Sunday, October 03, 2021

Derek Delaney (36) is from Portlaw and resides in the Tannery Town today with his wife Tracy, step-daughter Ava (15) and son Darragh (1). He is a WIT business graduate and is currently employed as WIT Novus Accommodation Manager. A proud Portlaw man, Derek works tirelessly for the good of all throughout his village and community. He’s part of the backbone of Portlaw GAA Club, having served in many roles over the years and is currently Club Vice Chairman as well as Chairman of its Juvenile Committee. A co-founder of the successful Portlaw Task Force group, Derek is one of the founding members of the new Portlaw Community Enhancement Committee CLG. In 2017, Derek’s role in his locality was recognised when he became the first recipient of the ‘Billy McCarthy Award for outstanding work by an Individual in the Community.’

Life in a Day

These days, the time I wake up is often decided by my son Darragh who is just 20 months old. Most mornings we’re up very early, I help to give him breakfast and get him ready for the day ahead. We are building a house in Portlaw at the moment so if I have time, I like to stop off briefly at the site and meet with the tradesmen before heading into Waterford Institute of Technology where I work in a busy role as WIT Novus Accommodation Manager.  I’m part of a great team of people, passionate about delivering quality accommodation to the students of Waterford so there are always tasks to complete or projects to be worked on for the future.

After a busy day at work, I try to get home to spend as much time as possible with the family before often having to rush off to a training session or match that either myself or Ava are involved in.  I am currently manager of Portlaw’s Minor Camogie team which is a very enjoyable position looking after a very talented bunch of girls.

I am an active member of many groups and committees so evenings can often be taken up with meetings of some description. Some evenings are busier than others but the fact that the majority of meetings since the pandemic began are being held virtually has helped a lot in terms of time and commitment which makes it much more manageable.

Weekends, especially during the summer, are often as hectic as the weekdays where we enjoy going off as a family to watch one of Ava’s camogie matches for Waterford or Portlaw or to just head off for a day trip somewhere nice.

At the end of the day, myself and Tracy enjoy relaxing and watching something on TV or Netflix.

What school did you go to?

I was lucky to attend two great schools. Firstly, I went to Portlaw National School and I have some great memories with the people that I grew up with. Then it was on to St Declan’s Community College in Kilmacthomas, a top-class school with excellent teachers, where I made the best of friends from all around mid-county Waterford.

What teacher do you remember most vividly?

Stradbally legend Sean Ahearne was principal of St Declan’s during my time there and he was just an incredible man who did his job so well. He had an unbelievable presence and made the school what it is today. Unfortunately, through illness he was forced into an early retirement and sadly passed away in 2011 but it’s safe to say that he’ll never be forgotten by me or any of the students or teachers in St Declan’s.

What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

To have a little more confidence and believe in yourself more. To spend more time doing the things you enjoy as the years go by so quick and before you know it you have other priorities such as work, family etc. and you don’t ever have that time again.

How do you relax?

I love switching off from everything on a weekend and heading off to watch a match such as a Waterford or Portlaw game or watching/coaching Ava’s camogie team. Apart from that, it’s just the simple things like a day trip or walk with the family or a night out with the lads.

What is your favourite film and piece of music?

I think the best films and movies were made in the 90s; ‘The Shawshank Redemption’, ‘Braveheart’, ‘Home Alone’, ‘Forrest Gump’, the list goes on. Music wise, I still enjoy anything 90s and noughties – and you can’t beat the classic Irish ballads.

When was the last time you cried?

Thankfully it doesn’t happen too often and I can’t remember too many occasions when I did. I think the last time would have been in 2016 after the sudden passing of my father-in-law Paddy. He was a great man and a brilliant grandfather to Ava and is missed every day.

What has been your happiest moment of recent times?

They say your wedding day is the best day of your life and ours really was just that. We got married on New Year’s Eve 2018 and to spend that day with all our friends and family from both sides was something really special. Just over a year later, our son Darragh was born and despite the regular sleepless nights I have never been happier. He makes us laugh and smile every single day.

Do you pray?

I couldn’t say that I do but from time to time I might stop and reflect and ask for a bit of help from above, whether it’s for a match we are trying to win or for a good outcome in an issue at home or in work etc.

What is your biggest fear?

Definitely my biggest fear would be for anything to happen to either myself or my family. I am a firm believer that your health is your wealth and that anything life throws at you is trivial and can be overcome as long as you have your health.

What is your most treasured possession?

My phone is probably the one material item that I would be unable to live without. I am definitely a phone addict.

What is your favourite thing about Waterford?

I am very proud of our county and love the fact that if I drive just 20 minutes from Portlaw then I could be at the coast, at the mountains or in the city so we really do have it all on our doorstep. I recently walked the loop around Coumshingaun Lake and it’s a perfect example of what Waterford has to offer. I also feel fortunate to come from a county with a top hurling side – it might be over 60 years since we last won an All-Ireland but we have had some entertainment over the years.

If you could change one thing about Waterford, what would it be?

I would love to see Waterford GAA develop a top-class stadium that we can all be proud of. Also, I look forward to seeing the Greenway being extended into the heart of Waterford City, WIT becoming a TU and I hope to one day see the North Quays developed.


In conversation with Dermot Keyes

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