Noel Melvin: An Appreciation

Everyone at Finn Harps were shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of our former player Noel Melvin.   A hugely popular man with fans and his team-mates alike, many tributes have been paid to him.

Noel joined Finn Harps at the beginning of the 1995/96 season.  It was an open secret at the time, that the then Finn Harps manager, Patsy McGowan, was an admirer and had been after the signature of the Ballina native for some time.

Noel rose to prominence through the underage ranks whilst playing for his local club Ballina Town.  He was awarded the Mayo Football League’s young player of the year award in 1989 as he helped his county to the Final of the FAI Youths Inter-League Cup.  The following year he followed that up by appearing for Ballina Town in the first round of the FAI Senior Cup only for them to be beaten by Shelbourne.

Noel, a bank official in his working life, moved to play for Donegal Town in the Ulster Senior League, whilst working in the town.   He also turned out for the Four Masters GAA Club at the time.   A move to Monaghan saw him join the local League of Ireland club United in the summer of 1992. During his three year spell he helped Monaghan to win promotion, via a play off, at the end of his first season.  He helped them retain their premier division status the following season, before they were relegated in his final season.

At the end of his first season with Harps, Noel was a member of the team that won the club automatic promotion for the first time in the club’s history. The following season, Noel starred in Harps first Premier League campaign before leaving in the summer of 1997 and signing for Dundalk where he stayed for five seasons.  

During that time he endured a relegation and also the bizarre affair where Dundalk won promotion on the pitch but were denied if off the pitch.  He later played for Dundalk in the UEFA Cup against Varteks Varazdin.  Noel impressed so much in the 1999/2000 season that he was awarded Player of the Year.

For Finn Harps his total appearances in all competitions were sixty three starts, five substitute appearances and he scored five goals.

Noel attended the 20 year anniversary event that Finn Harps held to honour the promotion winning side of 1996 a couple of years ago and was warmly received by his former playing colleagues and supporters who attended.

All at Finn Harps pass on their sincerest sympathies to his wife Cathy, son Marc and daughter Sophie, his wider family circle and many friends.

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