By John Foley
The Carlow sporting community is in mourning following the news that Carlow & District Soccer League Honourary Secretary John Coughlan (pictured below right) has died at the age of 69.
Coughlan passed away in St Vincent’s Hospital after a short illness.
The Offaly native, who was also the Graiguecullen notes correspondent for this newspaper, has been one of the best-known faces in Carlow sporting circles for the past three decades and was a key figure in the foundation and growth of the Carlow & District League over the years.
Tributes have poured in for Coughlan from around the country, in particular highlighting his immense contribution to the game of soccer. He was on the FAI Rules Commission, an active member of the FAI’s disciplinary bodies, a member of the FAI National Council. In 2008 he became the first President of the Leinster Football Association from outside the Dublin area.
“John was a true friend and a wonderful man who displayed tireless dedication to our sport,” FAI Chief Executive John Delaney said. “He showed remarkable bravery and strength during his illness. Throughout his life, he gave great service to football and he will be missed by his many friends.”
Noel Jordan who soldiered alongside John for many years in the Carlow and District League, said: “Having worked closely with John for over 22 years, I found out what a great leader he was and how he inspired people around him to buy into his way of thinking. A massive space has been left in our league but more importantly, we have lost a great leader, a great friend and a man who made a difference in our community.”
In a statement, the Carlow & District League said: “John devoted his life to football in Carlow and beyond. He will always be remembered as a natural leader, diligent administrator, for his fairness to all and as a dearest friend. May he rest in peace.