Tá laoch de chuid Bhaile Buadáin Naomh Éanna ar lár inniu agus ar gcara, leas-Uachtarán an chlub, Denis Kelleher, ar shlí na fírinne. Our friend, counsellor, sage and club Vice President
Denis has gone to his eternal reward, and he will be greatly missed by all of those on whose lives he had such an impact over more than forty years of service to our community. Denis was truly a kind, highly-intelligent, good-humoured gentleman who contributed to Ballyboden St. Endas in multiple ways over the years. He managed hurling and camogie teams for many years, and Donagh O’Farrell recalled today how Denis was such a huge part of his growing up through his positive influence on his and his teammates’ lives. Denis cycled from house to house every week delivering cards that informed the recipient that he or she was selected to play for Ballyboden St. Endas at a particular time and venue. Denis’ sharp intellect was a key ingredient in the club’s strategic plan, Challenge 2020, where he was a central member of the group with analysed the demographics of the area and suggested the facilities required by those growing numbers. He went on to put process and order on club registrations, and those processes serve us well today. Denis also built a player statistics package and processes to measure and maximise player game time.
Through all of this, he repaired hurls, although he undoubtedly called them hurleys, and taught those arts to a new generation. Denis was a true gentleman, but had a steely side when he saw that things were not done correctly. He enjoyed a chuckle as he recalled the time when he and P. O’Neill were hauled before the club executive for operating a renegade committee – but he was far to discreet to share who his accusers were! Denis was a very kind man and always had time for a word with everybody. He regularly took the time after AGMs to send a message to members of the executive to acknowledge and thank them for their stewardship of the club. Denis was to be seen cycling around the parish, suitably dressed against the elements, in all
kinds of weather, and I know that his grandchildren were delighted when granda came on the bike to collect them from Ballyroan Boys’ school. There was no better joy or pleasure for Denis than watching his children and later, his grandchildren, playing Gaelic sport whether that was for Ballyboden St. Endas or Naas. I know that Denis would probably hate these words in his honour as he was a very humble man – no matter how you tried to acknowledge or praise him, the reaction was always the same, a little chuckle and ‘Oh Lord, sure I only do my small, little bit’. If the rest of us can do a fraction of Denis’ ‘small little bit’, we’ll be doing very well indeed.
It was on the side of pitch in Tymon North earlier this year that I last had the pleasure of a chat and a chuckle with Denis, and we will all greatly cherish fond memories of this great man. We offer our sympathies to you, Denis’ family, but temper that with the pride you must feel in the great man that was your husband, dad and grandad.
Suaimhneas síoraí dá anam uasal.