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Obituary: Irish sport in mourning after death of RTE journalist Bill O'Herlihy

Published 26/05/2015

Passed away: Bill O’Herlihy was a broadcasting great
Passed away: Bill O’Herlihy was a broadcasting great

RTÉ broadcaster and journalist Bill O'Herlihy passed away peacefully at home yesterday morning.

Bill was the much-loved presenter of RTÉ's coverage of the Olympic Games, World Cups and European Football Championships. Last summer's World Cup final between Germany and Argentina saw Bill retire after a television career spanning five decades.

Noel Curran, Director-General of RTÉ, said: "Everyone in RTÉ is devastated at the news. Bill O'Herlihy was a giant of the sporting and broadcasting worlds.

"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 also a fantastic broadcaster and interviewer. Our sympathies go to Bill's wife Hillary, daughters Jill and Sally, grandchildren, family, friends and colleagues."

Born in Cork, Bill became a journalist at 16, writing for the Cork Examiner. His first broadcast for RTÉ was a piece commemorating the sinking of the Lusitania off the Cork coast for Newsbeat in 1965. He later worked on 7 Days. In 1973, he founded the O'Herlihy Communications Group.

As RTÉ's chief sports presenter for major events, Bill led RTÉ's coverage of several Olympic Games, Fifa World Cups, Uefa European Football Championships and European and World Track and Field Championships.

Bill presented 10 World Cups for RTÉ, including Brazil 2014, and 10 Olympics Games. Bill also presented the first Rugby World Cup on RTÉ television as well as co-presenting the very first Sunday Game with Jim Carney in 1979.

Bill won a Jacob's award for his presentation of the 1990 World Cup, and was Irish Sports Journalist of the Year 2003. In 2007 he was named the Irish Film and Television Academy's Television Personality of the Year.

Bill was working on a new show for RTÉ One at the time of his passing.

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