18 August 2022

London Irish has learned with regret of the death of John O’Neill, a former player, long term supporter and a previous Director of the Club.

John was born in Tipperary town in 1947 and was educated at Mungret College in Limerick. He moved to England in the mid-1960s to start out on a business career that was to be both enterprising and successful.

John had a long association with London Irish both as a player and supporter. He was a combative prop forward captaining the Wanderers team for which he was awarded an honour tie for his performances in the 1977/78 season. When his playing days were over, John remained involved with the club including serving as captain of the London Irish RFC Golf Society. 

As the implications of the professional era became clear for the Club, John played a key role in the negotiations that resulted in the transition from a members club to an appropriately structured commercial business. He was among the first members of the consortium that facilitated the essential refinancing of the club in 1997 thereby securing its future. 

Away from rugby, John’s other passions were farming and horses, both of which he enjoyed on his farm in Oxfordshire.

Not only did John have a physical presence when in any business or social environment, he had a personality to match, those privileged to share his company will have happy memories of doing so and will miss him greatly.

John was predeceased last year by his brother Frank who also played for and supported the club.

London Irish extends its sympathy to John’s family and friends including his partner Dillie, son Malachy, daughters Ciara and Ferga and his brother Finbarr.

John’s family has set up an email address where people can send memories including photographs of John: [email protected]

John’s requiem Mass will take place in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Causeway, Bicester, Oxon OX26 6AW on Thursday 1st September at 12.00pm.

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