The people of Glencolmcille bid farewell to one of the area’s best known sons yesterday.
Jimmy McGonagle, a native of Meanadrean, passed away suddenly in his adopted home of New York last Wednesday. He was the Donegal Association of New York’s Person of the Year 2012 and a past President of Donegal Gaelic Football Club NY.
Fr Francis McAteer, PP, told a packed congregation at St Columba’s Church Cashel of his “charismatic personality, his great association with the GAA here and his great welcome for any of the Irish coming to New York”.
Members of the Molloy, Heena and McGinley families, all relations of the deceased, read and offered prayers at the Mass. A fiddler played by the graveside.
Bundoran Town Councillor Michael McMahon paid tribute to Mr McGonagle, calling him “a great friend over the years, a wonderful Donegal man and a great advocate for the undocumented Irish in America”.
He added: “Jimmy worked as a dispatcher in the New York Daily News but he also owned two bars in his time, one of them very aptly called The Sam Maguire, in the Bronx”.
Cllr. McMahon continued: “One of the very proudest moments of Jimmy’s life was seeing his nephew Anthony Molloy lift the Sam Maguire at Croke Park in 1992. It’s so sad that he passed away in the very same week when he saw the Donegal team bring the Sam Maguire to New York City.
“Jimmy was known for his great hospitality, he would do anything he could to help Irish people arriving in New York.
There was also a large very attendance at a Mass of Christian Burial for him last Friday week at St. Margaret of Crotona Church in the Bronx.