The Late Andy Duffy RIP

Aindrias Ó Dubhthaigh (Andy Duffy)

Ballinamore Seán O’Heslin’s  RIP

Brón ar an mbás, sé dubh mo croíse

A great sadness has fallen on the Ballinamore Seán O’Heslin’s GAA club this morning with the news of the death of Andy Duffy. An iconic figure in the club for the past forty years, whether it was serving as Cathaoirleach or Rúnaí, or checking tickets on Lotto night.

Andy’s life revolved around two things, his beloved Mayo and his equally beloved Seán O’Heslin’s. He was one of Mayo’s most loyal supporters and it didn’t matter whether they lost nine or ten All Ireland Finals, he would be in Tralee or Ballybofey for their next League match. His car would be gone in the early morning, but he would always be back for Prior’s or Lawrences that same night.

Andy was Secretary of Ballinamore Seán O’Heslins for a thirteen-year period 1986 – 1998, during which time the club won three Senior Football titles. Those were the days when the Secretary would also act as a selector. He was one of only four clubmen to fill the role of both Chairman and Secretary at different times, the others being Brendan Kieran, Brendan Burns and Alan Banks. Andy was club Chairman from 2002-2004.  He knew every detail about the club’s successes, even for the years long before his involvement.

One of Andy’s most memorable successes in GAA terms, it wasn’t on the football of play at all, but in the Gleneagle Hotel in Killarney in 2002, when he was part of the club’s team which won the All Ireland Scór Tráth na gCeist. After more than 20 years of competing in Scór, the team of Andy Duffy, Seán Ó Súilleabháin and Walter Sharpley took the title. Andy was well-read on a variety of subjects, and he had a great interest in taking part in table quizzes of any sort.

A native of Kilmovee, Co Mayo, Andy attended St Nathy’s College, Ballaghadereen as a boarder. His family moved to near Mullingar, but Andy remained a Mayo man all his life.  He attended forestry college in Kinnity, Co Offaly for one year and then spent three years in the college at Shelton Abbey, near Arklow. It was here he first took on an officer position in the GAA as secretary of the Forestry College team.

Fear go raibh an spéis aige sa Ghaeilge, agus b’fhearr leis i gcónaí a ainm mar Aindrias Ó Dubhthaigh.

Andy’s most significant intervention on behalf of the club came in the early 2000s when it was proposed to move away from the current pitch, due to persistent flooding. Andy offered to personally fund the investigation of a pumping system to stem the flooding. This was the catalyst which led to the development of the current facilities.

In latter years, Andy assisted the club in many ways, selling lotto tickets in his favourite pubs, sorting the envelopes on lotto night and filling in numerous tickets for his nephews and nieces in Gaybrook, Mullingar or Ballycumber, Co Offaly. Andy was generous with his time and money for any GAA cause.

Despite failing health, one of Andy’s last jobs was hoisting the tricolour and club flags on the day of a big match in Páirc Sheáin Uí Eislin. Andy had a box in the porch with flags of every conceivable combination of colours, ready for any occasion.

Today, the tricolour flies at half mast at his beloved Páirc Sheáin Uí Eislin in memory of one of the club’s greatest and most memorable administrators – Aindrias Ó Dubhthaigh, go mbeidh leaba i measc na naomh agat, a fhir uasail.

The club extends sympathy to Andy’s sister, Mary Kavanagh, Ballycumber, Co Offaly and his brother Martin, Gaybrook, Mullingar and their extended families.

Andy’s remains will be reposing at Smith’s Funeral Home, Ballinamore on Sunday from 5.30 to 7.30. Removal on Monday evening to Gainstown Church, Mullingar and funeral on Tuesday. For final details link

Seán Ó Súilleabháin