|Irish name||Diarmuid Ó Mochóir|
|Place of birth||Ballinlough , County Roscommon|
|Occupation||Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces|
|Senior Inter-County Titles|
Lt-General Dermot Earley (born 1948 in Ballinlough, County Roscommon) is the current Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces. A retired sportsperson, he played Gaelic football with his local club Michael Glavey's and was a member of the Roscommon senior inter-county team from 1965 until 1985. Earley later served as manager of both the Roscommon and Kildare senior football teams.
Dermot Earley was born in Ballinlough, County Roscommon in 1948. He was educated at St. Nathy’s College, Ballaghaderreen, County Roscommon. He later obtained a specialist diploma in physical education at St. Mary's College Twickenham in 1971. He joined the defence forces as a cadet in 1965 and was commissioned in 1967. His first posting was as a platoon commander in the Recruit Training Depot at the Curragh. In 1969 he was appointed an Instructor at the Army School of Physical Culture (ASPC).
Earley first came to prominence on the inter-county scene as a member of the Roscommon minor football team in 1963. He was only fifteen years-old at the time, however, in spite of his young age he quickly became a key component of the team. A Connacht minor final appearance that year saw Earley’s side take on Mayo. Goals were the difference as Mayo won the game by 3-5 to 1-5.
Two years later in 1965 Earley lined out in a second Connacht minor decider. Five-in-a-row hopefuls Mayo provided the opposition; however, their great run of success was brought to an abrupt halt. Roscommon won by 2-10 to 1-10, giving Earley a coveted Connacht title in the minor grade. Unfortunately, Roscommon were later defeated in the All-Ireland semi-final.
In 1966 Roscommon faced Mayo in the provincial minor decider for the third time in four year. A close game developed; however, Mayo’s goal-scoring ability put some daylight between the two teams. A 1-9 to 0-7 score line resulted in defeat for Earley’s side.
That same year Earley was also a member of his native county’s under-21 team as Roscommon and Mayo renewed their rivalry in this grade in the Connacht final. Earley’s side ran away with the game and triumphed on a score line of 1-15 to 0-9. It was his first Connacht under-21 winners’ medal. Roscommon later qualified for the All-Ireland final where reigning champions Kildare provided the opposition. An exciting hour of football ensued, with the result remaining in doubt until the final whistle. When the game was over ‘the Rossies’ were the champions by 2-10 to 1-12 and Earley collected a coveted All-Ireland winners’ medal in the under-21 grade.
1967 saw Roscommon set out to retain their All-Ireland title. The Connacht series provided few obstacles until the provincial decider when Mayo triumphed by 3-11 to 2-8. Both sides met again at the same stage of the championship the following year, however, the result was similar. Mayo defeated their old enemies by 1-13 to 2-3.
Earley was eligible for the under-21 grade again in 1969 and, furthermore, he was appointed captain for the year. The provincial decider that year saw Roscommon face Galway in the provincial decider. A close game developed with both sides finishing level. The subsequent replay was much more conclusive with Roscommon taking the title by 1-10 to 2-3. It was Earley’s second Connacht under-21 title. ‘The Rossies’ later qualified for a second All-Ireland final in four years, with Antrim providing the opposition. The game was an extremely tense affair with the result remaining in doubt until the long whistle. Victory, however, narrowly went to the Ulstermen on a score line of 1-8 to 0-10.
Earley was only seventeen years-old when he made his senior debut for Roscommon in 1965. After back-to-back provincial titles in this grade in the early part of the decade, ‘the Rossies’ were now going through a slump.
In 1970 Earley lined out in his first senior provincial decider. Galway provided the opposition on that occasion and proceeded to wallop Roscommon by 2-15 to 1-8. It was a rude awakening to the world of senior football for Earley.
Two years later in 1972 Roscommon were back in the Connacht final. Mayo, a team who Earley was more than familiar with at underage levels, were the opponents. An eight-goal thriller had supporters on the edge of their seats as Roscommon took their first provincial title in ten years on a score line of 5-8 to 3-10. It was Earley’s first Connacht senior title. Roscommon’s next game was an All-Ireland semi-final meeting with football kingpins Kerry. That game turned into a rout as the men from ‘the Kingdom’ won easily by 1-22 to 1-12.
