Tributes paid to former Cork City defender Paul Bannon
‘He was a larger than life character, full of good humour and a great fellow’ - Dave Barry
Former Cork City star Dave Barry is among those to have paid tribute to Paul Bannon. Photo: Inpho
Former Cork City star Dave Barry is among those to have paid tribute to Paul Bannon after the Dublin born striker-turned-defender, who played a key role in the club’s title success of 1993, died suddenly.
Bannon, who joined Nottingham Forest as a teenager, first established himself as a senior player at Carlisle United before spells at various other English clubs then stints away in the Netherlands and Greece, returned home to join City in 1989. He made an immediate impact on those around him, recalls Barry.
“He was a larger than life character, full of good humour and a great fellow to be around on a long bus journey up to somewhere like Derry because he had so many great stories; he’d travelled and done all sort of things, he’d played against Maradona, that sort of thing, and he’d keep you entertained for hours with the stories he had about it all. He was the sort of fellow who, of you saw him, you were always glad if he decided to come and join your company.
“He came here and fitted straight off; he brought great experience from playing away but he immediately felt like one of the team, settled right in clearly feeling at home; I suppose it showed in the fact that he settled down here after he stopped playing, married and had his family here.
“He was also one of the greatest players that ever played for City, there’s no doubt about it,” continues Barry. “Noel O’Mahony signed him as a striker but then converted him into a central defender and it gave him a whole new lease of life. He wasn’t blessed with great pace but he was tremendous on the ball, really great in the air and one of the best readers of the game I have ever seen; I don’t think I ever once saw him caught out of position.”
Despite the switch from attack to defence, Bannon still scored some hugely important goals for City including the one against St Patrick’s Athletic that put the club in the 1992 FAI Cup final and the one against Shelbourne in the league play-off that clinched the club’s first ever title.
Bannon, who was just 59, came from an impressive sporting background with his father, Seamus, having won three hurling All Irelands with Tipperary. He is survived by his wife Helen, his daughter Heather and his mother Sally.