Soccer pundit Eamon Dunphy has paid tribute to his former colleague and ‘great friend’ Bill O’Herlihy, who passed away this morning.
"Bill was a great broadcaster," Dunphy told RTE. "It was a great tribute to him, that RTÉ would give that job, not just soccer but the Olympics as well.
Bill O'Herlihy pictured with the RTE Panel on the day of his retirement in July 2014
"He was a great current affairs broadcaster before that. He had a range of interests and a grasp on his subject whatever it was, be it golf, swimming, boxing, soccer.”
Dunphy said O’Herlihy, with whom he worked for years, was also a very decent person.
“He was a fantastic broadcaster and a very, very nice man. He was great fun,” he said.
"Bill was a very decent guy but he also had a journalist's sharp instinct and he would often pull me up or, Liam Brady in particular. Behind it all, we were all great friends and it is rare.
"He was by far the most important person on that panel. He was the catalyst for all that was good about it.
Dunphy said the loss of the genial broadcaster would be felt around the country,
"I think he made a massive contribution to the happiness and understanding of sport and happiness people derived from the sport for all of the Olympic Games, all of the World Cups and all that he presided over.
"I'd like to offer my condolences to his wife Hilary, and Sally and Jill."
Earlier RTE panellist John Giles spoke to Newstalk about O’Herlihy.
"It's a shock,” he said “My condolences to the family. It's very sad.''
FAI CEO John Delaney also paid tribute to the broadcaster.
"We are all deeply shocked and saddened at the passing of Bill O’Herlihy,” he said in a statement.
“A true national treasure, he was a fantastic journalist and interviewer, who made a unique contribution to Irish sports journalism.”