'Inspirational character' – tributes paid after former Ireland youth coach Sean McCaffrey passes away

'Inspirational character' – tributes paid after former Ireland youth coach Sean McCaffrey passes away

TRIBUTES have been paid to former Ireland youth coach Sean McCaffrey, who has passed away at the age of 58.

McCaffrey, who managed the Irish under-17, under-18 and under-19 teams, oversaw the development of stars such as Robbie Brady, Jeff Hendrick and Aiden McGeady.

He also managed Monaghan United and Dundalk.

He passed away earlier this morning at Cavan General Hospital.

FAI chief executive John Delaney led the tributes, praising the man who “drove Irish football on”.

He said: “[The FAI] is very sad to learn of the passing of Sean McCaffrey, who was truly an inspirational character and someone who made a difference at all levels of the game.

"From his early days with Monaghan United to serving as an FAI Development Officer in the north east of the country and through to his masterful handling of the Republic of Ireland Under 19, Under 18 and Under 17 teams, he covered so much.

"While many people will rightly praise Sean for leading his Under 17 team in 2008 to the European Championships in Turkey, his real legacy lies with the numbers of players that he helped produce for the men's senior team, which was well into double figures and included the likes of Robbie Brady, Jeff Hendrick, James McCarthy, Darren Randolph and Aiden McGeady.

“Quite simply, Sean McCaffrey was a football man.

He was passionate about the development of the game, he drove Irish football on, and he was always the same, whether he was dealing with a schoolboy starting out or one of the country's elite players.

"We send our deepest condolences to Sean's family and friends at this time and we will remember Sean's contribution to Irish football with a special presentation in the new year."

A statement from former club Monaghan United read: “It is with regret that Monaghan United has learned of the death of Seán McCaffrey, former Monaghan United and National team manager.

“Funeral arrangements not yet known. Ar dheis dé go raibh a anam.”

In 1979 McCaffrey helped found and also managed his hometown club Monaghan United.

In 2003 he took charge of Ireland’s youth teams, replacing Brian Kerr who was appointed manager of the senior side.

In 2008 he led the under-17s to the European Championships.

He left his post with Ireland in 2010 and later had a short spell in charge of Dundalk.

Tributes to Sean McCaffrey