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Ref Clem a true Blue to the end

CLEM FOLEY was laid to rest yesterday. He was a remarkable man.

He had settled in Galway for many years, but the blue blood flowed as strong as ever.

Clem was abroad at a wedding when he died. Just before, he had called his son, Dave.

"He had it all worked out. He'd be flying home in time to get a few hours sleep before watching the Dublin-Westmeath game," explains Dave.

His memory was marked by a minute's silence in Croke Park before that match.

Clem was 80. He trained seven mornings a week. Running on the treadmill and doing his weights.

He was an All-Ireland champion at handball, power-lifting and tug of war. His playing days saw him wear the jerseys of St Vincent's and Civil Service.

He was a dual player. He loved both sports, but had a soft spot for the sliotar. He became one of the most distinguished referees of his era. He refereed without fear or favour. "He once sent off Christy Ring, and not too many have done that," smiles Dave.


He refereed 11 Dublin Senior Hurling Championship finals and seven Dublin Senior Football Championship finals. The majority of those were played in Croke Park.

He also refereed championship finals in other counties. His last big gig came in 1985 when he refereed on the All-Star tour to California.

In refereeing circles, Clem was an All-Star Ref. And he wasn't a bad player either, as Dave relates.

"He played in The Herald Cup final in Croke Park. His father promised him a shilling for every goal he scored. He scored six goals, but he never got a penny," quips Dave.

But as a referee, and for his dedication to Dublin GAA, Clem's contribution was just priceless.