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Tributes Pour In For Rugby Great

Tributes Pour In For Rugby Great

A number of tributes from public figures, rugby colleagues and former team-mates have be paid to the late, great Moss Keane, who sadly passed away at the age of 62.

CIARAN FITZGERALD (former Ireland captain):

“He was a giant in every way, he was a giant physically and a giant mentally – he was as clever as a whip, and I’d say nobody had a bigger heart. He was as kind a guy as you’d ever meet.

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“I don’t think I’ve ever, ever seen the guy in bad form. I’ve never seen him greet anybody other than with a laugh or a smile.

“He’d be respected not just by his peers but internationally as well. Everyone who got to know him loved him. It was the nature he had, his whole being, that’s why he would have touched lots and lots of people.

“He had a special bond with the crowd, because when Moss used to go on one of his runs with the ball the whole crowd would erupt.

“I remember saying at (team) meetings, whenever Moss goes on a run he was liable to go anywhere but just get after him because the crowd would really get behind you. He was a super giant in lots of ways.”

DES FITZGERALD (former Ireland team-mate):

“He was a character who was just so much larger than life. Not only a fantastic guy in rugby, but a fantastic guy as a person.

“He always had time for everybody. No matter how great or small the person was, Mossie always had time for everybody, so he will be very sadly missed.

“He was great fun to be with, a very sharp intellect too. Sometimes well hidden, but it always snuck out in the end.

“He would be very quick to put someone in their place if you were getting above your station. You always had to be careful in company, that you didn’t get to think that you were something better than you were.

“He certainly knew how to enjoy a pint, but he also took his rugby very seriously and trained extremely hard. That was something that was may have been missed in all the laughter and fun. He was a very dedicated guy.

“The man played for 11 seasons for Ireland and was never dropped – they were probably afraid to drop him anyway – that’s a hell of an achievement. It’s a very long time to be on an international team.

“He was also a great servant to his club, Lansdowne. He would play internationals on a Saturday and turn out for the club on a Sunday and give his 100% effort. He was just a fantastic guy like that.”

BRIAN COWEN (An Taoiseach):

“I am saddened to learn today of the untimely passing of Moss Keane who was one of the great gentlemen of Irish sport. He will be sadly missed by his many fans and admirers across the sporting world.

“Moss Keane was one of the finest rugby players Ireland has ever produced. He was among rugby’s best knows characters and a legend of the game at home and abroad, representing Munster, Ireland and the British & Irish Lions with great distinction. He was also an accomplished Gaelic footballer in his younger days.

“Moss will, of course, always be associated with the heroic Munster side of 1978 that defeated the All Blacks in Thomond Park.

“Moss’ loss will be felt most deeply by those who knew him best. I want to extend my deepest sympathies to his family, his wife Anne, daughters Sarah and Anne Marie and granddaughter Ellie, and his friends.”

OLLIE CAMPBELL (former Ireland team-mate):

“Moss enriched every one’s life that he came into contact with these past 62 years. Rugby people don’t just have the Moss Keane story, they have Moss Keane stories.

“There are many and they are all humorous. He just had a way about him – he was a one off. Certainly, he was one of the most-loved Irish internationals.

“Never dropped in 11 seasons, Moss used to say that he saw off a lot of second row partners. Even if he had a bad game, it was always his partner that got dropped but the longevity of his career was a tribute to his durability. He was a much better trainer than he would take credit for.

“A light has gone out in Irish sporting life today.”

MARY HANAFIN (Minister for Sport):

“Moss will be especially remembered as one of Kerry and Ireland’s greatest ever sporting heroes. A latecomer to rugby, he made his debut for Ireland against France in Paris in 1974 and became a permanent fixture in the team for a decade.

“Moss was one of Ireland’s best-loved figures, both on and off the pitch, a gentle giant of Irish rugby.”

MICK GALWEY (former Munster captain):

“A very sad day. A collosus of a man physically, but more importantly as a human being. He’ll be sadly missed by everybody.

