The village of Kenagh was in mourning last weekend with the news of the death of Barney O’Boyle. The local publican, farmer and former county footballer passed away at Tullamore General Hospital last Friday at the age of 80.
Barney was a hugely popular figure in the local community, and had been at the centre of local life in Kenagh ever since he took over the family’s long-established bar and grocery store in the village.
Over the years, he expanded the business to include an agri store selling hardware, fertilisers and other farming accessories.
Even though he had been in ill health for some time, Barney maintained an interest in the business right to the end, and was still to be seen out and about as he did his work, just as he had been doing for most of his life.
His decision to open an agri store came as no surprise, as Barney himself was also a farmer, and took pride in his knowledge of modern farming methods and his ability with livestock.
Many people beyond the Kenagh area will also be familiar with Barney for his footballing achievements.
He began his sporting career with the local minor team, and is remembered fondly as one of the best players to wear the Kenagh jersey.
Barney also played with Ballymahon for a time, and was a member of 1947 team that competed against Mullinalaghta in the county final - a game that has entered local folklore because it famously ended with neither team registering a score.
At county level, Barney represented Longford when the junior team won the Leinster title in 1953, and played in the All-Ireland final in Croke Park that same year, when Longford were defeated by Cork.
He is also remembered for being a man of strong religious faith, and he was an active member of the St Dominic’s Church committee when it was built in 1981.
But perhaps most of all, Barney was known for being a great family man, who took great pride in his nine children and 27 grandchildren.
Huge crowds turned out at St Dominic’s church at the weekend to pay tribute to Barney, whose coffin, draped with the Kenagh and Longford jerseys, was carried into the church by his sons, while a guard of honour was formed by members of Kenagh and Ballymahon GAA clubs.
Mr O’Boyle is survived by his wife, Deirdre, sons Martin, Raymond, Paddy, Bernard, Eoin and Peter, daugters Anne, Elizabeth and Marie, his sister Kathleen, grandchildren, extended family and friends.