Tonight will be remembered for Portugal winning the Euro 2016 final, but in Ireland the night was made poignant by the departure of John Giles from the RTÉ panel, writes Stephen Barry.
The esteem the panel is held in is proved by a viewership which often exceeds that of the match itself, and John Giles has been ever-present for 30 successful years.
Here’s RTÉ’s own tribute to Gilesy:
Eamon Dunphy and Liam Brady were among those to add personal tributes.
“As he was on the pitch and in the dug-out, so he is on the television: a real pro, a man who thinks long and hard about what he’s going to say and then says it with clarity and authority,” said Brady.
RTÉ Head of Sport Ryle Nugent, who decided that this would be Giles’ final contract with the state broadcaster, added his own words of thanks.
John Giles made a phenomenal contribution to @RTEsoccer for three decades. Along with Bill ED &LB ensured must watch TV on numerous nights.— Ryle Nugent (@ryle_nugent) July 10, 2016
His colleagues, from TV and radio, also weighed in on Twitter.
Best wishes and thanks to John Giles, the greatest pundit of all. A pleasure and privilege to work alongside. #RTEsoccer— Richie Sadlier (@RichieSadlier) July 10, 2016
Giles has shaped TV punditry in Ireland over 3 decades.
Most people don't have one career as good as either of his two.— Ger Gilroy (@gergilroy) July 10, 2016
Farewell John, we’ll miss your insights on RTÉ.
But we’ll continue to enjoy your thoughts on all your future ventures.