PRESIDENT MICHAEL D Higgins is among those who have paid tribute to the legendary GAA broadcaster Seán Óg Ó Ceallacháin, who has passed away at the age of 89.
In his tribute, President Higgins, said today:
I have just learned with sadness of the death of Seán Óg Ó Ceallacháin. He will be remembered as one of the finest GAA broadcasters of his generation and also as a highly respected journalist and author.
As a bi-lingual broadcaster and writer he made an outstanding contribution to the use of our native language in sports commentary.
Different generations will remember his familiar voice on the Sunday night radio programme on RTE radio, during which he presented all of the days Gaelic Sports results, with such passion and clarity.
As an athlete himself, he excelled as a Gaelic footballer and hurler both at club and county level and will be remembered as one of the finest all round contributors to the GAA over many decades.
I extend my deepest sympathy to his family and friends.
Ar dheis Dhé go raibh a anam dílis.
Noel Curran, Director-General, RTÉ, also paid tribute to the late broadcaster, describing him as “a legend in sports broadcasting”.
When he signed off on his last Gaelic Sports Results programme in 2011, it was a momentous moment not only in broadcasting but in the sporting life of the nation. His passing will be acknowledged by the many thousands of listeners for whom Sean Óg’s Sunday night broadcasts were an essential part of our sporting Sundays.
Clare Duignan, MD RTÉ Radio, said:
Sean Óg first broadcast on Radio Éireann in 1935 as part of the Scoil Colmchille school choir and took over the Sunday night GAA results show from his father, Seán Ó Ceallacháin, in 1948. His voice became not only a familiar staple to the general sporting audience, but synonymous with Gaelic Games for over 60 years. His was a unique voice, with a unique place in Irish life.
Mr Ó Ceallacháin’s colleagues in RTÉ Radio sport also paid tribute.
Broadcaster Darren Frehill said that Seán Óg Ó Ceallacháin was “one of the great GAA voices”, while Adrian Eames said that his was “a voice that echoed through the ages. A lovely man and a real gentleman.”
RTÉ 2fm’s Damien O’Meara said that he had been “privileged to know and work with a legend but more so a kind and caring gentleman.”
Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams TD has expressed sympathy to the family of Ó Ceallacháin, saying his voice “was synonomous with Sunday night for generations of us who followed GAA and who waited for his results programme with bated breath in days before instant results on the internet”.
“He excelled as a sportsman, commentator, gaelgoir and writer and he will be sadly missed by all who enjoyed his many talents,” said Adams.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin also paid tribute, saying:
I remember fondly tuning into the results programme every Sunday night as a boy and listening with fascination to the names of clubs from far flung places, each representing a distinct community and tradition. This remained a Sunday night tradition right up until Seán Óg’s retirement in 2011.
“Seán Óg will always have a warm place in the hearts of generations of Irish sports fans who grew up listening to him,” concluded Martin.
Mr Ó Ceallacháin is survived by his son, two daughters and their families.