Glenavon star laid to rest

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A GLENAVON star of the 1950s was laid to rest last week.

Maurice Masters won the league with the Lurgan Blues three times and also played in the team that won the Irish Cup in 1959.

The Belfast man, who died at the age of 85, played for Coleraine and Bangor before joining Glenavon. The right-sided player was one of the pivotal men in the Glenavon side that became the first provincial club to lift the League Championship in the 1951/1952 season. He went on to play in the league winning sides of 1956/57 and 1959/60.

Maurice also represented Northern Ireland at amateur level, winning nine caps and scoring one goal against Gold Coast in 1951.

He missed out on an Irish Cup winners medal at the first time of asking when Glenavon went down to a shock defeat to Dundela in the final in 1955 but he did pick up a winners medal in 1959 when the Lurgan Blues defeated Ballymena United in a replay.

After leaving Glenavon, Maurice moved to Cliftonville and stayed involved at Solitude up until his death.

Maurice enjoyed a 23-year playing career in the Irish League, playing until he was 41.

With his playing days over, Masters remained actively involved in football with Cliftonville and was the club’s Vice President at the time of his death.

Reflecting on his career in 2008 Maurice said: “Looking back on those days brings back many memories. I played 23 years in the Irish League and didn’t retire until I was 41, so it shows how much I enjoyed playing football.

“I am still involved now with Cliftonville, and I never miss a match. The game has changed but the buzz and excitement is still there.”

Glenavon chairman Adrian Teer said this week: “Maurice was a very versatile player. He was always a very active and enthusiastic sort of player. He was a key player in a lot of Glenavon success in the mid 50s.

“What always struck me was his enthusiasm. I remember seeing him play in the Irish Cup final of 1959.”

Adrian added: “Maurice was an honorary member of the Triangle Supporters Club and regularly attended their dinner.

“He was at Mourneview Park this season for a game between Glenavon and Cliftonville. He rarely missed a Glenavon Cliftonville match.

“My condolences go to the Masters’ family on behalf of Glenavon FC.”

Cliftonville chairman Gerard Lawlor said: “Maurice was a wonderful servant not only to Cliftonville Football Club but to Irish League football as a whole,” he said.

Cliftonville president Jim Boyce - who regularly accompanied Maurice to games in his later years - said: “Not only was he an outstanding footballer, but a gentleman. The Northern Ireland game will miss him.”

Maurice, whose wife Audrey pre-deceased him by two years, is survived by sons Neill and Scott and, while the Masters family have requested privacy and no flowers to be sent, they have advised that donations could be made to Action Cancer NI.