As Tommy Mac was laid to rest on Monday, ‘the Monday Club’ as they are affectionately known decided to keep their ritual, albeit on the Tuesday in honour of their fallen captain.
They were led by his soul mate Keely and ably supported by Dot, Rambo, Cossie, Issa, Happy, Wallet, Dixo, Micky Mac, Mo, Toddser and Chubby. (Why do parents bother with christenings?)
A pint of Harp was left on McAlister’s counter for Mac and was duly disposed of after a toast and round of applause.
Mac was laid to rest on that Monday in what can only be described as a state funeral. The state man that was Tommy Mac was honoured by all his former and present football friends. As his coffin left his home applause broke out leaving the pall bearers somewhat bemused and setting the tone for a remarkable day.
The cortege stopped outside the Clans to more applause and a lone piper played a poignant lament as the members, led by the 1985 Senior Championship winning team, escorted Tommy to the church. As you looked back down the Ecco Road it was amazing to see the size of the procession
The mass was beautiful and it was a lovely touch when the ‘Far East’ (priest) suggested a pint of Harp should be on the altar. Mac’s loyal friend Dermot broke the solemnity by trying to translate some of Mac’s own dialect to those in the ‘Pineapple’ (Chapel).
After mass the cortege made its way to Tommy’s spiritual home, Oriel Park, escorted by Rangers club members.
A who’s who of Irish football followed the hearse. As the hearse emerged from his beloved Oriel, escorted by Dundalk FC members, there was a thunderous applause that I’m sure would have saw Mac cheekily wink and give a thumbs up as was his way.
It would do your heart good to see the massive Dundalk flag at the head of the cortege. He would surely have approved.
His proud children: Carol, Linda, Paula, Leanne and Thomas welcomed everybody to their home and told one and all of their immense pride in their father.
The three degrees manned the kettle and Minto did the cakes. For the first time in many weeks there was no gun smoke (true story) on the telly. The family made it a special place to visit and pay our respects to a wonderful man.
All the old football photos and of the family at different ages were out with pride of place going to his dear wife Chris who can now spoil him once again.
This is not the time to regale you of this legend’s prowess on the football field. No, just to expound his gentlemanliness.
Was it his smile, his laugh, his helping hand or his comradeship that made him stand tall among men? No, it was all of these and more.
Wags have said that Mac had more air miles than Phileas Fogg and he will be missed on the ski slopes by Wisey, Hughie, Bagger, Vincy, Tufty, Big Deck, Gaiya, Savvo, Tufties, Shamie, Yifter and Rocky. (No Christenings again).
Tommy Mac’s heart is not in San Francisco. It’s in Dundalk where it will be kept warm. GD