‘The voice of Irish racing’ — Taoiseach leads tributes to the late Colm Murray

Murray, 61, is survived by his wife Anne and his daughters Patricia and Kate.

Murray in 1979, shortly after he first joined RTÉ (Image: RTÉ)

Updated 9.37pm

TRIBUTES ARE BEING paid this morning to sports broadcaster Colm Murray who has died following a battle with motor neurone disease. He was 61.

Murray, who was best known for his passionate love of horse racing, first joined RTÉ in 1978 and worked there until he was diagnosed with the debilitating disease in 2010.

He was “the voice of Irish racing for many years,” An Taoiseach Enda Kenny said this morning.

He lit up the coverage of many a racing meet with his passion and enthusiasm for the sport. I had the pleasure of being in Colm’s company recently and could see he was a proud Westmeath man who brought out the best in those around him with his affability and gift for storytelling.

“I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to his wife, Anne, and daughters, Patricia and Kate, and sister, Mary.

“He is also a huge loss to all in RTÉ and my thoughts are with all who had the pleasure of knowing Colm during his lifetime.”

A young Murray pictured in 1980 (Image: RTÉ)

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore echoed those sentiments, saying: “Colm was one of the most accomplished sports journalists of his generation and was, as far as most people were concerned, the voice of horse racing in Ireland.

“Colm was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2011, but he bore his illness with incredible bravery and dignity. It was a mark of his professionalism and courage that he continued to work for as long as he did after his diagnosis, and it was this courage that inspired so many people.

“His death will have a particular poignancy this week, coinciding as it does with the Galway Races, a festival with which he was so closely identified for so many years.”

Ryle Nugent, RTÉ’s Group Head of Sport, paid tribute to the warm, fun personality of his committed colleague.

“It’s a sad sad day for all of us that knew and worked with Colm.

He had an infectious laugh, a real sense of fun and a little mischief that has been, and will always be, missed in this office. His commitment and love for his work was there for all to see and he will be long remembered for his kindness, decency and caring of those with whom he came into contact.

“Our thoughts are with his wife Ann and all his family.”

RTÉ Director General Noel Curran added: “He will rightly be remembered by the horse racing community for his enthusiasm and authority. For all who worked with him in RTÉ he will be remembered as a wonderful colleague and friend. Our thoughts and prayers are very much with Colm’s family today.”

Murray in 2009, the year before his diagnosis with Motor Neurone Disease (Image: RTÉ)

Murray’s RTÉ colleagues have also been paying their own tributes on Twitter this morning.

Samantha Libreri described him as “the definition of a gentleman” while Des Cahill remembered “a fantastic colleague with a hearty, infectious laugh… a bundle of energy… and the worst racing tips in Ireland.”

He was “one of the greats,” Adrian Eames said, while Tony O’Donoghue described the RTÉ staff as “desolate.”

Listen to colleague Robert Hall’s tribute on Midlands 103 (click here if player does not load):

Barry Geraghty saluted Murray as “a great supporter of racing and all sports” while his fellow jockey Davy Russell said Murray was “a gentleman who adored racing.”

– Originally published 12.09

RTÉ sports broadcaster Colm Murray dies aged 61

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