John Mahoney Memorial
John Mahoney - An Appreciation
By Brendan McGlynn
The sudden and untimely death of John Mahoney, at his workplace in the grounds of the Holy Family Residence, Roebuck Road, Clonskeagh on the 5th June 09, came as a great shock to those privileged to know him. John, who was only sixty three years of age, was a son of the late Jeremiah and Bridget Mahoney of Direen, Cahirciveen, Co. Kerry and was one of a family of three girls and three boys.
Having completed his formal education John, who was reared on the family farm, emigrated to Birmingham, where he played Gaelic Football with the St. Brendans and Kingdom clubs. In 1970 he moved to London where he starred on the Kingdom Gaels GAA Club’s Senior football team for a decade. During this period the Mahoney brothers, Jerry, Jim and John became legends of London and British football. John played with distinction at centre half forward on his club’s team that won six back to back London Senior football Championships, four provincial championships, several leagues, cups and seven-a-side competitions, including two Senior all Ireland seven-a-side titles in Kilmacud. He also won a junior All Ireland championship with London in 1971.
In 1975 he was part of the first London side to compete in the Connaught Senior football championship. He will best be remembered however for helping the Exiles to their only ever Connaught Championship win over Leitrim in 1977.
Many tributes have been paid to John since his passing. The Kerryman newspaper as well as some London newspapers have paid glowing tributes to him. Former London Co. Board Chairman Frank Sheehan said” John would have got on any County team in Ireland in his prime” a comment endorsed by former Vice Chairman Paddy Cowen, editor of the Irish World Newspaper, who also said “ John was a great role model for anyone who wanted to play gaelic football”. John’s kingdom Manager in the 1970’s Pat Griffin from Lispole said “John was extremely dedicated and was very committed on the field. He always gave 100 per cent. He was very reliable and could score left or right. He was very good player”.
John had returned to live in Ireland when he met Frances Lynch from Cork City in Dublin 1986. They were married in 1988 and since then they had lived happily in their home in Wedgewood. John was a rather reserved character who was extremely kind and caring. He had a great sense of humour and a very hearty laugh. He had a smile for everybody. Having come to live in Wedgewood John joined Naomh Olaf GAA Club. He also became a member of Westwood Gym and continued to maintain a high level of personal fitness. He loved swimming and walking. He lived for Gaelic Football and had a huge affinity with his native County. He also had a keen interest in nature and current affairs.
John’s death has left a deep void in the lives of his beloved wife Frances and her family as well as in the lives of his own sisters and brothers. He will be remembered with fondness and respect by all who knew him. His removal took place from O’ Connor Brothers funeral Home in Coburgh St, Cork to St. Patricks Church, Lower Glanmire Road on the 10th June 2009 and his funeral mass was celebrated there on the 11th June 2009. Members of the Renard GAA club in Kerry and the Kingdom club in London formed a guard of honour on both occasions. They also shouldered the coffin of their hero which was draped in the colours of both clubs. The attendance included nearly all of his playing colleagues from the 1970’s as well as club and provincial officials who had travelled long distances to pay their prayfull respects. Pat Griffin who had travelled from London gave a very warm and sincere Eulogy which showed the affection and esteem in which John was held. Following the funeral Mass the remains of the Kerry man who had so often brought joy and excitement to the hearts of Irish Exiles was laid to rest in Saint Josephs cemetery, Little Island, Glanmire, Co. Cork.