Former Ireland international Ray Treacy (68) dies

Dubliner’s international career spanned more than 13 years and he won 42 caps for Ireland

Ray Treacy, who passed away on Friday night,

Ray Treacy, who passed away on Friday night,

 

Clubs and former teammates have been amongst those to pay tribute to Ray Treacy, the former Republic of Ireland international who passed away, aged 68, after a relatively short illness on Friday.

The Dubliner, who made his debut against West Germany in May 1966, scored five goals in 42 appearances for his country with the most significant probably the winner in the World Cup qualifier against France in November 1972. His international career spanned more than 13 years with his last appearance coming in late ‘79 against Czechoslovakia.

His club career started at Home Farm and included stints with English sides West Brom, Charlton, Swindon and Preston. He returned to the Hawthorns in 1976 to play under then manager John Giles and followed his fellow Irishman home to join Shamrock Rovers.

“It’s very sad,” said Giles on Saturday morning. “He only took ill recently and this had come very quickly so it’s a shock. I knew him a long time, played with him at West Brom, Rovers and for Ireland and I’m very sorry for his family.”

On Twitter, Dave Langan described his as “one of life’s good guys, a gentleman,” and said he was “gutted” by the news.

Second Captains

West Brom who, as it happens, are celebrating the life and career of Jeff Astle at their game against Leicester city today, paid tribute to one of the English striker’s teammates at the club on their website.

“A brave, sprightly inside-forward, his lack of stature at 5ft 9ins did not stop him offering a useful aerial threat,” it reads. “Ray made his debut on October 8th 1966, scoring in a 2-2 draw at Sunderland’s Roker Park in the absence of both Astle and Kaye, but their return for the next game saw Treacy back on the sidelines. One start and a handful of substitute appearances in the cup winning season of 1967/68 followed before a move to Charlton Athletic seemed to signal the end of his Albion career.

“But he wasn’t done with The Hawthorns yet and after John Giles’ side had won promotion in 1975/76, the call came for Treacy to return to the Black Country to add experience to the Throstles’ front line, partnering the likes of Ally Brown and David Cross.

“Treacy enjoyed an incendiary start to his second Albion spell, scoring twice on debut as we drew 2-2 at Derby County, grabbing another as we turned a 2-0 half-time deficit against Spurs into a 4-2 win and then netting in our 4-0 mauling of Manchester United to make it four goals in his first four games.

“Giles departed for Shamrock Rovers at the end of the campaign (and) Treacy elected to go with him.”

He averaged a goal every other game for the then Milltown club and is the last player to score a goal for the Irish senior team while playing in the league here. Later, in 1994, after stints in charge of Home Farm and Drogheda United, he managed Rovers himself to what seemed at the time like an unlikely title success, by now playing out of the RDS, beating Cork City into second place by seven points having struggled during the previous campaign.

A couple of years later, he retired from active involvement in the game to concentrate on his travel agency business which for many years had the FAI contract and he was present on numerous away trips including the 2002 World Cup.

A hugely popular character amongst fellow ex-players, supporters and journalists, he was renowned for his story-telling on those trips with the Dubliner drawing on an apparently endless array of routinely hilarious yarns in which he often poked fun at his own career. Others tended to round his sense of mischief and fun on the often ill-fated international trips of his playing days.

He retired from the business in 2009 but only took seriously ill late last year. He is survived by his wife Jenny, daughters Lisa and Karen, sons John and Gary as well as grandchildren and other immediate family.

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