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Gone, but not forgotten: 42 people the sports world lost in 2017

A lot of great sportspeople left us this year.

Jimmy Magee

Jimmy Magee Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Veteran sports broadcaster Jimmy Magee passed away after a long illness, aged 82. Much-beloved for his ‘Memory man’ persona, he commentated on a wide variety of sports, including boxing, soccer, and gaelic games, most notably for his long-term employer RTÉ.

Ryan McBride

Ryan McBride celebrates scoring a a goal Source: Tom Beary/INPHO

Derry City captain Ryan McBride died in March at the age of 27, just hours after leading his side to victory over Drogheda United. His death sent Irish soccer into mourning with endless tributes paid to the inspirational defender since his passing.

Jana Novotna 

Former Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna died after a long battle of cancer. The Czech tennis player famously beat Nathalie Tauzia to win the 1998 Wimbledon women’s singles final, after losing SW19 finals in 1993 and 1997. She passed away aged 49.

Tony Keady

Tony Keady Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Galway hurling great Tony Keady died aged 53 in August. The former Hurler of the Year and two-time All-Ireland winner took ill before passing. He was remembered accordingly by David Burke in his acceptance speech as the Tribesmen lifted the Liam MacCarthy Cup.

Willie John Daly 

Cork hurling legend Willie John Daly was the last-surviving member of the side that won three consecutive All-Ireland senior hurling titles between 1952 and ’54. Daly passed away at the age of 92.

Bradley Lowery

2017 Christmas Package Source: PA Wire/PA Images

After a lengthy fight against neuroblasrtoma, six-year-old Sunderland fan Bradley Lowery died in July. Throughout his illness he touched football fans across the world, repeatedly appearing as a mascot for The Black Cats and forming a close bond with Jermain Defoe.

Liam Chandler

Ireland underage basketball star Liam Chandler died suddenly at the age of 18. This year, he represented his country at the U18 European Championships in Estonia and played a key role in Neptune’s all-conquering season earlier this year.

Frank Murphy 

Two-time Olympian Frank Murphy won European 1500m silver medals in 1969 and 1970 and was inducted into the Athletics Ireland Hall of Fame in 2014. The Dubliner died in January after fighting Parkinson’s disease.

Graham Taylor

2017 Christmas Package Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Former England and Aston Villa manager Graham Taylor passed away at the age of 72. He also served as chairman of Watford from 2009 until 2012 and appeared regularly as a pundit on radio and TV in recent years.

Izzy Dezu 

Shelbourne U16 player Izzy Dezu died suddenly earlier this month after collapsing at a match. The FAI paid tribute: “The striker had been in fantastic form for Shelbourne this season and was widely regarded as one of the most promising players at this age level in the country.”

Paul McCarthy

Cork native Paul McCarthy played with the U21 Ireland side and was a key defender for Brighton & Hove Albion between 1988 and 1996. The retired Irish footballer died suddenly in February at the age of 45.

Alan & Ann Potts 

Alan Potts Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning owner Alan Potts passed away at the age of 80 in November while his wife Ann, died in August after a long illness. Potts was regarded as one of the leading owners in Ireland and Britain, and his horse Sizing John won the Gold Cup in March.

Roy Halladay 

Former Major League Baseball pitcher Roy Halladay died at the age of 40 after a small plane he was flying crashed in the Gulf of Mexico. Halladay was an eight-time All-Star during his 16-year career with the Toronto Blue Jays and  Philadelphia Phillies.

 Stefano Salvatori

Italian football was sent into mourning as AC Milan player Stefano Salvatori passed away at the age of 49 in November. Salvatori started his career at Milan and moved back to the club for the 1989-90 season for their successful European Cup campaign.

Dionatan Teixeira

Manchester City v Stoke City - Premier League - Etihad Stadium Source: Richard Sellers

Former Stoke City defender Dionatan Teixeira died of a suspected heart attack at the age of 25. The Brazilian centre-back had been playing for Moldovan side Sheriff Tiraspol and spent three years at Stoke between 2014 and 2017.

Joe Corcoran 

Mayo legend Joe Corcoran racked up in incredible 20-358 during 94 league and championship appearances for Mayo between 1958 and 1974. Fondly knowns as ‘Jinkin Joe,’ he once bagged 1-9 at Wembley against Meath.

Pat Shovelin 

Donegal goalkeeping coach Pat Shovelin died following a battle with cancer. He was part of the backroom team which helped Donegal to All-Ireland glory in 2012. He also worked with the Donegal U21s this year who won an Ulster title.

Neville Furlong

Neville Furlong 1992 Source: INPHO

Former Ireland rugby international Neville Furlong was twice-capped by Ireland, with both coming on the 1992 tour of New Zealand. The Garryowen man died following an illness. He was 49.

Kevin Cadle 

Kevin Cadle, the face of NFL in the UK and Ireland, died in October at the age of 62. The American presented Sky Sports’ NFL coverage until last year, moving into a career in TV after success as an international basketball coach.

Pat Geraghty 

Once the media and communications at Leinster and then Munster, Pat Geraghty died at the age of 62 after a long battle with illness. The Kildare native was a hugely popular member of both backroom teams.

