The late Billy Morgan was one of the greatest footballers to have come out of Killoe and Co Longford and his recent death evoked widespread sympathy.
A very quiet and unassuming man, Billy’s gaelic footballing prowess ensured that he enjoyed legendary status.
Fifty-eight years ago, in 1960, Billy had the distinction of becoming the first man to accept the coveted Sean Connolly Cup as Killoe Emmet Og overcame reigning champions Longford Slashers to win the club’s first senior county title since way back in 1915.
Reflecting on Killoe’s 2-10 to 1-6 historic triumph, the Longford Leader reported, “The dark stain, which has tarnished Killoe’s proud football reputation for the past 45 years, has been erased, and once again Killoe people everywhere can hold their heads high.”
The county final report also highlighted the important influence that Billy exerted on proceedings, “Killoe made a very good move when they switched Billy Morgan to right half-back after twenty minutes play in the first half and Morgan can feel very satisfied with the part he played in curbing the flying Seán Donnelly.”
Then Chairman of the County Board, Liam O h-Oistin, as he presented the new trophy for the first time, hailed Billy as ‘a man who not alone gives great service to his parish team but also to the county team’.
Indeed, Billy won a Leinster Junior Football Championship medal with Longford in 1953, and with his work bringing him to Monaghan during the early 50’s, he left his mark in the Farney County, savouring senior championship glory with Ballybay.
Billy was the outstanding Killoe footballer of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s era. Killoe won the Junior League in 1956 and they followed this up with Junior Championship success in 1957 and this triumph saw the club return to the senior ranks.
Killoe won the Leader Cup in 1959 and ‘61, with Billy being instrumental in shaping these victories, and in 1960 they reached the promised land by landing the senior championship crown. That was a particularly sweet victory as twelve months earlier, Killoe had the misfortune of losing out to Longford Slashers in the replayed SFC Final.
In 2000, Billy was named on the Longford Football Team of the Millennium at left full back. The side was chosen and voted for by readers of the Longford Leader and Billy was joined in the full back line by two other icons of Longford football, Seamus Flynn (Clonguish) and Larry Gillen (Ardagh St Patrick’s).
Billy was renowned for his skill, strength, man-marking and exceptional ability to read a game and his death, which occurred peacefully, at his Newtownbond home, surrounded by his loving family on Wednesday, March 28, was met with great sadness.
The steady flow of mourners that streamed to the Morgan home in the days following Billy’s death reflected the huge esteem in which he was held and he was laid to rest on Sunday, April 1 following Funeral Mass in St Oliver's Church, Cullyfad.
Predeceased by his loving wife Kathleen, sympathy is extended to Billy’s son Gerry, daughters Margaret, Catherine, Anne-Marie, Olivia and Martina, his sister Mary Kennedy (Corboy), grandsons Liam, Donncha, James and Cathal, daughter-in-law AnnaMarie, sons-in-law Padraig, Niall and Cormac, sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces, neighbours and friends.
Billy’s place among the pantheon of legendary Killoe and Longford GAA players is assured.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.