SOME of Ireland’s best-known sporting figures joined the throngs of people who turned out tonight to pay tribute to well-known sports journalist Pat McAuliffe.
The Blackrock resident, who will be laid to rest tomorrow, had worked mainly for RTÉ Sport but also wrote for print and on Sunday had filed a report for the Monday edition of this very paper.
Among the many to attend his removal last night were Marty Morrissey, Darragh Moloney, Larry Tompkins, and Donal Lenihan.
Mr McAuliffe died suddenly from a heart attack on Monday, causing shockwaves across the sporting world.
Since the news of his death broke, tributes have poured in from friends and colleagues, including Trevor Welch and Ken Tobin of 96FM, Paul Byrne of Virgin Media One, Ronan O’Gara, the FAI, Cork City FC, the Cork County Board and Munster Rugby.
Cork City manager John Caulfield led tributes, telling The Echo that Mr McAuliffe was passionate about Cork sport.
“He had incredible knowledge of the game and Cork City,” he said.
“He told me many stories and would bring up matches from 20, 25 years ago, games you would have forgotten about, and he’d name the team out.
“Obviously, he was steeped in other games too but from our point of view he was a great supporter of the club and a lovely fella.”
President Michael D Higgins said: “All those who love sport will have been greatly saddened by the news of the death of Pat McAuliffe.
“His love of sports, particularly soccer and Gaelic, and his encyclopedic knowledge of the games and those who played them, was evident to all, and he was highly appreciated by those who met him at Turner’s Cross, Páirc Uí Chaoimh or Musgrave Park.
“His distinctive voice and radio commentary will be fondly remembered by so many.
“Sabina and I offer our deepest sympathies to his family, his colleagues and his many friends.”
The Soccer Writers’ Association of Ireland, of which Pat was a member, issued a statement earlier this week saying describing Mr McAuliffe in glowing terms.
“A revered and respected presence throughout the country, Pat was passionate about all sports and covered his native Cork with passion and diligence,” said the association in a statement.
“A valued member of this association, he will be greatly missed. by all in the press box and beyond.”
Ireland and Munster rugby legend Ronan O’Gara described him as “a really decent man”, while Mr McAuliffe’s fellow broadcaster Trevor Welsh said: “We have lost one of the funniest, hard-working sports broadcasters that I have ever known.
“They don’t make them like Pat McAuliffe anymore.
“I am truly blessed to have known him.”
Retired Irish rugby player and Irish Examiner columnist Donal Lenihan said Mr McAuliffe will be sadly missed from sports venues across Munster.
Irish sports presenter and commentator Des Cahill said Mr McAuliffe was a hugely likeable man.
“A phone call with Pat left you fully informed on Cork GAA and his beloved Cork City,” he added.
Requiem Mass will take place tomorrow at 11am at the Holy Cross Church, Mahon with the funeral afterwards to All Saints Cemetery, Garrycloyne.