Retired sports commentator Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh cannot wait to see his grandchildren swinging a hurl or kicking a ball in his garden now he has received his first Covid-19 vaccine jab.
The former GAA broadcaster has not seen his 17 grandchildren since Christmas because of the Level 5 restrictions during the third wave of the pandemic.
He said that the vaccine was "perfectly easy and simple" and the atmosphere "exciting" at the Blanchardstown Primary Care Centre in west Dublin when the 90-year-old Ó Muircheartaigh joined other people aged 85 and over to receive their first doses on Thursday.
He is one of the 72,500 people in this age group who are receiving their jabs for the first time as part of the Government’s third cohort group in the vaccination prioritisation queue.
“Everyone seemed in good spirits going on and everyone when they left seemed in great humour. You could see their faces that they were dying to get home to tell people,” he said.
The sports fanatic decided to wear one of his short-sleeved golfing shirts so the jab could be easily administered.
Mr Ó Muircheartaigh laughed when he saw that his vaccine card showed that his second dose is due to be administered on April 1st – April Fool’s Day.
He is looking forward to the more than 90 per cent level of protection he was told the vaccine would give him after that second dose.
“You will be free among people and you cannot take anything from them,” he said.
But he knows he must continue to “listen to the experts” and stick to public health guidelines, likening this to how professional rugby players do not argue with the referee over contentious decisions on the pitch.
“There will be plenty of time for partying when the whole thing is over. People will be glad to have observed the rules and to have listened to the experts,” he said.
Mr Ó Muircheartaigh is looking forward to returning to Croke Park again this year, if permitted.
“That is what I miss more than anything,” he said.
Last year was the first time he missed an All-Ireland final in more than 70 years, though he admits he would take watching a live game, in person, anywhere once the pandemic is over.
"I hope that I will be in Croke Park at matches or at some other place, in Killarney, or over in Galway or up in Donegal, " he said.
“It will be great to be heading somewhere and hoping that you will see something that you won’t forget for a while.”