Sporting legends pay their respects to Killarney’s Denis Coffey

SPORTING legends spanning many codes were in Killarney yesterday for the funeral Mass of popular businessman and sportsman Denis Coffey who died suddenly at the weekend.

An accountant and a partner in the long-established Kerry firm O’Brien Coffey, the Killarney native was a former captain and president of Killarney Golf and Fishing Club and a footballer of considerable renown with local club Dr Crokes. He also played Sigerson Cup football with UCC and served as treasurer on the Fitzgerald Stadium committee for some time.

He played a very instrumental role in Killarney securing the Irish Open golf championship for the first time in 1991 and he served as tournament director and chairman of the organising committee for the event won by Nick Faldo.

The attendance at the funeral in a packed St Mary’s Cathedral in Killarney yesterday included former Kerry great Mick O’Connell and Cork goalkeeping legend Billy Morgan.

Golf club officials from many parts of the country also turned out the pay their respects and President Mary McAleese was represented by Commdt Mick McMahon. Mr Coffey regularly played golf with the president’s husband Senator Martin McAleese.

Chief celebrant Fr Brendan Harrington, PP, Fossa, said Mr Coffey would be remembered as a very generous man who loved all sports and had a great sense of fun. “Although sad, it is somewhat appropriate that he died on the golf course given his love for the game.”

Mr Coffey, who was aged 61, was taken ill while playing golf with friends on the Lackabane course in Killarney on Friday afternoon and died a short time later.

He is survived by his wife, Catherine, children Aisling, Darina, Louise and Seán. He is further survived by his father, John, sisters Noreen and Mary, and brother Dermot. He was predeceased by his mother, Kitty, and brother, John Joe.

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