Elizabeth Duffy, who was one of the club’s longest-serving and most respected officials, sadly passed away on November 25th after a long illness.
A native of Aghamore in Co Mayo, Elizabeth (née Murphy) moved to England in her teens, joining her sister in Kidderminster where she developed a love for the game of football.
During her time in the UK, she met her husband Vincent, a Monaghan man, and the couple and their three children relocated to Dundalk in the late sixties.
The Duffy family became regulars at Oriel Park on a Sunday afternoon, with Vincent going on to co-ordinate the club’s lotto, and in 1981, Elizabeth took over from Mary Casey, wife of the club’s late president Des Casey, as club secretary.
In her first secretary’s report, delivered at the club’s AGM in August 1982, Elizabeth reflected on a fine first season which saw Dundalk win the league title and take Tottenham Hotspur all the way in the European Cup Winners Cup.
“In European competition, we maintained our unbeaten home record under manager Jim McLaughlin, when we defeated Fram Reykjavik and drew with Tottenham Hotspur in the European Cup Winners’ Cup and also beat Glasgow Celtic in a friendly match. Indeed, it was felt that we were unlucky to lose by the odd goal in three to Spurs over the two games.
“On the domestic scene, we had another very successful season in winning the Presidents Cup and the League of Ireland championship. We also had a very good run in the FAI Cup, being beaten by Bohs in a record-equalling semifinal.
“With the sweet smell of success still fresh, in their minds, I feel sure that our supporters await the new season with anticipation of new heights being scaled.”
In an interview with the Dundalk Democrat in 2002, she recalled her appointment with a smile, saying: “I said I would try it for a while and look at me now, 21 years later!”
She stayed at Oriel Park for a further six years, eventually stepping down from her role in November 2007, the same week that her daughter Theresa Loughman, who served as office manager, also departed.
During her time at Oriel Park, Elizabeth saw 11 managers come and go at the club, from McLaughlin through to John Gill, while she also saw former chairmen Enda McGuill and Eamon Hiney, who she counted as two close friends, sadly pass away.
As a club administrator, she earned the respect of managers, players, officials and supporters alike. Elizabeth was quick to play down her role, modestly saying that she was, “just part of the team” but she was much more than that, with Gill describing her as “an absolute diamond of a lady…and a gentle soul.”
Everyone at the club would like to send our condolences to Elizabeth’s husband Vincent, son Johnny, daughter Theresa and her extended family and friends. We also remember her late son Vincie, who passed away in 2019, at this time.
May she rest in peace.