Taiwan Celts Gaelic Football Club was founded in 1995, when a group of young Irish college graduates found themselves landed in the hustle and bustle of Taipei. At the time Gaelic football was unheard of in Asia, so this group of young enthusiasts thought why not bring their national sport to the continent. And thus, Cumman na Luthchleas Gael was founded. They met every weekend to train and play games, and the number soon grew as people from many different countries came along, taking up the rather surprising opportunity to play a Gaelic sport in Asia.
It didn’t stop there. With strong Irish communities in Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore, why not have an Asian Gaelic Games tournament? The Taiwan CLG members saw this as a fantastic opportunity to get all the Irish in Asia together for a weekend of football and craic! After Trojan work by founding members, the first Asian finals were held in Manila in 1996. The dream had become a reality.
Since then the Asian Games have gone from strength to strength, and the finals have become more successful every year. The 2002 Asian Gaelic games were held in Phuket, Thailand, and were presided over by President of Ireland, Her Excellency Mary McAleese, as well as current GAA president, Sean Kelly.
A Great Man Remembered
The victors of the Gaelic Games will have the honor of holding the Derek Brady Cup for a single year. This beautiful piece of Cavan Crystal was specially commissioned by the Brady family as a way of supporting a competition set up by their dearly departed youngest son. An exact replica of the Sam Maguire, it will spur players on to victory in Asia just as the original does in Ireland.
Many of you will know Derek or have heard of him. He was one of the founding members of the event and a leading light as a player for the Taiwan senior side. A native of Navan, Co. Meath, his family is actively involved in the Gaelic scene back in Ireland and many’s the game he played himself for their local club.
On the field he was a hard working, committed savvy player. These talents he also displayed in his personal life and he graduated from Dublin City University with an honors degree in International Marketing. Even before this he was hand picked by the computer company Acer Incorporated for a two-year stint as a marketing specialist in Taiwan, eventually to go back to a management position in Europe. He wasted no time getting to grips with his new life in Asia. Within days he had found a soccer team to play for. Within months he had set up and was training a Gaelic football team. Liked by all, Derek was one of those who could inspire others to achieve their best. His soccer team, “The Red Lions” went on to win the Taiwan league in 1997 for the first time in their history in an effort to honor him. Let us salute them now, as fellow players for this great achievement. Henceforth, the name Derek Brady will be forever associated in Asia with football of an Irish flavor so as to symbolize the qualities that the ideal player should possess, namely courage, dedication, loyalty to his team mates, a fierce hunger for winning, humility in victory, nobility in defeat. This ideal is not easy to come close to. Derek Brady came close enough, and shall be remembered for it.
The following links are tributes to this fine man by his friends and colleagues
John’s tribute to Derek
26th February, 1974 to 23rd October, 1996
I chrothuitear an tuisce do dtromuitear an tobar: (Irish proverb – the water is not missed until the well is dry)
“In September 1995 eight young Irishmen arrived in Taiwan to begin their working careers. Shortly after landing, all culture shock anxiety all fear of the Taipei taxi driver, all worry about Lee Tung-Hui openly declaring independence was replaced by one harsh realization. There was no GAA club in Taiwan”.
Derek wrote the above extract for the program of the inaugural Asian Gaelic Games.
This statement summarises the essence of Derek Brady’s short existence, and it helps to explain why he is so badly missed by both friends and family.
