'He's been a real stand-up guy for the FAI and for football' - McCarthy pays tribute to under-fire president Conway
MICK MCCARTHY and Noel Mooney paid warm tributes to Donal Conway at an FAI dinner ahead of today's AGM in Trim.
Conway's decision to stand for another year as President has met with opposition in political circles but Irish senior boss McCarthy gave an unprompted endorsement during an appearance on stage at the traditional 'delegates dinner' which is hosted the night before the main event.
"He's been a real stand-up guy for the FAI and for football," said McCarthy. "I turn up at the training ground and it could be whatever hour and he's either working inside the office or he's talking to Cathal Dervan (communications officer) about something.
"I try to ring him (Dervan) and he's talking to Donal. I've been impressed. Thank you. I've really been impressed with you," added McCarthy, directly addressing Conway.
Mooney is effectively operating as the FAI's General Manager during a six month secondment from UEFA.
He made a speech which stressed that the FAI should 'not be afraid of change'.
However, he also made special reference to Conway, a board member since 2005, who is running unopposed to extend his stay by another 12 months.
"Mick spoke earlier about Donal Conway. It's been unbelievable to work with you, it's just been an inspiration to me," said Mooney. "We get paid..kind of ok...to work with the federation but you don't and the love you have for the game has been inspiring for me.
"I've met many people in UEFA and many countries around the place and you are the one that I have been just blown away by. Your work has been inspirational to all the staff so I want everybody to give your president a round of applause."
Mooney then called on the room to acknowledge board members that are due to step down today.
"I know it's been tumultuous times for the FAI but please do not forget the great work that you did," said Mooney.
"That is left unspoken. I don't want it to stay unspoken. There's people like Niamh (O'Donoghue), Eamon (Naughton), Paraic (Treanor), Jim (McConell) etc...Noel (Fitzroy), Mick (Hanley), loads of you. They have given a life to the game.
"Ok, it's been a difficult end. It's a difficult time, but it's an opportunity for us to build something really special in the next few months ahead. Everyone is welcome to put their voice into Irish football."
Fitzroy is actually down to run for re-election as Vice President where he faces a contest with Gerry McAnaney and Paul Cooke. There was speculation last night that the incumbent may not actually stand after all - but there was no confirmation.
The details will become clearer this morning, with the nominations for six of the other places on the new board set to be finalised before the meeting. Former board member John Earley is in the picture even though he resigned his position in June.