Former Limerick Leader reporter Fergal Keane reports on the funeral of Limerick hurling legend Mick Mackey in this story from the archives of 1982.
THOUSANDS of hurling fans young and old, filed past the coffin of Mick Mackey at the Regional Hospital this Tuesday as the great Limerick hurler went before his beloved public for the last time.
For well over two hours the hurling stars of yesteryear and today, public and business figures and ordinary hurling fans paid their last respects.
Mick Mackey looked calm and composed in death, dressed in the Ahane blazer and GAA tie, while his coffin was draped in the Ahane and Limerick jerseys. Many of his teammates converged on the hospital to pay their final respects and contemporaries arrived from across the country. Among the teammates were brother John Mackey, Jackie Power, Jackie O’Connell, Timmy Ryan, Paddy McMahon, Paddy Carroll, Derry McCarthy, Garrett Howard, Tommy Cooke, Mick Hickey and Pat Ryan, as well as the stars of more recent vintage – Pat Hartigan, Eamon Cregan and Liam O’Donoghue.
From the Limerick County Board came Jim Hickey, chairman; Rory Kiely, former chairman; Tom Bolan, secretary; Declan Moylan, treasurer; John Naughton, youth officer; and Sean Murphy, PRO.
The attendance also included the Mayor of Limerick Cllr Tony Bromell, and County Council chairman, Cllr. Liam Hickey, and members of the city and county councils.
Representing County Limerick VEC was Cllr Martin Carroll while the City VEC was represented by Cllr Frank Leddin. Mr Richard Haslam, county manager and Tom Collery, city manager, were among the numerous local government officials, Dáil deputies and senators from throughout the region were in attendance.
The three-mile long cortege left the Regional Hospital at 8pm and was joined at the O’Connell monument by the mayor and members of the City Council in their robes of office. Thousands of people lined the route and flags flew from half mast from public buildings as the cortege filed through the darkening streets of the city. A guard of honour of members of the GAA Central Council, GAA Munster Council and past and present Limerick players flanked the cortege and they were joined by the members of St Patrick’s Club on the Dublin Road.
The quiet village church of St Joseph’s, Castleconnell was surrounded by huge crowds up to an hour before the main cortege arrived. At Castleconnell a guard of honour drawn from the underage teams of Ahane club flanked the hearse through the village. At the church, the remains were received by the Very Rev. John Cooney. P.P., Castleconnell, assisted by the Very Rev. Michael Clancy, P.P., Broadford, and Fr. Michael Clancy, C.C., Castleconnell.