Rugby the real thing for ex-Coke boss Isdell

Neville Isdell missed Ireland’s while en route to funeral of former colleague Don Keough

Neville Isdell, the Irish-born former Coca-Cola boss, could have made it as a rugby professional in South Africa in his younger days, before he plumped for the corporate life. Now retired, he keeps busy with assorted investments such as the CHQ centre in Dublin, where he plans to open a €12 million emigration-themed tourist attraction.

Isdell missed Ireland's rugby defeat of England at the Aviva stadium last Sunday, however, as he was flying between Cape Town and Atlanta for the funeral of Don Keough, the legendary Irish-American who soldiered with him at Coke.

“The pilot was English, and I kept pestering him for updates on the match,” said Isdell. “Begrudgingly, he kept giving them to me. It cheered me up.”

It sounds like Isdell wasn’t on a commercial flight, as it would hardly do to keep knocking on the cockpit door of a jumbo jet to get the score of the rugby.


The Irish Don’s funeral service was held in Christ the King cathedral in Atlanta on Monday evening. Suaimhneas síoraí dó.