Friendly to mark retirement of Mick Conroy
The ETB side will be coached by former Celtic and Cork City midfielder Mick Conroy who is set to retire after 28 years with the FAI.
He has been a coordinator of the FAI ETB Development Programme in Cork since 1994.
When Mick joined the Association he helped run the FAI FAS programme, as it was then, with his great friend, the late Paul Bannon, and later with Cork football stalwart Stuart Ashton. During his 28 years, Mick guided the likes of current Cork City manager, Colin Healy, Damien Delaney, Mark McNulty, and the late Liam Miller, and left an indelible impact on countless others.
Mick was born in Johnstone in Scotland and followed in his father’s footsteps by signing for Celtic in 1978, scoring on his debut against Hibernian. A team in transition at the time, Celtic swapped the legendary Jock Stein for new manager Billy McNeill, and Mick Conroy was to be his central midfield player for four years. During Mick’s time with the club, Celtic famously won the league with ten men in 1979, the Scottish Cup in 1980, and were league champions twice more in 1981 and 1982. Mick also played in classic European Cup fixtures against Juventus and Real Madrid.
He moved to Hibernians in 1982, playing 31 times for the Edinburgh club, and in 1988, signed for Cork City following stints in Blackpool, Wrexham, and Leyton Orient. As player-coach, Mick played in the famous 1-1 draw with European giants Bayern Munich in 1991 and stayed with City until his retirement from playing in 1993, fittingly finishing his career with a league title.
He would then go on to share his expertise of the game with youngsters in Cork for almost three decades and was one of the first coaches on the Emerging Talent Programme in Cork.
In paying tribute to Mick Conroy, League of Ireland Director, Mark Scanlon said: “Mick Conroy has been a massive figure in Cork football and in the FAI for almost 30 years.
“The tributes that have come in over the last few days are the mark of the man, and the impact that he has had on the footballing lives of hundreds of young men and women in Cork will never be forgotten.
“As a senior figure in our FAI ETB Player Development Programmes, Mick has always been a great source of advice and of football knowledge and, for a person with his history in the game, his humility was always something that made an impression not only on me, but on all of our staff. Mick retires with the best wishes of the association, and the gratitude of everyone who knows him.”
While marking Mick’s retirement, the game is also an opportunity for Ireland MU19 Head Coach Tom Mohan to assess his options ahead of the First Round of UEFA European U19 Championship Qualifiers in September.
Ireland will face Wales, Hungary and Gibraltar in Group 4 of the competition.
Tom Mohan added: “This is an important game for us to look at homebased players and all part of the preparation for September’s qualifiers.
“I want to wish Mick Conroy all the best in his retirement. Mick has and continues to play a crucial role within player identification for our underage International Teams through his FAI Scouting role in Cork. He’s been a terrific servant to Irish football and has gave so much back to the game from his many experiences in Scotland, England and Ireland and has played a huge role in the development of players and coaches in our country.”