Dennis Guy tributes to a career covering George Best and Irish League glory days

Dennis Guy’s name will forever decorate the history books of Irish League football across the 1960s and 1970s as a prolific goalscorer who shared the international youth field with George Best and Pat Jennings alongside making his mark at club level in the colours of Linfield, Glenavon and Ards.

Celebrated as a fierce competitor on the field and respected for his unassuming nature away from the sporting arena, Dennis’ passing - one week away from a 78th birthday - has been met with widespread tributes.

From a debut in Linfield’s famous seven-trophy squad and leading the Glenavon goal charts across eight successive seasons to helping Ards lift four cups in a single season, Dennis enjoyed a place within many of the era’s most significant moments.

As a teenager he lined out alongside Northern Ireland greats such as Best and Jennings, plus picked up junior and amateur international caps over a fine career.

Dennis Guy during a welcome return appearance at Glenavon.

Finishing with 97 goals from 104 games with Linfield Swifts, his career with the Belfast club featured a senior debut in the seven-trophy season of 1961/62.

Dennis left Linfield with a first-team tally of 11 goals in 20 games before going on to cement his standing as a Glenavon legend, second only behind Jimmy Jones in the club’s all-time scoring charts.

The Portadown-born forward put his name on a Glenavon scoresheet no fewer than 295 times in 373 appearances.

Having once scored six goals in a single game for Linfield Swifts, Dennis managed a repeat return at first-team level with Glenavon on Christmas Eve in 1966 against Glentoran.

Dennis Guy (back row, second left) in a Northern Ireland Schools team that included 16-year-old George Best (front row, second left).

With Ards he scored European goals against both Standard Liege and PSV Eindhoven - plus helped the club on the domestic front to four cups in one campaign.

That 1973/74 season with Ards left the Irish Cup, Ulster Cup, Gold Cup and Blaxnit All-Ireland Cup in the trophy cabinet as Guy found the net on 44 occasions across the club’s 57-game marathon test.

A nephew of former Leeds United great Davy Cochrane, Dennis also shared the cricket field with brother Tom and watched son John follow his footsteps into Irish League football.

Respect for his sporting prowess extended beyond Irish League football into the world of cricket and a lauded career with Portadown, Lurgan and Laurelvale.

His dedication to sport led to post-playing spells as a Portadown football coach and assistant manager plus role in helping shape future generation of Laurelvale cricketers.

Dennis also played and coached at Portadown BBOB in Mid-Ulster football.

Tributes extended to the Guy family circle included those from ‘deeply saddened’ Glenavon, with Linfield expressing ‘deepest sympathy’ and Laurelvale highlighting ‘his influence over the current playing generation’.

The funeral will take place in Portadown’s St Mark’s Parish Church on Sunday at 2pm, followed by committal in Lurgan Cemetery.