ON Monday, March 17 (RTÉ One, 7.30pm) Cláracha Gaeilge RTÉ will present a documentary portrait of the late legendary broadcaster Colm Murray, originally from Moate in Co Westmeath, that looks back over a remarkable broadcasting career spanning 35 years.
Creating television history in 1989 by becoming one of the first ever sportscasters on RTÉ news, he went on to become the authoritative voice of horse racing in Ireland.
When Colm failed to get to his beloved Cheltenham Festival in 2009 due to RTÉ cutbacks, his friends, the musical duo Foster & Allen, offered to pay his fare and called his absence a ‘national disgrace’.
In 2010, Colm was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease, a fortnight after working at that year’s Cheltenham Festival. On his diagnosis Colm said: “Of all things going, I used to pray to god please don’t let it be Motor Neurone Disease. I am bloody well sure I am not going to let this thing change me. I see no reason why I should grant it that power or authority, so to hell with it.”
A long and difficult battle ensued for Colm and his family. Fondly remembered by sports fans, Colm brought a unique and engaging style to his broadcasts, irrespective of the discipline, and his unwavering enthusiasm and passion for sport always shone through.
The programme brings a treasure of classic Colm Murray reports peppered with the colour, excitement, madness and high emotions of Italia 90’, one of his career highlights, and re-lives those unforgettable scenes from the Stadio Olimpico after Schillaci truly burst the Irish dream.
Always full of charm, personality and humour, Colm delivered his reports with a considerable dollop of linguistic gymnastics. In the documentary, he is fondly remembered by colleagues and friends, including broadcasters Seán O’Rourke, Robbie Irwin, Evanne Ní Chuilinn, Breandán O’Rúairc, and leading horse trainer and friend Willie Mullins.