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Protest as man arrested in Delany shooting made top soccer club manager

A man arrested in relation to the shooting of a Dublin postman has been appointed manager of a top Leinster Senior League soccer team, leading to protests from the victim's family and friends.

Innocent shooting victim Robert Delany remains in a vegetative state in hospital after a murder attempt at his duplex home in Tallaght on 22 October, 2008 -- exactly three years ago today.

The chief suspect for shooting Robert has since been murdered in a gangland hit but gardai have made a number of other arrests in the case, including Tallaght man Andrew Noonan.

Nine people have been detained by gardai as part of the investigation but so far none has been charged.

Noonan was recently appointed manager of the well-respected Bluebell United football side and this has led to members of The Justice For Robert Delany Campaign protesting at Bluebell United matches.

The 31-year-old soccer manager, who is originally from Kilmartin Gardens, Tallaght, but now lives in Co Kildare, has been arrested twice by gardai investigating the shooting along with his 58-year-old dad -- notorious ex-Provo John Noonan -- and other close associates.

Andrew Noonan has a criminal conviction for firearms offences dating from 2000 and during the summer he was fined €2,000 for possession of an intimidation firearm that was seized by gardai carrying out a search of his home.

In an interview with the Herald, Robert's heartbroken dad Terry said: "The reason we are protesting at these matches is simple. Given the circumstances surrounding the shooting of Robert, I am amazed that a respectable club like Bluebell would lend the badge of respectability to this man."



FAMILY

Terry, who is a senior trade union official, also pointed out that his family have a "long association" with Irish football which includes him being a coach at the Cherry Orchard football team for more than a decade.

Terry's nephew Dean Delany is also currently the goalkeeper for League of Ireland side Shelbourne.

Gardai believe that Robert was shot because he had tried to stop a pub row in south Co Dublin a couple of weeks earlier.

Following his intervention in the pub row, Mr Delany had been threatened and told: "We'll get you."

The shooting was carried out at about 6.30am on October 22, 2008, at the apartment where Robert lived with his partner, Mags, and two children, at Russell Rise, off Fortunestown Way in Tallaght.

Robert had looked out of the window after his doorbell rang and was hit by a blast of 20 shotgun pellets, 16 of which are lodged in his brain.

The gunman and a possible accomplice made their escape in an unregistered white Honda Integra 'R' type car that had been stolen from a garage on the Naas Road that morning.

The car had distinctive wheels; the front alloys were white and the rear alloys silver.

Robert will never recover from his injuries and he is currently based at the Peamount Hospital in Co Dublin.

Bluebell manager Andrew Noonan -- who was a talented footballer -- was jailed for a year in November, 2000, after he and an associate were caught with a stolen rifle, a balaclava and list of targets when they stopped them in a field in Tallaght.

Dublin Circuit Court heard that gardai drew their guns on the two men after spotting them jumping into a field.

The two men were wearing two layers of clothing and were found with five rounds of ammunition, a silencer and a telescopic lens.

They also had a list of names, addresses and car registration numbers in a bag.

The two men later confessed that they wanted to sort out some men who had been fighting with their friends in a disco.

hnews@herald.ie