Denis “Dee Butcher” O Regan A Club Tribute
(By Club Chairman Shane Lynch)
Our collective Rockie hearts are sombre this week with the passing of one of our princes, the incomparable Dee Butcher. Green & White by birth, his Limerick blood was transfused with that of the Black & Amber, resulting in a faithful servant that anyone who knew him will never forget. Dee’s unfailing generosity, unquenchable good humour, undying support and encouragement for all matters Stacks were the hallmarks of a true giant who had a profound positive impact on us all.
Dee left Croom and walked into our Rockie wonderland in 1973, enhancing the worth of our great club ever since. Astutely steered to the Street of Champions by his Athlacca neighbour, our own Brian Neenan, his love for us knew no bounds. Whether being at the supporting heart of our minor hurling county championship success in 1986 and senior teams thereafter, or smiling broadly under his Black & Amber festooned sombrero on our 2014 Championship winning voyage, Dee was always happiest among his Austin Stacks family. As he noted in his Stacks 100 podcast, he was happiest “enjoying the craic in the fields in Connolly Park – all the friends you had – all the friends you made”.
When GAA sponsorship was in its infancy across the whole association, Dee stepped forward to support his beloved club. Senior, Juvenile, All Ireland 7’s and many more “hand me down” generations all lived out their Rockie dreams in jerseys provided by the giant from Croom. And his generosity went well beyond the ‘Dee Butcher’ logo with many contributions made behind the scenes down through the years, be it for team meals in the Imperial, ensuring the club’s summer camps were well provided for and always supporting the club’s projects, big or small.
But of course, his greatest Rockie role was as a proud father when sons Fergal and David helped power the club’s minor hurlers to that historic 1986 success on a magical Killarney afternoon. And more recently as a doting grandfather watching Sarah Hoare come through the ranks with Stacks Ladies teams.
In later years as his health declined, his love for the club remained undiminished. Driven by his great friend and neighbour Noel O’Connell (who endured many a barb from Dee about Tipperary hurling!) or by his daughter Anne, Dee attended whenever he could, smiling, cajoling and unceasingly encouraging our youth. To see himself at a game lifted many a Rockie heart – just as it had done on every single occasion since he joined our Rockie clan many years ago.
To the O’Regan family, we extend our sincere condolences and thank you for sharing Dad with us. He laughed with us, cried with us, cheered for us, paid for us, drank with us, sang with us, dressed up with us, cared for us. Dee, auld stock, you will forever be one of us.
(thanks to Adrienne for compiling photos)