THE Football Association of Ireland was saddened today to learn of the death of former League of Ireland stalwart Charlie O'Mahony.
O'Mahony passed away at his home in Montenotte, Cork, after a lengthy illness. He was aged 73.
A former employee of the Cork Examiner and Evening Echo, O'Mahony was highly regarded in football across many levels in his hometown but is best known for his spells with Cork Celtic.
He emerged as a talented youngster in 1960 when aged just 19 he grabbed the opening goal for Cork Celtic in a league clash with St Patrick's Athletic and he went on to become one of the most versatile players in the club's history.
One of his final games for the club was in Armenia in November 1974 when he came on as substitute against Ararat Yerevan in a European Champions Cup tie. He was player-coach under the management of Bobby Tambling.
He had previously been player-coach under the late Paul O'Donovan and played a handful of games as Cork Celtic won the title for the first and only time in 1974. He had a spell as caretaker manager after Tambling retired and before Alfie Hale was eventually appointed manager.
His league career was interspersed with spells with Cobh Ramblers - prior to their admission to the League of Ireland - as his versatility as a player often proved detrimental to his own opportunities to play regularly.
A wholly committed performer, he was popular with the Turner's Cross fans for his competitive displays. He emerged in schoolboy football with St Andrews then had a successful underage career with Glasheen winning league and cup medals at various age-groups and defeated in the SFAI Evans Cup in 1955 by Johnville.
Four years later he featured in the in FAI Minor Cup Final as Glasheen were beaten by a famous Shelbourne side including Tony Dunne, Eric Barber, Tommy Carroll and Jackie Hennessy.
He later played for Garda FC in the Cork AUL then played for Rockmount and he continued playing into his 50s for Cork Examiner FC in the 1980s. It was his whole-hearted skilful play which earned him recognition in the Cork Soccer Hall of Fame in 2000.
One of the highlights of his career was appearing for a Cork XI against Iceland at the Mardyke in 1960 after the Republic of Ireland had faced the Icelandic side in an international the same week.
Alfie Hale paid tribute to his former colleague. "Charlie was a top midfielder who had a tremendous competitive side to him," said Hale.
"He marked me many times and it was always a challenge. But when I arrived at Cork Celtic I discovered he was a really genuine friendly man.
"When I became manager at Cork Celtic I didn't hesitate to ask him to come on board as my assistant and he was invaluable to me. He'll be missed by everybody who knew him."
He will be sadly missed by wife Mary, children Kieran, Ray, Colin, Ger, Val and Christine, brothers Mick and Dan, extended family and large circle of friends.
Ar Dheis DÃ© go raibh a anam.
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