Tactician Joe was the unsung hero at club

By Hayden Moore

AN ASTUTE tactician on the sidelines and dedicated handy-man, Knocklyon United stalwart Joe McFeely has been described as an unsung hero after dying at the age of 62.

Joe stepped away from his duties as a handy-man with the club three-years-ago having served as a general handy-man and coach for the best part of 20-years.

Joe McFeely2 1

Joe McFeely was a club official at Knocklyon United Football Club

“He was a very unassuming man, a quiet type,” former Knocklyon United chairperson, secretary and friend Noel Gaughran tells The Echo.

“He would have been the odd-job man with the club, he was always around and always there to set-up something or fix what needed fixing.

“He was buried in his club tracksuit, the one that he’s wearing in that photograph and a football from the club - that’s how much he dedicated himself to Knocklyon United.

“I couldn’t believe it when his wife Leah told me.”

Noel added: “He was of course one of my good friends and he is sorely missed, that’s the thing about unsung heroes isn’t it, they’re always missed.”

In a week where the community are also mourning the passing of Rosemary Delany, Noel recalls meeting Joe in Rosemary’s former stead, the Knocklyon Inn - which is known locally as Delany’s.

“I met Joe about 20-years-ago in Delany’s Pub, there was a few of us involved with the football at the time and we’d head there for a few pints after a match,” Noel recalls.

“We’d always be needing nets, goals and just general gear transported around.

“I knew Joe had a big van so one of the days we just asked him if he’d give us a hand for half-an-hour.

“Little did he know at the time that those 30-minutes of work would turn into 20-years of his life.”

A devout Chelsea fan, Joe grew up on Errigal Road in Drimnagh and played ball with Bushy Park Rangers for a time before moving to Knocklyon with his wife Leah 30-years-ago.

After being asked by Noel to move training gear for the club in his van, Joe bought into Knocklyon Football Club hook, line and sinker.

Joe became the clubs go-to handy-man, installing kitchens and barbecues, setting up the massive World Cup the club host, transporting nets and goalposts and whatever else needed doing.

Noel believes Joe was one of the “unsung heroes” of the club.

“He would have been part of the furniture, on the club’s big days he was our major person that would set everything up,” he says during an over-the-phone interview with The Echo.

“Joe really had a great pair of hands.

“He was a carpenter and a builder by trade, and he would have specialised in kitchens - he built many kitchens from spec for people in the club.

“Doors, floors, kitchens, he did it.

“His workmanship was fantastic.”

After a period of time, Joe decided to throw his oar in with the Men’s Leinster Senior League Saturday outfit and he developed a nickname due to his attention to detail.

“Joe was known for being bent on one knee on the touchline taking notes on the team and the other team, making changes and adjustments.

“He would have been a tactician in his own-right.

“We’d always be in the pub after a match having the laugh and - this would have been during the Trappatoni-era with Ireland - I got the nickname Noel Gaughatoni.

“He absolutely loved Joe Mourinho and Chelsea, so we started calling him Jose McFeelio and it just stuck.”

Joe spent most of last September in hospital for what was believed to be rheumatoid arthritis but further testing revealed traces of cancer.

During this time, Joe’s first grandchild Ayda was born.

Battling his symptoms and working within the bounds of Covid-19 restrictions, Joe got to know his granddaughter over six-months.

Just as he was preparing to undergo seven-weeks of chemotherapy, Joe deteriorated over the space of 10-days and passed away on March 17 at Tallaght University Hospital.

A private family funeral was held in St Colmcilles Church for Joe before he was cremated in the Victorian Chapel in Mount Jerome Cemetery.

Joe McFeely is survived by his wife Leah, children Laragh and Kevin and granddaughter Ayda.

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