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Mick Devane: A man in a million

by Jimmy Rhatigan

Dean Cavanagh Place, Kilkennyman Mick Devane who has passed away in his 96th year was a local hero with a big heart, a wonderful outgoing personality and a terrific wit that would light up a room and have enough spare electricity to brighten up an entire estate.

He was so proud of his family, loved the company of others in local hostelries and enjoyed many sports, particularly hurling and soccer and whatever other activities his children and children’s children were involved in.

He was a man who would win your heart; was an invigorating conversationalist and had a warm and infectious laugh that reinforced his admirable ability to bring levity into a chat and to ensure that no one was ever hurt in a good old pub hour of banter.

I loved meeting Mick, on the sideline in the Fair Green at a soccer match and most definitely in Doherty’s Friary Street Pub. 

Even if your team was beaten Mick had the happy knack of making you feel as if you had just won the cup. His kindness and care were among his terrific attributes.

He had a love affair with sport but he knew well that its place in life was preceded by family affairs and indeed by community spirit which he so enjoyed being part and parcel of.

I remember a fledgling Emfa FC purchased its first set of woolen club jumpers with club emblem from Mick and Danny O’Gorman when the pair were the fir an tí at the then Piert’s Menswear on the corner of Rose Inn Street and St Kieran’s Street where the kind and jovial duo had been on the staff since Moses was a boy.

Calling in to purchase a britches or a shirt was almost always a fascinating experience. 

Rest in peace Mick. You brought joy to all our lives.

Both men were inevitably in good humour and had a ‘good one’ to relate and, regardless of the wit level the service and value for money was always top notch.

In the ago Denis Doherty’s Pub and Seamus Rafter’s Sceilp on the College Road were Mick’s favourite watering holes. 

Both bars had some great tipplers that highlighted them as houses of good cheer and good old fashioned verbals to warm up, wind up or simply to brighten an occasion.

I think in particular of the late Jimmy ‘The Priest’ Brennan and Jim Cody at the Sceilp and a host of super characters in Doherty’s including Moc Lawlor Snr, Dolcy Saunders and his son Joe, Jack Kinchella, John ‘The Gurk’ Doyle and young guns Nickey Walsh and his sidekick Nicky Lawlor et alia.

The game of soccer was more often than not the reason for the gatherings but in hindsight, while the sport was the catalyst, the real attractions were the charismatic folk that turned up in the name of the game.

Mick Devane was larger than life; a wonderful son of Dicksboro GAA Club who wore the club jersey with pride; whose terrific personality won him legions of friends, true pals; the kind that Mick was always happy to share his life with.

He passed away at his home surrounded by his loved ones, including his sons John, Michael and Eddie and daughters Marian, Carmel and Ann. 

He was predeceased by his loving wife Una, a smashing woman and beloved son Ger, a popular paramedic at St Luke’s General Hospital.

Mick was in his 96th year.

God rest him. He added spice to all of our lives.

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