Sunday 17 December 2017

Fellow fans pay fond tribute to Herald's George

George Byrne
George Byrne

There was a minute's applause for the late Herald journalist George Byrne last night by Shamrock Rovers fans and the team at their Tallaght stadium.

It was a fitting tribute for the music and film critic who passed away on Thursday after a short illness.

George was a lifelong supporter of Shamrock Rovers and his absence last night as his team took on Galway United was keenly felt.

The Beach Boy's 'Sloop John B' was played in the stadium and supporters also unfurled a banner that read "RIP Ringo" before kick off.

Jonathan Roche, chair of the board of directors, said that just four weeks ago, George had paid up his annual membership fee.

"Over the last few years especially, we have travelled all over Europe and George has been there from Tel Aviv to Russia, to Greece, all over Europe as well.


"He had a tight group of friends at the club and last night was a poignant night for the supporters," said Mr Roche.

"Whenever we had table quizzes in the club here, his team never lost. Never," he said.

Tributes continue to pour in for the popular journalist who will be laid to rest on Tuesday.

A saddened Aslan guitarist Billy McGuinness said that he knew George from when he was a base player in a band called Autobop. "We go way, way back," he said.

"When Aslan were first travelling to England, George used to travel with us on the boat and the train. This was before he was even a journalist," he said.

"George was a great guy. He called it as it is. That was the great thing about George. If he didn't like the music, he would let you know he didn't like the music.

"There was no pussyfooting around with him, he called it as he saw it.

"I think a lot of people respected him for that."

He said that George was very encouraging of Aslan from the early days.

He recalled the great times the band had with George over many the years.

"The fun we had. There was one time we were travelling to England and we were on the boat and were starving.

"We bought sandwiches and we were sitting there and I went to go to the toilet and I came back and my sandwich was gone.

"And there is George and the rest of the band pretending that they had eaten my sandwich.


"So I went ballistic and then George just pulled out the sandwich from behind his back and said 'there you go Billy,'" he recalled.

Niall Stokes Editor of Hot Press paid a warm tribute to George on its website saying the writer genuinely loved music and had a fantastic knowledge of the history of rock'n'roll in all its permutations

"He was a marvellously funny writer and an equally funny character, who had mastered the art of the put-down to an unprecedented level," Mr Stokes said.

George's remains will be reposing at his Dublin home on Monday from 5 to 7pm. His funeral will be held on Tuesday after 11.30am mass in St Nicholas of Myra Church Francis Street to Mount Jerome crematorium.


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