Delaney, Sean

30 April 2004
The Late Sean Delaney

Four guards of honour marched solemnly as a mark of respect to the late Sean Delaney on the journey to his final resting place in Oakvale Cemetery in Stradbally.

After midday Mass on April 14th, Goggie was laid to rest as hundreds of mourners paid their last respects to a great friend, character and true sportman.
Guards of honour from the ladies football teams of Laois and Kildare, from the Portlaoise hurling squad and from his beloved Stradbally GAA club were testament to both the talents and popularity of Sean Delaney.

Aged 55, Goggie died suddenly and the news stunned the county. He will always be remembered as the man who guided Laois to the county’s first Ladies All-Ireland senior title in 2001, defeating Mayo.
It was an honour he enjoyed, and the highlight of a varied and outstanding sporting career.

A League of Ireland footballer with Shamrock Rovers, Shelbourne and Bohemians; an inter county goalkeeper and corner forward with Laois seniors, a highly respected respected senior goalkeeper with Portlaoise hurlers and a hunting enthusiast. Through his many talents he struck lasting and fulfilling friendships.
Son of the late Morgan and Mai Delaney, Goggie spent his early years in Portlaoise and attended St Mary’s CBS where he won numerous under age titles.

With the Portlaoise hurlers, he won MHC titles in 1964 and 1965, and at 17 played in the junior decider defeating Camross in 1965.
He was in goal for Laois in 1966 All-Ireland minor football final, a decider Laois lost to Down.
A noted soccer player, Goggie was a free kick specialist. On his debut for Shamrock Rovers, he scored twice, once from a free kick. He was reputed to have turned to the crowd on scoring the spectacular spot kick and announced "If you want to see another one like that, I’m in Portlaoise next Sunday at 3 O’ Clock."

He played the game with confidence, and did likewise between the hurling goalposts.
Holder of five SHC medals, Tipperary legend Jimmy Doyle installed Goggie as the number one goalkeeper in the town and Sean was between the posts for the club’s historic four-in-a-row campaign from 1981 to 1984.

He played senior football with Stradbally, and won a Division One league medal with the club.
At the end of his playing career, he turned to coaching. He was an innovative coach, direct on the one hand yet more than willing to share the concerns and doubts of his players. One of his greatest strengths was involving all on the panel, and being willing to seek outside advice and support for his teams.

He coached football and hurling, camogie and ladies football for various clubs throughout the county with a fair degree of success.
His father Morgan played on the Laois team that won the 1946 Leinster title and he really savoured Laois Leinster win of last year as his son Damien lined out on the Laois team which won the title after a gap of 57 years.

He was popular with young and old alike. His early morning school runs were enjoyed by all the school children who knew Goggie as a friend with a sense of humour they immediately related and responded to. In recent years, he was in business with his partner Grace, a florist on Main Street, Portlaoise. The floral delivery round was always given the special Goggie treatment.

Sean, of Cullenagh, Portlaoise and formerly of vicarstown Road, Stradbally died at the Midlands Regional Hospital on Monday, April 12.
His passing is deeply regretted by his wife Rita, sons Damien, Morgan and Conor, his beloved mother Mai and his partner Grace, grandson, granddaughters, daughter in law, brothers in law, aunts, uncle, relatives and his many friends.

Courtesy of the Leinster Express, April 2004.



Moving tribute to a life-long friend

At the Requiem mass for the late Sean Delaney, his life long friend Owen Deegan paid the following tribute:

JUST to say a few words about Goggie can be difficult and easy - difficult to say a few words but it would be easy to write a book. Goggie and I were friends for over 40 years. He was a legend.
We all know how talented a sportsman he was, great footballer, a brilliant hurling goalkeeper and a genius on a soccer field. If you wanted a fishing rod fixed, a fly tied or a dog trained for the pheasant season the Gog was your man. Amid all his achievements and successes he had on he playing field himself, and God he had many, his real pride and joy was training the All-Ireland ladies to their first All-Ireland victory - that was the real jewel in the crown.

I was just thinking the other day where this talent came from. I’d say he got his football skills from the lawn in Stradbally, his hurling skills at the front door of the old Coliseum ballroom on the new road in Portlaoise, using it as goals. We used to belt a sponge ball at him for hours and inside the doors of that same ballroom with the help of the Royal show band ’Just 4’ or Brush Sheils, the Goggie and I were the rock n’ roll kids.

And I know there was one pal who was jealous of Gog and I (no, sorry jealous is too strong a word, it wasn’t out in those days) lets say he was worried about us going to the dances for free and underage. Well if these two criminal activities were investigated they would be classed as an inside job. Goggie’s mother, Mai worked in the ticket office.
He would also have got his training skills when Garda Billy Blackwell and Sergeant O’Connor used to chase us down the New Road across the Downs and we would lose them in Tyrell’s Wood knowing the consequences if either of these two gentlemen had caught us for hurling on the road. God you would want to be fit.

His fishing skills he got from an onion bag poaching in the Triogue river and we just recalled recently about the day we caught six trout having to stay in the water for over an hour because there were two guards on duty on top of the bridge.
But to me he had a special talent, and it was truly a gift from God. He could make people laugh and re-assure them that it would be alright.

We used to have tea every morning and about four weeks ago on a Monday morning when Goggie had all the children safely in school, I suppose I was feeling sorry for myself and I got a tip on the shoulder and it was Goggie to say "
"Deegan I heard a great yarn in Stradbally last night.". He proceeded to tell me this yarn (don’t worry Fr Kelly I won’t repeat it here), we were interrupted by this lady who said to Sean she didn’t want to send Tommy to school today he was sick last night and was crying this morning. Goggie reassured her that he was ok and it was Mary so-and-so’s birthday and Goggie had them all singing Happy Birthday on the bus including Tommy before he went in to school.

As we all know its hard to get a young boy or girl smiling in the morning going to school but Goggie had a knack of having them all laughing getting off the bus. He then started to tell me the yarn for the second time, until he saw some elderly man. He called over to him "I heard you won big money at the bingo last night and you were dancing with so-and-so at the old folks party."

And when I heard Goggie had donated his organs and will give a chance of a new life with God’s help to someone else, I just said yes, that’s Goggie. But I never got to thank him for the little things he done that meant so much to me when I needed a friend in the mid ’80’s. I remember seeing a caption at the time that said a friend is someone who comes in the back door when your whole world goes out the window and that was Goggie.

It was brought home to me the other day when I was bringing an Easter egg down to my grandson when he ran to the car and ignoring the Easter egg said "Grandad, Grandad, how’s Goggie". This was on the lips of everyone in Laois and surrounding districts, both young and old.

It didn’t matter if you were six or eighty six, everyone was asking how was Goggie. Goggie could rub shoulders with anybody. I was just thinking this morning whom would Goggie be talking to now and a few names came to mind. It could be Sir Matt Busby, former Manchester United and England manager with Goggie telling him what is going wrong in Old Trafford at the moment or it could be that great goalkeeping legend from Kilkenny Ollie Walsh.

They would have a lot in common and a lot to talk about and to use that new ’expression’ it could be that new kid on the block Enda Colleran, they both played in the ’66 All-Ireland finals, Enda captained Galway and Goggie was on the Laois minor team.
And when he would have finished talking to all those great men, I have a feeling he would find Maureen Potter and he too would tap her on the shoulder and say "Maureen, did you hear the one about " and the yarns would start all over again. Yes, Goggie was a legend.

It was a great honour to be his friend, it was a privilege to be asked to say a few words and I’ll just finish in saying Goggie, thanks for the memories and may God bless you.