Bill O'Herlihy gave me start as a pundit, says Niall Quinn as 'Mr Football' remembered
FAMOUS faces flocked yesterday to their respects to 'Mr Football', Bill O'Herlihy.
The broadcaster (76), who died in his sleep early on Monday, was recalled as someone who had "lived life to the fullest".
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," 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.
Kenny was one of many well-known personalities who turned out at Flanagan's Funeral Home in Dundrum, Dublin, to say a final farewell to the Cork broadcaster.
Eamon Dunphy and his wife Jane pictured at Fanagan's Funeral Home, Dundrum
Former footballer Niall Quinn paid tribute to O'Herlihy who had given him his "start".
He had been a 21-year-old player just back from Ireland's efforts in the Euros in 1988 when O'Herlihy invited him to come in as a pundit.
Quinn had pointed out the Dutch striker Marco Van Basten, then a sub, as being one to watch - and Van Basten ended up scoring a hat-trick against England, a semi-final winner against West Germany and a spectacular volley to see off the Soviet Union in the final.
O'Herlihy made sure all the credit for spotting his potential went to Quinn, giving him the confidence to continue in punditry.
"He sharpened me up and gave me the confidence - and I'm still in it today," he said.
TD Michael Lowry remembered O'Herlihy's personal traits.
"Apart from his professionalism, it was his kindness and his compassion that always struck me," he said.
Others who attended were Eamon Dunphy and his wife Jane Gogan, actor Risteard Cooper, broadcaster Gay Byrne and Olympic gold medallist Eamon Coghlan.
O'Herlihy is survived by his wife Hilary, daughters Jill and Sally and five grandchildren.
His funeral will take place at 11.30am today in Foxrock.
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