Derek’s sudden and sad passing has lost one of Leinster Badminton great supporters on so many levels both as a Player, Administrator and Coach stretching back over fifty years.
As this is the “Oscar” time of year, we hear a lot of Americanism’s like “Journey”, “Legacy” and “Body of Work”. Well these can also be applied to Derek.
His badminton “Journey” started off in a one court hall called Clontarf Parish. He was selected to play on the Leinster U18 Team. Then progressed to playing for many years in Pembroke BC based in Whitehall Road now known as the Terenure Badminton Centre. There were only two Senior Clubs in Leinster at the time and he was selected to represent Leinster at Minor U21, Junior and the Senior Interpro Teams.
Rising to the Pembroke first team in the early 1970’s, he met and teamed up with Mary Dinan to create what can only be described as one of the most formidable Irish and Leinster Mixed Doubles partnerships of that era. They won many Open tournaments across the country and with their off court good humour were always a huge attraction for people to watch, be it at the Co. Louth, Waterford Open or Roscommon Open Championships. He also won many Leinster Senior and Junior Mens Doubles titles during this period.
In the mid 1970’s the Leinster Senior Team were admitted into the English Intercounty League and Derek was selected for the Team. It’s hard to explain to the present generation of players the dedication needed to be a member of this pioneering Team with the huge travel involved. There were no “cheap” Ryanair flights in those days, so the team left Dublin Port on a Friday night by ferry to Liverpool. The next morning they then drove hundreds of miles across the north of England in all weathers to play one match. On the Sunday they drove another couple of hundred miles to play a second match. They would travel back overnight on the ferry and arrive back on Monday morning just in time to go to work! The Intercounty League was set up on a “Home and Away” bases but as English teams would not travel to Ireland due to security concerns, the Leinster Team had to travel to play their “Home” matches “Away” thus doubling the number of weekends of travel.
It must also be pointed out that as the Leinster Team were playing in this league the Leinster Under 16’s were allowed play in the English Schools Tournament in Nottingham. This “Legacy” continues to this day thanks to this original ground breaking Senior Team.
Derek was also an umpire at the European Championships held in Fitzwilliam Tennis Club, Dublin in 1976.
In 1977 a new club was formed called KADCA and Derek was instrumental in it’s start up. This brought Senior badminton to the northside. Very soon KADCA were winning the Premier League and Cups. He was also Captain and leader of the first KADCA Team to win the Irish Junior Cup in 1982. A huge achievement for such a young club.
After his playing career finished Derek started a new “Body of Work” and was part of the committee campaigning for a Badminton Hall on the northside of Dublin. He was elected onto the Leinster Executive and became an “Influencer” to ensure this happened and as we know the Baldoyle Badminton Centre has now been in operation over thirty five years. His foresight, drive, energy and commitment to this project have been unswerving since it opened.
Much to Derek’s delight he was awarded an “Honorary Life Membership” of Leinster Badminton in 2015.
He returned to the Leinster Executive and became Chairman and was a serving member at the time of his untimely passing.
The sympathies of all who knew Derek go out to his wife, Ann, brother Alan, sisters-in-law Shirley, Glynis, and Olive, niece, nephews, extended family and friends. He will be greatly missed by the entire badminton community.
Rest in Peace Derek