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FAI head recalls Jeremy Dee’s ‘astounding’ legacy

VISIONARY The late Jeremy Dee.

FAI head recalls road-victim Jeremy Dee’s ‘astounding’ legacy

Edwin McGreal

Chief Executive of the FAI, John Delaney has described the legacy the late Jeremy Dee will leave at local and national levels of soccer as ‘astounding’.
Mr Delaney was addressing a packed congregation at St Margaret Mary’s Church in Bekan, near Ballyhaunis yesterday at the funeral Mass of well-known and highly regarded soccer coach and administrator Jeremy Dee who was killed in a road accident on Sunday. Two passengers, including his daughter Ciara, escaped serious injury.
Mr Dee (51) was killed en route to a game between the Castlebar Celtic women’s team he coached and Shamrock Rovers, in Dublin. The car he was driving hit black ice and spun out of control outside Williamstown, Co Galway on Sunday morning.
He had worked with every age group in Castlebar Celtic and scores of young girls were among the large guard of honour for his funeral Mass in the tiny village of Bekan yesterday.
It was standing room only in the church over half an hour before the service began and hundreds more braved cold conditions and listened outside.
Jeremy was involved in soccer in Mayo since the late 70s, as a player of some note with Ballyhaunis and he had a trial with West Bromwich Albion on one occasion. He also played with and managed Claremorris before getting involved with Mayo Junior, U21 and various other underage teams.
He has been credited with bringing women’s soccer in Mayo onto a new level with his involvement with, firstly, Ballinrobe Town and then Castlebar Celtic. He led Celtic into the inaugural Women’s National League last year.
A clearly emotional John Delaney paid tribute to Jeremy at the end of the service.
“When one thinks of Jeremy, one thinks of his smile, the glint in his eye, dapper, charismatic, handsome, suave, sophisticated but one word dominates - professional. He was a visionary. Many teams reaped the rewards of his dedication and his enthusiasm, which was infectious.
“He was a terrific coach but had a unique gift to inspire all who came into contact with him. His legacy locally and nationally is astounding. He transcended all and he was unique in that, Youths, Junior and Women’s soccer, locally and internationally,” said Mr Delaney.
He also said the FAI will honour Mr Dee’s memory at the next senior international against Poland in February. A perpetual award in his memory will also be inaugurated.
The removal on Tuesday evening was one of the largest in east Mayo in recent memory. Mourners queued to pay their respects for almost eight hours and it was close to midnight before Mr Dee’s remains arrived at St Margaret Mary’s Church in Bekan.
His son Kyle and daughter Ciara sang the Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue song The Wild Rose and Kyle sang the Leonard Cohen written Hallelujah during the service. Jeremy Dee was laid to rest afterwards in Bekan Cemetery.