Former Galway stalwart Eamon Deacy dies aged 53

 

FORMER REPUBLIC of Ireland manager Eoin Hand has expressed his sadness at the passing of former Limerick, Galway United and Aston Villa defender Eamon “Chick” Deacy who died suddenly at the age of 53 yesterday morning.

“It’s very, very sad,” said Hand, who capped him four times in the early 1980s. “Eamon was such a humble fellow, a really shy lad; you couldn’t help but like him. He wrote to various English clubs looking for trials and it all worked out for him. He had a few good years there, playing in the team that won the league [1981] and then in the European Cup-winning campaign, and then for Ireland and it seemed at times like he was in a trance, he was so honoured by it all.

“He was lovely character and a very tidy player who wouldn’t shirk a tackle but never intentionally hurt an opponent. He’d be a great example to current professionals in terms of how to conduct themselves, both on and off the pitch.”

Deacy, a left-back, had a spell with Limerick and scored Galway Rovers’ first ever league goal before moving to Villa in March 1979. Much of his time at the club was spent in the shadow of the first choice for the position, Colin Gibson, but he played nine times during the championship-winning campaign and featured on a number of occasions as the club progressed to victory in the European Cup the following season, although he didn’t make the matchday squad.

The following season he had a loan spell at Derby County but turned down the chance to move to the Baseball Ground, preferring instead to return home to Galway United where he was to spend seven seasons while working in his brother Ernie’s fish and vegetable business. In 1985 he played against Shamrock Rovers in the FAI Cup final, a game the Dubliners narrowly won but he had to settle for a place on the bench in 1991 when the two sides met again and United triumphed.

He retired from senior football football shortly afterwards but continued to line out for his local club West United until the last year or two and remained an enormously popular figure within the game and around the city.

His international caps came in 1982 against Algeria and, on the ill-fated South American tour of 1982 to Chile, Brazil and Trinidad and Tobago.