‘The big attraction for me always was going to matches. The broadcasting was only incidental!’

Still going to matches, still as enthusiastic as ever, Micheal O’Muircheartaigh talked Roscommon football during a recent visit here…

He is one of the gems of Irish society.

  Having spent over 50 years broadcasting Gaelic Games on national radio, Micheal O’Muircheartaigh may have retired, but he’s still going strong.

  In fact for a man well into his 80’s, he would surely pass for 60 – or certainly not much more.

  Micheal recently launched the Age Friendly Strategy in Roscommon town and I went along to chat to the great Dingle man about his fantastic career and to glean some of his views on Roscommon and their great players over the years.

  Micheal was looking ahead to 2016 and the championships when I met him in The Abbey Hotel.

  “I’m looking forward to the championship in 2016 already. I can’t wait for it to get going again. You can’t beat it” he said with that infectious enthusiasm of his.

  Micheal has memories from every county in the country and not surprisingly he has great recollections of Roscommon over the years.

  “I was here in this hotel in 1994 which was the 50th anniversary of the final in 1944 when Roscommon beat Kerry. It was a great night and there were quite a few survivors of the team around that night who have almost all passed away since. “Jimmy Murray said to me that night that – we won in 1943 beating Cavan and in 1944 we beat Kerry and when we came back to Roscommon town on the Monday night the whole population of County Roscommon must have been here!” He said if you were to stand on the platform that night and say that it wouldn’t happen again in another 50 years no one would have believed him – and now it’s over 70 years since.

  Micheal says that he has many fond memories of various Roscommon teams who have tried and failed to win an All-Ireland since. It shows how hard it is to win an All-Ireland. Roscommon is a great GAA county. Of course there was a great Kerry connection with that Roscommon team (of 1943/’44) as Jimmy Murray and Brendan Lynch were both married to women from Dingle!

  “But apart from that team there were some marvellous Roscommon players (over the years). Dermot Earley was as good as any player I’ve seen in any era. Tony McManus was another class players and Harry Keegan too. They were fantastic players and when Roscommon won that four in a row in Connacht they should have won an All-Ireland really. “Then they had a great team in 1990 and 1991 too. Roscommon teams have always had great spirit and they have great followers.”

  Micheal says that Roscommon must keep trying – and that the signs are good.

  “Roscommon have some great young players. To win the minor All-Ireland in 2006 and beat Kerry in the final was a marvellous achievement and I would be encouraged to see that Roscommon CBS were in the All-Ireland Colleges ‘A’ Final this year, so there is plenty of young talent in Roscommon.

  “You always have to have hope. Mayo are very strong but Roscommon can challenge them. The new management team that Roscommon have looks very good.”

  So does Micheal miss the broadcasting?

  “Not really. The big attraction for me always was going to matches and that has not changed. I go to as many matches as ever I did now. The broadcasting was only incidental! I am in great health and I am enjoying life going around the country meeting people in every county and walk of life.

  “Happy Christmas to everyone in Roscommon and may their big day come sooner rather than later!” the great man concluded.