Ireland and British and Irish Lions great Tony O'Reilly passes away aged 88

Tony O'Reilly played 29 games for Ireland and featured in two Lions tours
Tony O'Reilly played 29 games for Ireland and featured in two Lions tours

Ireland and Lions Rugby great Tony O'Reilly has passed away at the age of 88.

O'Reilly, renowned as one of Ireland's prominent business figures and a media mogul, passed away at St. Vincent's Hospital in Dublin on Saturday.

Born in 1936, O’Reilly made his Ireland debut in 1955 and has played 29 times for his country. He was also part of the British and Irish Lions in the 1955 and 1959 tours.

His record of six test tries across two British and Irish Lions tours during the 1950s still stands as the all-time high. Additionally, he holds the record for scoring 37 tries in all matches for the Lions, a touring team comprised of the finest players from England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, selected every four years.

“In the coming days, there will be many worthy tributes made to Tony O’Reilly’s unique and extraordinary achievements in the fields of business and sport," O’Reilly’s family said in a statement.

“As well as to his extraordinary philanthropic vision which was best evidenced by the establishment of the Ireland Funds at a dark time in this island’s history.

“But, for us, he was a dearly-loved dad and a granddad.

“He lived one of the great lives and we were fortunate to spend time with him in recent weeks as that great life drew to a close.”


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