We must keep Mac’s memory alive, insists Keely

Well known faces from the past and winners of The Tommy Mac Golf Classic, Brendan McGeown, Alf Garvin and Robert Prole being presented with their prize by Dot Neary (left) and Des Denning (right).  Both Alf and Robert were members of the great Drumcondra FC team from the 1950s and 1960s
Former Dundalk captain and manager Dermot Keely said it was essential that the memory of Tommy McConville is kept alive for generations to come.

Former Dundalk captain and manager Dermot Keely said it was essential that the memory of Tommy McConville is kept alive for generations to come.

A hugely successful Tommy Mac Golf Classic and Fundraising Night took place on June 7 and Keely, a former team-mate and Mac’s closest friend, said he was hoping it would be come an annual event.

“They have things like Martin Luther King day in other countries so hopefully we can have a Tommy McConville Day!,” he said.

“It’s a day to keep his memory alive. He was without doubt, the best Dundalk player ever - I don’t think you’ll get too many people to dispute that - but he was also the best man ever. People use the term legend very openly these days but I think in this case he was a real legend, not just as a player but as a man. It would be a shame if the people of Dundalk forgot that.

“He was a very fit 67 year old who shouldn’t have died but he did. We just have to deal with the reality and do what we can to keep his memory living on. His spirit will always be with his friends.

“Memories fade over time but we should keep his alive for as long as we can. There are kids growing up who should know how good of a player and how good a man he was so hopefully this will be an annual event. This is the first year of it and we will hope to do it again every year.”

All proceeds from the day went to the North Louth Hospice and Keely praised the hospice for their efforts in Mac’s final days before his death.

“The Hospice is totally voluntary and the people who work there are amazing. Tommy got great care when he was there.”

Tommy Mac passed away on October 25 last year after losing a courageous battle with illness. His funeral was one of the largest to be held in Dundalk, showing the esteem in which the gifted player was held by the people of the town and beyond.

They say that time is a great healer but Keely still aches for his lost wingman.

“It’s like somebody cutting your arm off,” he said when asked to describe the loss.

“I was watching a game recently and I turned and had the word ‘Mac’ out of my mouth before I even realised he wasn’t there.

“For me, it was a privilege to know him,” he added. “The friendship I had with him was one of the biggest things I had in my life. It’s the greatest friendship I’ve ever had, or ever will have.”