Roscommon football lost one of it’s greatest fans and one of it’s most unsung heroes this week with the passing of Des Whyte. Des was one of the most passionate Roscommon football men I ever met. He will be known as the man who sponsored Roscommon when they won the minor title in 2006 and again when they won the Connacht senior title in 2010 but Des Whyte did so much other work on behalf of the GAA in the county that was never publisised or heard about. The number of players he looked after with regard to jobs and finances, the number meals he paid for, and the number of contacts that he was able to provide for Roscommon GAA will never be known or quantified.
He had very strong opinions and was never afraid to vent them either. He rang me on a regular basis to comment on whatever the controversy was at the time. Indeed regular readers of this newspaper over the years will know that he ‘wrote’ in many a letter (dictated to me over the phone) about various topics always to do with the GAA.
Not a lot of people know that Des Whyte was one of the main people involved in the development of the St Brigid’s GAA club in Dublin which is now one of the biggest in the capital. But was always an Oran man through and through and he loved the Oran GAA club dearly right to the end. His highly successful Sierra Communications company in Dublin had a fleet of primrose and blue vans which were instantly recognisable. He was also a great man for the greyhounds and he enjoyed some great successes over the years.
In the past few years although he was incapacitated he went to many games and I enjoyed many great nights in his company in the pub and out at his house. Even though he was ill he loved the craic and banter. There were times when you wouldn’t see eye to eye with Des but the rows never lasted too long. In fact you were not considered a friend unless you had some sort of a row with him over the years! He had an infectious laugh that would win anyone around. I enjoyed being in his company to the very end.
One of the fondest memories was the night that Roscommon came back with the Tom Markham Cup in 2006. I was involved in a pub in Church Street at that stage and Des was there that night. I thought that his heart would burst out of his chest he was so proud. It was a very, very long night!!
He was a great Roscommon man and I and many more will miss him. He was back among his own in Oran this week, where he was happiest. They don’t make too many like Des Whyte anymore. To Elliot, Kellie, Ciara and all his family members I extend my deepest sympathy. May he rest in peace.

From The Roscommon People