“He was a legend known across the world. I’m actually down here at a Munster training session in Limerick, and the players were told of his death this morning.

“Even our foreigners as we call them, the lads from New Zealand and Australia and wherever, they have all heard of Moss Keane and know the great contribution he made to Irish rugby.

“Were it not for people like Moss Keane, who was part of the Munster team that beat the All Blacks in 1978, I don’t think you’d have Munster being as big as it is.

“He laid the foundations for great things to come, and it’s something that will never be forgotten, particularly by the current crop of players. They’re the lucky ones. Somebody had to do the hard work before us and it was Moss Keane and his like that did it.”

JIMMY DEENIHAN (Fine Gael Spokesman on Sport):

“I knew Moss for decades, and today is a sad day for all involved in sport, particularly in Kerry.

“Moss and I retained a long friendship since our youth and I had the pleasure of playing on the Kerry junior team with him as well as against him on the rugby pitch.

“It is no exaggeration to say that Moss was one of the best known Kerrymen of his generation and he retained a deep affection for Currow where he was born.

“Many will remember the central role Moss played in Munster’s historic victory over New Zealand. I met him after the game and saw first hand just how proud he was of Munster and all the supporters who played their part. He will be sadly missed.”


“It is with profound sadness that Munster Rugby today learned of the death of Moss Keane after a brave battle with illness over the past 18 months.

“All the attributes that made him such a distinguished rugby player, for Munster, Ireland and the Lions were mirrored in his life away from the rugby field.

“His was a friendly, compassionate though humourous nature and it made him such a well loved character.

“The courage and tenacity he showed on the rugby fields of the world were just as evident in the way he dealt with his illness

“The void his passing leaves in Munster and Irish rugby cannot be underestimated but pales in comparison to the loss and pain his wife Ann, daughters Anne Marie and Sarah and family are enduring and all our sympathies go to them at this sad time.”

KEVIN FITZPATRICK (Leinster Branch President):

“Moss Keane was a true icon and a legend of Irish rugby. His performances on the field of play mirrored the incredible influence and presence he manifested, which transcended rugby grounds across the world.

“It is sad that he was taken from us early, but he fought a prolonged illness with the aggression and the fervour which typified his very existence as a player.

“A larger than life figure and a gifted sportsman which reflected in his abilities both at Gaelic football and the game of rugby, where he made his name, he was a great friend to many and his passing will be both sadly missed and fondly remembered by a generation of rugby followers in equal measures.

“I would like to offer my sincere condolences to Moss’ wife Anne, their daughters Sarah and Anne-Marie, granddaughter Ellie and his loved ones on behalf of all of his many friends and supporters in Leinster Rugby.”

JOHN O’SHEA (GOAL Chief Executive):

“Moss Keane was a GOAL patron for more than 30 years and acted as an ambassador for the organisation at many sporting functions and other events.

“He travelled overseas with Goal and visited our street children’s programme in Calcutta, where he was visibly moved by what he saw.

“He was a magnificent humanitarian and remained concerned about those less fortunate than him right until the end. GOAL has lost a great champion, and the poor have lost a wonderful friend.”

ARTHUR SPRING (Tralee Mayor):

“I was very saddened to hear of the death of Moss Keane who passed away today. My sympathies are with his family and friends, and with the legions of fans and supporters that he leaves behind.

“The word ‘legend’ is often bandied about, but in the case of Moss it is a tribute that was well and truly deserved.

“Moss played rugby at international level along side my uncles Donal and Dick, and remained a close friend to our family until his death.

“Moss was a proud Kerryman, and while he is best know for his endeavours on the rugby pitch, he was also an accomplished Gaelic footballer, playing at Under-21 level for Kerry and winning Sigerson Cup honours with UCC.

“In whatever code he played Moss Keane was a worthy adversary on the field, and a gentleman off it.”

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