John Doddy RIP

John Doddy RIP

When John Doddy died on the 9th July 2009 Irish Rugby, but especially St Mary’s College RFC, lost a great champion. John was an outstanding St Mary’s member, who is deeply mourned by his family and all in the club.

He was educated at St Mary’s College Rathmines and later studied and qualified as a chartered accountant. While at Marys he was a brilliant young student and excelled right through his ten years there. He was extremely popular and made many friends, four in particular, Brian (Spike) Fanning, John Lawlor, Donal (Benj) O’Sullivan and Barney Moran, who not only remained his lifelong friends, but Spike and he have ever been inseparable. Having left school in 1962, he joined St Mary’s RFC and played there for several years. He formed a long lasting and effective centre partnership with Arthur Costello, then affectionately known as Nobby. When he retired from playing, he became involved in rugby administration, using his astute rugby brain to good effect in guiding and helping many young players and developing the club game. His administrative and astute financial skills, honed from a highly successful business career, were also used to good effect in developing the club. In 1997-98 season, he became club president a role he excelled in and enjoyed greatly. At that time a major club restructuring was taking place, under Frank Kennedy and Tony Hickie, and John, with the strong and active support of his then vice president John D Cunningham, previous president Gus Browne and the committee, drove forward those developments and ensured that the centenary bar, which was to be put on hold indefinitely, was completed. These developments within the club helped to establish Templeville Road on the top tier of leading clubs in the Ireland.

He continued his involvement in rugby affairs and when St Marys took the AIL title in1999-2000 John was chairman of rugby. Indeed he remained vitally involved in rugby administration in the club to the end, although he became the club’s representative to the Leinster Branch IRFU in 2003. He staunchly defended the club’s interests within the Branch and spoke out, fearlessly when necessary. His abilities were quickly recognised and he was appointed onto various sub committees including the Stadium Development Committee, which he chaired and guided unerringly to the present, overseeing the successful re-development of Donnybrook. He cemented further, his long close friendship with John Hussey, Jr Vice President IRFU and proved to be an important support to him.

He continued to look for improvements in the club game and recently put forward far sighted proposals for a competitive Leinster League and changes to the AIL. He was actively involved in these projects to the end and, although falling ill last year, he showed his true inner resolve and courage by accelerating his work rate, rather than taking a rest; neither did he lose his love of life nor those close to him.

John had been appointed a club trustee and he took this role, not only as a great honour but also a responsibility, which he discharged with alacrity and ability.

There was for John, one thing more important than rugby and St Marys and that was his family, particularly his adored wife and confidante, Eileen. They were inseparable and had a wonderfully happy life together. In the late seventies Eileen had a serious, near fatal traffic accident and that drew them even closer together and they were justifiably proud of each other and their family and of course son John played at TCD, while studying there, and later at St Marys and son Robbie, spent a number of his early teenage years as a ball boy and team management support. His brothers, Paul, Tom and Joe and his nephews too, are all active members of the club.

John never allowed this deadly illness change his attitude to persons or his wonderful passion for rugby and he continued to attend St Marys’ AIL games and those of his other rugby love, Leinster, following them in their Magner’s league and Heineken Cup games and how he enjoyed himself in Edinburgh at the final, with his adored wife Eileen and, his ever present life-long friend Spike, by his side. They had a wonderful time and later John was very proud of a photo of him and club president, Niall Rynne, with the Heineken Cup.

All those who knew John Doddy will know his good humoured approach to life, he worked and played happily. He had an immense brain, a prodigious memory and a brilliant instantaneous wit. He was most generous, agreeable and personable and retained admirable old world courtesy and charm. He defended his beliefs strongly, but never aggressively nor stridently. He actively helped and supported young persons with their personal and rugby development. He was just superb company. He had three great loves in life, his wife and family and friends, his rugby and his golf, being a respected member of Kiliney Golf Club.

John Doddy is irreplaceable; it is often said that “he will be remembered”, John, however, must never be forgotten.

D O’Brien