Bobby Deacy, A Tribute
From the Galwegians Yearbook 2009-2010
Robert M. Deacy, died 28th December 2009
A great Galwegian has left us. Bobby Deacy, who died peacefully on the 28th December last aged sixty-eight was undoubtedly one of the last of the great Club alicadoos still active after a half century of dedicated and often unsung service.
Bobby was born on the 1st July, 1941 to a well known and old Galway family well steeped in the aspects of life which mattered such as football in it’s various codes, the Lake and the business of the town. His elder sister Josephine proved to be the only girl and she is still happily with us. All five sons, of whom Bobby was the eldest, went on to forge their own independent and different paths and all made a mark on the sporting world, in particular rugby football, in their own way.
Bobby’s rugby career started at the Bish where he won a Connacht Schools Senior Cup medal in 1959. His uncle Jack Deacy, a stalwart of the Galwegian Club, ensured that Bobby’s playing career continued. He won a Minor Cup in 1960 with ‘Wegians (coincidentally our own Billy Glynn played his first ever match for the Club in the same team!) but his greatest claim to fame as a player was as a member of the Senior Team which beat UCG in 1963 to win the Connacht Cup. At the time, it was expected that a College victory would be a formality, their team being heavily laced with International and Inter Provincial players. Bobby always had us believe that he was the player most instrumental to that victory!
On becoming a Chartered Accountant in 1965, Bobby started his own business at the family home in Renmore. As the workload increased the need for more space became acute and he therefore acquired Offices at 11 Eyre Square where, in a few short years, he formed a longstanding partnership with Malachy Concannon. The Firm prospered and, following another move, this time to Woodquay, is now to be found at the Galway Financial Services Centre in Moneenageisha. It is a tribute to Bobby’s hard work, business acumen and sheer determination that the Firm now stands proudly as one of Galway’s finest and most respected Accountancy Firms.
Bobby married Ann shortly after he qualified as an Accountant and they have been blessed with two fine children, Edith who was born in 1968 and Norman in 1971. Norman followed his father into accountancy and now proudly manages the family business and it continues to prosper despite the economic downturn.
Whilst rugby football was always Bobby’s first love, nonetheless he delighted in spending many hours fly-fishing on Lough Corrib. With the same single mindedness he was already showing in business and in rugby football affairs, he succeeded in being honoured on many occasions fishing for Ireland with his father Christy from whom he learned the strange and wonderful ways of the brown trout, the mayfly, the daddy longlegs and all the other arcana of the fresh water world.
On retiring from playing rugby, Bobby threw himself whole heartedly into the administration side of the game. Being an Accountant, he naturally became Honorary Treasurer of Galwegians and remained in that position for many years keeping successive captains, coaches and committees in check through the various good times and bad over the years. Inevitably, his talents were required by Connacht and he served as Honorary Secretary of the Branch for a number of years in the late 70s and early 80s. During this period, it was always amusing to call to Bobby’s Office and get the impression that the “in” tray on his desk was divided into three with the Club and Branch boxes seemingly far higher up in the pecking order than the daily grind of Accountancy matters! In view of the strength of the practice that was obviously an illusion.
It was equally inevitable that Bobby would become a Connacht Branch representative on the Irish Rugby Football Union sooner rather than later. His qualities were soon recognised by his peers in Lansdowne Road and he was hugely honoured to be asked to fill the Honorary Treasurer’s seat in the Union which he did with great distinction from 1987 up to 1996. He was thrust into the turmoil that surrounded the professional era in rugby when it came to pass in the mid 1990s. In this period, he had the great foresight to realise that Ireland had to follow a different path from that being taken by her neighbours in that he was very much to the fore in pushing through the IRFU centrally contracting the top players rather than go down the road of the professional club structure as pertains to this day in, for instance, England and France. As everyone now knows, this has, over the years, worked very much to Ireland’s advantage as there now exists a three tier system of club, province and country which, whilst it has its draw backs and problems from time to time, nevertheless, remains robust and, in the main, healthy.
Whatever about the travails and headaches as Treasurer, when Bobby was elected to the Presidency of the Union in 1996-1997, the difficulties were only beginning! As his term of Office was commencing, he was faced with the finalisation of the Players Contract Scheme, the national Coach Murray Kidd, resigning, a major row over television rights for what was then the Five Nations and, also, dealing with the newly formed Clubs Association. Bobby dealt with all of these with a great deal of ability and certainly left the Union in a far better position than he found it at the commencement of his Presidency.
Having served as Connacht Branch President in 1985-1986 and the IRFU ten years later, it may be seen as something of an oversight that he was never honoured with the Presidency of his Club. It was not for the want of trying by successive administrators of Galwegians but Bobby always let it be known that he wanted to continue working in the wings as Trustee since his appointment in 1977 following the death of his uncle Jack. Club Members are simply not aware of the massive amount of work put in by Bobby over the years as they would not be privy to the countless meetings which took place in his Office. These all seemed to take the same form. Bobby sat quietly in his chair, listened to all the various speakers and, then, summed up the meeting and also expounded his own views which may well not have been shared by those attending but which, ultimately, were seen to be in the best interests of the Club.
In recent years Bobby has worked harder than anyone in the efforts to relocate the Club from Glenina but, ultimately, this was one of the projects, the completion of which eluded him. Nonetheless, through his efforts and because of his profound love of rugby, Bobby and those like him have sustained the game in Galwegians, Connacht and Ireland for many years.
Bobby was predeceased by his brothers Frankie and Christy and is survived by his wife Ann, his daughter Edith, son Norman ,sister Josephine, brothers Norman and John and his grandchildren Robert, James, Matthew, Natasha.