Former Irish international Eamonn Deacy is mourned in Galway
The extremely large attendance at the funeral of former Irish International Eamonn Deacy, in his native Galway, reflected the esteem in which the popular former Galway United and Aston Villa player was held.His untimely death at the age of 57 left the football family in Ireland and England shocked and saddened at this unexpected event.Eamonn died from a suspected heart attack on his way to work at the family grocery establishment on Sea Road, Galway. He was a respected and popular person and his death revived memories of a story of remarkable success and a sportsman of uncommon ability and unusual modesty.Eamonn, who delighted in the nickname “Chick” which was given to him by his father, played four times for the Republic of Ireland international team and enjoyed much success throughout a club career that took him from the League of Ireland with Galway Rovers to a First Division League Championship winners’ medal with Aston Villa.The story of his transfer to Villa captured some of the unique characteristics of the man. A tribute to their former player on the Villa website this week recalled that he had written upwards of 20 letters to Villa manager, Ron Saunders, requesting a trial.When his wish was finally granted he was offered a contract in March of 1979. He made his first-team debut in December when introduced as substitute in the course of a 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur.Eamonn spent five seasons with Villa and he was won of only 14 players used by the manager in the course of the 1980/’81 season when they won the First Division Championship, now called the Premiership. He made several appearances in the European Champions’ Cup - now known as the Champions' League - the following season.Eamonn was used mostly as a substitute and although he started in five of their League matches he was reluctant to accept his League-winners’ medal because he felt he had not contributed sufficiently.The manager, Ron Saunders, would have none of it, of course, and insisted on him going forward to accept his medal. Overall he played in 39 matches for Villa and when he was released by the club he chose to return home rather than accept an offer of first-team football with Derby County.When asked in 2001 to recall some of his memories of that memorable season he said the team spirit was his enduring memory of that Championship–winning season .... and the banter.“You had to enjoy that because if you didn’t laugh it off you got twice as much.”Eamonn made his four international appearances against Algeria, Chile, Brazil and Trinidad and Tobago. He was a fine all-round athlete and played rugby with St. Joseph’s College and also with Galwegians. He also played Gaelic football with St Michael’s, but, it seemed, he was always fated to be a successful professional footballer.When he was a schoolboy he played with the local West United and it was significant that he should finish his career with the club, taking part in ‘Over 55’ competition. He and his brothers Des and Don helped the club win the Connacht Senior Cup in 1975.Eamonn had the distinction of scoring the first goal in the League of Ireland for Galway Rovers against Thurles Town in 1977 and in 1992 he helped Galway United win the FAI Cup by beating Shamrock Rovers in the final.His special qualities were widely recognised even if he was, by nature, a quiet and unassuming person. He was the recipient of a “Hall of Fame” in Galway recently and in 2009 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from NUIG.Eamonn’s popularity was reflected in the huge attendance at his funeral that included representatives of all his former clubs, including Galway, Aston Villa, Sligo Rovers, Limerick.The football family was led by FAI Chief Executive, Mr. John Delaney, who said: “Eamonn was a great servant to Irish football and will be fondly remembered. He will be sadly missed by all Irish football fans.”Airtricity League chair, Eamon Naughton said: “Eamon was a great servant to Galway football, he really played with his heart on his sleeve, his love of the game shone through every time he took to the pitch. He is sadly missed.”Eamonn was the youngest of ten children born to Christine and Miko Deacy of High Street in Galway City, where Deacy’s Fish Shop stands today. The family soon moved to St John’s Terrace, off Henry Street.He is survived by his wife Mary, daughter Dawn, and son Jake, and his brothers and sister Michael, George, Mary, Neil, Ernest, Tommy and Don. He was predeceased by brothers Nicholas (Dixie) and Desmond.Sincere sympathy is extended to all his relatives.
19th Feb 2012