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Tue 21-Dec-2010 19:28
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Tribute to Dermot Earley
Dermot Earley - the man I knew: by Brian Carthy Part III
Each year brings the passing of many notable and much loved GAA figures. Not just at national level but in clubs up and down the country as well. In 2010, a man died who left a bigger gap in our hearts than many, especially among the people of Roscommon - Lieutenant-General Dermot Earley, Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces.
In his annual book 'The Championship 2010' another famous son of Roscommon, RTÉ's renowned Gaelic Games Correspondent and match commentator, Brian Carthy, recalls his personal memories of Dermot Earley - the Gorthaganny man, the footballer, the husband and father, the soldier. Brian's book is in all Eason's shops or can be ordered from Sliabh Bán Productions, PO Box 6369, Fortfield, Dublin 6W or
We are pleased to carry, exclusively, excerpts from his memoir of Dermot as well as this pictorial tribute:
Dermot Earley - a life in pictures
It was easy to see why Dermot had such a distinguished military career because he possessed rare leadership qualities. He treated everyone with respect. He never lost the sense of place that defined him and made him a leader on the international stage. There was no need to change. Why should he! He was what he was – a mighty man from Gorthaganny.
There was a huge outpouring of grief at home and among the Gaelic Games community across the globe when the news broke of Dermot’s death. But nowhere was his passing felt more acutely than in Roscommon, the county that both shaped him and revered him and that he in turn inspired. He was family.
GAA president Christy Cooney led the tributes to a ‘true legend of Gaelic football’ while the President of Ireland Mary McAleese and the Taoiseach Brian Cowen also expressed their condolences. Mr Cowen, who had presented Dermot with a Distinguished Service Medal two months previously, said the General was ‘a true champion of peace, whose commitment, intelligence, leadership and charisma brought distinction to
himself, his family and Ireland’.
Thousands, including sporting, political and religious leaders, came from all over the country and abroad to sympathise with the Earley family at St Bridgets Church in the Curragh and later at St Conleth’s Parish Church in Newbridge. People travelled in large numbers from Roscommon and some of those sympathisers wore the county’s primrose and blue jerseys in remembrance of days past when the whole world was young and their hero Dermot Earley filled their lives with joy and happiness. Dermot’s Roscommon teammates, including the captain Danny Murray, who played alongside him in the 1980 All-Ireland final, came to pay their last respects to a man that had motivated and inspired them all.
Memorial cards distributed at Dermot's funeral detailed the five points of his ‘Plan for Life’, which clearly personified his life as a husband, father, son, brother, soldier and Christian.
1) Enjoy time with my family
2) Give the best to my work
3) Give back to my community
4) Spend my leisure time well
5) Make time for God in my life
There is no doubt that his mother Kitty, his wife Mary, sons David, Dermot and Conor and daughters Paula, Anne-Marie and Noelle along with his brothers, Peter and Paul and sisters Denise and Margaret and his extended family have been consoled by the knowledge that Dermot touched the lives of so many throughout his sporting and working career.
I always came away refreshed and renewed after a conversation with Dermot. He was an inspiration and he never lost the common touch. Dermot Earley’s legend will live on and will inspire young Roscommon people to play Gaelic football and dream the dream. And there would be no greater tribute to his memory than to see a young generation of Roscommon footballers rise up and bring the Sam Maguire Cup back to the county.
Roscommon would also rejoice should his son Dermot win an All-Ireland medal with Kildare. That would make his father and the people of Roscommon ‘mighty’ proud too.
Leaba i measc laochra Ros Chomáin go raibh aige
Memories of Dermot Earley - by Brian Carthy Part I
A sportsman supreme - Memories ofr dermot Earley by Brian Carthy Part II
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