Tuesday 21 November 2017

'I'll tell you now it's never going to be the same without Johnny Lyons' - Robbie Keane pays tribute to late 98fm presenter

'Now That's What I Call Johnny' tribute show on 98fm features contributions by Robbie Keane, Mick McCarthy, Brian Kerr, Katie and Pete Taylor and colleagues

Ireland captain Robbie Keane has paid poignant tribute to the late Johnny Lyons, sports presenter with Dublin radio station 98fm.

A special tribute show, 'Now That's What I Call Johnny' ran for three hours this morning, featuring contributions from Keane, and former Ireland managers Mick McCarthy and Brian Kerr as well as several of Johnny's colleagues.

"When things like this happen people always say it's never going to be the same, but you know what, I'll tell you now it's never going to be the same without Johnny Lyons," said Robbie.

"He had such a distinctive voice on radio and it's just going to be a big big shame not to hear his voice again.  He's gone but I'll tell you what, he'll never be forgotten."

Robbie described Johnny as a "larger than life character", and "one in a million", who "always had a smile on his face" and was "just a genuine nice fella with a great attitude".

He spoke about the respect that he and his teammates had for Johnny due to his in depth knowledge of the game and said that he thoroughly enjoyed being interviewed by him.

"When you're around him you just can't help but smile and some of the shouts he comes out with, the one liners he comes out with, he'd have you in stitches laughing and I'd struggle sometimes to even answer some of the questions he was asking."

Former Ireland manager Mick McCarthy also paid tribute to Johnny and told an anecdote about banning Johnny from using the word "obviously" in interviews.

"He started everything with 'obviously' so I did pick up on that, yes, and I think he obviously found it extremely difficult but he was good craic and he took it all in good stead. 

"He'd be fairly critical of the team if they were not playing well or a decision went wrong and I thought it was my turn to get my own back!"

McCarthy also recalled Johnny turning up to a press conference in the Dutch jersey.

"He was a big admirer of Dutch football and so am I an admirer of the way the Dutch played, especially when we beat them.  I didn't appreciate him turning up to the press conference, it was probably a little bit inappropriate, but that was him, that was Johnny Lyons."

Read more: Johnny Lyons remembered: "He was the TV-out-the-hotel-window rock star, and yet he was a gentle, forever helpful soul"

In the course of his career Brian Kerr revealed he had become quite close to Johnny and told a story about Johnny at an international press conference the day before Ireland were playing Switzerland.

"I went in to do a fairly serious day-before-the-match press conference in a fairly austere looking hall, a bit like a lecture theatre in Belfield, tiered set up, and when I went into the room I was edgy enough, and when I went in the door and was coming down the steps I noticed Johnny sitting in the chair provided for me at the top of the room and he was giving the press conference on the game rather than waiting on my opinions!"

He laughed, "He moved from there to the front row and was looking at me, throwing me an eye as if I got him out of the seat he should have been still in!".

The tribute show was presented by Johnny's colleagues Stephen Doyle, John Duggan, and Jamie Moore who, along with other colleagues including Teena Gates and Nicki Hayes, told stories about Johnny's love of partying and larger than life personality.

Read more: 'He once turned up to an interview with a ghetto blaster' - Ross O' Carroll Kelly and Ray Foley lead tributes to broadcaster Johnny Lyons

98Fm News Editor Teena broke down as she spoke about her "best friend", "He was an incredible broadcaster, an incredible human being, an amazing person to have the privilege of trying control during a working day and I never regretted for a minute being in his company and what's crushing me in the last few days was he was my best friend and I'm not sure I realised how deeply I loved the guy until I couldn't tell him anymore."

John Duggan also broke down as he asked for "fans to raise a glass for the gentle giant in the next few days".

However, the overwhelming tone of the show was one of humour and laugher as colleagues and contributors relayed funny stories about Johnny's personal and professional lives and his positive impact on their lives.

Other contributors to the show included Keith Wood, Shane Byrne, Katie and Pete Taylor, and Ireland's women's manager Sue Ronan.

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