Eddie Mahon pays tribute to friend and teammate Declan McDowell

I was absolutely devastated on Tuesday to learn of the death of my treasured friend and hugely esteemed playing colleague Declan McDowell.
The late Declan McDowellThe late Declan McDowell
The late Declan McDowell

To put it at its simplest, Declan was a gem of a lad both on and off the pitch.

As one of (I think) four players who represented Derry City both North and South of the border he is a member of a unique group.

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I was lucky enough to play with him on both sides of the border, with Derry in the early seventies and, later, when we both joined Finn Harps where Declan won a Cup Winner’s medal in 1974.

Declan McDowell, seated second from left, with his Derry City teammates.Declan McDowell, seated second from left, with his Derry City teammates.
Declan McDowell, seated second from left, with his Derry City teammates.

He was also in the Derry side which lost the 1971 final to Martin O'Neill's Distillery.

For a player whose senior career stretched over a decade and a half he obviously had many talents; talents which allowed him to play in up to eight different positions; right across the back four and in any of the midfield positions.

Like a lot of Derry players he lost the opportunity to play for his home town club because of our ejection from the Irish League but, when Harps became 'our' club he, like a lot of his townsmen, gave them sterling service and his name will never be forgotten in Donegal.

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But it's as a friend that I choose to remember him. Always good-humoured and friendly he had a roguish sense of humour and was always part of any dressing room banter. And a more reliable colleague in every facet of life you'll never find.

And, on a personal level, I can tell you he stepped up to the plate when I needed a friend and I never got to tell him him much I appreciated it. I will really miss him. May he rest in peace.

Declan McDowell died peacefully at his home after a period of illness on Tuesday. His remains will be reposing at his late family home, 13 Lindenwood Park, Foyle Springs from 3pm on Tuesday. His Requiem Mass will take place at the Holy Family Church, Ballymagroarty at 12noon on Thursday, followed by interment in the City Cemetery.