Ian Fortune

Mícheal Ó Muircheartaigh was more than just a voice, he was a presence, a part of the fabric of our lives as Irish people and, with his passing on Monday afternoon, we have all lost a great friend.

The man from Dingle in Co. Kerry provided the soundtrack for Gaelic Games for over sixty years, be it in English or Gaeilge, was a beloved national icon and just to hear him speak would bring back vivid memories of summer Sundays.

He was also an educator for many years but one of his greatest loves was greyhound racing.

His first ventures into the sport came in the early 1950’s when he visited Tralee track. Soon after he moved to Dublin and became a regular fixture at the dogs. He has often spoken of his delight in witnessing the legendary Spanish Battleship make his racing debut at Harold’s Cross.

It was the beginning of a love affair with our sport that ultimately saw him become a member of the Hall of Fame in 2003. 1979 was a big year as far as his involvement in greyhound racing was concerned. Taking over from Paddy O’Brien, he became the greyhound commentator for RTÉ Radio.

Over the next two three decades he would use every opportunity to spread the greyhound racing gospel, often dropping a line into a GAA commentary. He, of course, provided the commentary for the ‘Night at the Dogs’ programme which ran for a number of year’s on RTÉ Radio. Along with Michael Fortune and Pat O’Donovan, they visited almost every track in Ireland during those years giving our sport wonderful exposure.

Around this time, he owned a talented greyhound named Radio Sport but he went on to own plenty of fast ones in the subsequent years. Unique Reward, trained by Paul Hennessy, was a star around the turn of the century, winning the Consolation St Leger and reaching the semi-finals of the Scottish Derby.

Fast forward a few years and he would taste classic glory with the Dolores Ruth trained Razldazl Rioga. A sensational performer with incredible early speed, he captured the 2011 Laurels while also finishing runner-up a year later.

He would also reach the semi-finals of the English Derby before ending his racing career on a high, claiming a second classic victory in the Irish Sprint Cup at Dundalk. Mícheal enjoyed every inch of the journey with Razldazl Rioga.  

But Mícheal enjoyed every second of his time in greyhound racing. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the National Greyhound Awards and was typically modest. It provided Mícheal with the opportunity to further express his love for the dogs as he regaled stories of years gone by.

While Mícheal was a true celebrity, he was also a man of the people. There were no heirs and graces about the genial Kerry man. He would share a word with any man, woman or child. His warmth and obvious interest in their story shone through. He was simply one in the million.

On behalf of all involved in our sport, those that listened to his wonderful brogue describe some of the greatest nights in greyhound racing and to those that ever met him, we would like to thank the great man for all he did.

We would like to send on our sincerest condolences to his wife Helena and his children Éamonn, Niamh, Aonghus, Neasa, Cormac, Nuala, Éadaoin, Doireann, his beloved grandchildren, extended family and his many, many friends. May He Rest In Peace.


Imithe ach ní dhearmadta riamh. Suaimhneas síoraí dá anam.