Members of PJ O'Neill's family pictured at the new stand named in his memory.
The Football Association of Ireland is to posthumously honour a Carrick-on-Suir United FC volunteer who was instrumental in introducing and developing schoolboys soccer at his club, it was announced at the official opening of a new €70,000 spectator stand at Tom Drohan Park named in his memory.
FAI chief John Delaney revealed at the opening of the Club's new PJ O'Neill memorial stand last week, that the late Mr O'Neill will be honoured later this year with a John Sherlock Service to Football award.
PJ O'Neill, from O'Mahony Ave., Carrick-on-Suir, who passed away in 2015, was the man who brought schoolboys football to Carrick United FC in the 1970s and kept the schoolboys teams at the club going through difficult times.
Carrick United PRO Eamon Russell said PJ was involved in Carrick United in the early days of hte club and over the years served as a club officer and team manager and was involved in pitch maintenance and also ticket selling.
His biggest legacy was his work with developing the club's schoolboys soccer teams. This began in the early 1970s when PJ and Donal O'Callaghan formed a schoolboy street league in the town with the intention of putting forward a team for the Waterford Schoolboys League.
PJ's eldest son Edward said the naming of the stand after his dad was a fantastic honour for the family.
"We are very humbled by the generosity and thoughtfulness of the Club.
“My dad was very much associated with the junior underage players. His dream was to get a crowd of lads off the streets to play soccer. "
He said the FAI's decision to posthumously award his father a John Sherlock Service to Football award came as a huge surprise to his family. It was wonderful recognition for the work his dad did with the Club.
The official opening of the spectator stand on Sunday, January 20 was jointly carried out by John Delaney and Adrienne O'Neill McDonald, daughter of the late PJ O'Neill. She was among a large group of relatives of Mr O'Neill, who attended the ceremony.
Read full report and view more photos of the official opening ceremony in this week’s printed edition of The Nationalist now in shops.