Noel Mooney leads tributes after death of Fran Ray
Ray credited with helping the DDSL become the biggest schoolboy league in Europe
FAI general manager Noel Mooney is among the many figures in football to have paid tribute on Tuesday to Fran Ray, the long-time honorary secretary of the Dublin and District Schoolboys League, who has passed away after a long illness.
“We all knew Fran as the key person in growth of the DDSL, which went on to become the biggest schoolboy league in Europe,” said Mooney. “His love of the game and his determination to grow football were clear. His work was always carried out in great spirit and with his sharp wit evident for all to see.
“He played a significant role also in the growth of football across our country through his many years representing the DDSL on a national level through the SFAI.”
With Ray, who became secretary back in 1977, a key driving force, the DDSL became not only the key vehicle for the development of young Irish players for many years but also a major power within the wider association and game here.
Mick McCarthy said he had met Ray many times over the years and had been aware of “his great commitment to schoolboy football, not just in Dublin, but in Ireland.”
Robbie Keane, one of many senior internationals to start their careers in the league, said he had known Ray since he had been “a kid” and described him as “a great friend of football and he was a true gentleman”.
Ray is survived by his wife, Sandra, daughter, Lindsay, and son, Alan.