Danny Delaney obituary: Laois footballer and Stradbally man to the core

Covid-19 Lives Lost: Wife recalls 52 happy years and pays tribute to staff at Maryborough centre

Danny Delaney was on the winning Stradbally football team in the 1959 and 1963 intermediate championships.

Danny Delaney was on the winning Stradbally football team in the 1959 and 1963 intermediate championships.

 

This article is one of a series about people who have died with coronavirus in Ireland and among the diaspora. Read more at irishtimes.com/covid-19-lives-lost. If you would like a friend or family member included in the series, please email: liveslost@irishtimes.com.

Danny Delaney
1942-2020

Danny Delaney was a Stradbally man to the core and from a distinguished Co Laois sporting family. The GAA Leinster Senior Football Championship trophy, the Delaney Cup, is named after his clan.

The youngest of four brothers – John and twins Teddy and Kyrle survive him – he was born on December 1st, 1942, and in his youth played for Stradbally GAA club, representing club and county in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

Just 17 when he first played for Laois at senior level, he was on the winning Stradbally team in the 1959 and 1963 intermediate championships.

In the 1960s he hurled for Ratheniska and later served as vice-chair of Laois GAA and on the Leinster Council. He also spent time as a trainer supervising GAA tours to the US and was a former chairman and trustee of Stradbally club.

Secondary level education meant the Christian Brothers in Portlaoise, where he met his wife Doreen. “I met him in school and didn’t let go,” she recalls. Married since 1968, the couple celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 2018.

Danny worked numerous jobs, including as manager of a small supermarket chain, but retired early because of ill health. “He had diabetes and he had a heart problem,” and he liked a drink, Doreen says. “He didn’t give up the drink but he had it controlled and he never caused me any problem.”

His sporting interests included snooker and squash. Such was his passion that he built a squash court beside their home and ran it for the community before ill health and changing times resulted in the county council buying the building, which is now a Civil Defence depot.

When Doreen suffered a number of life-threatening illnesses over the years, including leukaemia, she could not overstate his support for all her treatments. “Every single time, he drove me to the hospital door and came in and sat beside me.”

Last Christmas he became very ill and was getting confused and went initially to Portlaoise hospital, then to Maryborough centre, where “every single member of the staff was one nicer than the other”. His condition improved but he ended up in a wheelchair and his kidneys were failing.

“If he never got the virus he wasn’t going to make it anyway,” his wife says, but it was very difficult because daily hours-long visits ended with the restrictions, and there were no opportunities to go in and give him a hug.

The call came on April 14th – the minute he died, at 7.20am.

And when the funeral cortege, including two generations of nieces and nephews, came through Stradbally to nearby Oughaval cemetery, neighbours lined the streets, many holding Stradbally and Laois flags in tribute.

Danny Boy was among his favourite songs and as mourners stood socially distanced and in silence, a CD played and the amplified voice of singer Tommy Fleming echoed across the still graveyard on a warm and sunny spring day.

A modest, popular and gentle man was laid to rest. “He was a lovely man and we were very happy, and he was good to me,” his wife says.

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