GREAT FRIENDS Pictured after Balla’s win in the Mayo Intermediate club football championship final last September were, left to right: Ger Flanagan (RIP), Toby McWalter, Seamus Dempsey and Peadar Dempsey (RIP).
LAST Wednesday morning Balla GAA Club lost one of its most loyal, hard-working and long-serving club members in Peter Dempsey.
Known simply, and affectionately, in the club as ‘Peadar’, his sudden passing has left a void that will never be filled and a cloud of sadness fell on the community when the news broke.
Up until his untimely passing you could have met Peadar at Nally Park at any hour of any day in any week. A native of Ardboley, he was a committed member of the pitch committee and took great pride and enjoyment in his work.
God knows it wasn’t an easy job tending to a pitch as prone to flooding as ours, but he never shied away from the challenge, alongside some of his most trusted side-kicks.
It was an attitude he carried when asked to do any job around the club; there was never one too big or too small.
Peadar was a player, mentor, coach and former club President. He was also the West Board delegate in his time as well.
Last September he was in MacHale Park to watch his beloved Balla win the county intermediate title for the first time ever. Forty years earlier, back in 1980, Peadar was full-back on the Balla team that won the County Junior title for the first time ever, lining out beside his brother, Seamus.
In 1989 he coached a star-studded Balla minor team, alongside Michael Larkin, to win a historic county minor A title win – the club’s first. That was a team that contained the likes of the Golding and Sheridan brothers.
His passion for the club rubbed off on everyone he encountered.
He will be remembered for delivering inspiring and no-nonsense team talks; if Peadar felt you weren’t pulling your weight, he would let you know! But he would always want you to be the very best you could be, and if that meant waving the white flag for contentious-looking points for his club, then so be it!
No doubt he would have been looking forward to raising a white flag when the county senior championship rolled into Nally Park this year.
There was an outpouring of tributes paid to Peadar on the Balla GAA Facebook page last week when news of his passing circulated, and it was a testament to the respect he was held in.
Our condolences go out to all the Dempsey family during this very difficult time.
In Peadar Dempsey, Balla GAA has not only lost a valued club member, but it has lost a major part of what makes everything tick.
May he rest in peace.