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Séamus McCluskey RIP. The news of the death of Séamus McCluskey soon spread around the neighbourhood when it occurred peacefully on Thursday, July 25th in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda. He had been in fairly good health and was a resident in Castleross Nursing Home, Carrickmacross, for over a year. His wife, Anita, is also a resident there but was unable to attend the funeral. His mind remained extremely active and he loved visitors with whom he could chat about the GAA and how teams were doing or indeed about any topic one would bring up. Then he became ill on Sunday, July 21st and was rushed to Drogheda Hospital but, despite every effort by medical staff, his condition deteriorated rapidly and he passed away peacefully surrounded by his family at 5.15pm on Thursday afternoon. To mourn his loss, Séamus leaves behind his wife, Anita; his daughter and son, Majella and Finian; Majella’s husband, James Smyth; their son, Alan; Finian’s wife, Helen, and their offspring, Ruairi, Deirdre and Hugh; Alan’s wife, Amy and their daughter, Elise; and many relatives in the McCluskey and Corrigan families. To them all we offer sincere sympathies at this sad time. Funeral. Séamus had made his wishes for his funeral arrangements known to the family prior to his death and these were acted upon. His remains were brought to McMahon’s Funeral Parlour in Emyvale and visiting times were from 6.00pm until 10.00pm on Friday and again on Saturday from 3.00pm until 5.00pm. Huge numbers attended during these times and paid their respects. On Saturday evening his remains were taken to St. Patrick’s Church, Corracrin. Senior members of Emyvale GFC flanked the cortege until the funeral crossed the village Bridge on the Monaghan Road. To pay their respects, members of Emyvale Juvenile team and their mentors formed a Guard of Honour at the Bridge and it was a very moving moment as Séamus always cherished the club’s Juveniles and it was added to by the fact that the team was just coming from winning the Cup at The John Treanor (Paddy) Memorial Tournament organised by the Truagh GFC. On the avenue leading to the Church there was a large Guards of Honour provided by the Emyvale GFC, Emyvale Leisure Centre committee and teaching colleagues from Corracrin. Fr. Hubert Martin, PP. received the remains at St. Patrick’s and led the congregation in prayer, while sacred hymns and music was provided by Paula McAree and Edelle McMahon. The funeral Mass coincided with the Parish Sunday Mass at 11.00am on Sunday Morning. Celebrant was Fr Hubert and members of the family were involved in various aspects of the Liturgy including the presentation of Mementos, Presentation of the Offertory Gifts and the Prayers of the Faithful. Reader was Sharon Hogan, his niece and Godchild; Psalmist Edelle McMahon; soloists were Edelle McMahon, Amelia Murphy McCormack, Paula McAree; Organist Paula McAree and the choir were members of the St. Patrick’s Church Choir. Siobhan Larkin, Brenda McQuillan, Susan Corrigan and Brigid Corrigan were Eucharist Ministers. Fr. Hubert delivered the Homily during which he highlighted Séamus’s huge contribution to Emyvale and the wider community and his involvement with local organisations, especially Emyvale GAA Club and Emyvale Development Association. He spoke of his teaching career and the many interests he had but above all he focused on Séamus’s faith and religious conviction, which was displayed by his attendance at Mass and participation in the sacraments. After Mass his remains were taken from the Church, while Áine Scott played The Mason’s Apron on Banjo. His coffin was carried from the Church door to the place of interment by members of the Emyvale Intermediate team and he was laid to rest in a beautifully prepared grave adjoining his brother Patsy. Early Days. Séamus McCluskey was born in Main Street, Emyvale on 8th September 1927 to James and Annie McCluskey. His father’s home was in Derrygasson while Annie came from Leitrim, County Down. It was while on holidays in Leitrim each year as a youngster that his uncle Stephen got him interested in Gaelic football and, as he travelled there and back by steam train, he had a lifetime fascination for trains and railways and until recently he participated in the annual steam run from Dundalk to Dublin and back again as a member of the Railway Preservation of Ireland organisation. He had one brother, Patsy, who predeceased him, and a sister, Josie, also deceased, who married Paul Hogan and lived in Dublin. Education. He attended Edenmore NS where Stephen McPhillips and Maureen Maguire, later to become Mrs. Benny Hackett, were the teachers. The McCluskey House was now a Guesthouse on Main Street and Stephen McPhillips was a Boarder there. Séamus