On the night of October 19th, 1996, Derek was fatally injured by a hit and run accident on the streets of Taipei. Derek spent over three days on a life support machine, before his parents unselfishly decided to donate his organs, thus giving life to six other people. He left two brothers, a sister, his parents and a devoted girlfriend behind him, not to mention countless sporting, professional, college, school and childhood friends. Always possessed by a proactive streak, Derek threw himself into the team, side by side with a team of young Irishmen, to establish a landmark event for the Irish community living in Asia. Determined and dependable until the bitter end, Derek was one of the pillars of An Cumann Luthchleas Gael Taipei. He doggedly made sure that the tournament was professionally organized and effectively followed through. Derek did not just contribute at an organizational level, he also contributed towards the friendships and bonds that were established that year. With a quick wit, a strong presence and a charming smile, Derek was a key social figure within the community. He was respected eternally, and perhaps his heroics in Manila consolidated this respect eternally; having injured an elbow during Saturday’s competition (which resulted in a spin in an ambulance), Derek flung off his sling, to line up beside his Taiwan teammates for Sunday’s crucial fixtures. Derek was committed to a team and had a match to win; for him there was no option but to play. Commitment like this, tempered with his keen sense of humour, endeared Derek to us all .To all intents and purposes, Derek had it all, a loving family, a devoted girlfriend, countless friends, a sparkling career, renowned sporting abilities and ample social skills. I know that I often wonder why it had to happen to him? The futility of this question is obvious; instead we must reminisce on the good times we spent with him. Whilst his life was shorter than most, he packed more into his 22 years than most do in a lifetime. Having had the pleasure of knowing him for the past five years, I can vouch for the fact that Derek was always happy. He never complained (well not that often) and he usually bore a wide grin, and if there is any consolation from this tragic passing, it is that he died a happy man. Whilst we regret the fact that we did not have the opportunity to see Derek again, we are reassured by the fact that he died in the knowledge that he made an impact on all those he knew, and even those he never met. Derek physically lives on in those who now have his organs, and his spirit lives on in all who knew him. An Cumann Luthchleas Gael Taipei will work twice as hard this year in honor of Derek, and we all hope that if he is looking down on us, he is satisfied by what he sees. But the void which is left by Derek’s absence will unfortunately never be filled. We will miss you Derek
~ John Roberts
Cumann Luthchleas Gael Taipei
They say that the brightest candles burn half as long. In the case of Derek R.Brady a.k.a Dirk Brandy, a.k.a Clipper, a.k.a Wolf, this is sadly accurate. He packed a lifetime’s experience into 22 short years., and in so doing enriched the lives of many other people. It’s surprising to meet someone so young who can teach you so much about life. But Derek had a wisdom beyond his years. He could read people very well and had the charm and style to win them over immediately. He was just a nice guy, and everyone noticed it. And yet, he was completely unsophisticated, without the slightest airs nor graces. He was humble to a fault, and modest in his tastes and opinions, unless it came to having a beer, but sure, we’ll forgive him that. In his earlier days he was intensely shy, and intensely clever. Combining the two helped him to overcome his shyness, by figuring out how to deal with people, and in this respect he became a master. Indeed, Derek was a learner. He was excellent in school, and in college he achieved honorable result on a small investment whereas his peers had to sweat to be less than him. Any sport he took up he became good at. He was a pool shark, a cool defender in soccer, a solid Gaelic football plater and in his later days he wowed his Chinese colleagues by going from useless to brilliant at the most popular local sport, table tennis. Let’s not forget cycling, tennis, squash and umpteen other sports at which he was always better than average. At work, he could go toe to toe with master degree holders who had much more experience than he did and still look good. In fact, Derek lived to compete. He had to win all the time, and he’d race you to work in the morning. If he won, he did not gloat. If you won, he’d be sick. But this didn’t happen too often, so this is understandable.
Derek was a man’s man. He played hard, but by the rules, and he was fair always. This is why so many people not only liked him but respected and looked up to him as well. However, this could sometimes be tough. “Poof” was a word often heard leaping from his lips. Slip up, and you were in trouble. Because he had the memory of an elephant and never let you forget. He slagged and slagged and slagged, and you had to laugh even though you grimaced at the ferocity of what he said. Unfortunately, he was as slippery as an eel and it was not quite as easy to get the dirt on him. He expected you to act as a man, and frankly, it was too embarrassing and dangerous to disappoint him once he got the hang of email. Then he started cyberslagging, and you had no peace. Despite this tough exterior he was a big softie at heart. He treated women very well, even though he pretended to be macho at every opportunity. He was considerate, caring, sensitive and funny, and it won women over easily. He would have attributed this to rugged good looks and a fantastic organ, but then again, that was indeed fantasy on his part. He was not a man to chase women, however.
At the time of his promotion to the next life, he had lived and worked in London, Stuttgart, Lyons, Berlin, Nantucket USA, Taipei Taiwan, not to mention Dublin for three years at college. He also saw Hong Kong, the Philippines, Prague and a host of other places on vacation. He got around, did Derek. And everywhere he went he made friends that he never forgot, and they he. Now that he is gone we should regret not so much is passing rather the lost pleasure of watching him achieve his potential. What would he have been? Doubtless something great. Many of us, would be delighted, and fortunate, if some day people consider us his equal. So let us not be sorry for ourselves, for we were privileged. For a brief time his candle burned and brightened our lives. Derek, you were the best of us, and shall be sorely missed.
All the best,