Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh - A National Treasure
To be fair to the English, one of the things they are good at, is celebrating those who have made a notable contribution to their culture.
If we had one of those honours lists in Ireland, then Kerry's Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh would surely be already on it.
The Kingdom are renowned for their storytellers and another shoe in for such an honours system would be John B Keane.
I found myself in the company of Mícheál at the induction of Armaghs Joe Kernan and Limericks Leo Enright into the GAA's Hall of Fame at the Croke Park museum.
Legends taking their place in the GAA Hall of Fame.— Sportsfile (@sportsfile) August 28, 2018
Limerick's Leonard Enright and Armagh's Joe Kernan after being announced as the 2018 inductees into the GAA Museum Hall of Fame.https://t.co/myai25jWyP
📸 @SebaJFDaly pic.twitter.com/c7bNC0M7pw
These ceremonies tend to be low key apart from friends, families and neighbours of the inductees, but this is not to in anyway take away from their importance to gaels who will be remembered forever whenever visitors pay a trip to the Hall of Fame section at GAA HQ.
Great to see Joe and Leonard inducted this year and it meant a lot to both to be officially conferred with legendary status.
Although whether or not this will enable either to skip domestic duties now around the house remains to be seen.
After the ceremony I walked from the Museum round to the Hogan Stand for a lunch with the golden voiced Kerry native who enlivened GAA radio coverage for decades until his retirement 8 years ago.
Still fresh as a daisy and sharp as a tack, Mícheál had an interesting yarn about every facet of GAA HQ.
'Paul' he said as we walked past the Michael Cusack statue in front of the stand bearing the name of one of the GAA's forefathers, 'Do you know the name Cusack placed on the famous blackthorn stick he carried around?
Thinking for a minute as I tried to give the impression I might know the answer, I had to bow to the superior knowledge of 'The Master'.
'Haven't a clue lad' said I, aware I was about to find out.
The 'Bás Gan Sagart' said himself.
It was the type of stick used in faction fighting back in the day and gaelgoirs will be aware that it translates as 'Death without a Priest', indicating the likely fate of anyone who got a good rap of it.
Good nickname for a hurley too!
Still attending matches every weekend, Mícheál is lauded everywhere he goes.
When I told him I was from Annacarty and that one of our famous exports was Tipp 89 and 91 All Ireland winner Pat Fox, the cute Kerryman told me that he sourced Foxes famous blue bandage that saw the West Tipp man claim the player of the year trophy in 91.
Turns out Mícheál was a golf buddy of Pat and fellow forward Nicky English and found out where Pat Spillane got his knee bandage to help the Tipp forward extend his career at the time.
Mind you, Fox gave him some great lines in his commentary career.
"Pat Fox has it on his hurl and is motoring well now...but here comes Joe Rabbitte hot on his tail...I've seen it all now, a Rabbitte chasing a Fox around Croke Park!"
"Pat Fox out to the 40 and grabs the sliothar, I bought a dog from his father last week. Fox turns and sprints for goal. The dog ran a great race last Tuesday in Limerick. Fox to the 21, fires a shot, it goes to the left and wide...and the dog lost as well."
"Sean Og O hAilpin....his father's from Fermanagh, his mother's from Fiji... neither a hurling stronghold."
"Colin Corkery on the 45 lets go with the right boot. It's over the bar. This man shouldn't be playing football. He's made an almost Lazarus-like recovery from a heart condition. Lazarus was a great man but he couldn't kick points like Colin Corkery."
"1-5 to 0-8. Well, from Lapland to the Antarctic, that's level scores in any man's language."
"Anthony Lynch, the Cork corner back, will be the last person to let you down -- his people are undertakers." - "Dublin have scored two points, one from the hand and one from the land."
All classic quotes from the great man who has already been celebrated with his own documentary.
It comes as no surprise that a celebration of his career is a complete sellout.
If you see him out and about be sure and tap into his wonderful array of stories.
It's a day I will treasure.
A golden voice and a golden career. Looking forward to celebrating his life (we’ve a big show planned) on September 22nd at the Clayton Hotel (old Burlington) with special guest President Micheal D. Higgins. Event totally sold out. https://t.co/hh9gyPZI4q— Paul (@paulbyrnesmedia) August 28, 2018