walked to school with, among others, the McGreevy brothers, Raymond and Gerard, and met up with the Harvey brothers, Willie and Seamus, on the way. In 1941 he entered St. Macartan’s College for 5 years as a boarder and, as those years were during World War II, times were tough and food was scarce. Students had to work on the farm to harvest food and go to the bog to get fuel for the boilers to keep them with some heat. Leaving Cert complete, Séamus moved on to St. Pats in Drumcondra to become a teacher. When he qualified his first teaching post was in Bragan School in 1949. In 1951 he was appointed Principal of Killybrone NS, where he worked with Mrs. McMeel and when she retired her place was taken by Mary O’Connor, who would leave after a few years to become a nun in the Mercy Order. She was followed by the late Breda Goodwin. In 1972, when Michael Kelly retired, Séamus was appointed Principal of Corracrin National School, where he remained until his retirement. His assistant was Miss Doherty but, in that same year, Killyrean School was amalgamated into Corracrin and Susan Murphy and Mary Lavery were transferred with the pupils from Killyrean. Séamus retired in 1993. Family life. Séamus married Anita Corrigan, Emy, in 1956 and they moved into their new home on Main Street in 1957. They had two children – Majella and Finian. The family played a major role in community life. Anita was a founding member of an ICA (Irish Countrywomen’s Association) Guild and was an officer on the committee during its existence. Séamus’s life was one of varied and extensive interests. The birth of his grandchildren and his great grandchild were huge occasions and he was very proud of them all and loved to have them call to the family home. Music would play a big role in their lives and he enjoyed the music sessions in the house at weekends. A few years ago Anita became ill and eventually needed Nursing Home care, which took a toll on Séamus. He celebrated his 90th birthday in 2017 and local organisations held a party for him and made presentations to him. The then Director General of the GAA, Pauric Duffy, made the club presentation of a framed Emyvale Black and White Jersey, with the number 90 and his name on it. He was thrilled with it and made sure he had it with him when he transferred to the Nursing Home. The GAA. Séamus’s first real contact with the GAA was at the age of five in 1932, when local priest, Fr. Victor Marron, took him and a couple of others to an Ulster Final in the Old Oriel Park. Cavan v Down played in the Junior final as opener, while Cavan and Armagh played in the Senior final. For the record Cavan won both games I’m told. In the ‘40’s there was little football in Emyvale but Camogie was strong and Emyvale had a number of players on the county including Josie McCluskey and Maggie Jo McKenna, later Maggie Jo McMahon. So many days were spent by the boys and girls passing the sliotar up and down the Main Street. One could do that in those days as there was little traffic to interrupt a game on the Main Street. Even though there was little football in the 1940’s in Emyvale, 1945 was a successful year for the club by winning the Junior Double but then in 1946 the club went out of existence because of emigration and any of the players who were able to stay in the area then played with Scotstown. Seamus played football when in St. Macartan’s but more often as a sub rather than a selected player. He was also a sub for Emyvale, when needed, but never classed himself with much football ability, though he played as a corner back on the team that won the 1955 Dr. Ward Cup and received a medal to prove it. However, he developed a great love for the game and the GAA and he was passionate and at times fanatical about it. Indeed anything that he became involved in received his utmost support and attention. In 1949 he with the late Paddy Lavery, Drumully, Tom Murray, wee Johnny McKenna and Jim Smith from Cavan revived the Emyvale Club and Jim Smith was the Chairman. For over 40 years Séamus was a major contributor to the Club and County GAA. He was a Secretary, a Treasurer, a team manager, a referee, an umpire, a linesman, a taxi-driver, a PRO and a First Aid person, though maybe not all at the same time. While he always wished for success at Senior level, it was working with Juveniles that he enjoyed most and to which he devoted most of his time. In the 1970’s when Emyvale became Donagh he, with the late Frank McCormack, and the late Sean Forde and Peadar McMahon registered an Emyvale Juvenile Club and went on to win at least one Juvenile competition each year and Corracrin School, where Séamus was Principal, was also winning the Northern Standard Cup. It was these young players then, who became the backbone of the successful U21 and adult teams of the