Friday 15 December 2017

It's no to TV return... but a yes to racing for RTE's Sean

RTE broadcaster Sean O'Rourke has ruled out a return to television.

Even though his Newstalk rival Pat Kenny has insisted he is ready to make a comeback in front of the cameras, Sean (58) told the Herald he's happy to stick to the airwaves.

"I did that for ten years and it's just not on the agenda at the moment - it wouldn't bother me if it never happened again to be honest," he said.

Sean (right) was one of 19,156 punters mingling at the Galway Races yesterday.

His RTE colleague Tom McGurk was also among the revellers, enjoying his first day at the festival in more than a decade, with his daughter Alannah.

The ex-husband of Miriam O'Callaghan has been filling in for TV3 host Vincent Browne this summer on his week night slot and Tom, who is at the helm of RTE's rugby coverage, told the Herald it's a tough gig.

"Live television is about adrenaline and finding adrenaline at 11pm in a studio is not easy," he said.

While the first race did not take place until after 5pm, revellers spilled through the turnstiles as early as lunchtime to soak up the atmosphere.

It may not have been ladies day, but there was some seriously stylish outfits on display around the champagne tent.


Fashion guru Marietta Doran wore a stunning black, white and blue Karen Millen dress and was accompanied by Senator Catherine Noone.

Up-and-coming milliner Claire Kelly-Badger used the occasion to show off her designs, employing pals Audrey Slevin and Orla Comerford as models for her collection.

The bookmakers were riding high on the day, despite a slow start.

Hayley O'Connor of Ladbrokes said that the widespread appeal of Galway shows no sign of abating.

"The winning favourite in the first had punters putting fistfuls of cash on Jacksonslady and when she came out on top in the second they were moonwalking their way up to collect, but the result in the big one was a thriller for us putting us back in front," Hayley told the Herald.

Former Munster rugby player, Alan Quinlan (40) was another well-known face in attendance. The retired flanker and dad-of-one was on hand for the main event, the Topaz Mile Handicap, which boasted prize money of €115,000 and was won by Vastonea, trained by Kevin Prendergast.

Rising jockey Gary Halpin, who hails from Blanchardstown, was aboard to storm the finish line.

As well as placing a few bets, enthusiasts fondly remembered Colm Murray, on the anniversary of his death. A special tribute to the late star was inserted in the race card, noting his contribution to Irish sport.


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