THE recent passing of Denis Hayes of Rosscarbery severs another link with the St Fachtna’s minor football team of 1955-56.
Diney, as he was affectionately known to all and sundry, was an outstanding defender on this team, and was also secretary of the St Fachtna’s club. This was an U18 team composed of players from two junior clubs – Carbery Rangers and Kilmacabea. The team won the West Cork championship in 1955 and reached the county final, where they lost to Nemo Rangers. In 1956, they again won in West Cork, and advanced to the county semi-final where they lost to Macroom. By this stage, Diney had played in all underage grades, including the U16 team when it won the 1954 West Cork championship.
Diney eventually graduated to the junior team and, along with Paddy Maguire and Jerh Harte, formed a formidable last line of defence for Carbery Rangers for a number of years. During this period, he was attending Clonakilty Technical School and was a member of the school team which won the county championship in 1955.
For all his working life, Diney worked for Lisavaird Co-op, was manager of the manure store for a number of years, and he always had an eye for promoting the GAA. He was instrumental in getting the Co-op to enter a team in the inter-firm competition.
In 1965, he married the love of his life, Betty Goggin, and moved to Clonakilty where he immediately immersed himself in Clonakilty GAA Club and was a selector for the junior team of 1974.
After a number of years, he and his family moved back to Rosscarbery where they took over the running of the family pub in Church Street. By 1986, Diney had retired from business, he had sold the public house and moved across town to North Square. During this time, he had a lot of difficulty and hardship in his life. There was the death of his beloved Betty, followed by the death of his eldest son Denis, two hard blows by any standard – but he got through all the sadness and loss and came through it all.
When most people reach retirement age, they tend to slow down in their activities, but Diney didn’t go down that road. Despite all his difficulties, he kept active in the GAA. He still took an active role in Scór, especially Scór na nÓg. He took part in several novelty sketches in Scór, and also in the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association, of which he was a lifelong member.
For Carbery Rangers he served as secretary and delegate to the West Cork Board for a number of years. In recent years, he presided over the sorting of tickets for the club lotto, which was held in his kitchen every Monday night. He was particularly proud when Carbery Rangers won the Cork senior football championship in 2016.
Although he was a strict teetotaller all his life, he was always the best of company. He enjoyed a singsong, no matter where it started. He never failed to raise the ‘Jolly Old Ranger’ when called upon, while another favourite of his was ‘The Lights of London’. In addition to his singing, he was an accomplished céili dancer, his particular favourite being the ‘Haymaker’s Jig’.
His funeral, though limited by Covid-19 restrictions, was a huge demonstration of the affection held by the community for Denis. People lined the street from the house to the church. There were guards of honour from Carbery Rangers GAA, from the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association, and from his work colleagues in Lisavaird Co-op.
To his extended family, his sons Anthony and Brendan, his daughters Geraldine, Catherine and Deirdre, his brother-in-law Pat, sons-in-law Hugh and JJ, daughter-in-law Natalie, Brendan’s fiancée Christine, his many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, his nephews, nieces, and his many friends – the sincerest sympathy of the community is extended.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh sé.
- Written by An Old Ranger