Thursday 21 March 2019

Farewell to voice of Irish football

GREENE by name, Green by nature. In a broadcasting career spanning four decades, during which he achieved -- and earned -- the byline of 'The voice of Irish football', two teams were indelibly linked to Philip Greene, the legendary soccer commentator who has passed away at the age of 90.

The Republic of Ireland and Shamrock Rovers, those were the teams close to the heart of the man from Broadstone on Dublin's northside, who commentated on an Ireland international for the first time way back in 1951 and then made history by giving a voice to the first live TV broadcast of an FAI Cup final in 1967.

His love of both teams was legendary.

In the days before podcasts and live streaming, it's hard to verify the tales, but it's believed that it was Greene who, in 1957, came up with the immortal line: "You could hear the silence at Nelson's Pillar."

That was after a late goal by Johnny Atyeo gave England a late, late draw against Ireland in a World Cup qualifier in Dalymount Park.


Irish football legend also recalls that Greene once said on air "now Shamrock Rovers are leading 2-2".

Though he was born in the Bohemians heartland of the northside, Greene switched allegiance as a boy from Bohs to Rovers and it brought him great personal joy to cover the successes of the Hoops, from Coad's Colts of the 1950s to the emergence of the superb four in a row side of the 1980s.

Greene retired from RTE in 1985 and on the occasion of his final broadcast from Shamrock Rovers' home of Glenmalure Park, it's believed that he was afforded an ovation by Hoops supporters.

Honoured in recent years by the Soccer Writers Association of Ireland and the Association of Sports Journalists in Ireland, Philip Greene truly was a broadcasting legend.

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