Westport Utd has paid tribute to former player, coach, committee member and Chairman, Ollie Gannon who has passed away following a battle with illness.
In a statement today the club say Ollie came from a family with a tradition in Westport United. His father, Bertie served on the committee for a number of years and was Vice-Chairman at one point. Out of Ollie’s siblings, Austin played for Westport Crusaders and Damien, like Ollie, played for Westport United reserves. Ollie’s nephew, Kenneth carries on the family heritage, being the club’s Public Relations Officer and another nephew, Darren has played for the Club’s Premier Division team.
Ollie’s connections to football wasn’t strictly Westport United; like most of his family, Ollie had a huge input into the development of McConville Park as a football pitch and a community facility for the residents of the Cathair na Mart Estate and that facility over the years honed the talents of many footballers to wear the Red and Black or just to have a kick about for recreational purposes and Ollie would have been proud of the talent that played on McConville Park over the last forty plus years and went on to represent Westport United with distinction.
While Ollie only had a very modest playing record, playing with the Westport United Reserves, Ollie had a fantastic record as a coach. A number of the FAI Junior Cup winning side of 2005, including Team Captain, Brian Kennedy played underage football under Ollie and Ollie was manager of the Westport United U.15 side of 1988/89 that won the Mayo League, Mayo Cup and Connaught Cup. Twenty two years later, his nephew Kenneth was involved with the Westport United U.16 side that emulated that record. Ollie’s coaching wasn’t just confined to Westport United; he was involved with the Mayo Kennedy Cup side of 1990/91 alongside Johnny Burke (Snugboro United), Brian Johnson (Straide and Foxford United) and Michael Webb (Ballyhaunis). Former Republic of Ireland underage international, Simon Webb was involved in that squad.
Ollie sat on the Westport United Youths Committee for a number of years and was on the first Westport United committee when Westport United and Westport United Youths merged following an Extraordinary General Meeting back in December 1992. Ollie remained on the committee for a few more years, assuming the role as Chairman from 1995 to 1996. During Ollie’s year as Chairman, Westport United withdrew from the Connaught Senior League after seven largely unsuccessful years. Also a number of Westport United legends from yesteryear were honoured at a Westport United Dinner Dance back in 1996. As a committee member, Ollie was an assiduous member who contributed greatly to the running of club affairs.
Westport United FC have extended a Vote of Sympathy to the family of the late Ollie Gannon.