Columba Cryan – Legendary Leitrim Footballer – ar shlí na Firinne 

Columba Cryan, a legendary figure on the Ballinamore and Leitrim football scene in the 1950s, passed away today, 5 May 2024.

Throughout 1950s, Columba was recognised one of Leitrim’s finest players, playing either at midfield or full forward. In 1952, Leitrim regraded to Junior, meaning that they opted out of the senior championship to concentrate on junior. It was a move which paid off as they won the Connacht Junior title. The All-Ireland semi-final was played in Pairc Sheáin Ui Eislin, before a reputed 5,000 attendance and, with Columba Cryan at full forward, Leitrim defeated Tipperary by 2-5 to 0-5. The final against Meath was in Breffni Park, but Leitrim lost.

Ten years later, in 1962, Leitrim again won the Connacht Junior title and Columba Cryan won his second Connacht Junior medal.

However, it was at senior level that Columba made his name as an outstanding player for Leitrim. In that glorious period (1957-1960) when Leitrim played in four Connacht finals in a row, all against Galway, Columba was a central figure in all of them. The nearest Leitrim got was to lose by two points in 1958, when Columba shaved the upright in the dying minutes. Columba’s brother-in-law, Leo Heslin from Aughavas, was a teammate on the Leitrim team in those years.

Leitrim’s most successful year ever, at National League level, came in 1959, when they reached the semi final, at a time when there were no divisions based on strength. Leitrim lost to Derry in Croke Park on that occasion, the only time Columba Cryan lined out for Leitrim in Pairc an Chrócaigh.

Ballinamore won the Senior Championship in 1956, largely due to a great midfield pairing of Columba Cryan and Brian Sweeney.  For many many years, Columba and Brian travelled to matches together, no doubt reliving the great games they played together. Columba was captain of that 1956 winning team and his brother Josie was centre-half back.

Columba was the only Ballinamore player to possess a coveted Railway Cup medal. He was on the Connacht panel when they won in the years 1957 and 1958.

Our sympathy to Columba’s wife, Kay, to his daughters, Fiona, Síne, Lisa, Pam and son Columba.

Suaimhneas na bhFlaitheas do cheann de na peileadóirí ab fhearr a d’imir le Liatroim agus cumann Sheáin Úi Eislin, Béal an Átha Móir.


Reposing on Monday, 6th May, at Smith’s Funeral Home, High St., Ballinamore, N41 TD62, from 4pm until 6.30pm. Removal on Tuesday, 7th May, from his home to arrive at St. Patrick’s Church, Ballinamore, for Funeral Mass at 12 noon. Burial afterwards in Oughteragh Cemetery, Ballinamore.

Ballinamore team, Leitrim Senior Champions 1956, captained by Columba Cryan

Ellen (Ella )  McGarty, Dublin

Ella McGarty wife of the late Packie McGarty passed away last night after a short illness. At his father’s funeral mass Packie’s son Eamon told the congregation meeting Ella was a special moment in Packie’s  life.  Packie always said the greatest thing he did was meet and marry Ella. Packie and Ella were married for sixty one years. They were a perfect fit, both were warm, affectionate, engaging and had outstanding values, they wanted the same things, a life together, a family, both had a strong faith and family and ideals on how to raise the family. They both worked together every day in the shop except on Christmas day. Packie and Ella lived their faith and were daily mass goers. Almost three years since Packie  passed away on the 6th April 2021 he is now joined by his beloved wife Ella. They were a very special couple, Ella will be missed enormously  by her  family and will be remembered fondly by everybody that knew her. May Ella rest in peace.

With deepest sympathy from Leitrim County Board and the Leitrim GAA Supporters Club

Death Notice of Ellen (Ella) McGarty (née Murphy) (Dublin 6W, Dublin) |

Leitrim GAA is greatly saddened to learn of the sudden and untimely death of Liam Flynn, Firhouse, Tallaght and formerly of Killarkin, Kiltoghert, County Leitrim. Liam is a former St Mary’s, Kiltoghert and Leitrim player who graced the field at all levels. He first came to notice as an Under 16 Player of note and in 1975 when Leitrim captured the first of its three Fr. Manning Cup titles Liam was the team leader as captain. In the same year, he was awarded the County Youth Player of the Year Award. What is remarkable by comparison with the current era, is that he played wing forward in his club’s 1975 SFC Final encounter with eventual champions, Ballinamore Sean O’ Heslin’s, while still Under 16.  Two years later, while still a Minor he was part of the historic Leitrim Under 21 Panel that captured the county’s first-ever Connacht Under 21 Championship. He was a starting player in the Connacht Final victory over Roscommon and joined the action as a second-half substitute in the All-Ireland semi-final versus Kerry. This particular group of players has been recognised both locally and indeed beyond our borders as the finest group of assembled players to ever represent the county at the underage level, running a star-studded Kerry selection to a mere 5 points after a thrilling encounter. Incidentally, he was joined on that panel by his brother Michael who lined out at corner back. He also captained the Leitrim Minor team in 1977 which was defeated by Mayo in the Connacht Final. He later went on to represent the County at Senior level. Liam had a stellar club career with his native St. Mary’s Kiltoghert and also played in the 1977 and 1983 County SFC Final defeats to Glencar/Manorhamilton and Aughawillan respectively.

