Sion near Dingle,one of eight children.

He was educated in the Presentation Convent and in the Christian Brothers School in Dingle and at Coláiste Íosagáin in Baile Bhúirne.

He was a student teacher in St Patrick’s Training College in Drumcondra when he won a competition to be an assistant commentator in RTÉ.

His first broadcast for the station, in the Irish language, was for the Railway Cup football final on St Patrick’s Day 1949.

The rest is sporting and cultural history.

Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh holds Sam aloft.
Images: Valerie O’Sullivan

He became the voice of Gaelic games with his passionate and unique account of play on the field and his vast knowledge of the history of the games.His last commentary was the 2010 All-Ireland football final.

The Kerry Person of the Year in 1997, Micheál had through his own unique style, brought the game into people’s living rooms and he consistently demonstrated the power of live radio to influence and excite audiences.

A lifelong champion of the Irish language, Michael and his wife, Helana, have eight children. He had lived in Dublin for most of his adult life but move to Meath in recent year, stressing that it was closer to Kerry.

Despite the attractions of Croke Park, Micheál always insisted that Killarney’s Fitzgerald Stadium was his favourite venue because of the views from the press bo.

“Whenever I have to go there to work, I make sure to arrive early to study that countryside from an ideal vantage point,” he once wrote.

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