On the 6th April 2021, Leitrim lost its greatest ever footballer Packie McGarty. Less than two months later Leitrim has lost his footballing twin Cathal Flynn. Cathal was a native of Gorvagh, County Leitrim and was resident in Clonee, Co. Meath over many years up to the time of his passing last night.
Flynn & McGarty were to Leitrim what Purcell & Stockwell were to Galway. Cathal was deeply upset when his ‘footballing twin’ died and spoke of him every day since his passing. Packie always said there was no better corner forward in the game than Cathal Flynn.
Cathal Flynn played his first game with Leitrim in 1952 against Cavan in Ballinamore when he came on as a substitute and his career in the Green and Gold progressed and blossomed from that point forward. He was a scoring genius, top scorer in the National Football League for nine years in a row, was out injured for a year and returned the following year to top the scoring charts again. McGarty drew the fouls and Flynn converted. But Cathal Flynn was more than just a free-taker.
In the famous 1958 final against Galway when Leitrim lost on a scoreline of 2-10 to 1-11, the Connacht Tribune reported ‘it was Flynn who sent the Leitrim supporters wild when he scored the goal in the 14th minute of the second half when he rounded Keeley and sent a flashing drive along the ground to the net’. Cathal Flynn was brilliant throughout and ended the game with a personal tally of 1-6.
Cathal played in the Connacht Finals of 1957, ’58, ’59, ’60 & ’63 and lost them all.
Cathal Flynn, Leo McAlinden, Eugene Boland and Columba Cryan were honoured by selection on the Connacht Railway Cup team as substitutes as far back as 1954.
In 1958 – Packy McGarty and Columba Cryan were joined by a new Railway Cup Star genius, corner-forward Cathal Flynn.
In the semi-final v Leinster – in Ballinasloe in front of 11,000 spectators Connacht won -1-11 to 0-7. Packy and Cathal scored 1-7
The next day in the Irish Press the headline by Padraig Puirseal was ‘McGarty & Flynn stole the show in Ballinasloe’. He won his only Railway Cup medal that year. Cathal will always be spoken of as one of the Leitrim Twins ‘McGarty & Flynn’
He passed away in James Connolly Memorial Hospital Blanchardstown last night and is survived by his wife Terry, daughter Clara, son-in-law Dave, sisters Eilish and Brid, grandchildren, nieces and nephews and a large circle of friends.
Former Leitrim GAA Secretary Tommy Moran has paid tribute to the late Cathal and his contribution to Leitrim GAA in a Leitrim Observer article reproduced here
On behalf of Leitrim GAA and the Supporters Club, we would like to extend our deepest sympathy to all his family.