SKIBBEREEN Soccer Club has submitted the following appreciation of a much-valued coach, Henry Peglar of Riverdale, Skibbereen, who passed away last week:
It is with much sadness that we learnt of the passing Henry Peglar. While not actively involved with the Skibbereen club for many years recently, there is no doubt that he sowed the seeds of underage soccer in Skibbereen all those years ago, with his Skibbereen Eagles teams, and he ensured that the young boys and girls of that time had the opportunity to play games, even if they had no interest in GAA or rugby.
Not only was Henry 100% involved, but his wife, Marian, used to wash all the jerseys at home after every match. Henry made sure that all those who turned up to train, would play on matchday, his belief that there should be no such thing as unused substitutes was notable.
There is no doubt that there are a lot of men, in their 30s and 40s now, who grew up around Skibbereen and who owe Henry not only for any soccer skills they may have acquired, but also for a few life skills as well.
One of his former players, Barry Dempsey, has pointed out that there were two important traits which they learnt from a young age from Henry, that stood out: Firstly, that it didn’t matter how good a footballer you were, or how athletic you were, he gave everybody a chance. The subs were always playedand everybody was made feel part of the team. Secondly, he taught the players that their opinion mattered. Barry still remembers the day when they were all gathered after training, as an U12 side, and they got to decide what jerseys they were going to buy from the catalogue – probably the first time they were asked their opinions, or to make a decision, and the feeling of being valued stuck with them all for quite a long time.
Meanwhile, all the way from Australia, Ronan Harris vividly remembers Henry’s passion and enthusiasm for all of his underage soccer teams. He always gave freely of his time, whether midweek training, weekend matches, or indoor soccer games up at the Sports Centre on Sunday afternoons.
They travelled all over the county for cup and league matches, and the Community Games, and everyone who trained got a game, no matter what your level, and there was always a wise word and an easy joke, no matter what the result. Looking back now, Ronan believes that Henry taught them all a valuable lesson on how to compete well, play hard and what it meant to win with pride.
Just as importantly, though, he taught them how to accept losses, learn from their mistakes, and look out for each other as a group of young friends. Isn’t it so unfortunate that the attitude of so many team managers / coaches nowadays is to win at all costs?
One final point of note is that he had the distinction of introducing a full international player to the game of soccer. Kevin Dekkers went to Dreeny National School, following which he went to St Fachtna’s De La Salle in Skibbereen, where he was introduced to soccer by Henry.
Following graduation from the University of Wales Institute in Cardiff, in Sport and Physical Education, Kevin moved to the small Caribbean island of Sint Maarten, where his mother had lived as a child. His mother had ensured that Kevin and his brother, Thomas, had Sint Maarten nationality from an early age, which gave Kevin eligibility.
He actually captained the Sint Maarten team for the duration of the Caribbean Cup qualifying campaign, approximately five years ago and even though they didn’t qualify, nevertheless Kevin reflected on it as a positive experience.
Thanks, Henry, for your involvement, interest and passion. Rest in peace.