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Stalwart Stratton a star to the end

De La Salle Palmerston FC are saddened to announce the passing of club stalwart Sean Stratton (91) -- a former president and honorary life member of the club -- last Tuesday.

During his lifetime, Sean served his beloved rugby club with unrivalled distinction. His contribution was particularly noted as an administrator, where he served Palmerston FC, De La Salle Palmerston FC and Leinster Rugby at various levels.

He immersed himself in his club and the statistics are testament to that. Since the mid-1960s he has been to all the AGMs and missed only one club dinner. There were many reasons why he had to attend them -- as president of the club on three occasions and honorary secretary for 12 years. He also chaired the Leinster Branch Youth Committee and Metro Youth, and managed the first Leinster U18 Youths team.

Fittingly, his contribution to Kilternan was acknowledged when the main function room was renamed in his honour -- Stratton Hall -- and he was also the inaugural recipient of the club's Hall Of Fame award.

In time he was also acknowledged for his services to Leinster Rugby, with an induction into the Leinster Rugby Hall of Fame. This came as a huge shock to him on the night of the announcement but he regarded it as one of his proudest moments.

One of his biggest contributions to his club and the game was on Sunday, March 25, 1975, when "Palmerston became the first Leinster Senior rugby club to cater for the kids" -- as described, at the time, by the Evening Herald's John O'Shea.

Sean was one the main drivers of this momentous event, and nearly 35 years later the benefits can clearly be seen -- nearly 70pc of this season's De La Salle Palmerston 1st XV and J1 squad are now past pupils of the youths/mini section. It is well documented how many players, who went on to play at the highest level of schools rugby (and some who have progressed to full senior provincial and international squads), were first introduced to the game through Sean.

Sean's mentor on this project at the time was Ian McGregor, a Glasgow Academicals man, whose two sons were to play for Scotland and he himself was to become president of the Scottish Rugby Union. Sean had harboured the concept of putting together a mini youth section as Palmerston had no feeder school.

On tour to Glasgow Academicals in December 1974 he discussed the concept with McGregor, who had experience of establishing a similar facility. Primarily he reached out for pupils from non-rugby schools. A list of schools from the Department of Education gave him a mail-shot opportunity. The letters went out and then it was a case of wait and see -- and, as they say, the rest is history.

Funeral arrangements are: Removal from his residence this Wednesday evening to the Church of the Good Shepherd, Churchtown, arriving at 5.15pm. Funeral Mass on Thursday, after 11am Mass, to Mount Jerome Crematorium. Family flowers only, please. Donations -- if desired -- to Our Lady's Hospice, Harold's Cross.

We offer our condolences to his surviving family, his children Paula, Niall, Orla and six grandchildren, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, nieces and nephews.