There was a deep sense of sadness in Newtowncashel and throughout Co Longford when it emerged that the popular and well known Tommy O’Shea passed away on July 21 last.
Tommy, who was in his eighty-third year, died following a short illness and will be sadly missed by his loving family, relatives and many friends.
Jovial and kind, Tommy O’Shea lived a good and full life. He was born and reared in Newtowncashel and farmed his land for many years becoming an industrious dairy farmer. He also served for a time as chairman of the local branch of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) and was one of five siblings including Paddy, Rita, Anna May and Bridget, all of whom predeceased him.
Married to Julie, the couple had three grown up children Enda, Gráinne and Tomás and in more recent times Tommy enjoyed spending time with his adored grandchildren.
Apart from his family, Tommy O’Shea’s other loves in life included the GAA and politics. He held a deep religious faith throughout his life and was very involved in community life in Newtowncashel. Life wasn’t always easy for him, and those who knew and loved him say that it was his faith that always got him through. Indeed his helping hand was never far away and it was well known in the south Longford area that Tommy helped and supported many people through difficult times also.
The late Tommy O’Shea was deeply rooted in the GAA. As a player with Cashel he won a number of accolades with the side and was the only player to secure three Junior Championship medals, the first of which he won in 1948. That was followed by a second medal in 1961 and the third was presented to him following Cashel’s win in 1964. Along with his brother Paddy, he also played with Ballymahon for a time in the 1950s and were part of the team that reached the Senior Championship final in the late 50s.
Such were his achievements on the football field, Tommy O’Shea was recently honoured by GAA President Christy Cooney for the role that he played on the Cashel side of 1961. When his career ended on the field, Tommy became involved with Longford Minor Board and then committed himself to Cashel GFC. He played a pivotal role in the success of the club, particularly in 1977 with the side that won its first ever Senior Championship.
He was chairman of the club from 1981-1985 and during his reign, Cashel went on to win two more Senior Championship titles. He was very instrumental in the development of the club down through the years and this was particularly evident when Cashel secured its new grounds, Pairc Chiarán. He never missed a Longford game and could always be spotted in the crowd cheering on the blue and gold.
In later years, he took up a position with Canada Life and his jovial and outgoing personality helped him greatly with the job in hand. He always had a word for everyone and loved to chat and have a laugh along the way.
The late Tommy O’Shea also loved to dance and was often the first person up and onto the dance floor at an event.
Regarded as a man who was very generous with his time, he also loved keeping up with the latest in the political world and was always up to date when it came to current affairs. His father was a Fine Gael councillor in Newtowncashel in his day and Tommy’s love for the party was inherited from his father. He was great friends with former Fine Gael TD Louis Belton and was a very proud man the day Mr Belton was elected a TD for Longford. Never afraid to voice his opinion, Tommy was often found to be challenging the opinion of the day.
The large crowds that gathered to bid Tommy a final farewell in Newtowncashel last month was testament to the esteem in which he and his family are held.
He is survived by his wife and family, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, relatives and many friends. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.