Posted by Junior McKiernan on Sunday, July 5, 2020
MICHAEL O’REILLY , KILLYTAWNEY,
FORMERLY THE SHAMROCK INN
Michael passed away suddenly on 2nd June, he is greatly missed by his heartbroken wife Mary, his much adored children Caroline, Michelle, Patricia,Deirdre and Tomás’ his sons in law Fintan and Shane also daughter in law Louise. He was a much loved grandfather to Naofa, Croíthe, Aoísle, Lynn and the latest arrival Fionn and he will be missed in all of their life journeys. He will be sadly missed by his sister Mary McLoughlin (Aughavas) and her family , he was predeceased by his brother Sean T in September 2019
Michael was a person who was involved in the community at many levels over the years and a great void has been left with his sudden passing.He was a well known business man and along with his wife Mary and family they owned and ran a very successful pub, The Shamrock Bar and an equally successful bed and breakfast, he was fondly known locally as Michael the Shamrock.
The Shamrock pub was renowned for many aspects reflecting Irish life and culture , GAA, music,singing, skittles, fishing, hunting , horse racing and soccer. It was known locally but also nationally .With regard to music many great traditional musicians and groups from all over Ireland spent many happy hours on the premises and the music sessions drew people from far and wide.
The Shamrock was also well known for the playing of skittles with very competitive games and competitions taking place up the back, Michael himself was a very talented skittles player and won 5 All Ireland titles in a row from 2002 to 2006 with the Shamrock Inn team, achievements which he was rightly proud of. These skittle games were discussed and analysed around the counter to great lengths.
Michael liked watching his much loved Manchester United and letting patrons know how well they were doing under a certain managerial team. Horse racing was another passion and a highlight of the year was the annual trip to the Galway races.
Many long term friendships were nurtured and developed through the accommodation of fishermen who boarded in the Shamrock bed and breakfast over the years and many of these people returned annually for their holidays.
The sing songs and debates that took place when the huntsman arrived in after a days hunting were participated in by Michael with great vigor and enjoyment.
Michael worked for thirteen years in the Holy Rosary Convent Killeshandra in his youth, a place that nurtured his love for gardening, a passion he carried on through his life and can be seen to this day. He then went to work in McCormac’s factory for a number of years where he was a shift charge hand, he was held in high regard as a work colleague and made many friends in both of these work places.
Above all the Shamrock was a great meeting place for people returning from GAA games and every detail especially anything controversial was debated at great length. Everyone was made welcome and each persons opinion was asked for and valued by the proprietor. Often these debates got very passionate and Michael was a full participant in keeping the pot stirred when the debate was flagging. He held very strong opinions on how the game should be played and how it should be progressed at every level, locally and nationally.
Michael was a very accomplished Gaelic footballer and stood out
as a special talent from a very early age. He captained the local team to a Minor championship victory in 1961 , he also lined out with Killeshandra Leaguers Junior team from 1960.
Michael went on to star for the St. Joseph’s Senior parish team , this team were serious contenders and challengers to the great Crosserlough team and were narrowly defeated in the senior championship final in 1969, a team he captained. This team won many top notch tournaments including The John Joe O’Reilly tournament in Cornafean, The Ballinamore Gold watch tournament and the Kilinkere tournament.These tournaments were akin to inter county games as the top senior teams from the surrounding counties participated and nothing was spared in the quest for victory.
Michael was a member of the Cavan under 21 team beaten by Down in the Ulster final in 1964. He also represented Cavan at Junior level in the late 60’s and a lot of knowledgeable GAA people say that he should have been selected at senior county level such were his talents.
Michael was a member of the Killeshandra Leaguers Junior Championship winning team in 1970. He was a tough but fair player with tremendous spirit and it was a great loss to the Leaguers that injury put an end to his playing career at a very young age.
Whilst he was proud of these achievements nothing made him happier than to see his beloved Leaguers achieving success and took great satisfaction seeing titles been won by the club in any of the GAA codes.
He was Chairman of his much loved Leaguers in 1975 and was involved in coaching and managing at under age level, he was part of the management of the Under 16 Parnell team that reached the county final in 2004.
He was also a great sponsor to the Leaguers on many occasions and a very active member of the club at all levels including taking to the road in 2007 to sell tickets with a few fellow members to further the development of the Leaguers facilities. Michael was Vice President and trustee of the club at the time of his passing.
Michael got great satisfaction and pleasure watching his children progress from underage to senior in ladies and men’s competitions and play with his beloved Leaguers and had great pride in seeing his son Tomás represent Cavan at every level of football.
Michael was also a very successful farmer and this was an interest that he really loved and devoted a lot of time and care to it especially in his retirement from the businesses in the town. He produced quality cattle , which along with the land were cared for to a very high standard.
All these attributes that he possessed were secondary to his primary duty and that was as a family man, a devoted husband to Mary and adoring parent to his children and grandchildren . He was a man who worked hard and along with Mary helped their children succeed in their chosen paths in life, he encouraged education in all his children and did this by giving direction and advice. One of the main characteristics that he encouraged was respect for each other as family members and respect for everyone. Michael was a man of tremendous faith and belief something he instilled in his children and grandchildren.
Michael’s passing was a shock to everyone and the regard in which he and his family are held was evident by the numbers of people standing along the streets from his home in Killytawney the whole way to St. Brigid’s Church.
It was also very fitting that the Leaguers carried his coffin by Pairc Ui Dhoibhlinn draped in the no. 6 saffron jersey he was proud to wear and starred in on so many occasions. The Leaguers will be one loyal supporter less in the future. He will be remembered standing along the pailing under the trees on the dug out side with Mary by his side and the shout now and again to be heard “ come on The Leaguers” .
Michael’s life can be summarized as a family man first, a man of strong faith and Christian belief, a man with strong principals on love and respect,a hard working man , a business man, a sporting man and a loyal proud Leaguer.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, relatives and friends at this very sad time.
At dheis De go raibh a anam dilis