Kevin O’Malley, 1941-2014 An Appreciation
By Brendan McGlynn
The news of the death of Kevin O’Malley, following a short illness, was greeted with a deep sense of loss and sadness within the community. Kevin died peacefully in Saint Vincent’s University Hospital on Sunday the 22nd June, surrounded by his wife Maureen and family.
Kevin who was born in 1941 was reared in the picturesque village of Kinlough, near Lough Melvin, County Leitrim. He was the fourth eldest of a family of four boys and two girls born to John and Mary O’Malley. His father, who was a member of An Garda Siochana, sadly died in 1954 when Kevin was only thirteen years of age. Kevin attended the local Four Masters primary school, the De La Salle secondary school in Ballyshannon and also the technical school there.
Having completed his formal education, Kevin joined the E.S.B. and there he became a Fitter Turner and also a Master Welder. He later became a mechanical and welding instructor. He went on secondment to Vietnam on instruction/ training exercises for a number of lengthy periods between 1986 and 1992. While there he worked in power stations as a welding instructor. He also worked in a similar capacity at most power stations throughout this country. He was very highly regarded as an instructor and had a very successful career. He retired in 2004 having completed forty seven years of diligent service.
Kevin was married to Maureen Hehir from Mullagh, County Clare, in the Parish Church there in 1968 and they moved into their new home in Balally Drive, that year. It was there that they reared their two sons Aidan and Gerard. Kevin provided well for his family. He was a good neighbour and was always willing to support any worthwhile cause.
Kevin was a well known Gaelic footballer. He played Minor Football with Leitrim. He was a star player on his Club’s team Melvin Gaels when winning five Leitrim Senior Football Championships, in 1959, 60, 61, 62, and 65. He won a Connacht Junior Football Championship with Leitrim in 1962. He played Senior Football with Leitrim for a number of years. The highlight of which was probably playing in the Connacht Final in 1963. Having come to live in Balally Kevin played with Benburbs for a while. He then played with Binn Eadair (Howth) where his brother Gabriel was playing. In 1973/74 his team won the Dublin Junior Division 1Championship, the Loving Cup and the Intermediate League. He then played Senior and Junior football with Kilmacud Crokes and won a Junior Division 1 League with them.
When Naomh Olaf Club was founded in 1981 Kevin was one of its founder members. Since then he has been a valued member, giving outstanding service as a player, committee member, team mentor, board delegate etc. Kevin played Junior Football and Hurling with the Club in the early 1990’s and was a positive and encouraging influence on the younger players. He won his final medals when the Club won the Junior Championship, Division one of the League and the Conlon Cup in 1990.
In 2012 in recognition of Kevin’s dedicated contribution to the promotion of Gaelic Games, Cumann Lúthchleas Gael, Coiste Ath Cliath, Coiste Na Seana Gael, at a special function, presented him with a Testimonial. Kevin received further recognition on the 29th.June, 2014, when prior to the Senior Football Championship game between Leitrim and Down in Páirc Esler, Newry, a minutes silence was observed in his honour.
Kevin reposed at his home on the 23rd June, and was removed to the Church of the Ascension of the Lord, Balally, for 10 a.m. Mass on the 24th June. Naomh Olaf minor football team formed a guard of honour as his coffin draped in the Leitrim, Melvin Gaels and Naomh Olaf, club’s colours was received into the Church. The chief celebrant of the Mass was Father Fergus McGlynn, assisted by Father Anthony Darragh, a family relative. Kevin’s son Ger delivered the eulogy. The large and representative attendance including many well known Gaelic footballers of his generation was testimony to the affection in which Kevin was held by all who had the privilege of knowing him. Following the Mass his remains were taken to Glencullen cemetery for burial. After the burial the family invited everybody to Naomh Olaf G.A.A. club for a meal.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dilis