Michael O’Neill’s ‘touching’ tribute at mother’s funeral

Northern Ireland football manager Michael O'Neill pictured at the funeral of his mother, Patricia in Ballymena, Co Antrim
Northern Ireland football manager Michael O'Neill pictured at the funeral of his mother, Patricia in Ballymena, Co Antrim

The funeral service for Patricia O’Neill – mother of Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill – has taken place in Ballymena.

Hundreds of mourners attended the service at 10am this morning at All Saints Church in the town.

Michael O'Neill is comforted by a mourner  at the funeral of his mother, Patricia in Ballymena

Michael O'Neill is comforted by a mourner at the funeral of his mother, Patricia in Ballymena

The mother of five died peacefully at the Antrim Area Hospital on Sunday after a long illness.

She lived in the Brigadie area of the town with her husband Des.

Councillor Declan O’Loan, who attended the service, said Michael made a “very warm and touching” tribute to his mother.

He added: “Michael spoke touchingly and humorously about his fond memories of Patricia, who he said was a great mother to him and his siblings.

Des and Patricia O'Neill.

Des and Patricia O'Neill.

“It was a very warm service and you got the feeling that Patricia was a lady who had lived a very full life.”

Mrs O’Neill will be buried at Ballywillan Cemetery in Portrush at 1.30pm today.

Negotiations between the 48-year-old international team boss and the Scottish Football Association are understood to have been put on hold while the O’Neill family comes to terms with the loss.

O’Neill has also been linked with the new vacancy at West Bromwich Albion following the departure of manager Tony Pulis on Monday.

It also emerged yesterday that he has been offered a six-year deal by the Irish Football Association to remain in his current post.