EVERY now and again we all lose somebody really special from our lives.
That person’s loss is greatly felt by his or her family, but when a whole town mourns the loss of that person, then they must have been a very special person indeed.
John ‘Scobie’ Heaphy was one of those special people, who not only had the love of his family, but also the whole of Youghal.
When Scobie passed away last week leaving behind his partner Noreen and his two sons, Eric and Evan, the whole Town of Youghal mourned.
Scobie was without a doubt a gentleman from a fantastic family in Youghal and like his brothers and his sisters, Scobie had a fantastic sense of humour, a really brilliant brain when it came to sport especially soccer and a gentle way of getting his point across.
The town will remember Scobie in so many ways, everyone you meet has a Scobie story, he will certainly be missed by everyone.
When you think of certain people in Youghal and their iconic association with a certain club, be it GAA, rugby, snooker or tennis and so on, Scobie was the iconic soccer man.
His first love of his soccer life with the Sars team that featured players from Sarsfield’s Terrace or Raheen Park, then his move into the amalgamated Youghal United, made up with players from Sars, St Martin’s or Youghal FC, and it was here that John ‘Scobie’ Heaphy really came into his own.
He was a brilliant tactician and the scourge of every referee that can to Youghal.
Scobie saw the red card more than most of his players put together, but that was his passion.
A complete Man United fanatic, Scobie will be remembered forever and leaves behind his three brothers Paddy, Paul and Noel and his sister Mary and his late sister Ann.
I spoke with his brother Paddy to get his reaction to the outpouring of condolences for Scobie and he was blown away by the love for his brother.
“We just didn’t realise how popular he was and how loved he was within the town and the sport of soccer,” Paddy said.
“We have had people come up to us who hurled with him, who cycled with him and played soccer with him, and as a family, we have been overwhelmed by the amount of people who have called us or contacted us in recent days.
“Because of this Covid 19 virus we haven’t had a chance to send him off properly, but hopefully, when this is all over we will give him the send-off he deserves.
“It has been tough because people haven’t been able to call to us and pay their respects properly, but we know how sincere everyone has been and I want to thank the soccer club and Mick Sheehan at CRY 104FM for his special tribute to Scobie.
“Scobie was always up for the craic and I suppose there is humour in everything really and being a die-hard Manchester United supporter someone said at least he didn’t see Liverpool lift the league trophy, he would have liked that.
“We as a family are of course in shock and are thinking of Noreen and the lads at this sad time and we want to thank everyone who has sent their condolences.”
From a personal point of view, I remember certain football men in the town over the years, the likes of Seamus Murphy, Richard Leo, Jimmy Morey, Donnie McCarthy and of course Scobie and these men where dedicated to soccer like no others.
Scobie was as nice a man that you would ever be likely to meet and Scobie was sincere in everything he did in sport, he gave good advice, he gave great encouragement and he gave 100%.
John just turned 70 last January, he was a young man at heart and it would always be very difficult to put an age on him.
He was active in cycling for many years too which was another thing he gave his dedication to.
It will be hard to imagine the Soccer pitches of Youghal without Scobie Heaphy watching on giving analysis and having the craic with the players and the match officials.
Scobie was a great man to work with in sport and very few football managers would have the understanding and reading of the game as he did.
I think that the tributes will come thick and fast over the next few weeks and months and rightly so, he deserves every bit of praise he gets.
I will like so many other people in Youghal miss him.
A true gentleman.