The death has occurred of Ronnie Nolan (89) who undoubtedly ranks as one of the greatest ever players to have lined out for Shamrock Rovers Football Club. Ronnie joined the Hoops in 1952 from the famous Dublin Schoolboy club Johnville. He played just a handful of games in the reserve team before making his debut for the first team. He was 18 years old at the time. His first appearance for the first team came in the Dublin City Cup final against keen rivals Drumcondra with Rovers winning 1-0.
Ronnie never looked back after that. The following season he assisted the Milltown club to their first league title in 18 years. It was to be the beginning of a golden era and the emergence of the team that became known as “Coad’s Colts”.
During his time at Milltown Ronnie won four league titles and six FAI Cups. He also achieved numerous successes in all other competitions. In 1967 he took up the offer to become assistant to Sean Thomas at Bohemians and so a long and fruitful career in the green and white hoops came to an end.
Ronnie earned ten international caps at senior level over a six-year period from 1956 to 1962. In addition, Ronnie made a hugely impressive thirty-two appearances for the League of Ireland representative side from 1954 to 1964. An incredibly robust half back, he had the distinction of never being injured. During his time in the green and white he made well over 300 appearances. He was hugely popular with the fans at Milltown.
Looking back on his career some years ago Ronnie said: “With Rovers the greatest thrill I got was scoring the winning goal in the Cup final against Cork; that was a famous game”. That indeed was and still is a famous game (1956 FAI Cup Final). With the Hoops looking dead and buried losing 2-0 to Cork Athletic with just thirteen minutes of play remaining, they staged an amazing comeback to win 3-2.
We offer our heartfelt sympathy to Ronnie’s family, relatives and friends on their loss. Ronnie Nolan was truly one of the all-time greats.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.