Leitrim GAA offers its sincerest sympathies to his wife Marie, sons William and Sean and daughter Karen, his mother Elizabeth Flynn, brothers Michael, Pascal and Gary, sisters Kathleen, Theresa, Pauline, Betty and Deirdre, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, and all extended family, neighbours and friends. Liam will be laid to rest on Saturday.

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.

Brón ar an mbás sé dubh ár gcroíse! The sad news came through this morning of the death of Paddy O’Connor after a long battle with illness. Paddy was for years the “Hurling man” in our midst. A native of Moneygall, technically in Offaly, but a proud Tipperary man when it came to hurling. Paddy promoted hurling in the Ballinamore Seán O’Heslins club for many years and his proudest sporting day was when the club won the Leitrim Senior Hurling Championship in 2015. Another great occasion was when they won an under 14 National Féile na nGael title.

Paddy was involved with Leitrim teams at county level also and he was Cathaoirleach of the Leitrim Hurling Board up until December last. At county level, his most memorable occasion was when Leitrim won the Lory Meagher Cup in 2019. Indeed, Paddy attended Leitrim’s matches in this year’s Lory Meagher Cup against Monaghan and Lancashire.

At club level, Paddy O’Connor filled many roles. He was Rúnaí of Ballinamore Seán O’Heslin’s club from 2002 to 2006 and he was coordinator of the club Lotto until the onset of Covid halted the Lotto.  Fear é a bhí an-spéis sa Ghaeilge aige freisin. The club would like to extend sympathy to Paddy’s wife, Marie, sons Tadhg and Kevin and daughter Carl and extended family.

Dia go deo leis.


Pictured here are Paddy O’Connor and his son Kevin after winning the Leitrim Senior Hurling final in 2015.

Padraig McGloin  (Melvin Gaels) former Leitrim footballer passed away on the 23rd January suddenly at his home in Rathmines. Padraig passed away just as he lived his life, in a quiet and unassuming way.

Padraig was a star member of the 1956 Leitrim Minor Team that won the 1956 Connacht Minor Championship, the county’s second ever provincial title up to that time. At the 2007 Leitrim GAA  County Board dinner the team were honoured in the Bush Hotel, Carrick-on-Shannon recognising their achievement.

Padraig went on to play on the Leitrim Senior Team in the 50’s & 60’ and was on the Leitrim Senior team that that defeated Roscommon in the Connacht Senior Football Championship Semi-Final by 1-08 to 1-03 on June 23rd, 1963 in Markievicz Park, Sligo.

Leitrim were defeated by Galway in the Connacht Final on July 14th in MacHale Park, Castlebar.

Pictured – 1963 Leitrim Senior Team

Back row, l-r, Liam Foran (Drumshanbo -Sean McDermotts, Dublin), Padraig McGloin (Melvin Gaels), Kevin McGowan (Melvin Gaels), Paudge McGowan (Melvin Gaels), Paddy Guckian (St Mary’s Kiltoghert), Fergus O’Rourke (Aughavas), Frankie Beirne (Ballinamore) and Kevin O’Malley (Melvin Gaels).

Front row, l-r, Josie Murray (St Mary’s Kiltoghert), Cathal Flynn (Gorvagh – Sean McDermotts), Jack Faughnan (Annaduff), Pakie McGarty (Mohill – Tara, London), Jim Lynch (Jamestown – Sean McDermotts), Mel Kelly (Cloone) and Tom Colreavy (Gortletteragh).

The Leitrim Co Board express their deepest sympathy to his sisters (Doreen (Bundoran) and Bernie (Swinford), his nieces, nephews, relatives and friends. A cremation service took place at Dardistown Crematorium in Dublin. A memorial mass and burial of ashes will take place in his native Glenade at a later date which will be announced.

May Padraig Rest In  Peace.

Leitrim GAA are saddened to learn of the passing of the Late Ronan Moran, Aughnagallop, Drumshanbo Co Leitrim.

We extend our sympathy to his parents John and Geraldine, his brothers Kevin and Fergal, Aunts and Uncles Abina, Ann, Niall and Joe, his loving cousins Darragh, Eve and Ciaran, his extended family, especially Colette and Tarah, his girlfriend, Kaitlyn and his wide circle of friends.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh sé.

Funeral Arrangements As Follows



Dessie Kieran, Ballinamore Seán O’Heslins RIP

The death has occurred of Dessie Kieran, one of the stalwarts of Ballinamore Seán O’Heslin’s since his playing days in the late 1940s and through the 1950s. Dessie was the goalkeeper on the famous Ballinamore team which won the 1956 Senior Championship, the club’s first at the time, after what seemed an eternity from 1939. That victory was the highlight of Dessie’s generation and was spoken about with pride ever after. Pictured below is a photo of the Ballinamore team of 1956 with Dessie third from the right in the back row.

