Midlands GAA come together to remember Coley Folan

The late Coley Folan is pictured with his son Cianan

The late Coley Folan is pictured with his son Cianan

On Saturday 31st May at Pairc Na hEireann in Warwickshire the GAA of the Midlands put all their rivalries aside to come together to remember a great friend and Gael who passed away suddenly in July 2013.

The event has not been organised to raise money, it is a tribute to Coley Folan’s passion for GAA.

On the weekend that Sky Sports begin their coverage of GAA, this event is evidence of the amazing strength that already exists within the GAA community in Warwickshire.

In the year since he died, his daughter Ailish an accomplished Irish Dancer, but under any circumstances a sportswoman, trained and ran the Warwick Half Marathon. The GAA community supported her and a team of Sean McDermotts players trained and ran with her.  Between them they have raised over £6000 for the British Heart Foundation, which they presented last month.

Coley’s 16-year- old son is an accomplished amateur boxer; ironically on the Sunday, the day following his Dads tournament, Cianan is boxing in the National Boxing Semi Finals in Great Barr Leisure Centre, similarly to his previous fights he will have enormous support at the venue from the GAA community.

Coley Folan was born on the 16th of September 1968; the youngest of three children, only son of Tommy and Maureen Folan from Lettermullen, Galway, Ireland, brother of Sarah and Mary, uncle of Tania, Sarah and Rebecca and grand uncle to Aoife and Tommy.

From an early age, he played football with Cumann Naomh Anna and went on to play with the Galway Minors.  He left Ireland for London in 1987 at the age of 19.  In London he played for South and O’ Hanlons with mates from Connemara. Shortly after Coley left for Birmingham with the company he was working for. Initially, Coley played for the Laune Rangers until he was

persuaded by his future wife, Deirdre to play with the Macs.

Coley was always heavily involved; he was a member of the 1997 to 2003 seven in a row Championship winning team.

Coley was a true Gael, upon hanging up his boots he became involved in Sean MaDermotts underage set up mentoring younger players.  At the time of his death he was manager of our under 16 team which his son Cianan played in; he had mentored this team from under 10 all the way through.

He was also the highly regarded senior manager, having had involvement with many of the current senior players through the youth set up.

Coley brought, enthusiasm and passion to the game as well as huge knowledge and understanding.  He was an excellent role model to young and old.  Coley also had a fantastic sense of fun, there was always plenty of craic when Coley was around!

Earlier this year Coley brought a team to Ireland to compete in the Crossmaglen Inter 7s; playing against the toughest of Irish teams, under Coley’s guidance Sean McDermott’s came a respectable third.

Tributes have been paid to Coley from across the GAA world, he is remembered by many as an outstanding player, committed mentor and friend to many.  He was an excellent ambassador for both Gaelic Games and Sean McDermott’s Club.