Gerry Noone, former sports editor, was larger than life, mourners told

 

Mr Gerry Noone, a former sports editor of The Irish Times, was "a larger-than-life figure" and a gentleman, mourners were told at his funeral Mass in Dublin yesterday.

Mr Noone, who retired in 1993 after 38 years with the newspaper, died on Friday after a long illness at the age of 70.

Journalists, colleagues from the world of sport, friends and neighbours heard Father Michael Murtagh pay tribute to the journalist and former soccer player at the Mass in St Brigid's Church, Killester.

The curate said he was one of those people who were "the salt of the earth" and the salt "never went flat or lost its flavour". Even though he spent a long time in hospital, "Gerry kept his zest for living right to the end," he said. He was a larger-than-life figure and a gentleman by nature.

His wife, Dolly, had lost a lifelong partner; his children, Jean, Debbie, Clifford, Barry and Greg, had lost a father; and his colleagues had lost a sports journalist and friend, the curate said. Mourners were gathered with a deep sense of loss, but "we have not lost our memories of Gerry Noone."

He referred to Mr Noone's days as a soccer player with Bohemians in the League of Ireland, and his work as a sports journalist and editor writing on football, racing, golf, boxing and other sports.

In particular the priest noted that he wrote a column when he worked in the Evening Press under the pseudonym The Whistler. Expressing his sympathies to the family, Father Murtagh said: "Now that the final whistle has interrupted his life we pray that he may be given the championship of Heaven."

Chief mourners at the funeral were Mr Noone's wife, Dolly, and his children, Jean, Debbie, Clifford, Barry and Greg and other relatives.

The board of The Irish Times Ltd. was represented by Mr Don Reid, chairman; Mr Louis O'Neill, chief executive and group managing director; Mr Derek McCullagh, production manager and Mr Pat O'Hara, managing editor. Also present were:

Mr Sean Olson, associate editor, Mr Dermot O'Shea, picture editor, Mr Valentine Lamb, managing editor of the Irish Field, Ms Margie McLoone, assistant editor of the Irish Field, and the paper's chief sub-editor, Mr Michael O'Connor, Mr Paul Barry and Mr Alan Dalton, deputy sports editors of The Irish Times, Mr Liam Ryan, sports production editor, Mr Eddie Longworth, assistant sports editor, Mr Peter Byrne, soccer correspondent, Mr Gerry Thornley, rugby correspondent, Mr Brian O'Connor, racing correspondent and reporters and sub-editors from the sports department and from the Irish Field.

Among the mourners were retired colleagues including Mr Pat Ruane, former deputy production manager of The Irish Times, Mr Paddy Downey, former GAA correspondent, Mr Christy Whelan, a retired soccer player, Mr Dave Guiney, a former Olympic shotputter and author, and Mr Con Howard, a retired diplomat. E including Mr Fred Cogley, Mr Colm Murray, and racing correspondents Mr Tony and Mr Peter O'Hehir. Mourners also included representatives of RTE sports department and of Clontarf Golf Club, of which Mr Noone was a long-time member.

After the funeral Mass, Mr Noone's remains were brought to Glasnevin Cemetery for cremation.