Sunday, March 12, 2023

The late Michael (Mick) O’Boyle

 By Charlie Keegan

MICHAEL (Mick) O’Boyle, Church Street, Templemore, Co Tipperary, whose death occurred suddenly on Monday 9 January, was a member of a family which came to reside at ‘Erin Lodge’, Athy Road, Carlow in 1952. He was aged 82.

Mick was son of the late Daniel and Margaret (née McGuinness) O’Boyle, who were both from The Waterside area of Derry city. Daniel O’Boyle served in the Irish Army, and while he was stationed in The Curragh, Mick was born on 30 August 1940, the eighth of 13 children. Upon Daniel’s retirement from army life in 1952, the family moved to Carlow, becoming very well known and respected in the local community.

Mick loved sport, particularly Gaelic football, and played minor football with O’Hanrahan’s, then the premier GAA club in Carlow town. Mick won a Carlow minor football championship with The Blues in 1957 and again in 1958, on a day when O’Hanrahan’s completed the minor/senior double. On that day, Mick O’Boyle was a sub on the senior team which defeated Clonmore, winners of the previous two SFC titles in the county.

The year 1958 was a special one for the O’Boyle family, as Mick’s older brother Johnny lined out at left-half-back on the Dublin team which defeated Derry by 2-12 to 1-9 in that year’s All-Ireland final. The Dubs were captained by Kevin Heffernan. Johnny also represented Ireland at basketball on six occasions.

In the Leinster championship of that year, Mick played left-half-forward for the Carlow minor footballers against Dublin in O’Moore Park, Portlaoise, while brother Johnny wore number seven for the Dubs in the SFC clash with Carlow, which followed it at the Laois venue.

A talented athlete, Mick O’Boyle was Co Carlow high-jump champion in 1957 and 1958, when the grounds of St Dympna’s Hospital in the town was a mecca for athletes and footballers.

After his primary and secondary education by the Christian Brothers in Carlow, Mick served his time as an electrician at Irish Sugar on the Athy Road.

When Kathleen Moloney from Templemore landed a job with the Department of Posts and Telegraphs in Carlow in the late 1950s, she caught the eye of Mick O’Boyle. He plucked up the courage to ask her for a date, romance blossomed and, in time, the couple married.

Kathleen’s sister Eileen was married to John McLoughlin, who won four All-Ireland senior hurling medals with the Premier County in 1961, ’62, ’64 and ’65, as well as ten Tipperary SHCs with Thurles Sarsfields. McLoughlin was, in his day, the scourge of full-back lines and goalkeepers.

In the early 1960s, Mick emigrated to England. Returning home, he gained employment as an electrician in the Garda Training College, Templemore, where the O’Boyles settled, going on to be blessed with eight children – six girls and two boys.

In time, Mick was promoted through the ranks to chief electricity maintenance man at the garda centre, where he continued to work up to his retirement and where he enjoyed great popularity.

In Templemore, Mick lined out with the local Éire Óg football club, being a top-scoring forward. He was also a talented handballer and took great pleasure in taking a few bob in the alley off the many players who challenged him as they passed through the garda college.

He loved to watch sport on television, particularly golf, horse racing, soccer and GAA, and took immense pride in the golfing achievements of his late brother-in-law Christy O’Connor Jnr.

It was a great source of pride for Mick, accompanied by his son Dan, and with Dublin as All-Ireland football champions, to bring the Sam Maguire Cup to the Church of St Patrick and St Brigid in Clane at a Mass to commemorate the fifth anniversary of his brother Johnny’s death in February 2022. Johnny, born in Arbour Hill, Dublin in 1931, lived on Australia’s Gold Coast, where he died in February 2017.

The Mass also was an occasion to remember Johnny’s eldest daughter Deirdre McBride, who had passed away the previous summer at the age of 60.

The Mass was also attended by former Kildare footballers Kieran O’Malley and Pa Connolly, both of whom played for the Lilywhites against Johnny in the National Football League final of 1958, when Dublin beat Kildare. Also present was the former outstanding Laois footballer from that era Jack Kenna, who Johnny marked in the 1959 Leinster final. Johnny and Jack had played together earlier that year on St Patrick’s Day, when Leinster defeated Munster by 2-7 to 0-7 in the Railway Cup final in Croke Park.

Mick O’Boyle had a vast music collection, which provided him with a great source of enjoyment and relaxation.

He was a man who loved a joke or a yarn and was always in good form. Mick was highly regarded in his adopted Templemore and will be sadly missed by all who knew him.

He was bereaved some 20 years ago by the death of wife Kathleen and in latter years was incredibly proud of his 16 grandchildren, taking a great interest in their daily lives.

He had been hospitalised in the Mater Hospital, Dublin for a spinal procedure, but his death was caused by Covid-19.

Mick reposed in Grey’s Funeral Home, Templemore on Thursday evening, 10 January. The requiem Mass for Michael O’Boyle was celebrated in the local Church of the Sacred Heart, when the celebrant was his nephew Fr Paul O’Boyle, PP, Clane, Co Kildare.

Former colleagues of the Éire Óg GAA Club, now JK Brackens, formed a guard outside the church.

Following Mass, burial took place in St Joseph’s Cemetery, Templemore, with Fr O’Boyle reciting the final prayers at the graveside.

Mick is survived by his devoted daughters Catherine, Michelle, Onagh, Eileen, Eithne and Margaret, sons Dan and Jim, brothers Don (Churchtown, Dublin), Dermot (Ballycarney, Carlow), Billy (Galway), Des (Celbridge), sisters Sheila Lawless (Newbridge, Co Kildare), Peggy McKenna (Athy Road, Carlow) and Ann O’Connor (Blackrock, Co Dublin), sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, cherished grandchildren, nephews, nieces and former work colleagues and friends in Carlow and Templemore.

Mick was also predeceased by his parents, brothers Paddy, Charlie, Brian (all Carlow), Johnny (Australia) and sister Eithne Donaghy (Carlow).

The Month’s Mind Mass for Michael O’Boyle was celebrated in the Church of the Sacred Heart on Saturday 11 February.


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