Much-loved sports broadcaster Colm Murray was fondly remembered yesterday, as hundreds of mourners packed into a north Dublin church to pay their respects at his funeral Mass.
The legendary RTE commentator, 61, who died last Monday following a three-year battle against motor neurone disease, was laid to rest at St. Finbarr’s cemetery in Sutton, following his funeral Mass at St. Gabriel’s church in Dollymount.
Colm’s grieving widow Ann, daughters Patricia and Kate and sister Mary were comforted by scores of familiar faces from the world of broadcasting, politics and sport.
Irish President Michael D. Higgins, former Taoisigh Liam Cosgrave and Brian Cowen and rugby legend Brian O’Driscoll were just some of the many household names who attended yesterday’s Mass.
Amid emotional scene, Colm’s daughter Kate told mourners in her eulogy how her courageous father’s illness had broken the family’s hearts.
She said the affable late broadcaster, who had a particular passion for racing, loved meeting and talking to people at any opportunity, adding: “Sometimes the journey between the car and the race track could be endless."
She described her father, who was originally from Moate, Co. Westmeath, as “kind, generous and loving” and reminded the congregation how he valued friendship and was “all about fun”.
She also recalled her father’s bravery in coming to terms with the reality of being diagnosed with the fatal neurological disorder, adding that his coming to some kind of acceptance of the debilitating disease was what helped the family cope with the inevitable.
She added: “While he had a certain talent for exasperating people at times, to Patricia and myself, he really was the best Dad in the world.”
In his homily chief celebrant Fr. Jimmy Murray described the talented and unaffected reporter as someone who “was interested in the ordinary” and who “made the ordinary interesting.”
He said that even when the disease had robbed him of his ability to speak the former commentator maintained his lovely smile and razor-sharp mind.
Colm first joined RTE in October 1978 as a continuity announcer, after which he quickly climbed the ranks to become one of the country’s best-known sports broadcasters, covering high-profile events like
The World Cup, The Cheltenham Festival, the Olympics and his much-loved Galway Races – where he was fondly recalled by race-goers this week.
More recently he took part in a poignant RTE documentary to highlight Motor Neuron Disease and assist in developing treatment for those diagnosed.
Such was the impact of the programme that Colm was honoured with a People of the Year award in
September last year in recognition of his efforts to further medical research into the debilitating disease.