Mervyn Strain - an appreciation
When Mervyn Strain passed away in Sligo last month following a recent battle with illness, his sad passing was mourned - not just in his adopted home - but also in his native Raphoe where he was a great friend to many and a terrific supporter of Raphoe Town Football Club.
Mervyn had moved to Sligo many years ago when his late father William had retired from his bicycle repair shop in Raphoe and took up the position of caretaker at Sligo Grammar School.
Over the years he became well-known throughout the greater North West region as a keen sportsman and in later years as a great administrator, and he made many friends in the soccer community across the country.
Mervyn spent 18 years as a member of the Sligo-Leitrim FA while he also served on the Connacht Football Association.
He was a founder member of Calry Bohemians FC and was regarded as Calry's Mr. Soccer and over the years he served faithfully as a player and committee member with the club he loved.
His love for the club was best summed up when, in 2001, he was nominated for a Sligo County Council Cathaoirleach Award in the Sports Community Category and his proposal read…"He stands watching his beloved team in all weathers, urging them on, wishing them to do well. Mervyn Strain throws every throw, saves every save, strikes every pass and hits every shot. He wishes he could still be out there with his team. He is, and has been, the man for all seasons."
Mervyn was a regular visitor to Raphoe over the years and he and his wife Anna were great friends with Raphoe Town FC stalwart Seamus Bogle and his wife Sheila.
But they were also well known and greatly-loved by countless Raphoe natives with whom they had made scores of friends and enjoyed many's a sociable evening over the years.
No visit home to Raphoe at the weekend would have been complete for Mervyn however, had he not been able to get an opportunity to watch Raphoe Town in action in the Donegal League and he spent many's a game on the sidelines willing his home-town team on to victory.
His support went far beyond the odd visit to a game though and Raphoe Town FC will be forever grateful to Mervyn for his numerous kind donations over the years.
The two clubs also met on many occasion on the pitch over the years and it is hoped they will renew that friendly rivalry again later this year in honour of Mervyn's memory.
He is survived by his wife Anna, sister-in-law, Margaret; nieces Pauline and Sandra; nephew Trevor and many, many friends to whom sympathy is extended.
May he rest in peace.