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Tributes paid to former Coleraine footballer Terry McCavana who went on to represent Northern Ireland

By David Young

Published 19/09/2015

Terry with wife Kathleen
Terry with wife Kathleen
Fay Coyle (left) and Terry McCavana training in 1955

Former Northern Ireland soccer international Terry McCavana has died at his home in Auckland, New Zealand after a short illness. He was 94.

The former Coleraine and Notts County player - who won three caps for his country during the 1950s - will be buried today.

Terry's niece Carmel McCavana remembered her soccer-mad uncle fondly: "I was just a little girl when he emigrated to New Zealand, and I had to make sure that his copy of the Ireland Saturday Night was posted to him every week," she said.

"Uncle Terry had an unending passion for the game

"He was very well loved and will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him," she said.

Former NI international goalkeeper Victor Hunter remembered meeting Terry at Coleraine FC in 1956: "I'd just joined the club and Terry was the first team centre half - and already a Northern Ireland international.

"He was a decent big fellow, and he was always ready to help a youngster like me who was just starting out."

According to fan site NI's Footballing Greats, Terry - then a serviceman in the RAF - had played as an amateur with Coleraine in the late 1940s.

A posting to England meant he could no longer continue his Irish League career, and accordingly McCavana secured his release from the Bannsiders to sign amateur forms with Notts County in August 1948.

Injury prevented him from making his debut until April 1949.

But it was not long before Terry returned to Coleraine, where he was quickly recognised by the Irish League, playing against the Scottish League in 1949.

Throughout the fifties he established himself at centre-half for Coleraine, the Irish League and the Northern Ireland Amateurs.

In November 1954 he was awarded his first full cap for Northern Ireland.

In total, he won three caps, two against Scotland and one playing England.

In his heyday, Terry played against some of the greatest names in British football, including Stanley Matthews and Nat Lofthouse.

In 1960, Terry McCavana emigrated to New Zealand, where he played an active role in attempting to establish football in the country throughout the 1960s and '70s.

He is survived by his wife Kathleen, and children Malachy, Brendan, Linda, Patricia and Sharon.

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