Tuesday marked the centenary of the birth of Michael O'Hehir (1920-96), Ireland's most celebrated sports broadcaster.

Born in Dublin, O'Hehir successfully auditioned for Radio Éireann when he was 18 and gave his first commentary on 14 August 1938, when Galway defeated Monaghan in the All-Ireland football semi-final.

His voice was to become synonymous with radio coverage of hurling and football, and his broadcasts were important to the thousands of people who gathered around radio sets in the 1940s and 1950s in Ireland and abroad.

He covered major GAA matches from 1938 until 1985, when illness prevented him from covering his 100th All-Ireland final.

O'Hehir introduced the now widely used euphemism for an-pitch row 'Schemozzle', a Yiddish word meaning mess or confused situation, and in 1947 saved the fans listening back home from missing the end of the 1947 All-Ireland football final between Cavan and Kerry in New York.

O'Hehir realised that a delay would mean the time slot booked for the radio broadcast would end before the match and pleaded "And if there's anybody along the way there listening in, just give us five minutes more".

O’Hehir became racing correspondent for the 'Irish Independent’ in 1947, and went on to work for the BBC and ABC in America.

Indeed, while employed by the BBC, he was one of the commentators for the Aintree Grand National, positioned at Bechers Brook to describe what happened at the fence immediately after Bechers in 1967.

O'Hehir was appointed Head of Sports Programmes when RTÉ established a television service in 1961. 

His skills as a commentator took him in a different direction in November 1963. A trip to New York with his wife coincided with the assassination of U.S. President John F Kennedy.

The responsibility to comment on the funeral on behalf of Telefís Éireann fell to O’Hehir and his coverage won him praise in both Ireland and the US.

He also later became manager of Leopardstown Racecourse (1972-73).

You can see more clips featuring Michael O'Hehir at RTÉ Archives