A FOND farewell with a tear in the eye. Mick Deegan was eight years at Fingal Ravens. It has been a memorable adventure.
There were many highlights, but now the call has come to Team Gavin. "His appointment is a just reward for his ability and all the hard work he has put in," says Fingal chairman, Declan O'Brien.
Deego brought a new level of industry to Rolestown. "We had a good bunch of players here when he arrived but his management style capped it off. He wanted to play the game in a certain way.
"There was a lot of hard work involved, but the players trusted him and they bought into it. He developed a style of play that suited our fellas. They knuckled down. They were super fit. It paid off.
"One of Mick's major things was not giving away the ball. As we all know only too well on the sideline, losing the ball was the cardinal sin!"
Under Mick, Ravens won the AFL Division 2. "I think we only dropped something like two points in the entire campaign," recalls Declan. "And we have been more than holding our own in Division 1 ever since.
"We have beaten some of the big clubs, the likes of Brigid's, Crokes, Boden, Ballymun and Parnell's. And even this year we have had a little run of five wins on the trot, including victories over Sylvester's and Parnell's in the one week."
It's the Intermediate Championship success that they still talk about around the firesides of the North County. "That was in 2007. It lifted the monkey off our backs. We were there or thereabouts since 1999, but we just couldn't make the breakthrough.
"I can remember the final. We beat St Brigid's in a tight one. We had a huge crowd there. Then we went on to beat our neighbours, Donaghmore Ashbourne, in the Leinster final. That run brought such excitement to the area. The whole community got behind the club." The run went all the way to Croke Park where they lost the All-Ireland final to Galway's Moycullen. "But it was such a brilliant journey.
"What Mick did for this club was unbelievable. He's the type of guy that leaves no stone unturned, and he's such a gentleman to deal with. He is one of life's good guys.
"He will do well with the new Dublin set-up. He has that experience from 2008 when himself, Mick Galvin and Jack Sheedy brought Dublin to the All-Ireland junior title.
"He has left us in a great place. We are all sorry to lose him but at the same time we are delighted for him, and everybody at Fingal Ravens wishes Mick all the best."
Now the search has begun to fill Mick's boots, and they are big boots to fill. Anybody interested in becoming the new manager of Fingal Ravens can contact Declan O'Brien in the strictest confidence on 086-2673830.