The Late Hughie Smith.  (Ballinamore Sean O’Heslins GAA)

Members and supporters of the Club were saddened to hear, over the weekend, of the death of Hughie Smith in New York.

Hughie, was born in Corlough Co. Cavan and later lived in Ballynacargy in Co. Westmeath. He moved to Ballinamore in 1966 to serve as an apprentice carpenter with his cousin John Smith at the joinery shop in High St. He played minor for the club that year and graduated on to the Senior team in 1967 along with the likes of “Birdie” Burns and Brian McKiernan.

He went on to win 3-in-a-row Senior Championships in 1967, ’68 & ’69. He also won 5 league medals between 1967 & 1972 along with a further senior championship in 1972.

The 3-in-a-row team of the ‘60s embarked on an historic trip to New York and Boston in 1969, an occasion that will live long in the memory of those who were there.

Renowned as a versatile and stylish footballer, he played at both corner back and at centre half forward for the team. Hughie also represented Leitrim at senior level in both Gaelic Football and Hurling and won a senior club hurling championship with St. Brigids in 1971.

He was also part of the Park committee that undertook to build the new dressing rooms in 1971 and ’72.

There was also an interesting connection that developed later in Hughie’s life. In recent years, by coincidence, our senior men’s team started using the Ballynacargy GAA club pitch as a base to meet up for Championship training. Hughie was delighted to arrive one evening, while home from New York, to meet the Ballinamore players and let them know that the pitch was in fact built on land that was once owned by the Smith family.

A Funeral Mass will take place at Saint Barnabas Church, New York, on Saturday, July 8th, at 11:00am.

Hughie will be brought home to Ireland where he will repose at Smith’s Funeral Home in High St. before returning to his home in Ballynacargy for reposing, Mass & burial. Full details of times for the reposing and burial will be published in due course

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.