John Delaney says farewell to ‘legendary’ Milo Corcoran

John Delaney with a mourner at Milo Corcoran's funeral. Picture: Patrick Browne

FAI chief John Delaney and Ireland team manager Martin O’Neill were among the mourners yesterday at the funeral Mass for Milo Corcoran, a former FAI president who leaves “many, many legacies”.

Mr Corcoran, 65, died on Monday after a short illness. He suffered a stroke five years ago but recovered well to lead an active life and partake in the football administration tasks to which he gave much of his time.

Hundreds of people packed into the Church of St Joseph and Benildus in Waterford, the city where the Kilkenny native lived most of his life, to pay their respects to Milo Corcoran’s wife Marie, sons Evan and Alan, and other family members and friends.

An emotional John Delaney gave the eulogy. He arrived at the Mass with his partner Emma English.

Dressed in a grey suit, white shirt, and dark tie, he embraced and greeted several local soccer officials on his arrival and sat close to the front when he went inside, as did Martin O’Neill along with other dignitaries.

The attendance also included President Higgins’s aide-de-camp Lt Commander Patricia Butler, FAI president Tom Fitzgerald, soccer managers Noel King and Roddy Collins, former GAA president and current MEP Seán Kelly, Noel Murphy of the IRFU, Kilkenny GAA chairman Ned Quinn, Olympic Games finalist Thomas Barr and his sister Jessie Barr who competed at the 2012 Olympics, and Mayor of Waterford Adam Wyse.

In his eulogy, Mr Delaney said his friend of nearly 30 years was “a great football man” who meant a lot to everyone in the football family. While he played with Bolton and “tried a bit of refereeing” in his earlier years, the FAI chief said, it was as an administrator that he came into his own and he chaired the association’s international committee right to the end, making his last journey abroad to the Euro 2016 finals in France.

“Marie has lost her soul-mate, the two boys have lost their father, Irish football has lost a legendary administrator. He will leave a major void.”

Both Mr Delaney and Mr Corcoran were fans of Manchester United and Mr Delaney recalled them sitting together in the Nou Camp in Barcelona for the 1999 European Cup final, when they “hugged each other like schoolchildren” after United’s two late goals won the trophy.

He also recalled the time in 2006 when he took French playing legend and former UEFA boss Michel Platini to the All-Ireland hurling final in Croke Park, and Platini noticed “your president” sitting in the stand.

“I was wondering, how would he have known Mary McAleese? Sure as God, 50 or 60 seats away with this big mop of white hair was Milo Corcoran. The only person Platini knew in Ireland was Milo, and there he was at the All-Ireland final.”

He paid tribute to Milo Corcoran’s work on establishing the Setanta Cup for clubs in both the Republic and the North, “which brought great relationships between clubs north and south”, and to work he did on breaking down barriers between young players in Palestine and Israel.

“He has many, many legacies,” the FAI chief said, adding that Milo Corcoran will posthumously receive a Service to Football Award at the association’s AGM in Kilkenny next year, and the office of the FAI’s international department will be named after him.

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