Irish fans mourn loss of legend McConville
DUNDALK great Tommy McConville, who was capped six times for Ireland, died yesterday after a long battle with illness.
McConville was an iconic and popular figure in Dundalk where he won three league titles and three FAI Cups with his hometown club between 1976 and 1982.
He also won a league title during an earlier stint with Waterford, a club he left after he learned that the officials had played hard ball and rejected an offer from Manchester United for his services.
McConville developed a reputation as a formidable defender and was capped at senior level in the early 1970s.
However, his best spell with Dundalk – for whom he made 580 competitive appearances – came at the end of that decade where the highlight of numerous European escapades was the last-16 match with Celtic in 1979, where he famously squandered a late chance to send the Lilywhites through to a quarter-final with Real Madrid. The good natured McConville took the disappointment in his stride and joked about the infamous miss in his later years.
He led a colourful life – spending four summers in America lining out in the North American Soccer League with the Washington Diplomats and New York Apollos – and played at a high level well into his 40s.
In 1993, at the age of 47, he was part of the Bank Rovers side that qualified for the FAI Cup.
After a brief spell as manager of Finn Harps, he settled back in Dundalk where he remained a fixture on the local football scene and a regular visitor to Oriel Park.
In fact, he checked out of hospital for September's Louth derby with Drogheda United, remaining an avid fan of the club he loved until the very end. Ar dheis dé go raibh a anam.