Broadcaster Marty Morrissey to be honoured by UCC for achievements

Awards will also be presented to yachtswoman Naomi James, chef Ross Lewis, psychologist Maureen Gaffney and surgery professor Calvin Coffey

Marty Morrissey: My first ever commentary was on the back of a tractor and trailer

Marty Morrissey: My first ever commentary was on the back of a tractor and trailer


Popular RTÉ sports broadcaster Marty Morrissey is to be honoured by his alma mater University College Cork this Friday with an alumni achievement award.

Graduating with an arts degree from UCC in 1980, Mr Morrissey has been a member of The Sunday Game team for 30 years and has worked on every All-Ireland hurling final on TV and radio since 2012.

Mr Morrissey will be presented with his award by UCC president Patrick G O’Shea who paid tribute to him for the passion he brings to his commentary to convey the excitement of hurling and football

“Sport is within the bones of UCC, and it is fitting that we honour Marty who, when the radio crackles or we get excited around the TV, brings to life our deep Irish love of hurling and football,” said Prof O’Shea.

The broadcaster was in a light-hearted mood as he recalled that his first introduction to sports commentating was far removed from the high-tech wizardry and glamour of RTÉ.

“My first ever commentary was on the back of a tractor and trailer - I’d love to say I had a great plan but it all happened by accident,” said Mr Morrissey who grew up in Co Clare after his family returned there from New York.

“In 1984 my Club Kilmurry-Ibrickane were playing our great rivals and neighbours Miltown Malbay in the Clare Under 21 Football Final, and the Post Office owner in Quilty, Patrick Galvin decided to get a video done of the game.

“He asked me to do the commentary, which I refused initially but eventually relented, and so I headed to Doonbeg on October 28th - it was my birthday - and did my first ever commentary on the back of a tractor and trailer.

“I started applying to RTÉ and the more they refused me, the more I wanted it and finally I got my chance some three years later when I joined in 1989, and here I am today - as I said, an accident!”

Joining Mr Morrissey on Friday will be fellow UCC alumnus Naomi James who will be honoured for her achievement in being the first woman to sail solo around the world via the treacherous Cape Horn route.

Ms James departed Devon on September 9th, 1977, on her yacht Express Crusader and completed her challenge 272 days later on June 8th, 1978.

She moved to Cork with her husband, but he died in a sailing accident ten days before their baby was born, and she found solace in a return to education, graduating with a BA in 1997 and later completing an MA in Philosophy at UCC.

“For 40 years I didn’t know why I made the decision to sail around the world single-handed. Finally, I understand that I had to prove to myself that I was alive, and that I couldn’t die,” she said.

Also being honoured with an alumni achievement award is UCC dairy science graduate Ross Lewis who is renowned for championing the best of Irish artisan food produce at his Michelin-starred restaurant, Chapter One.

“Teaching children about how to eat and how to cook is in my opinion a fundamental life skill that directly affects physical and therefore mental health,” said Mr Lewis.

And UCC is also honouring Dr Maureen Gaffney – well-known psychologist, broadcaster, writer and former Irish Times columnist – with an award. She graduated with a BA in psychology from UCC in 1968.

Dr Gaffney is the author of the bestselling books Flourishing and The Way We Live Now, and her new book, Your One Wild and Precious Life, will be published next year.

She has also worked as a clinical psychologist in the HSE, a senior lecturer in Trinity College Dublin and director of the first doctoral programme in clinical psychology in Ireland.

The final award recipient is surgeon Calvin Coffey, who recently made headlines when he and his researchers reclassified part of the human digestive system, the mesentery, as a new organ.

This research has led to updates in Gray’s Anatomy and Langmans’ Medical Embryology, and it has featured in Time Magazine, National Geographic, CNN and the Guinness Book of Records.