Voice of BBC Radio Foyle Sport retires

Sporting legend Richie Kelly pictured relaxing at his Kingsfort Park home after his retirement from BBC Radio Foyle.
Sporting legend Richie Kelly pictured relaxing at his Kingsfort Park home after his retirement from BBC Radio Foyle.

The voice of sport Richie Kelly, hung up his microphone this week after 30 years working for Radio Foyle.

A host of sporting legends from football, cricket, athletics and GAA all wished the Killea native a happy retirement.

Although best known for his prowess in the football world - Richie not only played in the senior ranks, but also led his beloved Donegal to two National titles as Manager - he has been a true champion of other, less prominent sports, most notably cricket.

Having grown up not far from St Johnston’s Boathole he says that cricket was never far from his thoughts.

“I began doing a brief, weekly round-up on Radio Foyle and to be honest the interest has never waned at any time,” stated Kelly.

“Even when football took over I retained an interest in cricket and remember the year St Johnston won the league, watching them just edge out Brigade in a real thriller. I have met a lot of good people through the sport and am very pleased that we were able to provide the coverage that we did.”

The broadcaster/journalist remains modest about his association with the North West but those who have worked with him know not only how much he enjoyed the sport, but also how well versed he was.

Speaking on his return from the World Cup in Australia, Cricket Ireland President Joe Doherty paid his own tribute.

“I first came into contact with Ritchie Kelly in a cricketing context almost 30 years ago when I was Chairman of Strabane Cricket Club.

“Before that, of course, I was well aware of his profile in football circles. Every year since that first meeting at the 1987 Strabane v Donemana North West Cup Final at Beechgrove.

“Richie has interviewed me (and other NWCU officials) regularly for BBC Radio Foyle and I have never ceased to be impressed by his generous, comprehensive and professional coverage of our sport.

“In addition, he has been unfailing in his appreciation for our co-operation in his broadcasting work, even though he was the one doing the favour!

“I will miss the interviews (even those carried out at ungodly hours) and his measured approach to coverage of our live issues and controversies and I wish Ritchie every happiness in his well-earned retirement. Thanks for all your help and support, Richie and thanks for the memories!”

Former Northern Ireland international and Richie’s side-kick at Derry City games, Jobby Crossan also paid his little tribute to his good friend.

“Richie was totally dedicated to what his job, in fact he was the most dedicated fella I have ever met in any job,” insisted Crossan.

“He was his own man and he had his own agenda, which turned out to be perfectly right.”