Brendan Reilly

Brendan Reilly 11/6/2000 Source: Andrew Paton/INPHO

Louth footballer Brendan Reilly died suddenly after playing a match in September. The John Mitchel’s, Naomh Martin and inter-county player was 38.

David Torrence 

American middle-distance runner David Torrence, who competed for Peru at the 2016 Rio Olympics, was found dead at the age of 31. Torrence won silver for the USA at the World Relay Championships in 2014 and finished second at the Pan American Games in 2015.

Willie Duggan 

Willie Duggan was capped 41 times by Ireland between 1975 and 1984. The former Leinster number 8 was regarded as one of the best players in the world in his position during his career. The Kilkenny native died age 67.

Colin Meads 

Rugby Union - Tour Match - England v New Zealand - Twickenham Source: S&G and Barratts/EMPICS Sport

Having played 55 Tests for the All Blacks from 1957-71, Meads is considered one of the greatest players in history. He was named the nation’s Player of the Century in 1999. He died after a battle with cancer, aged 81.

Liam Devaney 

A five-time All-Ireland senior hurling champion with Tipperary, Borris-Ileigh man Liam Devaney played in every position except full-back in a career that spanned 13 years. He died in August at the age of 82.

Tommy Carberry

A name synonymous with National Hunt racing, Tommy Carberry died at the age of 75. The Meath native became one of the sport’s leading figures — winning back-to-back Cheltenham Gold Cups on board L’Escargot.

Fred Cogley 

Fred Cogley Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Fred Cogley’s distinctive voice was synonymous with RTÉ’s sports coverage for decades. He is fondly remembered, in particular, for his rugby commentary and as the presenter of the flagship Sports Stadium programme from 1973 until 1997. He passed at the age of 82.

Alan Bonner

Meath motorbike racer Alan Bonner died after a crash during qualifying at the Isle of Man TT. The 33-year-old was from Stamullen, and an experienced racer who first competed at the famous track in 2014.

Cheick Tiote

Former Newcastle United midfielder Cheick Tiote died at the age of 30. The Ivorian moved from Tyneside to Beijing Enterprises in February, and died after collapsing during a training session.

Donie Shine Sr 

Donie Shine  manager Roscommon Football 1995 Source: Patrick BolgerInpho

Donie Shine managed his club Clann na nGael to eight Roscommon senior club titles in-a-row when he took over in the late 1980s, as well as six straight Connacht crowns and led them to four All-Ireland club finals. He died after a battle with illness.

Michele Scarponi

Veteran Italian cyclist Scarponi died while out training on his bike. “This is a tragedy too big to be written,” his Astana team wrote on Twitter, paying tribute to the 37-year-old, who won the Giro d’Italia in 2011. “Ciao Michele.”

Ugo Ehiogu 

A Former Aston Villa star, Ugo Ehiogu was the Spurs U23 coach and also lined out for West Brom and Middlesborough. He won four England caps. Ehiogu died at the age of 44.

Joost van der Westhuizen 

South Africa v Samoa Source: PA Archive/PA Images

Former scrum-half Joost van der Westhuizen, a Springboks captain who won the 1995 World Cup, died after a battle with motor neurone disease. He was 45.

Michael Maher

A five-time All-Ireland senior hurling winner, Maher was part of Tipperary’s renowned full-back line – dubbed ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ – alongside John Doyle and Kieran Carey. He died aged 87 after a long illness.

Joanna Duignan

A talented 400-metre runner with Carrick-on-Shannon Athletic Club, 20-year-old Joanna Duignan was studied Law at, and competed for Dublin City University.

Jimmy Snuka

Fiji-born Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka passed away in January at the age of 73. Snuka wrestled with the WWF in the early to mid-1980s and stood out for his unique, high-flying style of wrestling.

Germaine Mason

Athletics - Aviva British Grand Prix - Gateshead International Stadium Source: PA Archive/PA Images

Jamaican-born British high jumper Germaine Mason took a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics after first competing for Britain in 2006. He died in a motorcycle crash near Kingston, aged 34.

Dan Vickerman 

South African lock Dan Vickerman played 63 Tests for the Wallabies up until 2011. He passed away suddenly at the age of 37, plunging the rugby world into a state of shock.

Sione Lauki 

Sione Lauaki made his Super Rugby debut for the Waikato Chiefs in 2004 and was selected for the All Blacks for his maiden Test against Fiji the following year. He was a member of the 2007 World Cup squad. He passed aged 35.

Noelle Feeney

Cork City were in mourning as avid supporter Noelle Fenney passed away in February. She played an integral part within the club for 30 years in a variety of roles, which included director and chairperson of the supporters club.

Nicky Hayden 

Nicky Hayden, nicknamed ‘The Kentucky Kid’, raced for Honda in MotoGP from 2003 to 2015, before moving to the Superbike World Championship for the 2016 season. He won three grands prix in MotoGP, and died age 36 of his injuries after a bicycle accident.

- This piece was originally published on 31 December at 7pm but since updated.

The42 has just published its first book, Behind The Lines, a collection of some of the year’s best sports stories. Pick up your copy in Eason’s, or order it here today (€10):

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