📌Ian Mc Garrity RIP
Unfortunately, it is with increasing regularity that we are having to say goodbye to loyal servants of An Charraig Mhór GFC. On this occasion it was with deep sadness that word of the passing of Ian Mc Garrity filtered through the parish in the early hours of Monday morning, January 23rd.
Ian’s association with our club stretches back to 1958 when a simple listing of his name as a new player in that year belies the contribution that was to follow. He had previously played for Warrenpoint, County Down for three years but summer visits to his parents’ homeplace in Innishatieve, a townland where he has many family connections, would see him come to the attention of mentors within our own club. Fortunately, they secured Ian and he would go on to have a close association with our club right up until his passing.
Ian entered the Senior team following the 1958 final, succeeded Robbie Loughran as Carrickmore goalie, the latter having emigrated to America. Ian would go on to represent the club with distinction from 1958 to 1967 capturing two Senior Championship medals as goalie in 1961 and 1966 keeping a clean sheet in both finals.
The Carrickmore Tradition Vol 1 allows us the good fortune on this occasion to let Ian pen part of his own tribute, with his thoughts about his time as a player on record in that landmark publication.
The writer takes up the story on Ian’s behalf… ‘’ Ian Mc Garrity whose parents came from Innishatieve, played three years for Warrenpoint before transferring to Carrickmore in 1958. He was immediately struck by the tremendous interest and intense loyalty of so many Carrickmore football followers. He mentioned Jimmy Mc Callan (Hughie), Clare and John Fox, Mullaghaslin, in particular. Looking back over his years with St Colmcilles Ian said that the two championship wins in 1961 and 1966 stood out but that his most enjoyable year was 1965 when he played outfield and Carrickmore won the Fr Campbell and St Enda cups. ‘My greatest disappointments were the defeats in the ’60,’62 and ’65 championships, he continued ‘ as I feel we were careless in our approach to those ties. The draw and replay against Omagh in the ’59 championship semi-final were two of the greatest games I played in for Carrickmore. Omagh had in their side then two of the best forwards I ever faced, Jackie Taggart and Donal Donnelly’. Ian paid tribute to the sportsmanship of Mickey Martin and thought that he was the model on which all young players should build themselves. He praised Peadar Montague, who also played many times in front of him, for his intelligent full-back play and for the encouragement he gave to those around him’’
All of those who met Ian over the years will attest to his modesty. Even his footballing recollections add weight to what we already know in that there is no mention of personal achievements reserving the plaudits for others. However, it would be remiss of me at this time not to outline at least one occasion which epitomised the depth of his contribution to the club and the memorable days he enjoyed as a player. As he alluded to briefly in the passage above his most enjoyable year was 1965 when he escaped to the open prairies of outfield play from his usual confines between the posts. In that year Carrickmore would reach the final of the St Enda Cup competition. Carrickmore would have to line out without noted midfielder and hero of many of our famous victories, Packie Mc Philips, who suffered an injury at work. However, on this occasion, as in many others new heroes would step up and replace their fallen comrades. That day at Fintona became Ian’s.
The Carrickmore Tradition Volume 1: The Ulster Herald reported: ‘ A fisted goal in the twenty-fifth minute of the second half by Ian Mc Garrity sent the St Enda Cup homeward bound to Carrickmore. The game played in atrocious underfoot conditions at St Laurences Park, Fintona, was very exciting. Up to that goal Dromore seemed to be set for victory. An Owen Kerr free was directed towards the Dromore goalmouth. Up jumped Mc Garrity to punch the ball into the Dromore net to the delight and jubilation of the large Carrickmore contingent….Frank Donnelly, Ian Mc Garrity, Owen and Oliver Kerr, James Mc Callan and Joe Martin were Carrickmore’s best players At half time Carrickmore led by 0-5 to 0-3. Dromore rallied in the second half and with five minutes to go were leading 0-8 t- 0-6 before Mc Garrity scored Carrickmore’s dramatic winner…..’
This famous victory in 1965 was followed up by the winning of the Fr Peter Campbell Trophy with Ian playing his part yet again. As we trace through the passage of our club history we can see that the year of ’65 is book ended by the Championship wins of 1961 and 1966. In the history of our club ’61 stands out as a ‘breakthrough’ win after a barren period in the 50’s. Even at the 50th Anniversaries in 2011 and 2016 Ian and his teammates spoke with pride of how they restored Carrickmore championship winning tradition setting us on the path to a further win in ’69.
Another notable chapter of his days with Carmen was his involvement in the seven-a-side competitions. The Carrickmore Tradition once more informs us. The last of the earlier Carrickmore seven-a-side teams played during the 1958-1960 era. Ian Mc Garrity, Peadar Montague, Fr Mickey Martin, Owen Kerr, Pat John Rafferty, Plunkett Devlin, Oliver Kerr and Jimmy Treacy participated.
The end of Ian’s playing career did not signal the end of his club involvement as he slipped seamlessly into the role of loyal supporter making regular journeys from Belfast with his lifelong friend Larry Sheeran to league and especially championship fixtures right up until he fell into ill health in recent years. Players of the 70’s, 80’s 90’s and 00’s will have fond recollections of experiencing Ians’s joy on the field of play following Senior Championship wins. He would be there to congratulate all with his broad smile. Similarly in defeat he would also be there, quick to remind us all that we had lost before and we would win again.
Loyal to the last he would be in attendance at the wakes and funerals of his playing comrades and friends he met along the journey. He would stand in the guards of honour outside St Colmcilles Chapel to pay his last respects. Conversations after would be an education to the younger generation as he brought us back to the times when the deceased played with pride and distinction for the club. Ian always made the effort and travelled that road many times.
Ian was also deeply involved in the Termonmaguirc Historical Society which collaborated closely with the football club on many occasions but perhaps most notably for the ‘Nally Project’. Here Ian and his good Friend Larry Sheeran worked closely together in the creation of the Nally Heritage Centre where Ian focused on one of his favourite topics, Townlands.
Foremost in our thoughts are Ian’s wife Margo, children Conor, Ciaran, Hilary, Lisa and his much cherished grandchildren. We also offer our sincere condolences to his large circle of friends from within and without the parish, perhaps with special mention of his life-long comrade Larry Sheeran.
May he rest in Peace.
Gavan Mc Elroy
On Behalf of An Charraig Mhór GFC
1 1961 Senior Champions
2 1965 St Enda Cup And Fr Campbell Cup Winners
3, 4 and 5 1966 Final Programme
6 1966 Championship
7 1967 Senior Championship Final
8 1999 Senior Championship Final l-r Larry Sherran, Davitt Mc Elroy, Ian Mc Garrity, Frank Mc Elroy, Gavan Mc Elroy, James Mc Callan
9 7-a-side team c1959 back row l-r Joe Martin, Oliver Kerr, Ian Mc Garrity, Plunkett Devlin
Front Row L-R Mickey Martin, Owen Kerr, Frankie Donnelly
10 Fr Campbell Cup Winners 1965
11 Ian 1999
12 & 13 Ian 1966
14 Ian c1959