Tuesday 19 March 2019

Remembering the sporting legends we lost in 2017

Jimmy Magee
Jimmy Magee
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

We lost sporting heroes and legends of broadcasting in 2017.

Tony Keady (GAA): The Galway hurling legend died three days after watching the Tribesmen beat Tipp in this year's All-Ireland hurling semi-final. The former Hurler of the Year is generally regarded as one of the game's greats.

Galway great Tony Keady. Photo: Andrew Downes

Willie Duggan (Rugby): The teak-tough back rower. He was capped 41 times by Ireland between 1975 and 1984, winning the triple crown in 1982, who also played all four tests for the Lions during their 1977 tour to New Zealand.

One of Kilkenny RFC’s most famous sons, the late Willie Duggan

Tommy Carberry (Horseracing): The Meath native became one of the sport’s leading figures — winning back-to-back Cheltenham Gold Cups on board L’Escargot (1970 and 1971), before denying Red Rum a third consecutive victory in the Aintree Grand National in 1975. He trained Bobbyjo to win the Irish Grand National in 1998 and the Aintree equivalent the following year.

A legend in racing: Tommy Carberry. Photo: Connolly Collection / Sportsfile

Dessie Glynn (Soccer): He died aged 88 in January. He won two Ireland caps - scoring on his debut against West Germany at Dalymount Park in 1951 and also appearing against Norway in Oslo four years later.

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Dessie Glynn meets President O'Kelly prior to Ireland v West Germany 1951

Brendan Reilly (GAA): The 38-year-old former Louth footballer died of a heart attack following a club game in September.

Brendan Reilly

Errol Christie (Boxing): The ex-middleweight fighter, uncle to current Republic of Ireland international Cyrus Christie, in the Guinness Book of Records as the only British boxer to win 10 amateur titles, died from cancer in June at the age of 53.

Cyrus Christie dedicated a goal to his late Uncle Errol this year

Ugo Ehiogu (Soccer): Ehiogu died in April aged 44. The former England, Aston Villa and Middlesbrough defender, working as Tottenham's Under-23s coach, had collapsed at Spurs' training centre after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Ugo Ehiogu

Joost van der Westhuizen (Rugby): South Africa's 1995 World Cup-winner died at the age of 45 in February. The former scrum-half had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2011.

Joost van der Westhuizen. Photo: Clive Mason/Getty Images

Joe Corcoran (GAA): Known as 'Jinkin Joe' for his elusive style, the forward scored 20-358 during 94 league and championship appearances for Mayo between 1958 and 1974.

Image: Ardnaree Sarsfields website

Paddy Henderson (Soccer): The former Shamrock Rovers and Drogheda United goalkeeper, who played between the sticks for the Hoops 1962 FAI Cup final success, passed away in August.


Eunan 'Busty' Blake (Soccer): A football legend in Donegal. He enjoyed spells with Derry City, Sligo Rovers, Finn Harps and Athlone Town.

Busty Blake, 3rd from left, back row, pictured with a Sligo Rovers team of the 1950s.

Alan Bonner (Motorsport): The 33-year-old died at an Isle of Man TT Races qualifying session in June. Bonner was a frequent competitor at Irish national road races and was the Irish road race Senior Support champion in 2010.


Ryan McBride (Soccer): The Derry City captain died suddenly in March aged 27. He was a huge favourite among the Candystripe faithful since his debut in 2011.

The late Derry captain Ryan McBride. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Pat Geraghty (Rugby): The former Leinster and Munster media manager was a beloved member of the staff as the southern province enjoyed success after success in the noughties.

The late Pat Geraghty. Photo: Sportsfile

Paddy Darcy (Rugby): The former international rugby referee enjoyed a fine playing career with Young Munster.


Dr Arthur Tanner (Rugby): The Old Wesley clubman acted as team doctor to Leinster from 1996 to 2014.

Brian O'Driscoll with Dr. Arthur Tanner in 2014

Donal Devine (GAA): The 40-year-old former Westmeath hurler passed away after becoming ill at training with Castlepollard in February.

