Video: The late Cathal O'Shannon v Muhammad Ali 10 years ago

Video: The late Cathal O'Shannon v Muhammad Ali

Legendary RTE presenter Cathal O’Shannon passed away today at the age of 83. Here he is in one of his finest hours, interviewing the great Muhammad Ali back in 1972.


Unlike plenty of the current crop in Montrose, O’Shannon was a fine broadcaster and journalist and was renowned for some producing fine documentaries, including an account of Irish troops based in the Congo and a remarkable piece on the Spanish Civil War called Even the Olives are Bleeding.

Perhaps his finest hour was his interview with The Greatest, Muhammad Ali, on his visit to Ireland to fight Al ‘Blue’ Lewis in 1972.

Ali didn’t always make for a pleasant interviewee – before the interview with O’Shannon starts he looks particularly grumpy – but O’Shannon proved to be more than a match for such a formidable opponent and helped elicit charm, candour and laughter from perhaps the most famous sportsman of all time over the course of a 20-minute chat.

Check out part one of the famous interview above and click here to see part two.


Commenting on O'Shannon's passing, RTE Director General Noel Curran said: "Cathal O'Shannon has passed away almost on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the inception of Irish television broadcasting.

"He was without question one of the foremost talents of these first 50 years, with a combination of remarkable gifts.

"He could handle local Irish stories with charm, grasp major historical themes in longer documentary form, and in all forms and on all occasions he spoke to the viewer through the camera with remarkable ease and charm.

"He was, both on camera and in person, one of the most persuasive and charming talents ever to work with and on RTÉ.


All of his present and former colleagues join in tribute to his major and singular contribution to our broadcasting. May he and his beloved Patsy rest in peace."