Jimmy Jones: A true legend of Irish League football

Jimmy Jones
Jimmy Jones

Tributes have been paid to Irish League football legend Jimmy Jones, who died on Thursday aged 85.

Jones, born in Keady, Co Armagh, was one of the most prolific scorers in the history of the local game.

The former Belfast Celtic and Glenavon centre-forward was idolised at his club Glenavon and considered by many as one of the game’s greatest players.

He also had brief spells with Fulham, Larne and at the end of his career Portadown.

Jones played for Belfast Celtic in a game on Boxing Day, 1948 against Linfield at Windsor Park.

There was rioting at the end of a stormy, tension-filled game in which players from both teams got caught up in and Jones suffered a broken leg.

He served Glenavon as a player from 1951 to 1962, was captain on the club tour of the United States in 1960 and manager from 1969-72.

He scored 517 goals in his distinguished Irish League career and was the leading scorer in the league in 10 successive seasons from 1952/53 to 1961/62.

His Glenavon honours included three Irish League titles and three Irish Cups.

He played in the great Glenavon teams of the 1950s that included Wilbur Cush, Jackie Denver, Sammy Wilson and Paddy Corr.

Jones made three international appearances for Northern Ireland, one in 1956 against England at Windsor Park when he came up against the great Wolverhampton Wanderers centre-half and England captain Billy Wright.

The burly Jones was an unorthodox centre-forward who scored most of his goals by hovering in and around the opposition’s penalty area.

Glenavon chairman Adrian Teer, in a tribute, said: “It is very sad to learn of the passing of Jimmy Jones.

“He was a colossus of a player and we will never see the like of him again.

“He was a player, a captain and a manager to this club and above all else he had a great personality.

“It is a sad day for his family and a sad day for Glenavon Football Club.

“It is only a few months ago Jimmy was at Mourneview Park for the naming of the Jimmy Jones Suite in his memory.”