The late Jimmy Gallagher
The community of Ballyshannon came together today (Thursday) to lay one of their most popular sons to rest.
Jimmy Gallagher's last journey from his house in Erne Street to St. Patrick's Church was marked by a guard of honour by the local Aodh Ruadh club. The journey of a couple of hundred yards was a familiar journey for Jimmy, who was a very regular churchgoer.
His death, on Tuesday, at the age of 76, came at the end of a lengthy illness, which was borne with fortitude. Prior to his illness, his involvement with the Aodh Ruadh GAA club in the town was legendary.
Secretary, treasurer, shop manager, pitch caretaker, referee, turnstile operator, quizmaster, bingo caller, lotto seller and organiser, whatever job that had to done, Jimmy was available. He was the face of the club at Fr. Tierney Park for years as caretaker.
A man of extreme integrity, he looked after every penny of the club's finances with extreme care, whether that was the lotto returns or the club shop at Fr. Tierney Park. Everything was accounted for.
He was the recipient of a number of awards, which he greatly cherished, among them being chosen as the Aodh Ruadh Centenary Club Person when the GAA celebrated 100 years in the county in 2005. Indeed, he was the obvious and unanimous choice to represent the club on that occasion.
The club was his second family, and as Fr. Hugh Hanlon, said at the funeral ceremony, the Aodh Ruadh club could well be described as his first family.
I'm told that he ordered Pauric McShea to the line during a local league game in Fr. Tierney Park back in the 1970s, which would have made him popular on that evening. But Jimmy didn't necessary court popularity. He was a man who liked punctuality and when there was something to be done, it was not put off until another time.
His working life was spent as caretaker at Ballyshannon Vocational School and later at Coláiste Cholmcille, but nearly all of his spare time was dedicated to Aodh Ruadh.
It was fitting that his coffin was carried the short journey from his home to St. Patrick's Church alongside a guard of honour.
Requiem Mass was concelebrated by Fr. Hugh Hanlon, Fr. Gerard Hicks (Jimmy's cousin from Liverpool), Fr. Dermot Burke and Fr. Herbie Bromley. Fr. Gerard spoke about his memories of Jimmy when he came to visit Ballyshannon in his youth and the welcome he always received.
Afterwards Jimmy was laid to rest in the Abbey Cemetery.
He is survived by his brother Michael; sisters Antoinette and Marian; brother-in-law John; sister-in-law Margaret; nephews and nieces and a large circle of friends.