President of Ireland Michael D Higgins and GAA President John Horan led tributes to Longford centenarian Jimmy Caffrey who celebrated his 100th birthday at Laurel Lodge Nursing Home on Sunday.
Jimmy celebrated his milestone birthday alongside the residents and staff at Laurel Lodge plus fifteen of his closest family members took part in a Zoom call where his nephew Pat, who resides in the USA, presented a lovely summary of his uncle’s life.
Guy Walton, Director of Nursing and Person in Charge at Laurel Lodge stated, “To say Jimmy is a GAA fan is a huge understatement and it was fitting that he was honoured by St Mary’s, Granard where he played on the senior team of 1941 and won a Longford senior football championship medal.”
Granard club presented Jimmy with a specially commissioned piece of crystal, the club scarf, a copy of the history of the club and copies of match reports, published in the Longford Leader, from Jimmy’s playing days.
Granard PRO Matt Smyth said, “We made the presentation as a thank you to Jimmy for being a part of our club's history. We also want to thank the staff at Laurel Lodge for looking after Jimmy and for helping us out with the presentation.”
President Higgins congratulated Jimmy on his one hundred years, while GAA President John Horan thanked Jimmy for his contribution to the organisation on and off the field.
“I know you were a steward in Croke Park for many years and without people like you, the GAA would not be where it is today,” wrote Mr Horan.
An Abbeylara native, Jimmy is a former player with Abbeylara GAA and also Honorary Club President.
Jimmy played with St Mary’s, Granard in the early 1940’s as there was no club in Abbeylara at the time.
He won a senior championship with St Mary's in 1941 (they defeated St Patrick’s Ardagh by 2-8 to 1-6 in the final on October 4 at Pearse Park) and shortly after, Jimmy won a junior championship and league double with his native Abbeylara in 1946, before playing in the Longford Senior Championship final in 1947 as part of United Gaels (an amalgamation of Granard and Abbeylara, a final that was lost to Wanderers (Longford).
His pen picture in the Longford Leader from the ’47 final read; “Jimmy Caffrey – A sterling defender, good sense of position and a grand pair of hands, won a senior medal in 1941 and a Junior last year. He also played on the county junior selection.”
When Jimmy moved to Dublin, he worked as a steward in Croke Park for many years.
Abbeylara GAA PRO Liam Reilly remarked, “For those who may not remember or be too young to know, Jimmy's home house is opposite Ballyboy football pitch at the corner of the turn for Robbinstown lane, the perfect location for an Abbeylara GAA stalwart.”