herald

Sunday 4 December 2016

Bill gave me start as a pundit, says Niall as 'Mr Football' remembered

TRIBUTES

RTE's soccer panel got together one final sorrowful time to say a farewell to the legendary Bill O'Herlihy.

Eamon Dunphy, John Giles and Liam Brady were amongst mourners at the funeral of the iconic broadcaster who passed away in his sleep last Monday at the age of 67.

Mr Brady helped carry Bill's coffin into the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour in Dublin's Foxrock.

President Michael D Higgins was present while the Taoiseach was represented by his Aide de Camp, Kieran Carey.

Arts Minister Heather Humphries was in attendance as was Bill's Après Match Alter Ego, Risteard Cooper.

Also there were a host of RTE top executives and sports presenters, including Ryle Nugent, Peter Collins, Marty Morrissey and Hugh Cahill; former Fianna Fail minister Mary Hanafin; Film producer Lelia Doolan and broadcaster Miriam O'Callaghan who came with her mother Clara.

Hillary O'Herlihy and daughters Sally and Jill accompanied the remains on the emotional journey from the family home to the church.

respects

Former Miss Ireland Olivia Treacy and Newstalk presenter George Hook were also at the funeral.

Yesterday, other famous faces paid their respects to the deceased at Fanagan's Funeral Home in Dundrum, Dublin.

Broadcaster Pat Kenny revealed he had been in talks with Bill in the hope that he would come in as a panellist for his Newstalk radio show.

The sports anchor had poignantly asked for "a chance to have a rest" after his retirement before he took on a new challenge.

"But it was never to be," Mr Kenny reflected. "He had a brilliant career."

Kenny noted that he had never heard anyone say a bad word about the RTE sports presenter.

"In a business that is very cynical, there was no cynicism about Bill," he said.

Mr Kenny was one of many well-known personalities who turned up yesterday ahead of today's funeral. Former footballer Niall Quinn and TD Michael Lowry also paid tribute along with Gay Byrne and Olympic gold medallist Eamon Coghlan.

Mr O'Herlihy is survived by his wife Hillary, daughters Jill and Sally and five grandchildren.

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