“Sean Reilly’s journey of life was very much centred on his home place of Derrylea”, was how funeral Mass celebrant, Fr. Gerard Alwill, highlighted the quiet focus of a noted former Teemore Shamrocks footballer, adding, “Though very popular, Sean was a quiet individual, he was not the kind of man who wanted any attention drawn to himself”.
Aged 87, Sean, who was christened John Patrick, was the youngest of five children of Francis and Mary Reilly, Derrylea.
In his younger days he proudly wore the green and white Shamrocks’ jersey, starring at full forward in the club’s Junior Championship victory of 1959 over Lack, a team photograph poignantly among the symbolic altar gifts.
(Sadly, a fellow team member, full back, Jim Coleman (RIP), passed away in Dublin only a week earlier).
Sean similarly featured prominently in 1962 and ’64 Intermediate League final wins, Lack again the opposition on each occasion.
In fitting recognition, Teemore club provided a guard of honour in moving tribute.
In 1973 Sean married Eileen Shannon, making their home in Derrylea where they raised a family of three.
Bernard, who is in Australia, was unfortunately unable to be present at the St. Ninnidh’s Church funeral obsequies but he and his wife, Geraldine, were able to share via webcam coverage.
As Fr. Alwill pointed out, the words most associated with Sean’s character and personality all begin with the letter ‘F’, viz;
Family; “The most important aspect of Sean’s life, he was a devoted husband and father”.
Farming; “He dedicated his whole life to working on the family farm”.
Flowers; “He was very fond of flowers, delighted in looking after roses especially”.
Football; “Playing days over, he was an avid Shamrocks supporter”
Friends; “He had many friends whom he delighted in meeting and could spend hours chatting with them at any time of the day”.
Fun; He had his own unique sense of humour which brought laughter into many peoples’ lives”
Faith; “Definitely a man of faith, a weekly Mass goer with a strong belief in family prayer”.
Sean also had a fantastic memory which enabled him to readily recall the history and traditions of his local area, in which he was deeply interested.
Appropriate then, that his final resting place, in Callowhill graveyard, should have as a marker stone, the original cross intended for the St. Ninnidh’s Church belfry tower on completion in 1870, but which didn’t meet the aesthetic favour of the then parish priest.
Sean is survived by his wife of 48 years, Eileen, daughter Marie (Conor), Bernard (Geraldine), Francis (Martina) and seven grandchildren.
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