Tribute to footballing giant Cyril Lennon

Tribute to footballing giant Cyril Lennon

5 June 2019

THE local football family was in mourning at the weekend following the untimely passing of Crossgar’s Cyril Lennon, one of the giants of the game, at the age of 68.

A fearsome striker in his playing days, Cyril was a softly spoken man who had an encyclopaedic knowledge of players from near and far. 

He was an aficionado of the beautiful game and loved nothing better than to talk about players, their strengths and shortcomings, formations and systems to anyone who would listen.

Cyril was involved in the local game for longer than he would even admit to. He started out on his footballing journey as a fresh-faced teenager in the mid 1960s alongside his brother Denis, the McClurgs and Pattersons at Kilmore United, and was an integral part of the embryo that was to become Kilmore Rec.

Originally from Inch, just outside Downpatrick, Cyril followed Denis to Killyleagh YCin 1968 and that was the start of a close link with the club that lasted the best part of 50 years.

He spent a decade at The Showgrounds before moving to Drumaness Mills where he again endeared himself to all at Meadowvale with his goals and whole-hearted play.

When he hung up his boots in the mid 1980s he bided his time before taking up the role as manager at Drumaness with his pal Paul Gelston — he also had managerial spells at Ballynahinch United (twice) and Kilmore Rec.

However, in 1997 he returned to The Showgrounds to team up with Dee Heron and together they set about building one of the best team sides to play in the Amateur League.

They won everything there was to win with the exception of the Intermediate Cup.

They lifted the Steel & Sons, Border and Clarence Cup with regularity, as well as six Amateur League Premier Section titles in a row. 

In addition to his time at Killyleagh, Cyril was Heron’s assistant with the Amateur League’s representative team and also teamed up with Nortel’s Ricky Beggs as manager of the Amateur League U-19 youth team for three years.

In more recent years Cyril, although he wasn’t attached to any club, still followed the highs and lows of all local outfits and loved nothing better than travelling to watch Northern Ireland.

Sincere condolences are expressed to his wife Betty, daughters Jennifer, Pamela and Heather, and extended family circle.