Being a child of the 1980’s, Dean Delany wouldn’t have heard 10cc during their 1970’s heyday. Being a music man though [he was rhythm guitarist and vocalist with The Novas] I’m sure he appreciates a good tune. 10cc’s ‘The Dean And I’ is a good tune and one of the earliest tunes I can remember; I would have been 4 in September 1973 when it climbed to the top of the Irish charts, surpassing the #10 placing it achieved in their native England. The song was the follow-up to the band’s global #1 smash ‘Rubber Bullets’ [which also got to #1 in Ireland, as did 1975’s ‘I’m Not In Love’].
It’s funny how somebody’s name can bring up a memory from your past. I think of that 10cc song whenever I encounter anyone named Dean, whether they be a football goalkeeper or something else [Dean Martin comes to mind, as does Kwon Hyuk, the South Korean musician who goes by the stage name Dean]. The Dean in the song though wasn’t somebody named Dean, but a Dean as in a sort of teacher, or somebody working in an educational establishment with responsibility for the progress of the students.
I first heard of Dean Delany way back in the late 1990’s when he was part of the great Irish youth squads that included Robbie Keane, Damien Duff and Richard Dunne. A golden generation for sure. He was on Everton’s books and despite being in the side that won an FA Youth Cup he didn’t make the first team. He did make the first team at Port Vale after he swapped Goodison Park for Vale Park, and won the Staffordshire Senior Cup in 2001 as well as being on the bench in the Millennium Stadium for the 2001 Football League Trophy final against Brentford. 21 Ireland U21caps were earned during his Everton and Vale years.
Dean’s time at Vale Park saw him face tough competition for the goalkeeper position from Mark Goodlad and Jonny Brain, and he returned home to Ireland and signed on at Tolka Park for the first ofthree stints with Shelbourne. He won League titles and played in Europe during this time, which was a golden era for Shelbourne.
Dean spent 2007 playing with Waterford United, where his heroics in the [ultimately lost] battle against relegation earned him the Player of the Season award. He also won a Munster Senior Cup before returning to Shelbourne for a lengthy spell between 2008 and 2012. 2013 through 2016 were spent with Bohemians before he returned to Tolka for his final stint run with the Reds that ended triumphantly with the First Division trophy being won this season.
During the last few seasons watching Dean has been a hugely enjoyable and inspirational experience for my son Blaise. He also positioned himself behind the goal at the Drumcondra end for the half that Dean was occupying it, watching a master at work. Being able to inspire the next generation is the best legacy any of us can leave behind from our careers.
Wishing Dean a well-earned rest, and talking of rest, this column is taking a break until the spring. Until then, thanks for reading my musings this year.