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Tributes paid to former Ireland international Noel Campbell who has passed away, aged 72

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Noel Campbell

Noel Campbell

Noel Campbell

St Patrick's Athletic have paid tribute to ex-Saint and former Ireland international Noel Campbell who has died at the age of 72.

One of only two Irish-born footballers to play in the Bundesliga, the Dubliner was revered by fans of Fortuna Koln from his spell there (1971-1979) and he was a regular visitor back to the German city but his career began in Inchicore where he was also remembered.

"We learned today of the sad passing of the great Noel Campbell. Noel spent 5 brilliant years at the club from 1967. He remains the last man to play for Ireland while at the club from 1971. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam," Pat's said today.

"Noel led the Saints to the 1967 FAI Cup final and later that year scored twice against Bordeaux in the Fairs Cup. After his Ireland debut he transferred to Fortuna Koln, later becoming the first Irishman to play in the Bundesliga. He remained a Saints supporter."

Campbell was with the Saints when he made his Ireland debut, against Austria in 1971, and a scout managed to lure him to second-tier side Fortuna Koln, where he was part of a squad that won promotion to the German top flight in the 1973/74 season and he was with them when he won his 11th and final cap in 1977.

The FAI added: “The Football Association of Ireland are saddened to learn of the sudden death of former Republic of Ireland international Noel Campbell in his native Dublin.

“As a player Noel's career saw him play for St Patrick's Athletic, Fortuna Koln and Shamrock Rovers. Holder of 11 Irish caps, Noel was the last senior international to be capped whilst playing for St Patrick's Athletic and the first mainland Europe based player to represent Ireland during his time in Cologne. He also coached and managed briefly at Shamrock Rovers on his return to Ireland.”

FAI President Gerry McAnaney said: "Our thoughts today are with Noel's wife Anne and the Campbell family. I remember Noel as a really good and competitive midfield player who also broke new ground for Irish football when he moved to Germany in the 1970s. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.”

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