Sarsfields Newsletter

November 8, 2018

Dermot Earley 1948 –2010 RIP.


On Wednesday last just a week after the burial of Tommy O’Hanlon, once again in Sarsfields we were plunged into deep mourning with the sad news of the untimely death of Dermot Earley, another true Son of Sarsfields in word and deed as well as of his native Roscommon and his home club Michael Glavey’s.

When Dermot joined Sarsfields in 1978 it marked a turning point in the fortunes of the club. Dermot was on the Sarsfields team that won the championship for the first time in 30 years in 1982. He played in three successive Kildare senior county finals; 1981, 82 and 83 and won his second Kildare championship in 1986.

Dermot played at minor level for Roscommon for four years, beginning at the age of 15, in 1963 until’66. He won an All-Ireland U21 medal in 1966 against reigning All- Ireland champions Kildare and captained Roscommon in the 1969 All-Ireland U21 final. His twenty year senior inter county career began in 1965, at the age of 17, winning his first Connacht title in 1972 before going on to achieve four in a row from 1977 to 1980 reaching the All-Ireland final that same year where Roscommon narrowly lost to Mick O’ Dwyer’s great Kerry team. Many observers and fellow players hailed him as the finest player never to win a senior All-Ireland medal. The following year he won a National Football League title scoring a goal in the final against Galway. In addition he won 2 Railway Cup Medals before retiring from inter county football after the Connacht final against Mayo in 1985. A measure of his popularity and his sportsmanship was that the winning Mayo team carried him shoulder high off the pitch after they had defeated Roscommon in that ’85 Connacht final.

He went on to manage Roscommon from 1992-1994, Sarsfields in 1981 and 1985 as player manager, manager again in 1992 and Chairman from 2003-2005 and spent two years between Mick O’ Dwyer’s two terms as Kildare manager in 1995/96. He was instrumental in putting underage structures in place in Sarsfields from 1982 onwards which have ensured a steady stream of young talented footballers coming through the ranks to the present day. All of his children are involved with Sarsfields; Paula, Anne Marie, Noelle David and Dermot as players while Conor is manager of the double Championship and League senior B team of 2009. Dermot junior and Noelle made history last year when they became the first brother and sister ever to receive all star awards in the same year. Dermot himself won two All Stars at midfield in 1974 and 1979 making the Earley family the only one in the history of the awards to have a father, son and daughter recipients of All-Stars.

            Dermot a gentleman on and off the field was an inspiring and charismatic figure, a role model for young players particularly in encouraging them and especially if players had a poor game he would console them with an arm around the shoulder and word of praise and advice. He was truly a man of the people and the high esteem in which he was held throughout the GAA and nationwide was evident by the massive turnout for his military funeral including leading sporting and political figures.  

In Sarsfields his immense contribution to and influence on his adopted club will never be forgotten, his legacy will not be squandered, but will endure, motivating the club to achieve greater honours in the game that he loved and in the spirit of sportsmanship that he epitomised. Dermot now joins the pantheon of late Sarsfields legends whose deeds live on in Sarsfields folklore and will inspire future generations of Sarsfields footballers.  

               While mere words cannot adequately convey our profound sense of loss and the immeasurable loss to his family, the Sarsfields family extends deepest and heartfelt sympathy to the Earley family; to his mother Kitty, wife Mary, sons David, Dermot and Conor, daughters Paula, Anne Marie and Noelle, brothers Paul and Peter, sisters Margaret and Denise, and daughter in law Sinead, grandson Oisín and the wider Earley family and relatives. “Although it’s difficult today to see beyond the sorrow, may looking back in memory help comfort you tomorrow”. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dilis.