Tributes have been pouring in for the late great dual star Noel Melvin, the ex-Four Masters, Finn Harps, Dundalk and Monaghan Utd player, who passed away at the young age of 48 in Monaghan on Sunday.
The Mayo native (pictured) was a very popular player in the League of Ireland and his sad passing has evoked a sense of great shock and also loss, especially in Donegal Town where he excelled at Gaelic football and soccer.
Former Four Masters and Donegal GAA star Seamie Meehan, who is also now domiciled in Monaghan town, said his death was a huge shock to a wide spectrum of the world of sport.
“Noel was the man of the highest integrity and put his heart and soul into everything he did.
“Near enough was never good enough and he was exceptionally devoted to being healthy and being fit.
“And you would often see him out running on the roads of Monaghan.”
He added: “I also played GAA with him for Four Masters in the 1980s, and he was exceptionally talented in this sphere as well.
“He was physically powerful and had great vision.
“Noel was also heavily involved in soccer in the town and the whole town is just stunned by his passing”.
Meanwhile Peter Smith, a former playing colleague and manager of Noel Melvin’s at Donegal Town FC also paid a heartfelt tribute to one of the club’s greatest ever players.
“It is just so shocking and very hard to believe that he is no longer with us.
“He came to the club as an 18-year-old when he was working in the Bank of Ireland in Donegal Town in the early 1990s and he was always something special.
“Firstly he was a great human being and a man of immense character.
“Noel was also a great footballer, a great midfielder and a great header of a ball and he was a key part of our team along with Marty Kelly when we got to the quarter-finals of the Irish Junior Cup in the 1990s.
“Noel made a great impression on all he met because he was so genuine, so sincere, had the highest possible standards and treated everyone the same.
“We are truly all the poorer for his passing”.
And his ex-Donegal club Finn Harps also paid a poignant tribute to Noel. “Noel was a member of the team that got Harps back to the Premier Division in 1996 after a long period in the first division and is fondly remembered at Finn Park. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.”
Melvin made 48 appearances for Finn Harps, scoring four goals. In 1992, he joined Division One Monaghan United from Donegal Town. He scored in both legs of the promotion/relegation play-offs against Waterford as the Gortakeegan side got promoted to the Premier Division.
After three seasons with Monaghan, he joined Finn Harps. A change of job-location paved the way for his move to Dundalk. Melvin, who could play either in defence or midfield, played 99 times for Dundalk and scored seven goals. In 1999/2000 he was the Dundalk player of the year.
In total, he made 219 League game appearances across 11 seasons with Monaghan, Harps and Dundalk. In Mayo, he was widely regarded as one of the best players from the county.
He was the first recipient of the Mayo Football League's Young Footballer of the Year Award in 1989 after starring in the county's run to the final of the FAI Youths Inter-League Cup.
Noel Melvin was laid to rest after his funeral mass in County Monaghan yesterday (Wed). He is survived by his wife Cathy, and children Marc and Sophie, to whom sincere sympathy is extended.