Hammers great Cantwell honoured

West Ham United great Noel Cantwell has had a road named in his honour in his native Cork
West Ham United great Noel Cantwell was posthumously honoured when a road was named in the Irishman’s honour in his native Cork.

The late Hammers and Ireland captain and full-back received recognition from Cork City Council on Friday when they officially name Noel Cantwell Walk.

Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Mary Shields officially unveiled a plaque on Noel Cantwell Way, while Cantwell's widow Maggie and daughters Kate and Elizabeth looked on.

Among the other dignitaries in attendance were FAI President Tony Fitzgerald, Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane - himself a Cork native - and FAI Chief Executive John Delaney.

The thoroughfare can be found beside the Mardyke, a recreational area to the west of the city centre that was home to Cork Athletic FC and still houses Cork County Cricket Club – both of whom Cantwell represented during his illustrious career.

The defender, who made 278 appearances in Claret and Blue after joining West Ham from Cork Athletic in 1952, played 36 times for his country at football, and five times for Ireland as a left-handed batsman and right-arm medium bowler.

Cantwell was raised in a house just a few dozen yards from the Mardyke, which the West Ham squad visited to train at the University College Cork’s Mardyke Arena in summer 2013, before spending his childhood playing on the sports grounds there.

League of Ireland side Cork Athletic, for whom his brother Frank played, were short a man for a game against Sligo Rovers in 1950, so they called on Noel to fill the gap.

After joining the Hammers two years later, Cantwell went on to captain the Club to the Division Two title and promotion to the top flight in 1958, while he was also named in the London XI which competed in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in the mid-1950s.

He was a renowned member of the Academy of Football, alongside fellow countryman Frank O’Farrell, Malcolm Allison, Dave Sexton and John Bond, who spent endless hours discussing football during the 1950s.

On leaving West Ham, Cantwell joined Manchester United, spending seven seasons at Old Trafford and captaining the Red Devils to FA Cup glory in 1963.

He also served as Chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association and as manager of Coventry City and Peterborough United, before passing away at the age of 73 in September 2005.

Noel Cantwell's widow Maggie greets Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane
(Photo - Irish Examiner)