Wednesday 28 September 2016

Friends and fans pay tribute to legend 'Billo' on first anniversary

Sean O'Grady and Melanie Finn

Published 26/05/2016 | 06:58

Bill O'Herlihy
Bill O'Herlihy
Broadcaster Bill O'Herlihy of RTÉ Sport (2000)
Bill O'Herlihy in RTE studio for Euro 88

Tributes have been paid to broadcaster Bill O'Herlihy on the one-year anniversary of his death.

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Fans of the legendary RTE anchor took to social media to recall their favourite memories of the much-loved soccer commentator.

He passed away on May 25 at the age of 76, shortly after attending the Irish Film and TV Awards.

And with the Euro 2016 campaign kicking off shortly, he'll be especially missed from the revamped panel of RTE commentators.

Darragh Maloney will anchor RTE's soccer coverage, with all eyes on our first Group E game in Paris against Sweden on June 13.

Catchphrase

A Dublin pub in Phibsboro recently unveiled a special mural of O'Herlihy, complete with his famous catchphrase 'Okey-doke.'

The Back Page bar's website said the mural was designed with graffiti artist Omin ahead of Euro 2016 "for one of Irish sports all-time true heroes ... our tribute to the legend."

The Corkman has also been remembered in the official Euro anthem, The Irish Roar, which was released amid much fanfare this week.

The anchor's famous sign off "We'll leave it there, so" features at the end of the song performed by Seo Linn.

His close palm veteran TV pundit and Herald columnist John Giles said it is a fitting tribute.

"I think it is great," he told the Herald. "Bill was a legend. He was great at what he did and it is good recognition for him. It's a nice gesture.

"His passing has been a very sad loss to us all. Not just those of us that knew him personally but the fans too. He did an awful lot for sport in this country, but particularly football, so I think it's brilliant he's being honoured in this way."

Giles also had his say on Ireland's chances of getting beyond the group stages in the championship.

"It's very difficult to know," he said. "Belgium, on paper, have the best record but that's only on paper. I would be more optimistic than we were last time when we had a bad group.

"You've got to play as well you can play. If we play as well as we can, I think we've got a chance."

Meanwhile, the Irish language band Seo Linn will perform The Irish Roar for the first time when Ireland take on the Netherlands in a friendly game at the Aviva stadium tomorrow night. The song, which they were asked to write by FAI boss John Delaney, pays tribute to Ireland's victories at the various tournaments over the past 30 years.

It will help raise funds for a good cause, with part of the proceeds going towards the John Giles Foundation and also the Capuchin Day Centre, which feeds hundreds of homeless people in Dublin every day.

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