Tributes to Cork City’s ‘Mrs Football’ Noelle Feeney

Cork City FC last night paid tribute to legendary fan Noelle Feeney, who died yesterday, by making her a permanent honorary trustee.

Ms Feeney, from Pearse Rd, Ballyphehane, who was known for decades as the public face of the football club, died in Marymount Hospice yesterday morning — a hospice for which she helped fundraise for more than 30 years.

“It is with a heavy heart that we [report] the death of Noelle Feeney,” the club said in a statement last night.

“She was a vital cog in the Cork City wheel, performing every possible task for the club she loved.

“It’s hard to quantify the amount of work she did. Without her the club would have been lost.

“She worked tirelessly for not just Cork City FC but for the Friends of Marymount and other charities.”

Ms Feeney was a member of Foras, the supporters trust that owns Cork City FC.

“Noelle will now be made an honorary trust member where she will remain a club owner forever,” said the statement.

Lord Mayor Des Cahill paid tribute to her passion, enthusiasm, energy, and devotion to the club, and to her remarkable charity work.

“My thoughts are first and foremost with her family,” he said. “She was such a lovely lady and will be greatly missed. She was a great character, and a tireless worker for the club, and for Marymount.”

Ms Feeney joined the Cork City Supporters Club in 1988, just four years after the club was founded. She served as a director for several years, was chairwoman of the supporters club, and became one of its greatest ambassadors.

Famous for carrying a bottle of holy water with her to give the senior players luck, she travelled with the squad all over Europe for some of their biggest fixtures, including games against Bayern Munich in Germany, as well as big club teams in Israel, Turkey, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Cyprus, Serbia, and the Ukraine.

In 2005, the Sunday Times named her the seventh most important woman in the world on a list including World Cup winners Birgit Prinz and Brandi Chastain.

She was also involved in fundraising for many local charities including Marymount, the Breast Cancer Unit at the South Infirmary, the Samaritans, and Kidney Association of Ireland.

Her death came just two weeks after she was presented with a Southside and District Special Lifetime Achievement award to recognise her life-long contribution to sport and to charity fundraising.

The presentation was made by awards organiser Seán O’Sullivan, at Marymount.

Fans took to Twitter to pay tribute yesterday, describing her as “Mrs Football”, as a “super fan without rival”, and a “club legend”.

Broadcasters Des Cahill, Tony O’Donoghue, and Trevor Welch also paid tribute, describing her as a great servant to the club, and an incredible fundraiser.

Ms Feeney is survived by her son, John, and siblings, Helen, Seán, Stephen, Mary, and Jim. Her remains will lie in repose at Sullivans Funeral Home, Turners Cross, with removal at 8pm tonight to the Church of the Assumption, Ballyphehane, and Requiem Mass at 12pm tomorrow.

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