mid to late ‘80’s. Monaghan County Board honoured Séamus as Juvenile Official of the Year in 1977. For the GAA Centenary of 1984 he had published a ‘History of the GAA in Monaghan’ . Then in 2010 the Ulster GAA Writers presented him with The John McAviney Memorial Award for Services to the GAA. Writer and Commentator. In 1964 he began writing a GAA column in the Northern Standard under the name ‘Orielman’ and it became a big hit far and wide and at times caused controversy, which added to its appeal but generally it was a ‘must read’ every week for 21 years for anyone involved with the GAA. At the same time he had other articles and news items printed each week in the Northern Standard. He also had a History of Emyvale GAA published and contributed to the production of the Ulster final and county final Programmes for many years. He was also ‘the Man on the Mike’ (the PA man) for Ulster Finals for a number of years. His stories on Sunday Miscellany on RTE were also very popular and regular and received praise from all over the country. Big M radio was operating from Castleblayney and the producer of programmes had Séamus do a slot every week. It began as a GAA programme but, as time went on, it developed into a traditional Folk as well as GAA and it too attracted a huge listenership. Then Northern Sound was being developed to take over from Big M and Séamus was a member of the original Board set up to get it on air. He continued with his programme then on Northern Sound for a few years. Scór. When the GAA introduced the Scór competitions to further the Gaelic traditions and heritage, Séamus became involved in every aspect as organiser, participant and Fear-an-Tí. Indeed he was Fear-an-Tí for an All- Ireland Scór na nÓg final in Dublin and, with other members of the club, organised the Ulster Finals of Scór na nÓg in the Emyvale Inn for a number of years. His pride and joy was the Emyvale Ballad Group of 1983 taking the All- Ireland title back to Monaghan and Emyvale. The members of that Group were: Gerard and Mary McQuaid, Terence Connolly, Edna McCluskey (niece) and Finian McCluskey (son). Séamus himself had a musical talent and was a member of the Emyvale Mouth Organ Band of the early 50’s, later to become the Emyvale Accordion Band. Drama. Séamus was a leading actor in the Emyvale Drama Troupe and their performances on stage in the Parochial Hall during the 50’s and 60’s are legendary. When the Drama Troupe was revived in the 80’s Séamus was still playing leading roles and provided great entertainment in the pantomimes like Cinderella, Dick Whittington and Christmas in the Marketplace. Emyvale Development Association (EDA). One of the mechanisms by which he brought many benefits to Emyvale and surrounding area was as a member of Emyvale Development Association. This body was set up in 1936 by local business and professional people led by the businessman Charles McCluskey, an uncle to Séamus. The original purpose was twofold – create a scenic route through Bragan and put a Walkway around Emy Lake. However within a year the members decided that there were more important priorities needed and they turned their attention to working with the authorities to get water and sewerage to Emyvale; to get a proper telephone exchange; to repair Main Street; to get overhead wires put under ground; to collect names of those requiring housing and assist the Council in getting lands on which to erect the required houses; to get rivers cleaned; to get a council office sited in Emyvale for North Monaghan; to get a branch of the Vocational School to Emyvale for night classes; to get certain back roads resurfaced or surfaced for the first time and many other local developments. Séamus became Secretary in 1956 and remained as Secretary until his death. He represented the EDA as a founder member of Emyvale District Credit Union Ltd. During his time the Development Association continued the alliance with the County Council and have been responsible for the erection of the Emyvale Leisure Centre and Emyvale Enterprise Centre; ran the Fair of Emyvale; negotiated with Monaghan County Council to get various developments; assisted with the setting up of Donagh Development Association with the main aim of providing a walkway around Emy lake; developed the heritage of the area including McKenna Country, Carleton connection and the connection with PEI; carried out a Needs Survey of the locality in the year 2000; organised Cross-Border Music Classes with Knocks, Lisnaskea; had undocumented Graveyards charted; and many other smaller developments. Séamus played a leading role in all this work and he then produced three books on the history of Emyvale and surrounding area – ‘Emyvale Sweet Emyvale’ ( 1985), Emyvale – McKenna Country’ (1996) and a revised edition of ‘Emyvale - McKenna Country’ (1999) as well as many smaller publications on items of historical interest in the area as a member of the Clogher Historical Society and Monaghan Museum and as editor of the McKenna Clan Journal. In the 1950’s when Fr. P.E. Larkin opened a Cinema in the Parochial Hall, Séamus became the first Projectionist and he later trained others to take over. Also in the 1950’s Monaghan County Library opened a branch in Emyvale and it was located in the ‘Legion Room’ and every Friday evening Séamus opened the Library and locals from all over North Monaghan used come to take out a maximum of two books per member and come back a week or so later to hand in those and take out more reading material for the long Winter nights. There was no charge for this service and it was not as busy during Summer time. FCA. In 1955 Séamus joined and set up a very successful unit of the FCA (Fórsa Cosúnta Áitiúil – Local Defence Force) in Emyvale and rose to the rank of Captain and gave 25 years of committed service. Historian. Séamus was well known as a Historian and Genealogist and he had regular callers looking for help to trace ancestors. He was a fountain of knowledge on local history and was forever delving deeper and deeper to find out every possible piece of information on our ancient history. He together with the late Benny Hackett and Fr. Barney McCarney were the first people involved with the PEI connection and made many contacts through Professor Brendan O’Grady. When Willie McKenna developed the connection and visitors began arriving from PEI Séamus was the tour guide and the Development Association provided the hospitality. He then led the first group to visit PEI from Monaghan and as a result of an invitation he put a group of singers, dancers and musicians together and went with them to PEI to entertain at the ‘Akin to Ireland’ festival there. It was a very successful trip and he and his group really impressed the people of PEI. He became a household name on the island and all visitors from there always called with him. However his callers were not confined to PEI visitors and many from the USA and other countries arrived at his door seeking assistance. Many messages of sympathy have come to us from PEI and other places since the news of his death reached them. Lifetime of Giving. This might appear that Séamus gave most of his time to the community but he always put his family and faith first and attended Mass every Sunday and each weekday when Mass was in the Oratory. Again his advice was sought when it was being planned to turn the Parochial into an Oratory. There were times during his lifetime when some did not agree with him or appreciate what he was doing or the way he was doing it and he was the first to admit that if he had a second go he would do some of the things differently but his intentions were always for the good of others driven by his passion and desire to achieve benefits for individuals and the community. He himself once said of the GAA: "For many, many people over the years, life simply wouldn't have been worth living without the GAA. The GAA has given so much to so many generations of people over the last 126 years; it has given them an opportunity to show their pride in their place and so much more besides." We can say that many many people have benefited from the work of Séamus McCluskey over the past 90 years and that generations of people have gained a pride in their place and much more besides. Suaimhneas síoraí tabhair dó, a Thiarna.
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Séamus McCluskey RIP. The news of the death of Séamus McCluskey soon spread around the neighbourhood when it occurred peacefully on Thursday, July 25th in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda. He had been in fairly good health and was a resident in Castleross Nursing Home, Carrickmacross, for over a year. His wife, Anita, is also a resident there but was unable to attend the funeral. His mind remained extremely active and he loved visitors with whom he could chat about the GAA and how teams were doing or indeed about any topic one would bring up. Then he became ill on Sunday, July 21st and was rushed to Drogheda Hospital but, despite every effort by medical staff, his condition deteriorated rapidly and he passed away peacefully surrounded by his family at 5.15pm on Thursday afternoon. To mourn his loss, Séamus leaves behind his wife, Anita; his daughter and son, Majella and Finian; Majella’s husband, James Smyth; their son, Alan; Finian’s wife, Helen, and their offspring, Ruairi, Deirdre and Hugh; Alan’s wife, Amy and their daughter, Elise; and many relatives in the McCluskey and Corrigan families. To them all we offer sincere sympathies at this sad time. Funeral. Séamus had made his wishes for his funeral arrangements