While still a player, Dessie was very involved in the administration of the club along with his brother, the late Brendan. Between them, they were central to the running of the club in the 1950s and 1960s. Dessie was club Treasurer from 1953-1955 and again in 1958. He was also Assistant Treasurer from 1964-1968. He was a mine of information on anything to do with the club, and indeed the town, and a visit to the chemist shop run by himself and his wife, Sheelah, would yield the answers to many questions.

Dessie was particularly proud to see his son Paul play a central role in Leitrim’s great Connacht Senior Championship win in 1994 and in Ballinamore’s Senior title wins in the 1980s and 1990.

The club expresses sympathy to Dessie’s wife Sheelah and sons Paul, John and Mark and the extended family. Reposing at Smith’s Funeral Home, High St. Ballinamore N41 TD62 on Wednesday evening from 6pm until 8pm. Funeral Mass in St. Patrick’s Church, Ballinamore on Thursday at 12 noon followed by burial in Oughteragh cemetery, Ballinamore.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh duine de laochra chlub Sheáin Ui Eislin. Leaba i measc na naomh agus na peileadóirí go raibh age.

Leitrim GAA wishes to offer its deepest sympathies to the family of the late Brian Bohan, Gael Linn Lynndale, Maugheraboy, Sligo Town, Sligo and formerly Mohill, Co Leitrim. The Late Brian never forgot his roots and remained a keen Leitrim supporter and annually sold Leitrim Supporters Club Tickets in his adopted Sligo.

Our sympathies are extended to his son Rory (Galway), his daughter Emer Kennedy (Sligo), daughter-in-law Nicola, son-in-law Tony, grandchildren Ciaran, Grace, Rian, Penny and Luke, nieces Barbara and Mary, nephew Cormac, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, relatives and friends.

Ar dheis de go raibh a anam dilis.

Funeral Arrangements Below.

Leitrim GAA wishes to offer its deepest sympathies to the family of the last Paddy McEneaney, Lurganboy, Manorhmilton, who passed to his eternal reward on Saturday, December 17th. The late Paddy, a native of Cavanaguillagh, Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan, has been very positively associated with the Glencar/Manorhamilton GAA Club over many decades and has held a number of prominent officer positions in the club during this time.

Our sympathies are extended to his wife Julia, his children Siobhán, Gerardine, Eibhlín, Dympna, Mary, Róisín, Patrick, Terence, Cathal and the extended members of the McEneaney family at this sad time. May he rest in peace.

Funeral arrangements are located below.


Leitrim GAA would like to be associated with messages of sympathy, following the passing of the late Michael O Rourke, Riverdale, New York and formerly of Carrigallen, County Leitrim.

Michael Ó Rourke loved the hills of Druminchin, the fields, the whins, the buchalláns and the neighbours that his nephew Séamus wrote about so emotionally in his STANDING in GAPS memoir.
Michael walked every inch of these fields before emigrating to the United States, but in reality, he never left home. Like so many other Irish in New York he became immersed in his new surroundings and a committed member of his community, while at the same time keeping up to date with events back in Drumshangore, Drumeela, Carrigallen and Leitrim. After emigrating in 1958 the news came to the Big Apple through family letters and the weekly Leitrim Observer, but Michael in recent years became a whiz kid on mobiles, WhatsApp and various social media sites that others his age did simply not explore, but he wanted to be the first with the news from Leitrim.
The GAA was always part of Michael’s life, from his playing days with Drumeela Harps, Drumreilly, Carrigallen and Aughawillan, as a Leitrim referee to lining out in Gaelic Park or being a regular along the sideline every Sunday with his life long friends Mike Dillon and Larry Dolan.
His generous heart saw him financially support the Leitrim Club in New York, but also the Leitrim County Board and Leitrim teams back home. as well as Carrigallen GAA and its club grounds and also the Carrigallen/Aughavas St Joseph’s Ladies teams. As well as being a fan of football and hurling Michael had a special interest in Athletics and Cycling and enjoyed both well into his later years. He also had a keen interest in amateur Drama, nurtured through being on stage with people like Mickey O’Brien and Con Reilly in the Drumeela Drama Troupe in venues like Fargie’s Shed or in Doogra Hall. He would have found his years in the Fordham Dramatic Club a bit more up-market.
Michael served in various official positions with the Leitrim Society New York, including President and was always at the forefront of promoting Leitrim and its people. He was honoured on various occasions for his contribution to Irish culture, but the greatest satisfaction he got was from simply doing his bit to help others.
Now his passing will evoke many memories of a great New York and a great Leitrim man. Sincere sympathy to his family and to all the O’Rourke family in Drumshangore and in Manorhamilton.

Solas na b-Flaitheas dá anam uasal dílis.

Courtesy of Tommy Moran

Funeral details are located here

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