There can be few names more synonymous with Limerick Sport than Dave Mahedy and the affable Dublin native who has just announced his retirement, by his own admission “came to Limerick in 1974 and never went back” has through his life’s work established UL Sport as an internationally recognised brand of quality.
It was to a small NIHE and Thomond College Campus that Dave first came to study PE. Having already played soccer with St Josephs in Sallynoggin and being involved with the Youths in St Patricks Athletic it was probably no surprise that he along with his good friend and fellow Thomond College graduate Tony Ward, got involved with Limerick United.
Those years, in the late 70’s and early 80’s were to be “the golden years” of Soccer in Limerick and Dave Mahedy’s imprint was firmly in view as a coach and player in the epic Eoin Hand days in the Markets Field where the team he coached won the FAI Cup and League as well as acquitting themselves very well against the might of Real Madrid.
A period coaching the Limerick Hurlers followed helping to guide them to two Munster Championships and two All-Ireland appearances before turning his attention back to Rugby helping Old Crescent gain promotion back to Division 1A before going on to work with Shannon Rugby Club and St Patricks Athletic in the season when they both achieved the Blue Riband of their respective sports nationally in the 1997/98 season.
All of this was achieved while slowly laying the foundations for a world class facility at the Plassey campus. Much of Dave’s success has been in his ability to gather a team around himself and get that team to function in the way that they would on a field of play.
His door was always open, his approach was always encouraging but his determination to “find a way” was one of the features that marked him out as a true leader throughout his working life.
The contacts section on his phone an email must read like a who’s who of sports personalities but he has always shown as much interest in the out of breath enthusiast as he has in the elite sports stars. He has never been selfish with the facilities either, seeing them as an asset to Limerick rather than a place for just the top grade.
The list of facilities is breath taking, the UL Arena, 100m Swimming Pool, Outdoor Adventure Centre, The Boathouse, The Pavilions area along with the recent development at Maguire’s Field, all have the mark of Dave Mahedy.
Limerick has every reason to be grateful to this great adopted son and should be glad that when he arrived in 1974 that he only bought a one way ticket.
All of Sporting Limerick and all people of sport in Limerick will be sad to see Dave Mahedy leave UL Sport. His daughter Tracy best summed it up for all when she tweeted “You have provided pathways for athletes to excel in their field of sport and offer everyone a place to stay fit and healthy. You will be missed in UL Sport but I can’t wait to see what the next chapter of your life unveils. Well Done Dave are so proud of you, enjoy your retirement”
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