known to the family prior to his death and these were acted upon. His remains were brought to McMahon’s Funeral Parlour in Emyvale and visiting times were from 6.00pm until 10.00pm on Friday and again on Saturday from 3.00pm until 5.00pm. Huge numbers attended during these times and paid their respects. On Saturday evening his remains were taken to St. Patrick’s Church, Corracrin. Senior members of Emyvale GFC flanked the cortege until the funeral crossed the village Bridge on the Monaghan Road. To pay their respects, members of Emyvale Juvenile team and their mentors formed a Guard of Honour at the Bridge and it was a very moving moment as Séamus always cherished the club’s Juveniles and it was added to by the fact that the team was just coming from winning the Cup at The John Treanor (Paddy) Memorial Tournament organised by the Truagh GFC. On the avenue leading to the Church there was a large Guards of Honour provided by the Emyvale GFC, Emyvale Leisure Centre committee and teaching colleagues from Corracrin. Fr. Hubert Martin, PP. received the remains at St. Patrick’s and led the congregation in prayer, while sacred hymns and music was provided by Paula McAree and Edelle McMahon. The funeral Mass coincided with the Parish Sunday Mass at 11.00am on Sunday Morning. Celebrant was Fr Hubert and members of the family were involved in various aspects of the Liturgy including the presentation of Mementos, Presentation of the Offertory Gifts and the Prayers of the Faithful. Reader was Sharon Hogan, his niece and Godchild; Psalmist Edelle McMahon; soloists were Edelle McMahon, Amelia Murphy McCormack, Paula McAree; Organist Paula McAree and the choir were members of the St. Patrick’s Church Choir. Siobhan Larkin, Brenda McQuillan, Susan Corrigan and Brigid Corrigan were Eucharist Ministers. Fr. Hubert delivered the Homily during which he highlighted Séamus’s huge contribution to Emyvale and the wider community and his involvement with local organisations, especially Emyvale GAA Club and Emyvale Development Association. He spoke of his teaching career and the many interests he had but above all he focused on Séamus’s faith and religious conviction, which was displayed by his attendance at Mass and participation in the sacraments. After Mass his remains were taken from the Church, while Áine Scott played The Mason’s Apron on Banjo. His coffin was carried from the Church door to the place of interment by members of the Emyvale Intermediate team and he was laid to rest in a beautifully prepared grave adjoining his brother Patsy. Early Days. Séamus McCluskey was born in Main Street, Emyvale on 8th September 1927 to James and Annie McCluskey. His father’s home was in Derrygasson while Annie came from Leitrim, County Down. It was while on holidays in Leitrim each year as a youngster that his uncle Stephen got him interested in Gaelic football and, as he travelled there and back by steam train, he had a lifetime fascination for trains and railways and until recently he participated in the annual steam run from Dundalk to Dublin and back again as a member of the Railway Preservation of Ireland organisation. He had one brother, Patsy, who predeceased him, and a sister, Josie, also deceased, who married Paul Hogan and lived in Dublin. Education. He attended Edenmore NS where Stephen McPhillips and Maureen Maguire, later to become Mrs. Benny Hackett, were the teachers. The McCluskey House was now a Guesthouse on Main Street and Stephen McPhillips was a Boarder there. Séamus walked to school with, among others, the McGreevy brothers, Raymond and Gerard, and met up with the Harvey brothers, Willie and Seamus, on the way. In 1941 he entered St. Macartan’s College for 5 years as a boarder and, as those years were during World War II, times were tough and food was scarce. Students had to work on the farm to harvest food and go to the bog to get fuel for the boilers to keep them with some heat. Leaving Cert complete, Séamus moved on to St. Pats in Drumcondra to become a teacher. When he qualified his first teaching post was in Bragan School in 1949. In 1951 he was appointed Principal of Killybrone NS, where he worked with Mrs. McMeel and when she retired her place was taken by Mary O’Connor, who would leave after a few years to become a nun in the Mercy Order. She was followed by the late Breda Goodwin. In 1972, when Michael Kelly retired, Séamus was appointed Principal of Corracrin National School, where he remained until his retirement. His assistant was Miss Doherty but, in that same year, Killyrean School was amalgamated into Corracrin and Susan Murphy and Mary Lavery were transferred with the pupils from Killyrean. Séamus retired in 1993. Family life. Séamus married Anita Corrigan, Emy, in 1956 and they moved into their new home on Main Street in 1957. They