Rob had been with Ratoath RFC from the very early days, coaching a number of our earliest mini and youth teams, and then taking our current under 18 squad up from under 8 all the way to under 16 as head coach, before stepping back due to his illness in December 2018. A great coach who knew the game and could get through to young people, he was able to impart not just rugby skills but a positive attitude, a team ethos, honesty and other values that will stand to his players long after they hang up their boots. For Rob, winning was not in the score line, it was in improving his charges as rugby players, as people, and as a team.
His contribution to the club went so much further than coaching our young lads. He was regularly working on or leading some improvement or other, building the kitchen in our cabin, converting the changing rooms, all the way back to concreting in our first set of goalposts in Curragha Road. He served on the club committee for a time, but perhaps was more at home on the pitch or getting a job done. You might notice his jeep outside the club on a quiet weekday - stopping in to fix a leaky tap or a broken door lock - never telling a soul.
Humble and honest, Rob could always see how to address a problem, and if something needed saying Rob would call it as it was - but always in the right way. When he spoke - people listened. A believer in doing the right thing, he had a gentle but obvious leadership that people looked up to and admired. His qualities rubbed off not only on so many of our young players - but also on the coaches he worked with. Many parents started their coaching journey under his guidance. That he gave so much to the club without being a parent to a player on the team was a testament to his generosity, and his love of the game and of working with young people.
In their own tribute to Rob when he stepped back, some words used by his now Under 18 players to describe him were "leader", "generous", "inspirational", "smart", and "kind".
Away from the club - Rob was a devoted family man, and was generous to others with his time , knowledge and skills. He would willingly take a day or more out to give someone a helping hand with a DIY job, be it big or small, out of the goodness of his heart and for no reward save the company, a coffee and a thank you.
So much more than a fine clubman, Rob was a true gentleman; he was the very finest of us - and we are privileged to have known him. Taken too soon, his passing is heart breaking for those of us who were lucky enough to be able to call him our friend, and his loss will be deeply felt. At the appropriate time when current circumstances have changed - Ratoath RFC will remember Rob, his contribution to our club and community, and the legacy he has left behind.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his family - loving wife Sue, son Dean and daughter Melanie, and with his extended family. May he rest in peace.
RIP.IE Notice is here.
Some tributes from his players and their parents:
Rob was kind and understanding. He was a special kind of coach in that he was always pushing you to be the best you could be in sport but also in life. He taught us to find our inner Chi and showed us that kindness always prevailed and that giving it your all was enough. Rob left a special mark on my life and pushed me to be the best I could be. He will be deeply missed. Player Laurie Johnson
Rob was one of the reasons that I loved rugby so much. Rob's honesty and support were the reasons I enjoyed playing. Player Gavin Fennessy
So sorry to hear this news. Rob was the best coach for rugby and for life, he is the reason I'm so passionate about rugby. He will be greatly missed by everyone. Rest in Peace. Player Adam Brereton
Rob was a great man and a great coach, when I joined rugby he took me under his wing and taught me the game, taught me about being determined and having a positive attitude for the game and for life which I still use everyday. Not only was he a rugby coach but a life coach, he left an important mark on me and will be remembered and missed deeply. Rest in peace coach. Player Matthew Fleming
Rob was one of the biggest reasons I played rugby when he was our coach, and when he couldn't coach us any more, he was still one of the biggest reasons. Now that he is gone, he still will be the reason, and I'm sure it will be the same for a lot of the boys. It's because he's the best coach I ever had. He made us better, he made us stronger, and made us tougher, and I'll miss him. Player Brian Kiely
Who was Rob Kevelighan to me? Rob was my coach, he coached me to where I am now and without him I don’t know if I would’ve kept playing rugby, Rob motivated me to become a better player. He brought happiness to those training sessions. Rob was there for me and the lads when we needed it no mattered how silly or serious the problem was he was there, if one of the lads were injured Rob would’ve been the first to there aid with his grey hair and a big grin. More importantly Rob was a friend, a father and a role model, he plays such a big role in the person I am today. Thank you so much Rob and may you rest in peace. Player Ryan Coroner
Rob was a great coach, he seemed to always have time for everybody. He was very kind and encouraging and managed to bring the best out of everybody. He was always supportive and always had a kind word to say no matter what the circumstances. He was able to understand where people were at even when they might not have known that themselves. He was a lovely man and I feel lucky to have had him as a coach. Rest in peace Rob. Player Sean Phelan
Rob was a fantastic coach, who was as knowledgeable as he was passionate about the game. He made every player feel essential to the team & was always generous with his time. Rob’s dedication and kindness has left a lasting impression on me and I’m grateful for that. May he rest in peace. Player James McEntagart
Rob was a great coach and greater man and it's sad to see him gone. He was always kind and helpful and was always joking around and making us laugh. He was a great coach and brought us all together as one with his love for the game and his great personality. I feel privileged to have learnt what I have from him he was an amazing coach, let alone person. Rest in peace Rob you will be missed and my thoughts are with his family. Player Luke Fitzpatrick
Rob was not only a great coach but a great person. I’m so appreciative for the time and commitment that he gave to us for so many years. He encouraged and nurtured us as we grew from boys into men and he will always have a special place for that. His relentless and positive attitude will be sadly missed. Player Ross Coatsworth
Rob was nothing short of a gentlemen. He had time for everybody and understood rugby was more than a game. He made us all fall in love with the game and inspired us all to achieve greatness on and off the field. I myself will forever be indebted to him for my love of rugby. The memories of a cold, foggy morning in winter playing a game of rugby with my friends are memories I will cherish for the rest of my life and without Rob none of these would have happened. Your guidance and inspiration you instilled in us will stay with us forever. I’m so sorry you had to go and everything you’ve done for us will never be forgotten. You’ve done your club and family proud. Player Ben Bislin
I feel honoured to consider myself a friend of Rob. I worked alongside him looking after the rugby team for many years. He was kind, funny, intelligent, a rock of common sense he brought out the best in all of us. A point not mentioned so far is that he was a proud Dublin Northsider. He definitely was one of the good guys and he will be missed but never forgotten. My thoughts are with his family. Team Manager and good friend Yvonne
Rob was a fantastic guy, no fuss, nothing ever a problem. He was without a doubt the kindest, coolest most dedicated coaches and a great role model to all our lads. A massive loss, thoughts are with his family. RIP Rob. Parent/Coach Henry Fleming.
