The funeral of a former Preston North End player will take place next week.
John O’Neill, a defender for North End in the 1950s and early 60s, died on September 23 in Blackpool following a short illness. He had been suffering with cancer and had recently celebrated his 77th birthday.
His funeral will be held at Lytham Crematorium on October 4 at 2pm.
Leo Gornall, spokesman for the North End Former Players’ Association who played alongside him in the club’s reserves, said the Dublin-born defender had been very proud to represent his country.
He said: “I was speaking to his wife, Sheila, and she said towards the end John had said to here how much pride he had in playing for his country.
“He said he could not complain because he had a good life and everyone who met him will remember him as a quiet man, but someone who liked a laugh and was very popular.
“As a player, he was a silent assassin, he was strong in the tackle and liked putting the wind up opposition wingers.”
O’Neill joined North End in 1958 in a deal with legendary goalkeeper, Alan Kelly, from Drumcondra in 1958, making his debut away at Arsenal on December 20 the same year.
He went onto make 50 league appearances, four FA Cup appearances and nine League Cup appearances for Preston North End before leaving the club for Barrow in 1963.
After just one season, John returned to Drumcondra, winning the 1964-65 League of Ireland Championship, before emigrating to Melbourne Hakoah in Australia and finally returning to Irish team, Waterford where he retired in 1976, aged 40.
Following his retirement, he went into business with former team-mate, Alan Kelly, as a plasterer and lived a stone’s throw away from bitter rivals Blackpool’s stadium on Bloomfield Road in South Shore.
Mr Gornall said he often attended golf tournaments and other events organised by the Former Players’ Association.
He is survived by his second wife, Sheila, and five children.