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Jack Kyle: Sporting stars and politicians turn out to remember Irish rugby legend at thanksgiving service

A thanksgiving service has taken place for Irish rugby legend Jack Kyle who died last week aged 88.

Sporting stars and politicians were among those who attended the service at Fisherwick Presbyterian Church in Belfast on Tuesday afternoon.

The service heard from his friend Colin Morris - who told those gathered that Jack Kyle not only possessed genius, but goodness.

Among those in attendance included Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, as well as sporting stars such as Mary Peters and Ulster rugby players.

Belfast man Jack Kyle - regarded as one of Ireland's best ever rugby players - was a talented fly-half who won 46 caps for Ireland and six for the British and Irish Lions.

The former Ulster, Ireland and British and Irish Lions fly-half passed away on Thursday night.

In 2002 Kyle was voted Ireland's greatest-ever player, underlining his standing alongside the likes of Brian O'Driscoll and Willie John McBride as Ireland's most-celebrated rugby stars.

Kyle spent more than 30 years working as a consultant surgeon in Chingola, Zambia, at the end of his playing career.

His friend, Colin Morris today said Kyle helped create a nation "right from the root by 1001 acts of service and of kindness".

"Zambia had Jack with them for over 30 years. There he was in a small town in the middle of nowhere, thousands of miles from the sports commentators, television cameras and the adulation of the crowd.

"You realised that it wasn't the rush of adrenalin at great sporting occasions that drove him. What really drove him was the agonising sense of the need to be humanely useful to those in need.

"He had genius but he had something rarer than that, he had goodness. His solemnity was counterbalanced by that mischievous Irish sense of humour of his."

Further reading

There was only one Jack Kyle: He was phenomenal; we will never see the likes of this great rugby player again

Maurice Field: Jack Kyle's passion for the game was amazing

Ulster star Best leads tributes to the best of them all

The great man's passing marks the end of an era, says Johns

Just being on the same pitch was an honour: Williams

Jack Kyle was true gentleman, on and off the rugby pitch

Jack Kyle: The first name in Ulster sport's hall of fame

Jack's flair missing as Ulster fail in the end

For anyone connected with the game on the island, Jack Kyle's name stands apart 

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