Today brought the very sad news that much loved broadcaster Bill O'Herlihy has died suddenly at the age of 76. He died overnight having attended the IFTA's in the Mansion House yesterday evening. The cause of death has not been disclosed.
O'Herlihy was at the forefront of the RTE's football coverage from the mid-1970s until last summer. He had previously worked as a reporter for the current affairs programme, '7 Days' and before that for Irish Examiner.
O'Herlihy anchored RTE's coverage at ten Olympics and ten World Cups. With O'Herlihy at its head, RTE's football coverage has repeatedly trounced their competitors at various World Cups.
The RTE director general Noel Curran has said:
Everybody at RTE is devastated at today's news. Bill O'Herlihy was a giant of sporting and broadcasting worlds in this country. His contribution to broadcasting was utterly unique. For decades he was at the centre of some of Ireland's greatest sporting moments. He never hid his emotions on those big occasions, from disappointment to utter joy, and for this he was greatly loved. But he was a fantastic broadcaster and interviewer, getting the best of his interview panels and provoking debate and insight, and for this he was also hugely admired. Our sincere sympathies go to Bill's wife Hillary, daughters Jill and Sally, grandchildren, family, friends and colleagues.
The wonderful summation of the national mood in advance of Ireland's opening game in Italia 90 was one of his finest hours.
Bill donned celebratory garb in the wake of Ireland's won over Romania in the second round. The phrase 'Alf has been deferred' has lodged in some memories.
While Bill was usually the interviewer, one of the most interesting interviews he took part in was on Second Captains where he spoke extensively about his life and career.
In later years, the RTE panel established themselves as a national institution and were frequently regarded as more entertaining than the games themselves.
He became more beloved through Risteard Cooper's impersonation of him on Apres Match. They have rarely shared the screen together, appearing alongside each other on the Late Late Show.
He was reasonably courteous to PJ Gallagher's squeaky voiced taxi man. More so than the irked George Hook anyway.
Defending Rod Liddle's honour is a grizzly, unpopular job but someone has got to do it...
At the end of his final World Cup last year, RTE broadcast this tribute video which received great acclaim from the public.