Tributes have been paid in honour of former Dundalk FC chairman Des Denning, who was laid to rest last Friday.
Mr Denning was chairman of the club when Dundalk won the FAI Cup in 2002. He resigned from the position two years later before returning for a brief spell on the board in 2009.
His remains were accompanied to St Patrick’s church by FAI chief executive John Delaney, current Dundalk chairman Ciaran Bond, owner Andy Connolly and manager Stephen Kenny.
Former Dundalk boss Ian Foster, who Denning was instrumental in bringing to Oriel Park in late 2009, was also amongst the mourners.
Before a large attendance, Fr Padraig Keenan paid tribute to a man he described as ‘the people’s chairman’.
“Des has pleased many with his time among us,” said Fr Keenan. “We can now imagine him smiling down from a heavenly place. The image of the final whistle will have created many emotions for Des. Today the final whistle has been blown on his earthly existence.”
Earlier in the week Dundalk FC released a statement saying: “Everybody at Dundalk Football Club is shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the sudden death of our former chairman Des Denning.
“Des was a true friend of everybody at Dundalk FC and was always there to offer advice and support to everybody at the club. A proud chairman for four years, Des was at the helm when Dundalk won the 2001 First Division Championship and the 2002 FAI Cup.
“We send our condolences to his family and many friends. Des’ partner, Regina, is still a very important part of our club and we send our support to her at this very sad time.”
FAI chief executive John Delaney also paid tribute to the 61-year-old Cavan native, saying: “The news of Des Denning’s sudden passing has shocked everybody within football. He was a passionate follower of the game and will be remembered for the contribution he made to Dundalk Football Club.”
SSE Airtricity League Director Fran Gavin said: “Des Denning was a familiar face around Oriel Park and was always on hand to assist the club whenever he could. His partner Regina O’Hare is the Event Controller at Oriel Park and she, together with his family and friends, are in our thoughts at this very sad time.”
A minute’s applause was held in Denning’s memory prior to Friday night’s game between St Patrick’s Athletic and Dundalk at Richmond Park.
There was also a banner present at the ground which read: ‘RIP Des Denning’.