After surrendering their provincial title in 1973, Roscommon faced Galway in the provincial decider a year later. Earley was one of the few players to shine as his team were absolutely trounced by 2-14 to 0-8. His efforts were later rewarded when he was presented with his first All-Star award.
Two years later Earley’s side indicated that they were a team on an upward curve. A thrilling provincial decider with Galway ended in a draw, however, Galway made no mistake in the replay and inflicted an eight-point defeat on ‘the Rossies’.
In 1977 a new-look Roscommon team took the provincial championship by storm. After some embarrassing defeats in recent years, Earley’s side finally triumphed over Galway. The narrow 1-12 to 2-8 victory gave him a second Connacht winners’ medal. Roscommon subsequently faced Armagh in an All-Ireland semi-final. Like a lot of Roscommon’s other games in previous years, a close contest developed over the seventy minutes. In the end, both sides finished level and a replay was required. That second game was also extremely close, however, Armagh emerged by just a single point.
The Connacht series of games provided little difficulty for Earley’s side again in 1978. Galway once again provided the opposition, however, Roscommon triumphed by 2-7 to 0-9. It was Earley’s third Connacht title. The subsequent All-Ireland semi-final pitted ‘the Rossies’ against reigning champions Kerry. That game turned into a rout as the Munstermen won by 3-11 to 0-8.
Roscommon made it three Connacht titles in-a-row in 1979 as Mayo were accounted for on a score line of 3-15 to 2-10. It was Earley’s fourth provincial winners’ medal. For the third year in-a-row ‘the Rossies’ embarked on the All-Ireland series in the hope of finally making the final. Dublin were the opponents, however, Early and his teammates faced heartbreak once again as they were defeated by a single point. In spite of failing to make the leap into the All-Ireland final, Earley was later presented with a second All-Star award.
1980 was a pivotal year for Earley’s Roscommon team. A fourth Connacht title in succession was claimed following a 3-13 to 0-8 trouncing of Mayo. It was a fifth provincial winners’ medal for Earley. The subsequent All-Ireland semi-final saw Roscommon finally triumph and, after that defeat of Armagh, Earley lined out in the All-Ireland final against Kerry. The Connacht champions shocked Kerry and took a five-point lead inside the first twelve minutes. Mikey Sheehy popped up to score the decisive goal for 'the Kingdom', as Kerry went on to claim a 1-9 to 1-6 victory in a game that contained sixty-four frees. It was a bitterly disappointing defeat for Earley's side while Kerry took their third consecutive All-Ireland title.
This defeat seemed to take the wind out of Roscommon's sails. The early 1980s was an uhappy period for the team as they failed to even reach a provincial decider. In 1985 Earley sustained a fractured jaw in the Connacht semi-final against Galway. When he was leaving the field the entire 12,000 spectators gave him a standing ovation as many thought that would be his farewll to football. Earley confounded everybody and lined out in the Connacht final agsinst Mayo two weeks later. In spite of kicking six points, Mayo still triumphed by 2-11 to 0-8. At the age of thirty-seven he decided to retire from inter-county football.
Early's service record includes overseas service with UNTSO in 1975, Adjutant to the 52nd Infantry Battalion UNIFIL, Military Advisor to the Secretary General to the United Nations, New York, 1987-1991 and Battalion Commander of the 81st Infantry Battalion UNIFIL in 1997. He is a graduate of the Royal College of Defence Studies, London (2001) and holds a Master of Arts (Hons) in peace and development studies from the University of Limerick (1999). He undertook the Ranger Course in the Defence Forces, which led to the establishment of special operations training and the establishment of the Army Ranger Wing (ARW).
Earley was appointed School Commandant of the ASPC. In 1991 he was appointed an instructor at the Command and Staff School of the Military College and in 1994/95 he helped establish the United Nations Training School Ireland (UNTSI) in the Military College.
He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 1995. He commanded the 27 Infantry Battalion on the Irish border. He was promoted to Colonel in 2001. In December 2003 he was made Brigadier General and was appopinted Major General in March 2004 when he received his current appointment. He replaced Lieutenant General James Sreenan.
|Kildare Senior Football