herald

Sunday 11 December 2016

I wanted to emulate my hero Ray, says Niall Quinn as stars pay respects

FOOTBALL

John Delaney and Turlough O'Connor at the service
John Delaney and Turlough O'Connor at the service
Niall Quinn

Former players and delegates within the Irish football circle yesterday gathered to pay their respects to former international Ray Treacy, who sadly passed away on Friday aged 68.

Among those present at Flanagan's funeral home in Dundrum were former Ireland striker Niall Quinn, FAI Chief Executive John Delaney and Ray Treacy's former team-mate Turlough O'Connor.

Also in attendance were members of Mr Treacy's family, musician Paddy Reilly and several former international and club colleagues.

Sky Sports pundit Niall Quinn described how he was "shocked and devastated" at hearing the news of Mr Treacy's passing and described him as a man he'd always wanted to "emulate" growing up.

"I saw him playing on telly as a youngster when he played for West Brom and later on for Shamrock Rovers, and I used to go every week hoping I'd get the chance to emulate him," Mr Quinn said.

"He carried the baton for the likes of me to follow in, and also with the likes of the trips he organised after his career ended. I never had anything but joy and fun with him wherever we ended up," he added.

John Delaney revealed how the association would be organising a tribute for Mr Treacy at their next home international against England on June 7, which he hoped would be a "fitting tribute" for the former international.

"He got 42 caps for the country, scoring five goals and was a tremendous character. But perhaps his greatest legacy was bringing thousands of fans across the world for various World Cups through his travel agency," Mr Delaney said.

"Before the England game we'll do a tribute for him, we'll put him up on the big screen and we'll look for a moments applause for him, which we be our special tribute for him," he explained.

He also thanked Mr Treacy for bringing him together with Johnny Giles, whom he has had a firm friendship with ever since.

Turlough O'Connor, who played with Mr Treacy in the late 60s, reminisced about how the pair both scored against Czechoslovakia to secure what would be Ireland's first away victory for over four years.

"We were one goal down to Czechoslovakia in 1968 when Ray scored to level it, and later crossed for me to score the winner. I think it was our first victory for several years. It's a great memory to have of him," Mr O'Connor said.

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