Great sports commentary can be passionate, dramatic or funny and conveys the highs and lows of emotion that sport is capable of producing. The radio commentator shapes what we feel about sports events. In an exhibition entitled 'Radio Sports Commentators' RTÉ Archives provide a flavour of some radio sports coverage by reproducing great sporting moments as covered by some of RTÉ radio's best-known commentators.
Gaelic Games had Carberry, Éamonn de Barra, Michael O'Hehir, Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh, Mick Dunne, Liam Campbell and Brian Carthy. Soccer has had Phil Greene, Jimmy Magee and Gabriel Egan. Rugby fans can recall Ronnie Thornton, Louis Magee, Austin Darragh, Joe Linnane, Fred Cogley, Tom Rooney and Michael Corcoran. Boxing was covered by Eamon and Noel Andrews, Jimmy Magee and Seán Bán Breathnach. Athletics at home and abroad has been brought to us by Phil Greene, Jimmy Magee, Brendan O'Reilly and Greg Allen. Horse racing has been brought to us by Michael O'Hehir, Des Scahill and Peadar Flanagan, and there have been many more sports and many more commentators who have been charged with describing the action for RTÉ listeners.
On radio, the sports commentators become the eyes of the listener. Aside from those sounds picked up by the effects microphone, the commentator's word is final. The audience is reliant on what the commentator conveys in order to be brought to events as if they were on the terrace or seated ringside.
The accompanying image shows neighbours gathered at the house of Christy O'Riordan, O'Neill Street, Clonmel in 1933, to hear the 1933 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Final on Radio Éireann.
The photograph is reproduced here by kind permission of the family of Christy O'Riordan.