I am sorry to have to inform you that Tommy has passed away on 10/25/2013 May he rest in peace.
Thank you for all your prayers from Dundalk, from Dublin, from Belfast, and from the rest of Ireland, from Rio de Janeiro n Sao Paulo Brazil, Mexico, USA, Canada, Manila, Philippines, Thailand, Madrid, Valencia Spain, From EX Washington Diplomats Players n fans, Shamrock Rovers, Waterford Utd, Finn Harps FC, Glasgow Celtic FC, Rangers FC Dundalk where it all began in football for Thomas McConville.
Today Tommy passed away peacefully in his beloved home town of Dundalk surrounded by his love family.
Why is he a special friend to me? Well I have known him all my life because he was raised in the same street, Fr Murray Park, as me in Dundalk and he was always a pure gentleman in everything he encountered. His respect for people, all people, astounds me even to this day and he always included everyone especially in the highs that that were bestowed upon him and there were many of such occasions.
He is a footballer through and through and being the elder statesman in this ‘beautiful game’ and coming from a street that seemed to live only for football, sure we younger lads looked up to him and watched his every move. This close scrutiny would be strictly adhered to on and off the playing field where his playing moves would be practised and emulated by all of us younger aspiring footballers. But for me it went deeper as I tried even to walk like him, so talk about walking around in somebody else’s shoes, well, I done that and I am proud that I had the sense to copied such a great person!
Like I already said he respected everyone he encountered and even being an adult himself he would still address my mother as ‘Mrs McKevitt’ thus again this was emulated with the same courtesy being applied to everyone I encountered.
He is just an ordinary guy with an extra-ordinary talent, a footballing talent but he never permitted this to affect his true personality. He could be in the same room talking to Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, or Bobby Moore and if you walked in he would break off the conversation and say “Well, how’s it going buddy”!
This ordinary guy experienced the highs and lows in life as we all do but again they were never allowed to affect him especially with the lows and a lesser person would be bitter and understandably so. His greatest lesson to me was to believe in yourself and never give up on your dreams and he is a shining example of this.
Playing for his home town club Dundalk FC he was languishing in the reserves for what seemed like forever getting only an odd run out with the first team. But then a new manager came along and he was included full time and thus the start of his professional career. There was another time later on when his beloved team, the great Manchester United, wanted to secure his services to play for them but because of stupid greed in the transfer dealings the great club pulled out and he didn’t get to fulfil his boyhood dream. However, he did get to play for his country Republic of Ireland on seven occasions and against the 1978 world champions in the River Plate Stadium Argentina.
He also rubbed shoulders alongside the greats of Pele and Beckenbauer in the United States football league playing for 3 seasons with Washing Diplomats FC which was compensation at least. But like I said he never gave up on his dreams and always believed in himself even when the chips were down.
There is another trait that must be mentioned and that is I have never ever seen him display anger, lose his temper, or be in bad mood even in the greatest of unfortunate events.
There are many personal stories I could tell about this great man and one was went Dundalk FC were playing in the cup final and I was driving taxis at the time. Now I just happened to take Tommy home on the eve of the game and he asked me was I looking forward to the game and I said ah Tommy I couldn’t get a ticket which was like gold dust in town. He said ‘Ah you can’t miss this special game’ where he was on the management staff at the time and asked me to wait outside his house, He came out with two VIP tickets and gave them to me free gratis. Dundalk won the game and on the victory parade the next evening he spotted me in the crowd and pulled me up onto the bus to celebrate with him and his team into the wee hours of the morning.
Then, although in the autumn of his wonderful life, he still turned out to play in the beautiful game of football that he loves so much until he got ill last year, but he always guided, always encouraged all the players around him without fail.
Alas, he has now passed on to join his lovely wife his parents Brian n Joan, brothers, Eamonn, n Brian, and his best mate Jim ‘Cutta’ Smyth. He leaves behind his lovely daughters Paula, Leanne, Linda, Carol son Thomas, and by his brother Walter Peter McConville another legend in the music industry and founder of Bagatelle.
I would like to thank you all from all over this planet for your kindness in saying a little prayer for my true friend Tommy, one of the greatest legends my town Dundalk and country have ever known.
I am just after looking out of my kitchen window it is now 1 am and behold there is a deflated football sitting outside my gate as if it were a sign from Tommy that all is well n good in heaven where he awaits me and all his other mates to make up the team.
The lights have dimmed
The crowd’s gone silent
The fat lady is standing
The ref looks at his lines
He put his whistle to his mouth
I dreaded this time this day
When the mighty step back
And all that remains is legend
Leaving a legacy of great hope
For us lesser beings
For you my friend the mighty
Who placed me on your shoulders
So that I could see what you saw
To let me feel what you felt
In your gracious kind and sharing
I am a better man for you
Who gave me hope when
There seemed to be none
But nothing faded
The dream is still alive
Oh how I will miss you
And your earthly sayings
That made me smile
“We’re not here for a long time”
“We’re here for a good one”
But now I celebrate your life
More significant than others
That lived the dream and
Made it a reality so
Those others can follow
The lights are now dimmed
The crowd is hushed
The fat lady still stands
Waiting for the ref
Alas that time has come