Jimmy McIlroy: NI hero of 1958 World Cup dies

Jimmy McIlroy played 55 times for Northern Ireland, scoring 10 international goals
Jimmy McIlroy played 55 times for Northern Ireland, scoring 10 international goals

Former Northern Ireland and Burnley player Jimmy McIlroy has died at the age of 86, the club have announced.

The inside forward, who is widely regarded as the Clarets' finest ever player, was a mainstay of the team which won the First Division title in 1960 and reached the quarter-finals of the European Cup the following season.

McIlroy made 497 appearances for the club and scored 131 goals during a 13-year spell at Turf Moor and was an integral figure in Northern Ireland's 1958 World Cup campaign when they reached the quarter-finals.

A statement on burnleyfootballclub.com read: "Burnley Football Club is greatly saddened to hear of the death of Jimmy McIlroy - widely regarded as the club's finest ever player.

"The Clarets have lost a true club great and a part of their history, and the club's thoughts are with his family and friends on this sad day."

A post on Northern Ireland's Twitter feed reads: "Jimmy McIlroy, one of Northern Ireland's greatest ever players has sadly passed away. He was one of the heroes of the 1958 squad, won 55 caps and scored 10 international goals."

Jimmy McIlroy

Jimmy McIlroy

McIlroy joined Burnley from Glentoran in 1950 and quickly became a mainstay of the side which never finished outside the top seven between 1956 and 1963.

The club's fans were devastated when he left to join Stoke in 1963, and he ended his playing days at Oldham before brief spells as manager of the Latics and Bolton.

Glentoran tweeted: "RIP Jimmy McIlroy MBE. Jimmy played for Glentoran between 1949-1950 making 18 appearances and scoring 8 goals before moving to @BurnleyOfficial."