Former Republic of Ireland international footballer Tony Grealish has passed away at the age of 56, following a battle with cancer.

Grealish started his professional career with Leyton Orient before spells with Luton Town, Brighton & Hove Albion, West Bromwich Albion, Manchester City, Rotherham United and Walsall

A hard-working midfielder, Grealish played 45 times for Ireland and scored eight goals, having played both Gaelic football and soccer in his youth.

He was an integral part of Eoin Hand's Ireland squad playing alongside the likes of Liam Brady and John Giles and played a central role in Ireland's famous 2-1 victory over the Netherlands in 1980.

"He helped change Ireland's fortunes at that level of the game" - FAI President Paddy McCaul

Grealish made his international debut against Norway in 1976 and won his final cap against Denmark in November 1985.

He captained Brighton against Manchester United in the 1983 FA Cup final. 

FAI President Paddy McCaul said: "He will be remembered as a great servant of Irish football who was part of the international set-up under John Giles and Eoin Hand that came so close to qualifying for major tournaments and helped change Ireland's fortunes at that level of the game."

John Delaney, chief executive of the FAI, added: "Tony Grealish was one of my footballing heroes when I was a child and I always remembered him as a great competitor who always gave his all for Ireland. 

"He will be missed by Irish football and we will be paying tribute to him at the forthcoming international against Georgia."