Mum of star Limerick hurlers described as a ‘warrior’ and ‘one in a million’
By Nick Rabbitts Limerick Leader Sport
THE PEOPLE of Na Piarsaigh GAA club and the wider Caherdavin area carry heavy hearts this New Year’s Day following the news that one of their most popular supporters has passed away.
Widespread and heartfelt tributes have been pouring in from around Limerick and further afield in memory of Jean Dempsey (née Hickey), who died on Saturday, surrounded by her family in Milford Care Centre.
Jean, who lived with her family in Clonmacken on the city’s northside, was a stalwart of Na Piarsaigh GAA club, always on the sidelines supporting her children as they wore the sky-blue.
In words posted to X, formerly Twitter, the Caherdavin club wrote: “It is with a heavy heart we share the sad news of the passing of Jean Dempsey. Jean was ever present supporting her three sons Alan, David (Daithí) and Keith as they wore the blue of Na Piarsaigh. Our thoughts are with her husband Ger, daughter Jennifer, and the three lads.”
And an email to club members from secretary Lavinia Duggan added: “We take solace in the joy she had for many years seeing her wonderful sons, Alan, David and Keith achieve so much in GAA sport with Na Piarsaigh, Ardscoil Rís and Limerick county.”
Alan and David have both represented Limerick at senior level.
Both were on the Na Piarsaigh team which made history on St Patrick’s Day 2016 by winning the All-Ireland Club Hurling Championship at Croke Park. Alan, David and Keith continue to play with Na Piarsaigh – the current Limerick club champions.
David featured on two of the Limerick senior hurling panels which have won five Liam MacCarthy cups in six years.
Tributes have been paid to Jean from people on the www.rip.ie website which announced her untimely passing on New Year’s Eve.
“She was such a jolly person and always so pleasant to meet,” one person wrote.
The president of Galway GAA Fr Pat Donnellan said the Mass at the marriage of Jean’s only daughter Jennifer to her partner Paul in Dingle last summer.
“Jean was full of life and love and happiness despite her serious illness. Sickness is unforgiving but it cannot erode memories or quench love. May Jean’s love live on in you,” wrote the priest, “I offer the support of my prayers and my sincere sympathy.”
Tributes were paid from members of Na Piarsaigh and the wider community around Caherdavin.
Fellow club stalwarts Finbarr and Stella Brougham wrote: “Your mother was a warrior who battled her illness for many years. Thinking of ye all at this sad time.”
Linda Gleeson Gallagher added: “Rest in peace Jean, you were a warrior and one in a million.”
The beloved wife of Ger, and the dearly-loved mother of Jennifer, Alan, David and Keith, Jean is also sadly missed by her loving son-in-law Paul, Alan’s partner Michelle and Keith’s partner Mary, her cherished grandson Charlie, brothers John, Ray and Derek, sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces, extended family, friends and her dog Mollie.
She will repose at her home on Tuesday, January 2 from 4pm to 7pm. Her funeral will take place at Christ the King Church in Caherdavin on Wednesday, January 3 at 11.30am.
Jean will then be laid to rest at Castlemungret Cemetery.
Her requiem Mass can be viewed online at: www.churchservices.tv/caherdavin
May she rest in peace.