Mary Sheerin continues her series marking the 90th anniversary of Ireland’s broadcasting service…
“And now it’s over to Micheál O Hehir…”
It is no exaggeration to say that I was born listening to the voice of the legendary Michael O’Hehir. My father, a county hurler himself for Westmeath, never missed a match.
As a small child, I knew by the expressions on his face and the sounds he made, whether it was a good match or a bad match. Michael O’Hehir brought it alive for him…
I particularly remember the roar of the crowd as O’Hehir shouted ‘IT’S A GOAL’. And my father would thump the arm of the chair or maybe leap up in the air – all depending on which side had got the goal.
A Dubliner, O’Hehir was raised in Glasnevin and went to O’Connell’s School. I remember him telling Gay Byrne on the Late Late Show how, even as a small boy, his hobby was to build radios! But his passion was sport.
While still at school O’Hehir requested an audition to do sports commentary and the then Director of Radio Eireann, Dr Kiernan, was so impressed with the young O’Hehir that within two months Michael made his first broadcast.
It was the All Ireland football semi-final between Monaghan and Galway in August, 1938. The following year, he covered his first hurling final. From then on until 1985, O’Hehir covered virtually all major GAA games. He became Head of Sports for RTE.