Friday 9 December 2016

'He meant a lot to us in the Irish football family' - John Delaney leads tributes at funeral of former FAI President Milo Corcoran

Published 25/08/2016 | 20:39

The coffin is carried from St Joseph and St Benildus Church in Waterford after the funeral mass for Milo Corcoran
The coffin is carried from St Joseph and St Benildus Church in Waterford after the funeral mass for Milo Corcoran

FOOTBALL Association of Ireland (FAI) boss John Delaney said Irish football had lost a legendary administrator, a charismatic character and a loyal friend in Milo Corcoran (65).

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Mr Delaney fought back tears as he delivered the eulogy to his lifelong friend and former FAI President who died last Monday after a brave battle against serious illness.

FAI CEO John Delaney speaks to a mourner
FAI CEO John Delaney speaks to a mourner

It was his first public appearance since the controversy erupted over the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) tickets at the Rio Games. He is on the board of the OCI, and was accompanied to the Waterford funeral by his partner, Emma English.

In a moving tribute to Mr Corcoran, the FAI boss said his profile and personality was such that, when legendary French footballer Michel Platini attended the 2006 All-Ireland hurling final, the only Irish person he picked out in the crowd of 80,000 at Croke Park was Milo Corcoran.

Martin O'Neill at the funeral of former FAI President Milo Corcoran
Martin O'Neill at the funeral of former FAI President Milo Corcoran

Eulogy

He revealed that, just a few months ago, Mr Corcoran had personally asked him to deliver the eulogy at his funeral Mass, but he had no inkling then that the 65-year-old’s health would deteriorate so quickly.

Mr Corcoran’s Requiem Mass at St Joseph & St Benildus Church in Waterford was attended today by some of the leading figures in Irish sport.

Present were Republic of Ireland football manager, Martin O’Neill, IRFU official Noel Murphy, Olympic athletes Thomas and Jessie Barr, football manager Noel King, Ireland South MEP and former GAA President Sean Kelly, FAI President Tony Fitzgerald and Kilkenny County Board official Ned Quinn.

"It is a great honour to have been asked to talk about this great football man here today," Mr Delaney said.

"I was very close to him. He meant a lot to us in the Irish football family.

"He was, of course, this great, distinguished gentleman of Irish football with this unique white hair and this great smile. He achieved so much in Irish football."

He added that it was only right Mr Corcoran had lived to see Ireland perform so heroically at the Euro 2016 finals in France.

Mr Delaney said that, like himself, Mr Corcoran supported Manchester United and both men reacted like schoolboys when seated together at Barcelona’s Nou Camp Stadium in 1999 as the Red Devils scored two late goals to beat Bayern Munich to win the Champions League.

"In 2006, I brought Platini to the All-Ireland hurling final," Delaney explained.

"He was watching the game, there was 80,000 people there and, in the middle of the game, he pointed and said ‘there is your president’. I was wondering how (Michel) would have known President Mary McAleese?

"But, sure as God, 50 or 60 seats away, there was this big mop of white hair and Milo Corcoran."

Mr Corcoran is survived by his wife, Marie, and sons Alan and Evan.

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