Sunday, 24th September 2017
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Across the Back by Booter

Late Marky Lucas

It is with utter devastation and shock that I discovered that Marky Lucas died on Friday, June 9th. I hesitate to use his surname because Marky was so well-known that this was irrelevant.

As you all know, Marky was a great character and a most obliging referee, helping everyone who asked him.

He had a great knowledge of the local grapevine, so was a source of much information....which he always dispensed with a laugh.

A few years ago we hosted the South Dublin league and one of their officials was a senior referees assessor in Dublin.

He declared that Marky was one of the finest schoolboy referees he had ever seen and that he would love to have him in Dublin.

Marky knew, and was known by, almost everyone in football in Waterford and his humour and dedication will be deeply missed by us all.

In passing sincere sympathy to the Lucas family I hope they find comfort in the knowledge that Marky was appreciated by so many people. We have lost a great friend''

That was the message that Pat Kelly, the secretary of the Waterford Schoolboy Football League sent to the clubs on Friday last and his words sum up perfectly what Marky meant to all of us who were lucky enough to have known him. Twenty four hours before his untimely death Marky refereed the Willie Moran Schools Tournament at the WIT Arena and just hours before he departed this world he was shooting the breeze with his friends and needless to say local soccer was the topic that was discussed. For many years Marky was deeply involved with the St Paul's Football Club where along with his late brother Paddy they coached the young players. He was an out and out true blue ``Parish'' man. Aged 46 years he was a Manchester United fan but it was his love for all things local that made him such a special and much loved character. Leading up to games he refereed he would enjoy the banter with the local media corps and trying to secure the match card from him proved rather difficult at times but it was always just harmless fun and he loved the camaraderie that is part and parcel of the game in Waterford. During the weeks just past he was involved in many of the WSFL cup finals which were played in Graun Park both as a referee and assistant referee and he looked forward to those deciders with a passion from year to year. On Saturday, June 3rd he ``ran the line'' when Ferrybank defeated the Villa to win the Under 13 A League title in Ben Wadding Park. That was the last competition to be decided this season and unfortunately it also proved to be Marky's last game serving the Waterford Schoolboy League. The games will continue of course next season and thousands of children will enjoy lining out for their chosen clubs but somehow it just wont be the same without Marky. No more will we enjoy his humorous stories and predictions and in many cases his countless questions such as ``Who scored the winner €'' Was he offside €'' ``Why was he sent off €'' ``Why was he dropped €'' and so on. It must also be noted that Marky was an excellent referee who took charge of games without fear or favour. He was at all times one hundred per cent fair to both teams on any given day. Everyone in the football family of Waterford asked the same question on Friday last and that was simply ``Why'' € Needless to say no one could answer.. Somehow it seems dreadfully unfair but surely there must be a reason but right now it's impossible to comprehend why the football family of Waterford and even more importantly the Lucas family have lost a wonderful and genuine gentleman who loved helping people during the course of his short life . Thousands of tributes have been posted on social media since Marky's death and one of those came from Paddy Barrett, the current Dundalk FC defender and a proud ``Parish'' man himself. ``Marky thought me a lot both on and off the pitch. He booked me many times when I left St Paul's and rightly so.My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this terrible time. Paddy and yourself can now referee and manage in heaven. Sleep tight Marky''. On Saturday morning lots of young players were visibly upset as they turned up at their various clubs for pre-summer camp training etc. Just like everyone else they just could not take in what had occurred the previous day.

Marky's remains were removed from Thompson's Funeral Home, Barrack Street on Monday, June 12th at 6.15pm to St Paul's Church. Requiem Mass was celebrated on Tuesday, June 13th at 10.00am and he was laid to rest in St Otteran's Cemetery afterwards. Rest easy now Marky and may God's soil rest easily on your gentle soul. That is the least you deserve.

Note. No match report this week as the mid-term break is in operation.

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