Belfast Telegraph

Michael O'Neill hails one of Northern Ireland's greatest players as Jimmy McIlroy passes away

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill has saluted one of the country's 'greatest ever players' in reaction to the passing of Jimmy McIlroy.

Nicknamed the Prince of Inside Forwards, McIlroy played for Northern Ireland at the 1958 World Cup finals, pulling on the green shirt a total of 55 times and scoring 10 goals.

At club level, he goes down in history as Burnley FC's greatest ever, scoring 131 goals in 497 appearances and helping the club to the league title in 1960.

“Jimmy was one of the greatest ever players to have worn the green shirt of Northern Ireland," said O'Neill.

“As well as being a hugely talented footballer who reached the highest levels of the game, he was also a fantastic person and anyone who ever met him was struck by his warmth, his humility and his passion for football.

“Jimmy will be sadly missed, but what he achieved on the pitch for Northern Ireland will always be remembered.”

McIlroy was inducted into the Northern Ireland Hall of Fame by the NI Football Writers in 2012.

He also scored the first recorded passed penalty when on international duty as Danny Blanchflower squared the spot-kick for McIlroy to finish against Portugal at Windsor Park in May 1957.

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