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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 August 2006, 14:53 GMT 15:53 UK
Ireland great Ken Goodall dies
Ireland number eight Ken Goodall
Ken Goodall never reached his full potential as a rugby player
Former Lions, Ireland and Ulster rugby star Ken Goodall died suddenly on Thursday morning. He was 59.

The City of Derry number eight quickly rose through the representative ranks and made his Ireland debut as a 19-year-old against Australia in 1967.

The tall, gangly boyish-looking back-row forward was a replacement the 1968 Lions tour to South Africa.

After winning the last of his 19 caps in the victory over Wales, Goodall then joined rugby league side Workington.

Although he was suffering from arthritis, his passing came as a major shock to his peers and the rugby community in Londonderry.

Stan Huey, the current president of the Ulster Branch (IRFU) played alongside Goodall at club level, and spoke warmly of his many attributes.

"A wonderful, kind and very private man," said Huey. "I'm still coming to terms with the fact that he has passed away.

"He was a great player, and only due to the fact that he changed codes, he would have been a world-renowned forward in union.

I do not believe I've ever heard anybody say a bad word against him

Stan Huey

"He was very-well respected in the community, and was seen as one of main movers to put the club on the rugby map.

"When he changed codes, he was shunned by the union, but he bore no malice against anybody. I do not believe I've ever heard anybody say a bad word against him."

Goodall could have made a bigger impact in rugby but for his need to get a good education behind him.

He was originally asked to tour with Tom Kiernan's 1968 squad to South Africa 1968, but due to examinations was forced to stay behind.

However, he was asked out to replace none other than Barry John who was injured. Apparently the selectors thought that bringing out a second number eight instead of another fly-half would be more beneficial to the party.

However, Goodall's Lions career did not last long after he broke a bone in his hand during his first game against Eastern Transvaal and had to return home again.

However, it was in his last game of rugby union against Wales at Lansdowne Road back in March 1970 that had marked out the fresh-faced Goodall as a world-class player.

The superb Welsh team of the day were going for yet another Triple Crown when helped by a superb solo try from inside his own half by Goodall, Ireland surprisingly won 14-0.

But that was to be his last match in the 15-man code as he walked the gangway to sign professional terms with the west Cumbrian side.

Although he showed some sparks of genius and a wonderful aptitude for the 13-man game, lower back and knee injuries forced a premature retirement from the game.

Goodall retired a few years ago as vice-principal of Faughan Valley Primary School.

To his wife Wilma, son Gareth and daughter Gail we offer our deepest sympathies.

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