The Late Colm Kirwan – A Tribute from Castleisland Desmonds GAA Club


The legacy he’s leaving behind. Tangney’s hearse bearing the remains of former Castleisland Desmonds GAA Club Secretary, Colm Kirwan after club members, officials and members of the public paid their tributes at Moanmore last week and all under a sky obliging with a fine splash of Desmonds colouring. ©Photograph: John Reidy 9-7-2020

Last Thursday we woke to an uncharacteristically bright and sunny morning but there was still a sense of shock and loss around the town as we prepared to meet our friend Colm Kirwan for the final time. 

By Eilish O’Leary, PRO

Castleisland Desmonds GAA Club was a huge part of Colm’s life; from playing hurling on the pitch in the early 1970’s to holding the position of secretary of the club for over 16 years, and more recently as assistant secretary

The club was honoured to be part of his final journey out of the town. He was clinical in his dealings, had excellent organisational skills and it has been said over the past few days since his death, that no one could organise fixtures as well as he could. 

Limerick Road Lined

A huge gathering of the public and members of the club lined the Limerick Road in a guard of honour as the hearse turned into the club grounds.

All Colm’s Club friends and colleagues bore blue and white armbands, ones that he had given out at a recent funeral himself and which he stored safely at home.

Colm’s family moved the coffin towards the front of the clubhouse before members of the executive committee rolled it up onto the viewing area – a place where you would always find Colm selling Lotto tickets and laughing and joking with everyone while watching a game.

Tributes to Colm

Club Chairman, Willie Dom O’Connor, welcomed the large congregation along with Colm’s heartbroken wife, Brenda and members of his family.

He paid tribute to Colm, explaining the insurmountable number of tasks he undertook as secretary of the club and how he was delighted that a camogie team was established recently in the area, a throwback to his own time training a team in Wicklow.

Synonymous with Club Lotto

The Desmonds Lotto is synonymous with Colm Kirwan. He spent years organising and collecting money around the town for the weekly draw and it was a very poignant moment when Willie Dom asked his colleagues, who helped him with the Lotto draws each week, to drape the coffin with the Desmonds flag.

Wonderful music and song was provided throughout by Cormac and Art O’Mahony, Aileen Lynch, Julie Twomey, Catherine Greaney, Con Moynihan and Charlie Nelligan.

They sang one of Colm’s favourite songs by Luke Kelly, ‘Raglan Road’- from the poem by Patrick Kavanagh.

Johnny Stack and Tim Murphy

Willie Dom then asked Johnny Stack, chairman of the North Kerry Football Board and county board Chairman Tim Murphy to come forward.

They spoke individually about Colm’s contribution to GAA over the past number of years and particularly during his tenure as Desmonds club secretary.

Beautiful music provided the backdrop to Colm leaving the club grounds for the final time.

His brother Domo and nephews shouldered the coffin from the viewing area into the hearse as the guard of honour stood once again.