Causeway Chronicle

League mourns the passing of Andy Shirlow

February 15, 2024, will be remembered as a sad day for the footballing fraternity in the Coleraine area with the announcement that Andrew, John “Andy” Shirlow passed away peacefully at Causeway Hospital.

Andy was a larger than life character, well-known in junior footballing circles throughout the Causeway Coast and Glens area.

I first met Andy when I was invited to play for a team in Coleraine called Windsor Rangers. I was 16 or so at the time. It was a bunch of friends based at Windsor Avenue and they played at the Crescent.

Andy was full-back. His brother William and cousin Dennis also played at Windsor Rangers as did great players like Ted Hutton, Davy Gilmore, Joe Irwin, Willie Dunn and Jimmy Gamble.

Also in that team were Andy Caskey, Billy McGrath, Maurice Parkhill, Johnny McGrotty, and Ronnie Roxborough, all sadly no longer with us. Andy was a permanent fixture in the side and we all had a great time together and a few memorable scalps were collected back in the day under the management of the late Eddie Ferguson.

That friendship continued until this present day through a shared love for football.

Andy was also a life-long member and founder of Heights Football Club. Many a good yarn was had with Andy, the late Jimmy McGonigle and Robert McClements. Football was full of characters, and every club had their share.

But, it was not only at Heights that Andy’s passion for the game was evident for all to see. He served for many years on the Coleraine and District League Management Committee where his insight, his honesty and ability to introduce a bit of humour into proceedings made committee meetings a bit more enjoyable.

Andy had many attributes, but words that spring to mind when thinking of Andy are honest, reliable, humorous and dedicated.

To the players and officials at Heights the league extend their sympathy on their loss. Saturday would have seen the club play Limavady Under-21s, in the North-West Junior Cup, but that tie has been postponed as a mark of respect.

While we in the football world mourn the loss of a friend and colleague, there is a greater loss to the Shirlow family. The League also extend their heartfelt sympathy to the immediate and extended Shirlow family at this sad time, his loving wife Ann, son Mark, daughter-in-law Pamela; daughter Stacie and partner David, grandson Ben and wife Crystal and Dean. grandchildren Charlie and Ellie, sisters Mary and Barbara, brothers William, Stanley and Trevor.

A Service of Thanksgiving will be held in Coleraine Congregational Church on Monday at 1.00pm followed by interment in Coleraine Cemetery.

When the one great scorer comes,
To write against our name;
He asks not if we won or lost,
But how we played the game.
Well played Andy Shirlow, well played sir.

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Maurice Bradley