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Eamonn Lane – An Appreciation

posted 1 Jan 2015, 12:45 by St. James Gaels

On the evening of 20 June I learned that Eamonn Lane had passed away during April.


I came to know Eamonn through his involvement with An Caisleáin and it was through my attendance at a meeting of long retired players that I learned of his passing.


Eamonn was, to me, a thorough gentleman and one of those unsung heroes who made life so much better for all of us without ever needing any credit or admiration for doing so.


I first came across him when I was, I think, eleven or so when he was my coach in both hurling and football up in the fields by Drimnagh Castle. He was absolutely superb in his encouragement of the players in his care. His boundless patience, endless enthusiasm with his quiet and personal attention to each individual ensured that, not only did he have children who wanted to play for him, he had children who loved playing for him. Children wanted to do well for him and the team and, as a result, his teams were successful.


Ironic as it may seem now with my job as a Trade Union Official, my first “strike” was in support of Eamonn Lane. For reasons which remain a mystery, the Club Executive felt he should be assisted or replaced (I cannot remember which) as our team mentor. We were having none of it and refused to play until our Mr Lane was back in charge. It was only many years later that I learned of his own work and involvement as a Trade Union representative for what is now SIPTU.


In these days of text and internet messaging, people forget that “in charge” meant driving around Walkinstown two or three nights a week delivering cards to homes to let players know when the next match or training session was on.


Following my premature retirement from the fields of An Caisleáin, I believed I was more or less finished with the club. This all changed in the car park of the Greenhills Shopping Centre some time in 1995 or so when I met Mr Lane. He told me that he was running a bit of a nursery in the Club and asked me if I would come down to help him out.


Having had no contact with the Club for many years my instant instinct was to say no. Then I took one more look at Eamonn, recalled him as the person who had looked after me and contemplated how amazing it was, to me anyway, that he was still involved. And I told him I would give it a try. One year later, I think, he handed responsibility for his nursery to me and thus began an extended period of commitment to the Club which carried on the great work of Eamonn Lane. Whenever I have been asked how I became involved again I always reference Mr Lane, one of the greatest servants our Club ever had, perhaps without even knowing it himself.


I am truly sorry Mr Lane has died. I am also so grateful to have known him. I was privileged to learn my limited skills as a player from him but, more importantly, I was really privileged, because of his persuasion, to learn of the immense pleasure and enjoyment which can be gained from giving Gaelic games to other children.


As the Lane family come to terms with their loss I sincerely hope that the real affection felt by me and others for “our Eamonn” will give them a degree of comfort and consolation. Eamonn gave more to the world than most and I, for one, feel it is a seriously poorer place for his passing.


May he rest in peace.


Billy Hannigan

St James Gaels