Funeral arrangements confirmed for Dermot O’Brien

Funeral arrangements confirmed for Dermot O’Brien
Dermot O’Brien

Funeral arrangements have been confirmed for Dermot O’Brien.

Removal to St Bartholomews Church, Ellison Road, SW16 5DE at 6pm on 12 June.

Funeral Mass on 13 June at 10am followed by burial at Streatham Park Cemetery Rowan Road SW16.

Round Rowers led the tributes to one of its “greatest sons” and “proudest members”, Dermot O’Brien, who passed away on 9 May.

A native of Tullamore, Co Offaly, Dermot was a loyal servant to Towers, the GAA in London and Irish community at large in the city, for over half a century.

Life President of Round Towers, his association with the south London club went back 57 years, and he served it in every capacity, including as chairperson and secretary.

A moving tribute on Round Towers’ Facebook page, concluded: “So we can rightly say that whilst it may seem that Dermot’s passing is so final and the end of his illustrious life, his legacy and deeds mean he lives on, in the hearts of all that knew him and the Round Towers Club, which owes so much to him, a True Gael.”

London chairperson from 1977 to 1979 – his last year saw the county’s move from its traditional home at New Eltham to Ruislip – Dermot also served the London County Board as Vice Chair, Registrar, Gaelic Officer, Treasurer of the Sports and Social Club and Central Council Delegate.

He was a selector to the London junior team which won All-Ireland titles in 1966, 1969, 1970 and 1971, and was a senior selector in 2002, along with Pat Griffin and Iggy Donnelly prior to the appointment of Chris Lloyd as manager.

He was also the last remaining original Trustee of the London County Board, and the new stadium at Ruislip, which was rammed to the rafters for the recent visit of Galway, “is as much his legacy as anyone’s”.

In a long and very distinguished GAA career, he also served as President of the Provincial Council of Great Britain from 1984.

Twice in the 1980s, he narrowly missed out on becoming President of the GAA.

London County Board chairman John Lacey said he had known him for 50 years or more and that his death would leave a huge gap in GAA here.

“It is with great sadness and regret that we note the passing of such a great Gael,” he said.

“My deepest sympathies go to his family – Pat, their daughters Siobhan and Frances, and son Peter.

“I knew him for over 50 years and would have known him better than most people so am very aware that without him being around in the late ‘60s there would be no Round Towers today, he held it all together.

“He was also an outstanding sprinter. He was Leinster champion for three years and came very close to being All-Ireland champion, against some top class opposition.

“He was the mainstay back then and ever since. He was, of course, a Life President since the 1970s, a trustee of London GAA of which he held many official positions including chairman, vice-chairman and central council delegate.

“He was one of the outstanding Gaels and a massive loss to the Association.”

As fine footballer, he won many championships with Tullamore, both at football and hurling, and also represented the county at Minor in both codes.

In 1961, at the age of 24, he moved to London having secured a job with London Transport. It was always his intention to return home.

The following year, he began his long association with Round Towers, and he was a member of the club’s 1964 championship winning side.

When his playing days came to an end, he slipped seamlessly into administration and management, guiding Towers to a Tipperary Cup win in the 1980s.

In 2012, he was awarded the prestigious Offaly Mans Association Man of the Year. He was also a founding member of the organisation, which has been assisting Irish people in London since its inception more than 50 years ago.

Its origins came from an offer for 1961 All-Ireland finalists Offaly and Down to play an exhibition match at Wembley Stadium. Dermot was amongst those who established a welcoming committee for the Offaly team.

The group’s fundraising efforts proved so successful that they decided not to disband, and instead, in August 1962, the Offaly Association (London) was established.

A particular point of pride for Dermot was when he was asked to cut the ribbon to launch the Tullamore St Patrick’s Day parade. An invitation that was testament to the success and reverence in which Dermot was held.

Dermot leaves a wife Pat, two daughters Siobhan and Frances, his son Peter and his four grandchildren, and a lasting legacy.


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