Niall Quinn has paid tribute to Manchester United and Ireland legend Tony Dunne, who died at the age of 78 yesterday.
After retiring from football, Dunne ran a golf driving range in Altrincham to which the now interim deputy CEO of the FAI was a regular visitor while playing for Manchester City.
“Tony was a wonderful character and a great host at his driving range in Altrincham,” Quinn said. “I loved going there to hit a few balls and have a chat with him.
He was passionate about his football and loved nothing better than telling me every time I visited that the players of his generation were streets ahead of my colleagues at City and the United team of the time.
“For Tony, there was no doubt that Francis Lee, Mike Summerbee and Colin Bell were streets ahead of anything in the City team I played in.
“It was the same with his beloved Manchester United. At the time the likes of Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, Roy Keane, and Mark Hughes were the star players but Tony wasn’t having it – Denis Law, Bobby Charlton and George Best were in a different league.
“I remember one day remarking how well Sparky Hughes was doing for United and Tony got visibly upset with me as he compared Mark to Denis Law and explained to me how much better Denis was back in his day.
“The one modern player he did concede on was Denis Irwin who did, of course, play left-back in a title-winning United team like Tony and played for Ireland as well. He did admit Denis was top class and might have made it in his United squad!
“I used to love those chats with Tony. It was always football and seldom golf talk with him, bar to tell me I was too tall and my swing was too unique to get it right. I think he just wanted me to keep spending money at his range – and I just wanted to talk football with him.
“Tony Dunne was a great footballer with a career to match. He never forgot his Drimnagh roots and I will always cherish the memory of my time with him. Our sympathies go to Tony’s family, may he rest in peace.”
FAI President Gerry McAnaney has also paid tribute to former Shelbourne star Dunne.
"Tony is fully deserving of his place in Irish football's Hall of Fame," he said. “His career will stand the test of time and his achievements with Manchester United are the stuff of legend. On behalf of everyone involved with the game here in Ireland, may I pass on our sympathies to the Dunne family at this sad time."