Appreciation

The late Sean Kearney - Loughmore and Ballyporeen

Noel Dundon

Reporter:

Noel Dundon

Email:

nd@tipperarylive.ie

Louth is a 'must win' game for Tipp in very competitive Division 2

Sean starred in the Tipp colours on many occasions against Cork and had a huge interest in the games right to the end

Sean will be sorely missed in GAA circles in Loughmore Castleiney and in Ballyporeen, as well as much further afield.

The late Sean Kearney, of Loughmore and Ballyporeen, who died recently, was a man renowned in the football strongholds of Munster and a player who was able to hold his own with any of the stars you care to mention.


Born in Whitefield, Loughmore in 1946, Sean played Gaelic football and hurling with the club and with Templemore CBS where he won almost every honour in the game.


In 1964, when Loughmore were joined with Moyne-Templetuohy, Sean captained the minor football team to mid and county honours. A dual star who was very adept with the hurley, he also won minor and U-21 hurling county titles, though he probably preferred the big ball and was more known for his football exploits than for his hurling prowess. Still, when it came to playing for the parish, Sean, like so many before and after him, played both codes and never gave anything less than his best.
He won three senior football county titles with Loughmore Castleiney in 1973, 1977 and 1979, captaining the side in 1979 - a huge personal honour and career highlight. These added to his many mid Tipperary titles at a time when the club was to the forefront in Tipperary.


Castleiney and Loughmore had gone their separate ways during the nineteen fifties and Loughmore would contest six consecutive county senior football finals winning in 1955. In 1959, the parish had two senior football teams for the first time since 1887 as a result of Castleiney’s junior success in 1958. Loughmore came out on top when they met in the mid final of 1959 and the mid semi final of 1960 – just imagine the rivalry at the time with two teams from the same parish contesting the divisional final.

The late Sean Kearney


However, at the 1961 mid convention a rule was passed that only allowed one hurling and football club in a rural parish. Loughmore and Castleiney have been united since and the club has gone from strength to strength winning a number of county senior titles in both hurling and football including a remarkable double in 2013.
The reunification in '61 did not bring the instant success enjoyed twenty-one years earlier in 1940. It was 1965 before the first senior football mid title was won and not until 1973 was the next senior football county title brought back to the parish – a team which included Sean.


The seventies proved very successful for the club with three senior football county titles and three U-21 football county titles won. Two county minor doubles,’76 and ’79 were also achieved. The earlier minor/u-21 successes of the 50's and 60's had been diluted somewhat by amalgamation with Moyne Templetuohy.


Juvenile titles, both divisional and county were won for the first time and having a successful juvenile club since 1970 has been the foundation for the many successes enjoyed at senior.


On the county scene Seán played at all levels in football. He played in a Tipperary junior team beaten by Clare and u-21 football team beaten by Cork in the Munster Final in1965 and was then promoted to the senior ranks. He won a Division 2 League Final in 1970 and played for Munster from 1969, finally winning a Railway Cup medal in 1975 along with club mate Eddie Webster. This was no small feat to be included alongside some of the Cork and Kerry greats of the era.
In latter years when work commitments took him away from mid Tipperary to the south of the county, Sean Kearney was adopted by the Ballyporeen GAA where he played and subsequently became Chairperson of the club. A man who was highly respected and regarded in his local and adoptive community, Sean Kearney was steeped in the GAA and displayed all the values and characteristics so abundant throughout the clubs of The Premier County. He gave his all on the field of play, and off it, he was never found wanting in any of the many capacities he took on.


He will be sorely missed in GAA circles in Loughmore Castleiney and in Ballyporeen, as well as much further afield. Those who heard of his passing in the football strongholds recalled a man of great talent and drive who had the skill to match his ambition.


But it is his family who miss him most of all. Beloved husband of Breda and much loved father to Gillian, Fiona, Claire, Eoin, Mary, Rebekah, Michael and Evie, Sean was pre-deceased by wife Mary. His brother Jim, sisters Geraldine and Mary, sons-in-law Noel, Fergal and Thomas, daughter-in-law Leeanne, grandchildren Colm, Riain, Ciara, Thomas, Ruairi, Conor and Fox and extended family, friends, neighbours, customers and Gaels, mourn his passing.


Testimony to his popularity was the attendance throughout the funeral at the end of December 2019. They came out to support the bereaved and to pay tribute to a legend.


He was laid to rest in St Mary's Cemetery, Ballyporeen following Requiem Mass in the Church of the Assumption.
He was truly one of a kind.