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Time is right to call it a day: Lurgan Celtic chief

By Steven Beacom

Published 15/03/2016

Time for change: John O'Neill has quit due to health reasons
Time for change: John O'Neill has quit due to health reasons

Lurgan Celtic chairman John O'Neill has stepped down from his role and is leaving football altogether due to health reasons.

The decision was made at the weekend and while it will come as a shock to many involved in the local game given Lurgan Celtic face Linfield at Windsor Park in the Irish Cup semi-final next month, O'Neill insists the time is right to move on.

O'Neill was chairman of the NIFL Championship One club for four seasons.

He admits that he took on the role 'reluctantly' but departs with Lurgan Celtic on a solid footing and looking forward to one of the biggest matches in their history.

"I stood down on Saturday because of health reasons," explained O'Neill. "I gave it a lot of thought and feel now is the time to walk away, not just from Lurgan Celtic but from football.

"I feel very sad but my health is the key factor in my decision."

O'Neill says he won't attend the semi-final against Linfield on April 1, though could be persuaded to go to the Irish Cup decider if Lurgan Celtic make it.

He added: "Lurgan Celtic is a fantastic club. There is a great bunch of guys there and the players work really hard. Our manager Colin Malone is top notch. What he has done for the club has been excellent.

"There was a time a few years ago when we were wondering if we could field a team and now we are in an Irish Cup semi-final at Windsor Park against Linfield.

"While sad to leave, I am glad to do so at a time when we are about to dine at the top table."

Belfast Telegraph

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