Anthony McSwiggan - a true Derry Gael

FORMER Derry County Committee Vice-Chairman Anthony McSwiggan has been laid to rest after Requiem Mass in Desertmartin, the huge attendance at his funeral representative of the high esteem in which he was held in the local and wider community in the Oak Leaf County.

The GAA family in Derry and Ulster was widely represented, befitting a GAA stalwart who had devoted many years to the Association in a voluntary capacity.

He was probably one of the most recognisable figures on the Derry GAA Scene. It would be fair to say that in recent years he has been - in one capacity or another, but often with a sponsor’s banner in the boot of his car - at every ground in the county, quite a few of them time and again, as he ensured that sponsors of the various Derry competitions were widely promoted

Indeed he worked tirelessly to ensure that every competition, and every county team in the OakLeaf County was sponsored, whilst ensuring that all sponsors were given maximum publicity

Over the years he had been involved at club and county level, as player and then chairman of his club Desertmartin from 2002 to 2005, and a member of the Derry County Committee for many years. In his early years he played at underage and adult level for Magherafelt.

He was the Derry Development Officer for many years and then Vice Chairman of the County Committee and chairman of Derry Competitions Control Committee.

He was a member of the Derry Awards Committee and, at the end of last year, it was very difficult to get him out of the Committee Room when it came to discussing possible candidates for the prestigious 2011 An Curadh Mhir Award (The Champions Portion) which is given annually to someone who has given outstanding service to the GAA in the Oak Leaf County over many years.

But somehow his good friend Danny Scullion sent him on some errand or other to get Anthony out of the room for half an hour!

Anthony was the unanimous choice for the accolade and he was genuinely surprised and delighted when he was called upon to accept An Curadh Mhir Award from County Chairman John Keenan just a few short months ago.

Softly spoken and gentlemanly, with a sense of humour to match, he will be sadly missed by his legion of friends in the GAA fraternity, but mostly by his beloved wife Patricia and the wider family circle.

Go ndearna Dia trocaire ar a anam.