The late Dessie Ferguson.

Death of Kells and Dublin GAA legend, Des Ferguson

Patriarch of GAA family was strong republican

The death has occurred of one of Meath’s most famous adopted Dubs, All Ireland winning footballer Dessie Ferguson.

Aged 91, his death was announced on Tuesday night in a tribute from Gaeil Colmcille GAA club of Kells, a club the former teacher and his family have been synonymous with.

The St Vincent's and Dublin legend was one of the founding members of Gaeil Colmcille and a man who served on the first executive committee in the club. Des went on to win two Keegan Cups with Gaeil Colmcille in 1966 and 1968.

Des was a proud Dub and was a successful footballer as well as hurler with his home club St Vincent's and his beloved Dublin where he won two All-Ireland Senior Football Championships in 1958 and 1963.

Des and Marie Ferguson with former Sinn Fein leader, Gerry Adams.

Des came close to a dual All-Ireland in 1952 after winning the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship defeating Wexford in the final, Dublin fell to Cork in the All-Ireland Final. Dessie's biggest regret was the 1961 All-Ireland Hurling Final where Dublin lost to Tipperary in the dying minutes of the match.

Dessie – ‘Snitchie’ - Ferguson’s family roots goes back to Co Down and it was from there his family moved to Dublin eventually settling in the Donacarney area. Both he and his wife, Márie McDonnell from nearby Marino, were steeped in the republican tradition.

Des and Marie Ferguson on their wedding day.

They had 10 children but tragedy struck when one of their eight sons, Ronán, died from a brain tumour at 16.

The family by then had settled in Kells via a couple of years in Oldcastle. Dessie had passed the necessary exams to become a qualified teacher of construction studies, eventually taking up a job in the technical school in Athboy.

One of the Ferguson clan, Terry, followed in Dessie’s footsteps by playing in two All-Ireland SFC finals in 1987 and ‘88, only this time in the green and gold of Meath during Boylan’s reign as boss. Conor and Eimear have served as Sinn Fein members of Meath County Council.

Des is survived by Marie; their sons, Rory, Pearse, Barry, Des, Conor, Diarmuid and Terry, daughters Eimear and Orlaith, 30 grandchildren, including Liam who has captained Gaeil Colmcille, five great grandchildren, sisters Deirdre and Rita and brother Liam, extended family, relatives and friends

His remains will repose at his residence on Friday evening from 5pm - 8pm and Saturday from 12 noon to 6pm. Removal is from his residence on Sunday at 1.15pm to arrive at St Colmcille's Church, Kells, for funeral Mass at 2pm, followed by burial in St Colmcille's Cemetery.

The funeral Mass can be viewed on https://www.