Birmingham priest and GAA giant laid to rest

By Larry Cooney in Co. Cavan 

St. Bartholomew’s Church, in Munterconnaught, near Virginia Co. Cavan was jam-packed on Monday morning as the late Fr. Seamus Hetherton made his final journey.

Many of Fr. Seamus’ friends both local and nationwide joined the mourners to pay their final respects to one of the greatest figures in Cavan GAA before he was laid to rest in the cemetery across the road from the church, against the idyllic backdrop of Lough Ramor. 

The sheer size of the attendance reflected the esteem in which Fr. Seamus was held in both in London, Birmingham and his native Cavan. 

cavan ireland kings final meath
28 May 2017; Father Seamus Hetherton, from Virginia, Co Cavan, a former All-Ireland winner with Cavan in 1952, speaking prior to the Connacht GAA Football Senior Championship Quarter-Final match between London and Leitrim at McGovern Park, in Ruislip, London, England. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Last Monday’s funeral service in Cavan was just the third part of his final farewell following services in Quinton and Harborne in Birmingham.

Among the mourners were Seamus’s 1952 teammates on the Cavan football team that won the All-Ireland, Paddy Carolan and Jim McDonnell.

Since his passing on 11 July, many tributes have been made to the late Fr. Seamus and his enormous contribution to the GAA.

1952 All-Ireland team mates Paddy Carolan and Jim McDonnell

Fr Pat Browne, from Offaly and formerly based in Birmingham, said the funeral mass.

He spoke eloquently about the man who became a firm friend and with whom he worked for twenty-two years in Birmingham, accounting for half of his own forty-four-year ministry.

Fr. Browne was joined in saying the funeral mass by sixteen other members of the clergy including Bishop Leo O’Reilly, the former Bishop of Kilmore, and local priests Fr. Kevin O’Donohoe PP and Fr. Callistus Isara MSP from the local parish of Castlerahan and Munterconnaught. 

The final tribute of the ceremony was left to Chairman of Cavan GAA County Board Gerry Brady who gave a traditional graveside oration.

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