Blog: Dermot Earley. Army man. - Oliver Skehan

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Blog: Dermot Earley. Army man. - Oliver Skehan

Post  bald eagle on Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:39 am

Dermot Earley. Army man.

As recently as a few Sundays ago I heard it said. I was remarking that Eoin Larkin's legs looked a little lacking in condition when his wasp-like socks were pulled up. My father nodded, agreed and then he said it. Army man. Then I said it, quietly, under my breath. My earliest recollection of it ever being said was in reference to former Dublin captain Tommy Carr. What does it mean though? And is my old man the only one who utters it?

If you type 'army man' into Wikipedia you get this explanation: 'Army men, or plastic soldiers, are simple toy soldiers that are about 5cm tall and most commonly moulded from green or other coloured relatively unbreakable plastic' but I know the head of the family a good few years now and he's talking about something else, he's no contributor to Wikipedia.

I knew Carr's brother Kieran in school. A character as we used to say, great company, kind of posh for no real reason. We used to 'mingle', as my mother used to call it, at the AIB corner up the town, early morning and after school. We'd wait for up to an hour for the Borrisoleigh bus to arrive outside Hogans, laden with sleepy but nice types. As they'd walk past en route to the Presentation Convent we'd pretend not to see them, some even looked away.

Tommy Carr would've looked at them, spoken to them, probably escorted them to class, carried their satchels. Army man. Kieran was bravado, Tommy was substance. Maybe that's what it means? Having some substance. Having something to you, something about you. Maybe?!?

Carr has long since retired from playing football but in a week of notable retirements, in rugby circles, the football world and the land of Gaelic Games, one stood out for me. That of Dermot Earley. Army man. Son of the quintessential army man.

I've heard it said that when Dermot Earley Snr shook your hand it stayed shook. He'd look you right in the eye and you'd know you were dealing with a man of real substance, a man worthy of respect. I never met the former Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces and, sadly, I never will. I've watched his offspring from afar for as long as I can remember though and have always wanted to meet him. That's still a possibility.

The Lilywhite midfielder admitted defeat to a serious back injury over the weekend and in doing so brought the curtain down on a career worthy of some note that saw him win two Leinster medals, the same amount  of All Stars and five county titles with his beloved Sarsfields.

Earley joked (if army men do such things) about his provincial medals, saying 'there's not many Kildare men that have them' and he's not wrong. Like so many great players down through the years an All-Ireland medal alluded him but no one could ever question his commitment to the cause during his 17-year run in the white of Kildare in which he was 'relatively unbreakable'.

An army man. A man not to be messed with. A man for all seasons. A man you'd go to war with. A man's man.

Dermot Earley. I salute you.


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This blog is posted with the kind permission of Oliver Skehan and was originally published 20/05/2013.  

You can read more of Olivers blogs here - [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] and you can follow him on Twitter by following @oliskehan link - [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

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Re: Blog: Dermot Earley. Army man. - Oliver Skehan

Post  bald eagle on Mon Jul 01, 2013 6:02 pm

Thanks to Oliver for allowing us to post his blog, please let us know what you think folks.

If you want to do a blog piece for us then please PM me or GAAFan

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Re: Blog: Dermot Earley. Army man. - Oliver Skehan

Post  Boxtyeater on Mon Jul 01, 2013 6:05 pm

I've heard it said that when Dermot Earley Snr shook your hand it stayed shook. He'd look you right in the eye and you'd know you were dealing with a man of real substance, a man worthy of respect. I never met the former Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces and, sadly, I never will.

Deference where it's due and all that. A man that I admired hugely, despite being from Roscommon.

I remember like yesterday the first time I saw him in the Primrose and Blue, at the opening of Pairc Séan in 1964, when we beat Donegal in the headliner. Earley played for Roscommon in the opener against Longford in the minor, and even then you could see his potential. A mighty gorsóón (mighty being a local phrase) he was cajoling his colleagues, issuing directives and dominating all round him.

I suppose as fine a tribute that could be paid to him was in fact the actions of the Mayo players, who carried him shoulder high off the field on his final day in his beloved Roscommon jersey in the aftermath of a Connacht Final.

A true and honest Gáel.....RIP a chara.
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Re: Blog: Dermot Earley. Army man. - Oliver Skehan

Post  Thomas Clarke on Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:27 pm

Lovely article - well done Ollie, and well done BE for pilfering it.

A great player, unanimously regarded as one of the very finest ever that Connaught ever produced, and I'm sorry I never got to see him in the flesh. His son was also a brilliant footballer who got better with age. His departure is a big part of the reason for Kildare's regression in the last couple of years.
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Re: Blog: Dermot Earley. Army man. - Oliver Skehan

Post  Boxtyeater on Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:54 pm

Thomas Clarke wrote:
A great player, unanimously regarded as one of the very finest ever that Connaught ever produced, and I'm sorry I never got to see him in the flesh.

I'm a bitéén sorry to take away from Earley the Younger, but Senior was the bane of my life for 20 years.
Himself, Tony Mac, Mayor Lindsay, Jigger O'Connor, Harry Keegan and to a lesser extent Junior Mac, John O'Gara, Danny Murray and their cohorts were heart-breakers over the years.

Leaving Earley aside, there was something about Tony McManus. Even in his latter days, when reduced to
"impact sub" status, the very sight of the hoor warming-up threw us into collywobbles.

Today, his name, even on the programe is numbing.....But, as TC said, Dermot Earley was top class.
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Re: Blog: Dermot Earley. Army man. - Oliver Skehan

Post  Boxtyeater on Tue Jul 23, 2013 9:28 pm

Noble effort from Dermot Jnr. here. We've certainly seen the last of him in the Kildare jersey.

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Re: Blog: Dermot Earley. Army man. - Oliver Skehan

Post  Thomas Clarke on Thu Jul 25, 2013 12:09 am

Boxtyeater wrote:Noble effort from Dermot Jnr. here. We've certainly seen the last of him in the Kildare jersey.

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Very enjoyable. Top man, and a very fine gaelic footballer. No coincidence that Kildare's regression began when he got injured.
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Re: Blog: Dermot Earley. Army man. - Oliver Skehan

Post  bocerty on Thu Jul 25, 2013 4:30 pm

Boxtyeater wrote:Noble effort from Dermot Jnr. here. We've certainly seen the last of him in the Kildare jersey.

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great article from an honest likeable man

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