Séamas Mac Géidigh: Broadcaster with infectious passion for sport

Obituary: ‘Tá an fheadóg dheireanach séidte, ach a leithéid de chluiche’

Séamas Mac Géidigh, who has died suddenly while out walking near his home outside Gortahork, Co Donegal, was a professional broadcaster to his fingertips, noted for accuracy, clarity and balance.

He had an infectious passion for sport. Two days before his untimely death, he commentated for Raidió na Gaeltachta on his beloved Donegal defeating Monaghan in the Ulster Senior Championship semi-final. A couple of weeks beforehand, he had been in France, commentating on the Republic of Ireland's Euro championship campaign.

He was as skilled in current affairs. On the morning of the day he died, he had presented Raidió na Gaeltachta's current affairs magazine Barrscéalta.

Farming family

Séamas Mac Géidigh (known to his neighbours as ‘Séamas Jack’) was born near Gortahork in August 1961, the youngest of three children and second son to John Mac Géidigh, a small farmer and county council worker, and his wife Mary (née McGonigle). He received his primary education at Scoil Náisiúnta Cnoc na Naomh, and secondary at

Pobalscoil Chloich Cheannfhaola

. After his Leaving Cert he progressed to University College, Galway (now NUI Galway), where he graduated in Irish and Geography, followed by a higher diploma in Education.

From his youth, he was an enthusiastic soccer player. While studying in Galway, he captained the college’s soccer team in the Collingwood Cup (the soccer competition for Irish universities).

After graduation, he worked for a short time in his home area as a teacher, at both primary and secondary level. He always had a great commitment to his home community round Gortahork. He left teaching to become a community development worker with Údarás na Gaeltachta in Donegal.

In 1988, he changed career again to become a journalist with Raidió na Gaeltachta. For a while, he combined this with running a company that organised hill-walking holidays in his home area. He never took any income from this. Rather, he saw it as a way of bringing money into the area.

Memento

One older American walker expressed a desire to have some sort of memento from his holiday. Mac Géidigh got one of the Tory Island artists to make a collage for the man, and presented it to him – free of charge. The American was delighted.

In 2014, he was appointed Raidió na Gaeltachta’s regional manager for Donegal. Over the next two years, he brought his enthusiasm and meticulous approach to the job.

Tógadh Mac Géidigh le Gaeilge, agus ba rud luachmhar aige an teanga. Ceapadh ar Choiste Náisiúnta na Gaeilge ag Chumainn Lúthchleas Gael é. Bhí sé riamh sáite in achan rud a bhí ar leas phobail s'aige, é ina rúnaí ar choiste pobail Ghort an Choirce le blianta.

The words with which he signed off his commentary on the Donegal-Monaghan replay sum up his own life: “Tá an fheadóg dheireanach séidte, ach a leithéid de chluiche. (The final whistle has been blown, but what a game).”

He is survived by his wife, Dolores, daughters Éadaoin and Póilín, son Dónal, sister Ann and brother Michael.