• Mon, Sep 29, 2008 @ 14:17

It was with great sadness that we learnt of the death of former Saints coach Noel O'Reilly on Friday evening at the age of 60.

Speaking in Dublin today current Saints boss John McDonnell paid tribute to his former coach.

“Most of our players would have come through Noel's coaching at some stage. I know Noel myself from Belevedere since I was 6 or 7 and the work he did at that club was fantastic - coaching kids of all ages and keeping them off the streets.

"He was a great teacher - he kept things simple, he was great with people and he did his work in a friendly manner.

"He'll be hugely missed by a lot of people and by a lot of people at St Pat's -I'm sure he'll be kicking every ball with us tomorrow night."

Noel was an integral part of the backroom team at St Patrick's Atheltic as we became the team of the 90's winning league titles in 1990, 1996, 1998 and 1999.

Noel was Brian Kerr's able liutenent for the first two victories but after Brian departed to become Ireland Youths manager Noel stayed on to work with new manager Pat Dolan resulting in that memorable night in Kilkenny in 1998.

Noel proudly watched Keith Doyle (pictured above with Noel), Colin Hawkins, Thomas Morgan and Trevor Molloy come into the Saints side having coached them at underage level for Ireland and sang his heart out that Mayday night, his last night as a Saints coach.

Noel moved on to great success that summer with the Irish Under 16's and 18's capturing their respective European Championships amid rumours of further singing from Noel!

Noel's work with Belvedere, St Pats and Ireland over the years made him many friends, won him many admirers and produced and developed countless footballers. His loss to Irish football cannot be understated.

We would like to extend our deepest sympathies to Noel's partner Rose and to all his family and friends.

Subject to UEFA approval a minute's silence will be held before the UEFA Cup tie between the Saints and Hertha Berlin on Tuesday in memory of Noel.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

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