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Dermot McManus RIP

posted 9 Aug 2016, 13:11 by Athlone GAA

A dark cloud descended over Áras Chiaráin and indeed the wider Athlone region when news broke on Tuesday morning last week of the sudden and untimely death of former player  Dermot McManus. A larger than life figure with many strings to his bow Dermie made a huge contribution to the club during his playing career and had dipped his toes in management since a back injury cut short his playing career in 2012. Previously he had guided an U-16 team to a county title in 2004.

Aside from his exploits on the pitch, his jovial personality and wicked sense of humour ensured there was no such thing as a quiet dressing room when Mac was around. His singing in the showers was legendary and memories of it will live long with those who were lucky enough to share a dressing room with him. So too will his performance, shared by many Athlone GAA members, on the bus back from Mizen Head to Cork after we completed a Malin to Mizen cycle in memory of Mick Turley. Dermot ensured that the bus literally rocked back into Cork. Dermot took centre stage and thoughts of tired legs were soon replaced by sore ribs as he entertained us in his own inimitable way.

Like most good footballers Dermot was a citóg, blessed with explosive speed and ball carrying abilities, a wicked sidestep and an uncanny eye for goal.

From his playing days at Athlone Community College manager Joe Mulvihill remembers him as an exceptional talent, one of the best that ever went through the school. In 2000 he captained the school side to its first ever Leinster Vocational schools Junior (U16) title. That team lost the all-Ireland semi-final narrowly to a Colaiste na Sceilige side managed by Jack O'Connor and captained by Declan O'Sullivan. The same year he collected more silverware in the form of a North Leinster Colleges B medal at the expense of St Mary's Edenderry. The game turned into a shootout between Dermot operating at centre-forward and a certain Niall McNamee operating at full-forward for the opposition. Dermot opened and closed the scoring in the game with a goal on each occasion and dominated in between.

Dermot's exploits on the club and colleges scene ensured his call up to the county scene and he represented Westmeath up to and including U-21 level.

Dermot graduated from the minor ranks in 2001 and soon became an important part of the senior team. While he played the earlier rounds of the championship in 2003, and indeed featured on the front cover of the county final day programme, injury prevented him from taking part in the final. Considering we lost to the Downs after a replay it is fair to think that had he been fit to play we might have another county title to our names.

A great goal getter on one occasion, playing against neighbours Garrycastle, Athlone were awarded a free on the 21yard line. Joe Fallon placed the ball on the ground content to take the point but before Joe or indeed the Garrycastle defence knew what was happening Dermot had lifted the ball and struck it low and hard to the corner of the net. Cheeky but typical Dermot.

One of his most valuable goals came in the relegation final of 2012 against Tubberclare, which marked his final game for the club. His goal on that occasion helped us to maintain our senior status.

The massive turnout at his funeral was testament to the warmth and regard that was felt for Dermot by all in Athlone GAA and the many other organisations he was involved in.

The club expresses its deepest sympathies to Dermot's parents Micheal and Roseann, sisters Hilary, Sharon and Fiona, the wider McManus family, Rachel, Laura and the many people who were lucky enough to call Dermot a friend. 

Ar dheis De a anam dilis.