Such sad news. As a friend, Rob will be sadly missed. His selfless contribution to the club and in particular to the current under 18 team that he trained and mentored from the age 8 did not go unrecognised either by the lads or by the us as parents. Our deepest sympathies are with Sue, Dean, Melanie and his extended family at this terribly sadtime. Parents/Coach Mark and Yvonne Coatsworth
Rob was a true gentleman. I have lots of fond memories training alongside Rob. He was a phenomenal coach who had a great rapport with the lads. He always knew what to say, how to train and bring the best out in the team. A truly sad day. Our thoughts and prayers are with Robs family today. RIP Rob ❤️. Parent/Coach Paul Bexon
Rob was a great role model not just to the kids he coached, but to us all. Selfless and good humoured, he gave so much to the club and he be sadly missed. Sincere condolences to his family. Parent/Coach Stephen Murnane
To all of the Kevelighan family our sincere sympathies. Rob was an absolute gentleman, a true friend and just a pleasure to be around. He is sadly missed and will always be remembered with immense fondness. We'll always remember his generosity, his humility and of course the laughs over a cup of coffee after a game, or a pint when we had an excuse for one. One in a million. May he rest in peace. Parent/Coach Myles Byrne
Very sad news. Rob was such a gentleman and all the lads on the team thought very highly of him. He will be greatly missed by the players and the club. Thoughts and prayers are with his family right now. RIP Rob. Parent Paudie Fennessy
Such a sad loss of a wonderful, kind-hearted man who always put a smile on the lads faces. He will be sadly missed by them all. Thoughts and prayers are with his poor family. RIP Rob❤️❤️. Parent Ruth Fleming
So sad, Rob was a wonderful, passionate coach and a warm friendly man, who will be missed. Thoughts and prayers for his family. Rest in peace. Parent Ken Deevy
Wonderful guy, too young. Thoughts with his family. Sad that as a club we can't pay the respect he deserved. Parent John Coroner
So so sad to hear this news today. Rob was a true gent, one of life's special ones. He will be sadly missed. Thoughts and prayers with his family, friends and all the young lads whose lives he so deeply touched. Rest easy Rob. Parent Karen Carolan
So sad to hear the sad news of Rob passing . Thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. Parent Ann Duggan
So sad to hear. What a great coach and a great man. Our thoughts and prayers with his family. RIP Rob. Parent Michael Holohan
Such sad news. What a wonderful kind gentle man he was. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this tragic time. Rip Rob. Parent Claire Bexon
Such sad news. Fantastic guy. Great with the boys and loved by them. Couldn't ask for a better role model. Thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. RIP Rob. You'll be missed. Parent Alan Fitzpatrick
So sad to hear, he was a absolute gentleman and great trainer , our thoughts are with his family. Parent Keith McManus
That's heart breaking. May He Rest In Peace. All prayers are with his family. Parent Rachel McManus
Was very sad to hear of Rob's passing. He was almost there from the start and always donated his professional skills to good use for the club. Though he didn't have anyone at mini level he coached the now 18 year old men all the way up through mini rugby. RIP Rob. Parent David Marrinan
Sorry for the sad news Our thoughts is with his family. From all the seniors and all the U18 player and coaches. Coach Adrian Van Den Berg
Very sad. Lovely man who generously gave his time to the lads and always encouraged them to enjoy the game and give it their best. Rob will be remembered with great fondness. RIP. Parent Arthur McEntagart
Sad news. Lovely man and fantastic coach. RIP. Parent Helen Rothwell
Very sad news, one of the loveliest men selflessly gave his time and knowledge to all the boys. He will be sadly missed by all. RIP. Parent Donna Hoare
So sad to hear about Rob, such a kind and lovely man. A fantastic mentor and coach, selflessly training the lads week in and week out over the years. Thinking of his family at this time. RIP. Parent Ruth Coroner
Very sorry to hear this. Thoroughly decent, kind and gentle man who really knew how to get the best out of the lads. Will be sorely missed by the club and all the teams he coached. RIP Rob, sleep well. Parent Brian Johnson
Such sad news, Rob was the kindest Man and always gave so much time to the lads, always a great support and I always enjoyed a chat with him. Rip Rob and sincere condolences to all his family. Parent Carol McEntagart
We are very sorry to hear such sad news. Our thoughts are with Rob’s family and friends. Rob was a gentleman and was so encouraging to the boys and will be remembered as a true gentleman and the kindness he has shown. Parent Sharon Phelan
Such sad news. Such a kind and selfless man. His contribution to the development of the lads will last a lifetime and well beyond. RIP Rob. Parent Gerard Coey
We are very sad to hear this news about Rob - ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam. Parent Bridget Burke
We are extremely saddened by this awful news. Rob’s love for the game and the enjoyment he got from being around the team as they improved and developed stands out clearly in my mind. He gave Luke great encouragement while he was with the team. A sad sad loss. Parent Niall Mooney