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Peter (Pete) Dempsey


Ardboley, Balla, Co Mayo

On March 31, we learned of the sudden passing of one of the most popular and hard-working people in our community, Peadar Dempsey. Pete, as he was also known, was a stalwart of Balla GAA club as a player, mentor, recent club President, West Mayo board delegate, gate collector, lottery seller, car parker, pitch liner, umpire.  Every club needs a Pete, and they are lucky if they have one.
There was no job too big or too small for Peadar and he always answered the call. Up until his untimely passing, he was one of the key members of the pitch committee that looked after and lovingly tended Nally Park on an almost daily basis, ensuring it was always playable and in tip-top shape.
Peadar was a constant presence at Balla matches across the county, no matter the age group or the weather conditions.  He took immense pride in the successes of our teams and in 2020 in particular he watched with pride our successes at several levels, the highlight being one night last September, when he was in MacHale Park to see our senior team win the County Intermediate title. No doubt he was looking forward to seeing his beloved Balla line out in the senior championship this year.
While he witnessed history that night, 40 years previously he was creating it, as he was a key member of the County Junior title winning team of 1980.  As a player, Pete was old style, but today’s younger players wouldn’t need to think football in that period was that much different. “Mark your man” was the most simple but relevant advice Pete gave to those backs in his charge and he would be critical of anyone giving less than 100 per cent.
Peadar was active politically and he approached that in the same way he dealt with everything in life, forthrightly and honestly with full commitment and loyalty to his native place. He was always available for church gate collections, canvassing, meetings, or posters.
Peadar was well known far and wide from his long service as a CIÉ driver, based in Claremorris and delivering to pubs across south and east Mayo and into north Galway and Roscommon. On his travels he kept abreast of developments in the football strongholds in those areas, making many friends in Claremorris, Davitts, Garrymore, Ballyhaunis and further afield.
On his retirement, Pete gave his energy to farming and in that, as with everything he put his hand to, everything was just so, in it’s place, and anyone visiting would be struck by the order and tidiness of the place. He was energised by his most recent project, with great plans for expansion, but God had other plans.
His passing was too sudden. To his wife Kay, James and Avril and his beautiful grandchildren, his brother Seamus, and his sisters Ann, Eileen, and Bridie, son-in-law, brothers-in-law and sister-in-law, nephews and nieces, we, his neighbours, club and community offer our deepest sympathy. Sadly, we were not able to mourn his passing and honour his life in the best Irish way. We did not have a proper opportunity to tell all the stories and revisit those good times when our lives were enlivened by his presence.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh sé.