Photo: Divided Loyalties
The death has been announced of Dan O’Neill, who played for the county in the Fifties and Sixties, and who was an All-Ireland winner, though not with his native county. Instead, he won his Celtic Cross playing for Louth in the 1957 All-Ireland, where coincidentally another Mayoman – Seamie O’Donnell – was also on the starting fifteen. The photo above shows Dan being chaired from the field at Croke Park by jubilant Louth supporters the day they beat Cork in that All-Ireland final.
Dan’s story of his time as an inter-county player – he was on the League-winning side of 1954 and the team that won Connacht the following year before switching to the Wee County; he lined out again for Mayo in 1963 – was told in his book Divided Loyalties, which was published in 2008. It’s a great read, not just from a footballing perspective but also to get an insight into his very interesting life and times. I did a review of the book at the time – it’s here.
Dan died yesterday at his home in Galway. He was 82 years of age. His funeral takes place at noon on Monday in Galway Cathedral. Full funeral details are here.
May this distinguished servant of Mayo GAA rest in peace.
4 thoughts on “Dan O’Neill RIP”
Ar dheis de go raibh a hanam
His is one of the names that resinates from the days when my father started taking me to Mayo games and from listening to the conversations afterwards in the pub about the players of the thirties, forties and fifties. I was neither heard nor indeed seen through the fog of smoke back in those days, but I remember being totally mesmerised by the tales of those great names.
Rest In Peace.
On a slightly related note (county boards and fall outs). Having attended the first CB meeting under our new chairman, my initial impressions from the county convention about his abilities continue to be confirmed. He comes across as very competent and business like. I’m not pushing any agendas and I don’t even know the man, just calling it like I see it. I cannot however say the same about all at the top table.
Sad to hear of the death of Dan O’Neill. I read the book and it gives a terrific insight into how teams prepared and operated back in the 40’s and 50’s, not to mention what life was like growing up in Castlebar back then. My next door neighbour, Mick Corkery, gave me the book to read. Dan was a very good friend of his throughout their lives and the little inscription inside the book cover, where Dan signed the book, will be all the more poignant now.
Mick played for Mayo at that time and he reckoned there was no-one to come near Dan when it came to football. Indeed, the many chats I’ve had with my neighbour with regards to football back “in the day” has reinforced the fact that it is not only lately, in the modern game, that we have been producing some of the best and most talented players to play the game. Mayo has been doing it for generations. It is sad that this generation has to move on but time waits for no man. It is up to us to appreciate this generation of footballers/people while they are around and learn from them as they all have a book in them.
From my chats with Mick I have often told him that he too should write a book about his footballing life. From travelling back to New York on the boat as league winners and playing exhibition games in the Bronx (the dirtiest shower of whores they ever met!) to seeing the first colour TV they ever saw in the hotel in New York, to the politics that went on in the County Board regarding team selection (yes, the CB was a bit of a mess back then too). I would recommend Dans book as a read even to those who are not football lovers.