Deeply involved right to the end - the late Billy Healy with his son William at a Doon GAA fundraising event earlier this year.

Doon GAA fondly remembers a true legend

Doon GAA club has paid a heartfelt tribute to the legendary Billy Healy, who passed away on Monday last.

The club announced Billy’s death with “immense sadness”, saying he passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family at the age of 80.

Paying tribute on behalf of the club, Doon GAA PRO Philip Keegan wrote: “There are simply not enough words nor is there enough space in a post, to emphasise the extraordinary service, commitment and lifelong devotion that Billy Healy has gifted to Doon GAA. Billy has been at the forefront of our club for an astonishing 60 years. He's been club chairman, trainer, kit man, groundskeeper, mentor, county board delegate, auctioneer, driver and, of course, club president.

“These are, needless to say, but a few of Billy’s boundless roles within the club, but Billy was known locally to everyone simply as ‘The Manager’ having managed every age group from six years old and upwards. ‘The Manager’ was a Gael amongst Gaels, a legend of the game and an inspiration to everyone around him,” the club tribute continued.

“To say that Billy was a proud Doon man is an understatement. The club would certainly not be the club it is today if it wasn’t for him. In the good old days Billy was a great man for transporting young players to and from training, matches and away trips. Cars typically carry five passengers including the driver; however, many people have vouched that Billy often carried a lot more than that!

“During his vast career with the club, he oversaw many milestones and celebrations. Rashina pitch was procured and later the current home pitch and dressing rooms. Billy was a driving force of the development of the current pitch and dressing rooms.

“One of Billy’s fondest celebrations was the 1970 Junior title against Ballyfore and the 1987 Junior title against Shannonbridge. Billy also oversaw Doon winning minor championship titles, underage titles and both an intermediate title in 1989 and a Senior B title in 1990. We must also not forget how instrumental he was in the Doon/Shannonbridge Lotto, he sold and checked lotto tickets for many years."

Referring to Billy’s interest in underage football, the club said he “had a profound love of seeing a young footballer progress from underage through to adulthood”.

Acknowledging his involvement with Offaly GAA, the club said: “He took great satisfaction in the Offaly under-21 teams of 1986 and 1988 (when Offaly defeated Cavan in the All-Ireland final) of which he was a selector on.

“Football was in his blood and Doon GAA was in his heart. As well as being the stalwart of Doon, above all else he was a loving husband, father, brother, grandfather, neighbour and indeed a friend to many. He was always up for a chat, a bit of slagging and the obligatory low-down on the past week’s football results. He was a great man to speak his mind and would not say yes for a happy life, especially when it came to committee meetings which he never missed.

“He would never miss anything. If there was a bereavement within the community, he was the first person to be at the grave with his pick and shovel. He always had the right words to say, no matter what the occasion. After Doon winning the county final in 2019, he gave an exceptional speech at the dinner dance in the Grand Hotel Moate, a night that that he held close in his heart right up until his passing.

“Billy Healy will forever be remembered in the hearts and thoughts of the many people that crossed paths with him, but for the people of Doon he will be simply remembered as the single most distinguished clubman that Doon has ever seen. There will never be another 'manager' nor will our field ever see another character like him stand in it.

“We have lost an icon, a legend and a friend whom we will all miss dearly. Billy Healy will never be replaced nor would we ever want him to be. Rest easy Billy, we hope the football is good up there and that there are not too many red cards being thrown.

“To Rose, Cora, William, Senán and Eva we offer our full and heartfelt condolences. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.”

Billy Healy of Doon, Ballinahown died peacefully on December 6 at his home surrounded by his loving family. Predeceased by his brother Joe, Billy will be sadly missed by his loving wife Rose (née Gannon), daughter Cora (Rohan), son William, son-in-law Declan, daughter-in-law Chloe, his adored grandchildren Senán and Eva, his brothers and sisters, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces, neighbours and his wide circle of friends.

Funeral Mass will be celebrated tomorrow (Thursday) at 11am in St. Colmcille’s Church, Ballinahown, with burial afterwards in Clonmacnois via Doon. House private please. People are welcome to stand along the route.

All those attending the funeral are asked by Billy’s family to adhere to current Covid-19 guidelines. Family flowers only please - donations, if desired, to Heartlink West Croí.

May Billy Rest in Peace.