Classy Curley was Coleraine legend
Tony Curley, former Distillery, Glentoran and Coleraine inside forward, died in Belfast yesterday. He was 72.
Curley was a member of the accomplished Coleraine side of the 60s and 70s — the Bertie Peacock era — winning Irish League and Cup winners medals — virtually every senior honour in the Northern Ireland domestic game.
Versatility was his forte with the ability to occupy left-back, left-half, inside-left and right and centre-forward positions.
He was twice capped at amateur international level by the Irish FA.
His devotion to Coleraine was remarkable, travelling two and three times each week from his home in Belfast. He also holds the distinction of being the first Coleraine player to score a goal in European competition, netting against Dynamo Kiev in the European Cup Winners’ Cup.
He made 394 appearances, plus 15 as a substitute, for the Bannsiders, netting 131 goals.
After quitting as a player, Tony remained with the club as reserve and first team manager and latterly as talent scout.
His career began with Immaculata, and Minor League side Shelbourne and included spells at Distillery and Glentoran where he also picked up League and Cup medals. In 1984 he became the second Coleraine player — Peacock was the first — to win the prestigious Roy Stewart-Sean Mullan Merit Award.
Nobody served Irish League football with greater enthusiasm or loyalty than Lurgan-born Anthony Curley who also possessed an unsurpassed gift of assessing the potential of young players.
Many owe him a debt for launching their careers.