Why Micheal might be the man for Ireland

Micheál ó Muircheartaigh - foreword (sic) to the Aras?

When I was looking for someone to write the foreword for this book, there weren’t too many suitable candidates.

It’s not that I’m choosy, it’s just that both the publisher and I didn’t want a foreword for the sake of it. We wanted someone who could add something to the story.

Broadcaster- and now possible Irish presidential candidate – Micheál ó Muircheartaigh was one of few who fit the bill.

It’s not just his lifelong love of Gaelic games, or the Irish language, or Irish culture that made him a perfect choice.

It was obvious from the moment that he got on the phone to me to discuss it that, not only did he understand what our club and our games and this book meant to us, he understood our situation as Irish people abroad trying to make a go of it.

I’m never star-struck, but I’ll admit to being nervous as I waited for him to come on the line. All that melted away as the voice of a thousand Sunday afternoons greeted me and started to ask about the Stockholm Gaels and the state of football and fishing and dog racing in Scandinavia.

Micheál has travelled all over the world to act as a guest commentator for Gaelic games played from San Francisco to Shanghai. He has handed out medals and trophies and comhgairdeagaises to players on every continent.

He has listened to our stories, our troubles and our triumphs and treated us no differently to any other club at home.

Because at the heart of it, after a long, illustrious broadcasting career based on a powerful grá for the games, Micheál understood why we have to do this. Even at the age of 80, the love burns as brightly as it ever has.

I know nothing of Micheál’s politics so I cannot recommend that anyone vote for him. But what I do know is that you will travel far and wide to find a more intelligent, sensitive soul with such an instinctive understanding of the Irish people.

Loved by many and respected by most, he is the kind of non-political figure, a father of the nation, that we could all rally behind.

And just as he has described so many marches to glory in the past, he might finally feature in one of his own – up the North Circular Road, and all the way to the Phoenix Park.