Much like last Friday’s ‘Late Late’ item with Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh was a missed opportunity, RTÉ never made the most of the man who should have taken over where his namesake, the late Michael O’Hehir, left off.
Ó Muircheartaigh was approached by the national broadcaster to do more televised stuff than just the minor semi and finals back in the mid-late ’80s but he felt a ‘loyalty’ to radio. That and the fact that the station’s televised live output was so sparse at the time.
You have to wonder, however, how hard Montrose management tried to convince him to use his talents to better effect on the box. (Just as you’d have to question the limited lengths Waterford went to try and entice new Limerick hurling boss Donal O’Grady a few years ago.)
While I can’t say I’ve forever been smitten by Micheál’s poetic delivery – his magic moments have always been spontaneous skips off the tongue rather than the prosaic setpieces – the garrulous Kerryman’s retirement and Ger Canning’s unchallenged continuity highlights the audible dearth of real commentating talent in this country across all sports, and Gaelic games in particular. It beggars belief that no new, distinctive voice has emerged since O’Hehir was forced to retire due to ill-health. So much for us Irish having the gift of the gab.