The cornerstone of Bagenalstown and South-East cricket has been called to The Pavilion after a 96 year innings.
On arriving at K.H. from Scotchrath in Co. Laois, an early encounter with none other than the great Noel Mahony had Des TURNED ON to cricket.
He loved to tell the tale of returning EARLY to Blackhall Place (at Noel's behest) to go and watch Ireland entertain South Africa at College Park in 1935.
As happened in my own family, Des's late brother, Stan, got the farm, and he 'got' the Bank (of Ireland), starting out in Belfast, where Des had happy memories of turning out for North at Rugby as well as Cricket.
Leprechauns in 2004: Standing :- Steve Kenely, Andrew Nixon, Alan Murray, Matt Dwyer, Tom Butler, Pat Coffee, Rob Kenely, Dereck Dockrell and Alan Smith. Seated :- Dick Forrest, Bernard Burke, Des Foot and Charles Lysaght.
Arriving back to Dublin he threw in his lot with Y.M. in the summer, and Pembroke Wanderers and Old Wesley (Capt. 1952/53) in winter.
On the Wesley front, to avoid (further!) 'collisions' (Bective must have run in the opposite direction!) during laps of the back pitch in Donnybrook on dark evenings, the ever- inventive Des (sans glasses) wore a bicycle lamp strapped to his chest!
His final Bank posting brought him to Carlow, where Des hooked up with his old schoolmate Reg Ruddock, who having played in the first Leprechauns fixture in 1949 probably signed Des up to the cause.
His daily commute to Borris was on his Norton which (unlike my Dad), was not forsaken after marriage. He progressed to a Rover 3500 via a Peugeot (large, with bench seats), which once brought an entire team to an away match! Typical Des. He would do anything for the game.
As the cricketing candle flickered dimly in the South-East, he almost single-handedly "Kept her Lit". Now we have Wexford, Gorey and Enniscorthy back on the cricketing map.
Latterly his keen interest in cricket history was sparked by an invitation to the launch of Michael O'Dwyer's book on cricket clubs in neighbouring Kilkenny. Des was well able to add to Michael's list of 200 or so from his old Bagenalstown and Co.Carlow scorebooks.
The Leprechauns owe Des a huge THANK YOU for having us in Bagenalstown for our September fixture for 50 years or more....words begin to fail me.....
Des was Lep's President in 2007-8 & (needless to say) did trojan work. I can see him now on the steps of Phoenix as he presented Noel Mahony's Cup. He shrugged his shoulders and started, to his audience of 12 year olds, "Now when I was your age........." His enthusiasm had them mesmerised..... for quite a while!
A tall strong bright candle burns no more.