Once described as ‘the Donegal man who has given a lifetime of service to Sligo Rovers, the recent death of Brendan Byrne prompted many tributes within the game.
Brendan, who lived in Sligo town, was a native of Letterkenny. Predeceased by his wife Betty, he died suddenly in University Hospital Galway last month.
He was extremely well known in sporting circles, and in particular, League of Ireland football and for over 60 years, played a key role as a supporter, fundraiser and administrator with Sligo Rovers.
Away from the game, he also served in local government administration in both Sligo and Leitrim and first joined Sligo County Council as a staff officer in 1960. He worked too as manager at Sligo University Hospital, when it was a general hospital under the North Western Health Board.
But he will be best remembered for his association with his beloved Sligo Rovers - a team he began supporting back in the 50s when he went to watch his brother-in-law Frank McMorrow play in goal.
Not long after that, having joined the club’s committee, he played a key role in the purchase of the Showgrounds.
Over the years, he raised thousands of pounds by selling tickets, organising draws and leading up the 500 club fundraiser. Indeed, even in the weeks prior to his passing, his enthusiasm and passion for the club was underlined by the fact that he was continuing to sell tickets and help raise much needed funds.
When news of his death began to filter through, players and supporters took to social media to pay their respects to Brendan. The club flag was flown at half mast at the Showgrounds in his honour.
Brendan’s funeral took place at St. Anne’s Church, Sligo on Friday, October 21st.
He is survived by his daughters Majella (Ballina), Deirdre (Vancouver) and Jane (Sligo), sister Rene (Letterkenny), grandchildren, and other relatives and friends.