Ex-RTÉ sports broadcaster Fred Cogley dies at age 82

Between 1973 and 1997, Cogley presented television programme 'Sports Stadium'

The late Fred Cogley

The late Fred Cogley


Former RTÉ sports broadcaster Fred Cogley has died aged 82.

Best known for his commentary of rugby over 49 seasons, he also covered 11 Olympic Games and 12 World Cups.

Cogley began his broadcasting career as a 16-year-old with Raidio Éireann in 1950. Between 1973 and 1997, Cogley presented RTÉ’s flagship television sports programme Sports Stadium.

RTÉ head of sport Ryle Nugent paid tribute to his late colleague on Twitter: “Fred Cogley RIP. Was so generous with his time and encouragement. Gentleman to his toes. Sound track to a generation of TV rugby.”

Cogley described his times as a pionnering broadcaster and head of sports in RTÉ in a 2012 memoir Voices from My Past.

In an interview with The Irish Times in 2013, he recalled how RTÉ “was very poorly served in terms of technical facilities” in the 1970s, limiting its ability to cover GAA in particular.

“There was one outside broadcast unit which was state of the art for its time. But the problem was that it was so state of the art that RTÉ only used it on special occasions. Sport was too run-of-the-mill.”

He noted: “Action replay didn’t happen in those days. It was one of the great developments of the early ’80s. The only way we could do it was by getting two machines in the video editing suite – one to record and one to play out. So we had six guys to hold the tape coming off the recording machine and stand around the room so that we would lengthen the time between the recording and the play-out.

“The director in studio and the commentators had to be very careful to give a pause where there would be a changeover from one tape to another tape if we were showing a replay. If someone took their eye off the game, the whole thing went to pot.”

Cogley’s father was Mitchel Cogley, a sports journalist in the Irish Independent, and his son Niall Cogley followed him into broadcasting, becoming director of broadcasting at TV3. One of Cogley’s grandchildren is psychology student Clodagh Cogley, who survived the Berkeley balcony tragedy.