had two children – Majella and Finian. The family played a major role in community life. Anita was a founding member of an ICA (Irish Countrywomen’s Association) Guild and was an officer on the committee during its existence. Séamus’s life was one of varied and extensive interests. The birth of his grandchildren and his great grandchild were huge occasions and he was very proud of them all and loved to have them call to the family home. Music would play a big role in their lives and he enjoyed the music sessions in the house at weekends. A few years ago Anita became ill and eventually needed Nursing Home care, which took a toll on Séamus. He celebrated his 90th birthday in 2017 and local organisations held a party for him and made presentations to him. The then Director General of the GAA, Pauric Duffy, made the club presentation of a framed Emyvale Black and White Jersey, with the number 90 and his name on it. He was thrilled with it and made sure he had it with him when he transferred to the Nursing Home. The GAA. Séamus’s first real contact with the GAA was at the age of five in 1932, when local priest, Fr. Victor Marron, took him and a couple of others to an Ulster Final in the Old Oriel Park. Cavan v Down played in the Junior final as opener, while Cavan and Armagh played in the Senior final. For the record Cavan won both games I’m told. In the ‘40’s there was little football in Emyvale but Camogie was strong and Emyvale had a number of players on the county including Josie McCluskey and Maggie Jo McKenna, later Maggie Jo McMahon. So many days were spent by the boys and girls passing the sliotar up and down the Main Street. One could do that in those days as there was little traffic to interrupt a game on the Main Street. Even though there was little football in the 1940’s in Emyvale, 1945 was a successful year for the club by winning the Junior Double but then in 1946 the club went out of existence because of emigration and any of the players who were able to stay in the area then played with Scotstown. Seamus played football when in St. Macartan’s but more often as a sub rather than a selected player. He was also a sub for Emyvale, when needed, but never classed himself with much football ability, though he played as a corner back on the team that won the 1955 Dr. Ward Cup and received a medal to prove it. However, he developed a great love for the game and the GAA and he was passionate and at times fanatical about it. Indeed anything that he became involved in received his utmost support and attention. In 1949 he with the late Paddy Lavery, Drumully, Tom Murray, wee Johnny McKenna and Jim Smith from Cavan revived the Emyvale Club and Jim Smith was the Chairman. For over 40 years Séamus was a major contributor to the Club and County GAA. He was a Secretary, a Treasurer, a team manager, a referee, an umpire, a linesman, a taxi-driver, a PRO and a First Aid person, though maybe not all at the same time. While he always wished for success at Senior level, it was working with Juveniles that he enjoyed most and to which he devoted most of his time. In the 1970’s when Emyvale became Donagh he, with the late Frank McCormack, and the late Sean Forde and Peadar McMahon registered an Emyvale Juvenile Club and went on to win at least one Juvenile competition each year and Corracrin School, where Séamus was Principal, was also winning the Northern Standard Cup. It was these young players then, who became the backbone of the successful U21 and adult teams of the mid to late ‘80’s. Monaghan County Board honoured Séamus as Juvenile Official of the Year in 1977. For the GAA Centenary of 1984 he had published a ‘History of the GAA in Monaghan’ . Then in 2010 the Ulster GAA Writers presented him with The John McAviney Memorial Award for Services to the GAA. Writer and Commentator. In 1964 he began writing a GAA column in the Northern Standard under the name ‘Orielman’ and it became a big hit far and wide and at times caused controversy, which added to its appeal but generally it was a ‘must read’ every week for 21 years for anyone involved with the GAA. At the same time he had other articles and news items printed each week in the Northern Standard. He also had a History of Emyvale GAA published and contributed to the production of the Ulster final and county final Programmes for many years. He was also ‘the Man on the Mike’ (the PA man) for Ulster Finals for a number of years. His stories on Sunday Miscellany on RTE were also very popular and regular and received praise from all over the country. Big M radio was operating from Castleblayney and the producer of programmes had Séamus do a slot every week. It began as a GAA programme but, as time went on, it developed into a traditional Folk as well as GAA and it too attracted a huge listenership. Then