The passing of Shane O’Hanlon, who died suddenly at the weekend in Spain, has been described as “a terrible loss,” by one of his close colleagues during the era of Dublin dominance in football in which his service was “tremendous and unquestionable”.
Declan Darcy served as Jim Gavin’s deputy and coach on the management team, which included Shane O’Hanlon as a selector, a role the latter was still fulfilling for current county manager Dessie Farrell.
The St Vincent’s club man was, with Darcy, part of Gavin’s management team at under-21, winning two All-Irelands in 2010 and 2012. He went on to be involved in eight senior All-Ireland and six national league victories.
“Shane had been involved with minor teams before Jim asked him to come on board with the 21s when we took over and we all moved on to senior,” said Darcy. “His service to Dublin was tremendous and unquestionable. I was devastated to hear the news from Marbella.
“His knowledge of players was unequalled. He kept a close eye on the development of footballers around the county. Shane had a network of scouts all around Dublin and always knew who was playing well and of interest. He was a selector as well as officially the logistics manager.
“He had that likeability factor, which was a real asset in relating to the players. They loved him because he had known them since they were young and up and coming. He knew and looked after them: if they needed a job or were in any difficulties he helped and gave advice.
“This is a terrible loss for Dessie and Dublin football. It will also be felt by the county board because he was such an effective liaison with them and with his banking background, minded the finances of the group and organised the trips abroad.
“More than all of that, he was a really good man.”
Dublin GAA released a statement on Sunday, saying they were “shocked and saddened” by the news.
“Shane was an integral part of the Dublin senior football family and a key contributor to the success of Dublin GAA, firstly with the under-21s and then with the senior football team for more than a decade.
“Shane was previously a selector with his club St Vincent’s when they won Dublin, Leinster and All Ireland honours. His contribution to Dublin GAA has been immeasurable both in terms of his influence to the performance of the team on the field but also to the culture, values and spirit of the Dublin senior football panel.
“Shane was a gentleman and a true friend to all. He was widely known to all in the GAA community in Dublin and indeed across the country. He will be fondly remembered and sorely missed by all within Dublin GAA and beyond.
“To his wife Mary, his family and his many friends, Dublin GAA extends our deepest condolences.”