Death of David Guiney


The death has occurred of Dave Guiney, an unmistakable figure in both Irish sporting circles and journalism. His immense physique made him easily discernible in any gathering, as did his stentorian tones. He was 79.

Born in Kanturk, Co Cork, Guiney considered himself a Corkman first, an Irishman second: it was this sense of mischief that endeared him to all with whom he came in contact. He was an excellent sportsman, enjoying a rugby career that culminated at Clontarf, but it was his athletic prowess that would see him represent his country at European Championship and Olympic level.

His versatility is highlighted by a remarkable feat one day in 1941. He won a record five All-Ireland Youths titles in the one afternoon: the shot putt, high jump, javelin, discus and broad jump. Indeed, the shot putt became a one-man affair: he represented Ireland for 12 successive seasons between 1944 and 1956. He enjoyed a penchant for breaking the national shot putt record on nearly every occasion that he competed.

He worked in the civil service until 1946, when the government body refused him permission to compete in the European Championships in Oslo. He promptly resigned. In 1948, he won the prestigious AAA shot putt title at White City in London, and later that year represented Ireland in the same discipline at the 1948 Olympics at Wembley.

His professional career on leaving the civil service embraced journalism, and in the mid 1950s he arrived in Middle Abbey Street, joining Independent Newspapers. In the early 1960s, he was offered the position of Sports Editor in the Irish Press and found his niche.

He was a popular and hugely respected sports editor, renowned for his ability to take apart a page at 10.0 at night if a breaking story warranted such treatment and reconstruct quickly in time to meet the deadlines. He moved from the Press to the Sunday Mirror, where he was the sports editor of their Irish office.

He had been a prolific writer throughout his career, notably on the Olympics, his sporting passion. He was responsible for unearthing the fact that the winner of the tennis singles at the 1896 Olympics, John Pius Boland, was born in Dublin, and recounted the story in his book, Gold, Silver, Bronze. Other books included Days of the Little Green Apples, A Little Wine and a Few Friends and Ireland's Olympians.

He produced books across the sporting spectrum on rugby, soccer, Gaelic games and golf, as well as athletics. A regular contributor to Irish international rugby programmes and the rugby magazine, Rugby Ireland, he was a former chairman of the Rugby Writers of Ireland.

He was chef de mission for the Irish team at the Barcelona Olympics.

A gentlemen, he gave freely of his time and was especially helpful to those just starting out in journalism, a bottomless well of stories told with the skill of a seasoned raconteur. His passing will be keenly felt.

He is survived by his wife, Phyl, sons Roddy and Philip, daughter Gillian and 14 grandchildren, and to them we extend our deepest sympathy.

Removal from Kirwan's funeral home, Fairview, to St Mary's, Church of Ireland, Howth (5.30 p.m.) this evening. The funeral follows 11.0 a.m. service tomorrow.

Ar dheis de go raibh a anam.