Noel Mooney, right, pictured with Cappamore Celtic's Joe Diggins and Roy Keane
HE has come a long way since playing in goals for Cappamore Celtic....and now he will be the main man running Irish football.
Noel Mooney, Cappamore, is to take up a six-month secondment with the FAI from his current position with UEFA. His title is general manager for football services and partnerships but he is effectively the new FAI chief.
FAI president Donal Conway, Kilmallock, said: “UEFA’s advice and support will be very important to the FAI as will Noel Mooney’s UEFA experience and knowledge. Noel Mooney will also play a key role in our engagements with all of our stakeholders as we deliver change for Irish football."
Former FAI chief executive John Delaney voluntarily stepped aside from his role as the organisation’s executive vice-president last month. Controversy surrounded Mr Delaney since The Sunday Times ran a story on the €100,000 cheque he wrote to the FAI in 2017.
UEFA’s head of national association business development, Noel Mooney will commence work on June 3. Speaking to FAI TV, he admitted he needs to start by building “trust” back with the people of Ireland.
“Working with all of our stakeholders, I am confident Irish football will emerge stronger and better over the next few months as we listen to the voices of those who want the game to succeed and are determined to deliver the radical reform required for Irish football,” said Mr Mooney, aged in his early forties.
“In my time with UEFA I have led teams across Europe developing football in many countries. Returning home to help the FAI with its challenges is something I will embrace as we deliver change with our highly committed staff and all our leagues, clubs and partners," he continued.
Mr Mooney played in goals with Limerick FC, Cork City and Shamrock Rovers but it all began with Cappamore Celtic FC.
Joe Diggins, Cappamore Celtic chairman, said Mr Mooney has never forgotten his roots.
“A couple of lads are in touch with him and he goes around the office in UEFA with the Cappamore jersey on. He is a very proud Cappamore man. He would do anything for Cappamore. He has close family here and Noel would be home three or four times a year,” said Mr Diggins.
Appropriately, considering Mr Mooney’s position on the pitch, the chairman said the FAI couldn't be in safer hands.
“It is absolutely fantastic news. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. He is very humble. He will dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s and that’s what the FAI need now at the moment. He has played the game from underage. He knows it all and he has done it all.” said Mr Diggins.
Cappamore Celtic honoured Mr Mooney a number of years ago by making him their president.
“We are only a small club. Anytime we looked for help we ring Noel and and he always come through. He’s very humble. He togged out for us a few years ago when we played a charity game for the daycare centre,” said Mr Diggins.
In August 2017, Mr Mooney brought Roy Keane to Cappamore to raise money for pitch development. Johnny Giles was also down thanks to him.
“Noel was the driving force in these events but took a back seat at the time leaving the limelight to the club and our guests,” said Mr Diggins.
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