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Saturday 3 December 2016

Sport and radio stars bid a sad farewell to 'legend' Johnny Lyons

Friends, family and colleagues at the funeral of 98FM sports presenter Johnny Lyons
Friends, family and colleagues at the funeral of 98FM sports presenter Johnny Lyons

He was a "legend" with "that voice," he was "rock n' roll," and he was a "beautiful man".

"The name of Johnny Lyons and the voice of Johnny Lyons, the legend that is Johnny Lyons will live on," the brother of the 98FM sports presenter told mourners at his funeral.

The well-known radio presenter was found dead at his home on Mountjoy Square last Wednesday. He was in his late 40s.

Mourners crowded through the doors of the Church of St Therese in Mount Merrion to pay their final respects to the much-loved broadcaster, who was described as "a beautiful blend of class and intellect".

Chief mourners at the Requiem Mass were his brother Maurice, godmother Eithne, sister-in-law Aileen, nephews Kenneth, Andrew, Keith and niece Heidi.

Maurice described his beloved brother as good-natured and a good listener, who always had time for other people.

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There were moments of laughter when mourners were regaled with stories of Johnny's "rock and roll" lifestyle - once partying with movie star Johnny Depp and receiving his autograph on a €20 note - only to spend the money on the taxi fare home.

Among the mourners at his funeral were businessman Denis O'Brien; CEO of Communicorp, Gervaise Slowey; Keith McCormack, CEO of 98FM and Peter McPartland, CEO of Today FM.

Former rugby International Shane Byrne; former Ireland manager Brian Kerr; comedian Mario Rosenstock; head of news at TV3, Andrew Hanlon; sports commentator Des Cahill; 98FM presenter Adrian Kennedy and journalist Eamon Carr were also among those in attendance.

Among gifts brought to the altar were an Ireland cricket jersey, a Dutch jersey and an AC/DC album.

Concelebrant Fr Tom Nash, of Johnny Lyons' old school, Blackrock College, said there was "no way to replace a person of his calibre".

His brother Maurice, told mourners that he had lost "a fantastic brother, a fantastic character. We have all lost what I would describe as a legend".

"But, and I would have no doubt about this, the name of Johnny Lyons and the voice of Johnny Lyons, the legend that is Johnny Lyons will live on," he added, saying he would always be remembered for "that voice".

Mourners were told that Johnny Lyons would wear a Dutch soccer jersey to a Republic of Ireland press conference - and then go ahead and ask the "hard questions".

"His religion, apart from rock and roll and football, was his inherent goodness - respect and trust," said John Duggan, head of sport at Today FM.

There was a standing ovation as he finished: "Johnny, you were a great friend - we love you, we will never forget you, you succeeded at life, you did it: you won."

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