The death occurred on Christmas Day of former SRFC Board member and chairman Joe Colwell.
A native Dubliner, Joe played League of Ireland football, most notably for Drumcondra AFC. He made an enormous contribution to Shamrock Rovers F.C. and was a key player in getting the club to Tallaght.
Joe joined the board in 1988 after the successful takeover by John McNamara from the Kilcoyne brothers. It was a new era for the club as McNamara and co went about picking up the pieces following the fallout from the leaving of Milltown. Joe’s unique role as a board member at that time was in the area of fundraising and given his organisational ability and his good business acumen it proved to be an appropriate appointment.
He continued to serve on the board after the McNamara era came to an end with the takeover by the Premier Computer Group. Within two years though there were further changes with some of the key players from the new consortium withdrawing from the club. It was at this point that Joe Colwell became the major shareholder and chairman. He immediately set about injecting a new impetus into the club and worked passionately to drive the Tallaght Stadium project forward despite the obstacles that were placed in his way. Joe’s infectious desire to make Shamrock Rovers great again kept the club alive during a most difficult period as the stadium project suffered several setbacks.
Joe Colwell was responsible for the unique agreement that enabled the Hoops to play at Morton Stadium, Santry. While the athletics stadium and location proved to be not so popular with the fans the fact is that it was meant to be short term only and Joe, like everyone else associated with Shamrock Rovers, could never have foreseen the delays that followed the initial granting of planning permission by South Dublin County Council.
Joe Colwell was an affable and pleasant person who always had time to chat with everyone at the club be they patrons, sponsors or just ordinary supporters. He was his own man though and was very clear in the vision he held of what would make Shamrock Rovers great once again. The continued long-drawn out stadium affair eventually took its toll on Joe though and in April 2002 he made his feelings known that he intended to resign as chairman. He relented though and continued on for a while longer before finally announcing at a general meeting held at the Plaza Hotel in Tallaght that he was handing over the reigns of chairman to Tony Maguire who was a board member and chairman of the Shamrock Rovers Schoolboys section. Joe continued to work on and advise on matters relating to the stadium project before finally selling out his interest and retiring.
Everyone at Shamrock Rovers F.C. owes a debt of gratitude to Joe who sacrificed so much to enable the club get to Tallaght. We offer our sincere condolences to the Colwell family and all of Joe’s many friends on his passing. Joe’s son Jason, an ex Rovers player, is still very much involved with the club coaching with the Development Academy and a matchday regular with Joe’s grandchildren, the Colwell family will always be connected with Shamrock Rovers F.C.
To all who had dealings with Joe Colwell he will always be remembered as a true gentleman.