Fond farewell to Limerick’s ‘Honda 50 man’ Philip McCormack

Kevin Corbett


Kevin Corbett

Brian Berkery, Doon and Jack Leonard, Tipperary on the famous 11850 Honda 50s leading the funeral cortege of Philip McCormack from St John's Cathedral to Mount Saint Oliver. Picture: Adrian Butler
A large crowd of mourners gathered this Monday afternoon in St John’s Cathedral to say their final farewells to the late Philip McCormack.

A large crowd of mourners gathered this Monday afternoon in St John’s Cathedral to say their final farewells to the late Philip McCormack.

Philip, aged 40, of Glenside, Annacotty, died last Thursday afternoon from injuries he had incurred when knocked from his bicycle by a car at Kilmurry Roundabout on Wednesday afternoon.

Known to many as the Honda 50 Man, Philip’s talents in expertly restoring the iconic motorbikes reached a national audience through the 11850 TV ads that featured two of his projects.

This was but one of the fond memories of Philip shared from the altar by Fr Leo McDonnell who, with concelebrant Fr Derek Leonard, led the mourning.

There were moving contributions also from his sister Jennifer and nephew Brian after the mass, that illustrated Philip’s generous spirit and his selfless nature.

“It’s hard to put into words how much Philip meant to all of us,” said Jennifer. “He was a fantastic father to Katie and a great son, he was always there for our parents. As for the rest of us, how are we going to fill this gap in our lives? Nobody knows.”

“He was always generous with his time and I am sure that as the years go by, we will all be hearing stories from people of how Philip touched their lives.

“He was a hard worker who went to London as a boy and came back a man, ready to take on the world, and take it on he did,” she said before inviting the congregation to join the family afterwards to swap more stories of her brother.

Philip’s brother Martin played a haunting version of Eric Clapton’s Tears In Heaven, his father Jim played clarinet while nephew Ian Henry played one of his own compositions in tribute to Philip.

Fr McDonnell told how 11850 had commissioned Philip to source two Honda 50s for their TV ads, how he had lovingly restored the bikes, “every nut and bolt brand new, with reconditioned engines and painted in bright green and white - the Limerick colours”.

“They wouldn’t have been any other colours, certainly not the Cork ones! Philip was a proud Limerick man.”

Reflecting on his life, Fr McDonnell said Philip was a man of great status and great talent. He could turn his hand to anything. He was a great lover of animals also, but the greatest love of all he reserved for his daughter Katie, “the apple of her father’s eye”.

“There is one soul here who will be more sorry than all, his daughter Katie,” said Fr McDonnell, adding, “we hope she can hold on to her precious loving memories of her father as she grows up.”

Philip McCormack was buried in Mount St Oliver cemetery. May he rest in peace.