Donal Devine in action for Westmeath in 2002

Dominic Earley (GAA): The Tyrone native acted as a statistician and analyst for the Cavan footballers. He died in a single vehicle car crash in June.

Dominic Earley

Frank Murphy (Athletics): The Drumcondra native won European silver in 1969 and represented Ireland at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico and again in Munich in 1972.

Frank Murphy

Johnny Roe (Horseracing): Roe was one of the most famous names in Irish flat racing in the 1960s and 70s winning the flat championship on nine occasions - 1962-63, 1966-68 and 1971-1975.

Johnny Roe

Martin Molony (Horseracing): Molony was champion jump jockey between 1946 and 1951, riding three winners of the Irish Grand National in Knight's Crest (1944), Golden View (1946) and Dominick's Bar (1950). He also steered Silver Fame to win the 1951 Cheltenham Gold Cup. On the flat, he also won three Classics on Desert Drive in the 1947 Irish Oaks, Princess Trudy in the Irish 1,000 Guineas in 1950 and Signal Box in the Irish 2,000 Guineas in 1951.

Martin Molony

Liam Chandler (Basketball): The Cork youngster represented his country at the under-18 European Championships in Estonia shortly before his passing.

Liam Chandler in action for Ireland

Noel O'Brien (Horseracing): Noel was instrumental in setting up the Anglo-Irish Classifications, which allocates handicap marks to British runners in Ireland and vice versa. He held the role of senior national hunt handicapper since 1995.

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Senior National Hunt handicapper Noel O’Brien

Joanna Duignan (Athletics): The 20-year-old Leitrim native won a number of underage Irish titles including the Athletics Ireland U18 400m outdoors.

Joanna Duignan Photo: SportsFile

Terence 'Terry' Murray (Soccer): Terry was capped once for the Republic of Ireland at senior level, away to Belgium in May 1950. He also played six times for the League of Ireland select team from the period 1948 to 1951 against Football League (twice), Irish League (twice), Scottish League and West German League teams.

Terence Murray

Paul McCarthy (Soccer): The former Republic of Ireland under-21 player died suddenly aged 45 back in February. He captained non-league side Ebbsfleet to FA Trophy success in 2008.

Paul McCarthy

David Nicholls (Horseracing): Affectionately known as 'Dandy', Nicholls was renowned as a trainer of top class sprinters. He won the Nunthorpe Stakes, July Cup, Prix de l'Abbaye and Haydock Sprint Cup, as well as all the major sprint handicaps such as the Ayr Gold Cup, in an illustrious career.

The late David Nicholls

Donie Shine (GAA): The former Roscommon manager passed away in April. He also managed the legendary Clann na nGael team of the 1980s that dominated the county and provincial championships, reaching four successive All-Ireland finals.


Willie John Daly (GAA): The last-surviving member of the Cork side that won three consecutive All-Ireland senior hurling titles between 1952-54. As a manager, he steered Cork to a National League title in 1974.


Izzy Dezu (Soccer): The talented striker died while playing for Shelbourne FC in a Dublin and District Schoolboys League football match this month.

Izzy Dezu.jpg
Izzy Dezu

Jimmy Magee (Broadcaster): The beloved journalist commentator nicknamed 'The Memory Man' passed away aged 82 in September. He commentated on a wide range of sports for RTÉ, including every Olympic Games from 1972 until 2012.

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Jimmy Magee. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Fred Cogley (Broadcaster): He was known as the 'Voice of Rugby'. Outside of the oval ball game, Cogley covered 11 FIFA World Cups and 12 Olympiads. He started as a radio commentator at the age of 16 in 1950. 

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Fred Cogley Picture: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE

Brian Fletcher: Fletcher, who won the Grand National three times including twice on Red Rum in 1973 and 1974, died at the age of 69 in January.

The late ‘Ginger’ McCain leads in the legendary Red Rum and jockey Brian Fletcher after his 1974 Grand National triumph at Aintree. Photo credit: PA Wire

Tommy Gemmell: One of the 'Lisbon Lions', Gemmell scored in Celtic's famous 1967 European Cup final victory over Inter Milan in the Portuguese capital, and also netted in the 1970 final when they lost to Feyenoord. The former Scotland full-back died in March aged 73.

