Tributes flooded in on Saturday following the death of Ireland cricket legend Roy Torrens from Covid-19.
The 72-year-old was involved in Irish cricket since making his debut as an 18-year old and subsequently went on to become Chairman of Selectors, Irish Cricket Union president and, for 11 successful years which included three World Cups, team manager.
Phil Simmons, now coach of West Indies, his friend and Ireland coach for eight of those years, sent his condolences from Bangladesh where the Caribbean side are currently touring.
“I am deflated with the news that a great friend has been taken by this dreaded virus. You were an Irish international player, selector, president (and) manager through my eight years as coach, but most of all you were my friend. You were a friend even more than the legend you are. I will miss you Big Fella and the good times we shared as will the many people that you made smile.”
Current Ireland chairman of selectors Andrew White was a member of the 2007 and 2011 World Cup squads and he fondly remembered his time in Roy’s company.
“It’s not often you hear people saying that a team manager can be an integral part of a team but if you ask any of the players, Roy was one of the main reasons why Ireland were so successful. He had the ability to bring people together and the team spirit that embodied the 2007 World Cup squad and all the teams since he has been involved got us through so much on and off the field, Roy was central to that.
“A real North West man, but he always wanted Ireland to be successful and the hours he put in behind the scenes making sure the players were happy and ready to perform cannot be underestimated.”
Former Sunday Life cricket correspondent and also a former ICU president, Robin Walsh added: “Simply put, my dearest friend was one of the greatest figures in the history of Irish cricket. His contribution as a player, administrator, manger and supporter was incalculable. He brought smiles to faces wherever he travelled in the world. Such memories and all to be treasured.”
Chairman Ross McCollum spoke on behalf of Cricket Ireland: “Roy was a truly remarkable character, an immense presence in Irish cricket, and a truly great friend – not just personally, but to many people within and outside the cricket family.
“He was a player, a team manager, a president and – most importantly – an inspiration to all he met. It goes without saying, but we will miss him.”
Mr Torrens also played football to amateur international standard, winning three caps for Northern Ireland and played in the 1970 Irish Cup final for Ballymena United, after joining from Derry City. He went on to play for Coleraine and Institute.
Roy was recognised for his contribution to cricket in 2009 with the OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List and for the last five years was chairman of Brigade Cricket Club, with whom he had a lifetime association.
Sympathy is extended to his wife Joan, daughters Andrea, Judith, Joanne and the entire family circle.