Belfast Telegraph

Oliver McCann, voice of Northern Ireland point-to-point circuit

By Ron McKnight

Oliver McCann - the voice that was once synonymous with commentaries on the Northern point-to-point horse racing circuit - passed away on Monday.

For decades Oliver told the fortunes and misfortunes of runners in point-to-points including one of his own, which fell at the final fence when about to win.

He was a committee member of the Tynan and Armagh Hunt, who stage the annual Armagh point-to-point at Farmacaffley, and was involved in GAA.

In past years the Loughgall native contributed the form comments on the horses running while operating a very successful compost business, supplying the local mushroom growers and never letting them down during a bad harvest.

He was a keen student of form and rarely concluded the race meeting losing money. He would quip "I just lent to the bookmakers" on a bad day.

A chat with Oliver would always brighten a day.

The local voice of racing owned several horses over the years, including the high class Direct Access, which competed over the Aintree fences, and had many friends in the British training ranks for whom he would spot possible future talent.

He was a friend of Nicky Richards - son of Ginger McCain - triple Aintree Grand National winning trainer of Red Rum with whom he had horses in training along with other North of England handlers.

Oliver was also a friend of the late Claudy-based trainer Syl Kirk and had horses with him until his passing. Sylvester Kirk Junior is now one of the top British-based trainers on the flat.

Oliver was a great family man and after the horses his greatest delight was the success achieved by his sons and daughters and he readily related the family stories.

He was a friend for many decades and will be sorely missed by all his racing pals and the larger point-to-point community.

Condolences are offered to the family circle and his wife Teresa.

His funeral at St Patrick's Church, Stonebridge, yesterday was attended by friends, customers, the racing fraternity and officials of the Irish Turf Club.

Belfast Telegraph

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