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Tommy Gemmell

Nicky Hayden: America's 2006 MotoGP champion died in May after being injured in a cycling accident. He was 35.

Nicky Hayden

Jake LaMotta: The American former world middleweight champion, famously portrayed by Robert De Niro in the 1980 film 'Raging Bull', died in at the age of 95 in September.

Jake LaMotta was nicknamed “The Raging Bull” for his toughness in the ring CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES

Denis Mahony (GAA): He captained the Dublin footballers in the 1955 All-Ireland final and was heavily involved in the Dublin County Board after his retirement from playing.


Pat Shovelin (GAA): Shovelin was part of the back-room team under Jim McGuinness when the county marched all the way to Sam Maguire in 2012 and was a coach with Declan Bonner’s U21 side in 2017.

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The late Pat Shovelin. Photo: Sportsfile

Neville Furlong (Rugby): The Garryowen clubman is a member of the small-enough club of Irish players to have scored Test tries against the All Blacks. He was capped twice by Ireland on the 1992 tour of New Zealand.

Neville Furlong heading for the try line against New Zealand in 1992. Photograph: Inpho

John Shortt (Horseracing): The Kilkenny-born jockey passed away on his 53rd birthday. One of his most notable successes came aboard the Jessica Harrington-trained Space Trucker in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle in 1996.

John Shortt

Paul Giblin (Rowing): He died aged 34 after a lengthy battle with cancer. Giblin amassed 17 Irish senior championship wins, two wins at Henley Royal Regatta and medalled at the World Under-23 Championships and the World Student Games.


Bradley Lowery (Soccer): The Sunderland fan and mascot who struck up a close friendship with striker Jermain Defoe after being diagnosed with a rare cancer died in July. He was six.

Bradley Lowery.

Ronnie Moran (Soccer): The former Liverpool captain, coach and caretaker manager died in March at the age of 83. Part of Bill Shankly's famous 'Boot Room', he served the club for a total of 49 years.

Ronnie Moran

Jana Novotna (Tennis): The Czech Republic's 1998 Wimbledon singles champion and winner of multiple doubles grand slam titles died from cancer in November at the age of 49.

Jana Novotna

Freddy Shepherd (Soccer): Shepherd, who died aged 76 in September, was a pivotal figure in Newcastle's rise during the 1990s and was Magpies chairman for 10 years from 1997.

Freddy Shepherd

John Surtees (Motorsport): The only man to win the Formula One and motorcycle grand prix titles died in March at the age of 83. The Englishman's career saw him become F1 champion in 1964 after claiming 500cc motorcycle world titles in 1956, 1958, 1959 and 1960.

John Surtees

Graham Taylor (Soccer): Taylor, best remembered for his spell as England manager from 1990-93 and successful stints with Watford and Aston Villa, died aged 72 in January.

Graham Taylor. Photo: PA

Michael Maher (GAA): Hurling alongside John Doyle and Kieran Carey in a Tipperary full-back line which earned the nickname 'Hell's Kitchen', Maher was a five-time All-Ireland winner.

Michael Maher (Far left)

Liam Devaney (GAA): The Borris-Ileigh clubman played in five different positions in his five All-Ireland victories with Tipperary.

Liam Devaney

Ann and Alan Potts (Horseracing): The famous racing owners enjoyed their greatest success in March when Sizing John won the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Ann passed away in August after a long illness and Alan passed on last month.

Ann and Alan Potts pictured in Punchestown in 2012

Jimmy 'Maxie' McCann (Soccer):  He had the distinction of being the first player to score for a League of Ireland club in European competition. That achievement came in the second leg of the Preliminary Round against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Shamrock Rovers lost that game 3-2.

Jimmy McCann

Cheick Tiote (Soccer): The former Newcastle and Ivory Coast midfielder died after collapsing during a training session with Beijing Enterprises in June. He was 30.

Cheick Tiote

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