Cork soccer community mourns passing of Avondale stalwart Chris Herlihy

Cork soccer community mourns passing of Avondale stalwart Chris Herlihy

Munster Senior League chairman, John Finnegan, presents the O'Neill's Club of the Week award to Avondale United's Chris Herlihy.

CORK soccer is in mourning after the death of Chris Herlihy, one of the founding members of Cork City, and a driving force behind Avondale United.

The passionate supporter of Cork City and soccer on Leeside in general, was to the fore at Turner's Cross from the 1980s, serving as vice-chairman and his work on committees helped City lift their first league.

His focus turned to his beloved Avondale from there, and he was crucial behind the scenes as their Munster Senior Club enjoyed great success in Cork and also in the FAI Intermediate Cup. He was known for his utter commitment to the game and was hugely popular in Cork soccer circles.

Tony Riordan, Tony's Menswear, presenting Mark O'Sullivan with the prize won at the 2016 Avondale United Golf Classic by Cork City. Included are Garry Comerford, Noel Long and Chris Herlihy. Picture: Mike English
Tony Riordan, Tony's Menswear, presenting Mark O'Sullivan with the prize won at the 2016 Avondale United Golf Classic by Cork City. Included are Garry Comerford, Noel Long and Chris Herlihy. Picture: Mike English

He passed away at Marymount and he was described as the "dearly loved husband of Gretchen, adored dad of Sharon and Gretchen, dear brother of Noreen, wonderful grandad of David and Lee, Sean, Stephen and Alan and great-grandad of Devon and Hollie.

"Very sadly missed by his wife and family, sons-in-law Chris and Frank, extended family and many friends."

Cork City said: "Everyone at Cork City FC is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Chris Herlihy.

"Chris was a founding member, vice-chairman and a lifelong fan of Cork City, as well as being an integral part of Avondale United.

"May he rest in peace."

The late Chris Herlihy, holding the cup, at a sponsorship announcement with Pat Scannell, Cashman's, Jackie Harrington, Jennifer Manley and Brian Barry-Murphy.
The late Chris Herlihy, holding the cup, at a sponsorship announcement with Pat Scannell, Cashman's, Jackie Harrington, Jennifer Manley and Brian Barry-Murphy.

Avondale United have called off all the club's games this weekend as a mark of respect. 

Herlihy, a retired bookmaker from Ballinlough, was a founding member of City in 1984 and also gave a lifetime of service to Avondale, with whom he first became involved in 1972.

Having served as vice-chairman to Jim Hennebry when Cork City were established, Herlihy took over as chairman in June 1987 and was at the helm as the club won its first major silverware, the 1987-88 League Cup.

He stepped down in August 1989 but continued to serve as a director for a period after that and remained a supporter of the club up until his death.

He will be remembered, along with John Kennedy and Michael Hayes, in a minute’s silence before City’s game with St Patrick’s Athletic at Turner’s Cross on Saturday evening and Avondale have postponed all of their games this weekend.

“I started with Avondale in 1972, just as they were forming,” he told the Irish Examiner in 2012.

“I have been chairman, I forget how many times. I would do a stint, then step back for a season. The best thing is to have new fresh people, younger people, as they have new ideas. 

"It most certainly has kept me young. There can be certain stresses when you become an officer in any club, but then you have to rise to the challenge.” 

As well as football, Herlihy’s other passion was singing and he was a member of an all-male harmony group, The Polyphonics, who won numerous Irish Male Barbershop Chorus titles.

He is survived by his wife Gretchen, daughters Sharon and Gretchen, sister Noreen, grandchildren David, Lee, Seán, Stephen and Alan and great-grandchildren Devon and Hollie.

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