Sports clubs are run by many different types of people. Some love the spotlight and do their thing in the full glare of the public. Others work behind the scenes, quietly beavering away, not drawing any attention to themselves but always getting the job done. Charlie Craig was one of the latter.

It feels like I have known Charlie all my life, after all his eldest son Ian was a peer and we played football together, so the chances are that Charlie was on the sidelines. After all he loved his football and as he hailed from Co. Sligo and it was nip and tuck as to whether Clontarf cricket or Sligo Rovers was his true sporting love. I fancy that his homeland actually won that battle. 

We met again in Clontarf during the cricket season. Charlie was not a player at this stage, his adult cricket career was confined to Harding CC, when he came to the city after school.

Charlie's younger son Colin was a fine bowler in his youth and Charlie helped out with the youth teams that his son played on.  

His wife, Edie was persuaded (and I'm guessing Eileen Byrne and my mother might have been at work here) to help with the teas in Clontarf and of course his great friend Tom Byrne was the first team scorer in those days.  There were a multitude of reasons to head down the Howth Road on a summer's afternoon.

But a club always has a place for someone who is an excellent administrator and with a business background in Heitons, Charlie certainly was that. For many years he held the job of Membership Secretary, possibly the most unwanted job on the roster, but when Charlie called to make sure that the cheque was in the post, he was a hard man to refuse and he was tenacious so letting him down was just not an option.  

In the early 80s when Fergal Tobin’s match day programme came into being, Fergal looked after the content but he needed someone to source not just the adverts but also the monies that made the enterprise pay. For many years, Charlie was that man, a thankless task but one that got Clontarf CC through difficult financial times. It was typical of him that he never did anything for show but because they needed to be done.

Charlie (right) working behind the scenes at 1999 World Cup game

During the 70s and 80s, Clontarf had a gang of supporters who were nicknamed the bar room rats. Famous for their support, infamous for their scorn when things went wrong. While Charlie would be counted as a supporter, he would never be classified as a bar room rat. His sole job was to support.

Most supporters would arrive well after the game had begun but oftentimes, a game would begin and just the one supporter was there.  That was Charlie, he left the players to do the playing and he did his bit on the sideline. Don't get me wrong, he loved to see us win, hated to see us lose, but he was always on the side of his team.

Presidency came in 2010, a great honour particularly as that year the Australians came to Castle Avenue, it was a fitting gesture to someone who tirelessly worked for the better. All the years of selfless work were rewarded with the highest office.

In recent years, we had seen less of Charlie at games, though Tom Byrne would cajole him down occasionally, but he had other more important issues, as Edie's health deteriorated.

Only a few weeks ago, I met him in the shops and after we got the pleasantries over with, I indicated the items in his basket, gently teasing him that the biscuits and cakes were an indication of a balanced diet. “We have to allow ourselves a little pleasure sometimes” he told me, that mischievous grin creeping into his face. I am glad that that is my parting memory of Charlie, the pleasure was to have known him.