John Delaney pays tribute at mother’s funeral: ‘She was a lady. She was a different class’

The former chief executive of the FAI, John Delaney, has today remembered his mother as a woman who made everybody feel special with her kindness and looked for the best in everybody and every situation.

oan Delaney died unexpectedly on Monday after suffering a stroke at home, and her funeral took place today in St Michael’s Church in Tipperary town.

She is mourned by her husband Joe, children Joanne, John, Paul, Mary-Pat, and Jane, brothers, and extended family.

In a eulogy at the end of Requiem Mass, John Delaney said: “In May, Natasha and I introduced her to her latest grandchild, Josephine, and I’m glad we had the opportunity to.”

He spoke emotionally of his mother, who was born in Cork in 1940, and grew up in Waterford before moving to Tipperary where she lived for more than 50 years.

He told how he woke up in London to many missed phone calls on Sunday night into Monday morning, and the news was “the worst imaginable”. But he was later able to say goodbye virtually as he joined other family members who were at her bedside.

He said Joan had survived cancer twice in her life, and fought it bravely and without complaint.

“She was a great mother to us, always there for us. A giver, not a taker. She gave so much and asked for nothing. She made everybody feel special with her kindness. She looked for the best in everybody and every situation. She was bright and she was intelligent, and she was not judgmental,” said Mr Delaney.

“She loved every one of us equally as children and grandchildren. No one was ever left out. She was thoughtful and consistent, and she was loyal to the core. And she would defend all of us like a lioness would defend her cubs.”

“The great Jack Charlton once stayed overnight, but it didn’t matter who you were. If you were friends of the family, the latest boyfriend, the latest girlfriend, mam treated you the same. That was her way. You never left hungry, and problems were solved over a cup of tea and sandwiches.”

“She left a lasting impression on everyone she touched. She was a lady. She was a different class,” he added, saying Joan was great fun, and had a great sense of humour, and she was a great community person, supporting every venture, draw and lottery in the locality.

“She had great sayings. A trouble shared is a trouble halved, everything passes, take it by the hour or day, your health is your wealth, there’ll be better days,” he explained.

Mr Delaney said that as she took ill in the kitchen at home she had said “take care of dad” who she had known for nearly 68 years after meeting him at party when she was 15 in his parent’s house.

“Of course, I will miss her. She was always there for me. And for three months during Covid I stayed with them, doing the messages. And now those days will mean a lot more to me than they did at the time. She was always only a phone call away. In May Natasha and I introduced her to her latest grandchild, Josephine, and I’m glad we had the opportunity to. The last time I spoke to her was last Saturday,” he told mourners.

Finally, he said Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson once said to him if he could go back home for 24 hours and meet his mam and dad he’d give up everything that he’d done. Mr Delaney said he would do the same today to be back in Kilkee in Co Clare where he had fond memories of childhood summer holidays.

Symbols of Joan Delaney’s life brought to the altar included a photo of her and her husband Joe, a Kilkee sign, a small Christmas tree to represent her love of that season and the family gatherings that surround it.

Joan’s husband Joe also spoke of his memories of meeting Joan, and sharing their lives together in Tipperary.

After Requiem Mass Joan’s remains were brought to St Michael’s cemetery for burial.

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