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Farewell to Seán Reid

Decent honest and a true gentleman A tribute to Sean Reid

Seán Reid, who succumbed to Covid-19, will be buried at Woodcock Hill Cemetery in Rickmansworth at midday on Tuesday. Because of Covid-19 restrictions there will be no funeral mass and the bare minimum allowed in attendance.

As there will be no flowers or mourners the family have asked those who would otherwise wish to send flowers to support the charity SRUK, which helps people with Scleroderma, and Raynauds, www.sruk.co.uk . Two cruel diseases which affect organs and blood circulation.

See below for our tribute to Seán Reid.

Ireland’s Ambassador to the UK leads tributes to Brian Boru, Dulwich Harps and London GAA stalwart Seán Reid

By Damian Dolan

London GAA has paid tribute its former county hurling manager and one of its longest-serving and most diligent servants, Seán Reid, who passed away on 3 April at the age of 73.

Seán was re-appointed provincial council delegate at December’s Convention – a role he took up in 2018 – having previously served the GAA in London with integrity and distinction at club and county level for many decades.

He was chairperson and long-time secretary of Brian Boru club, and county board delegate for many years for Dulwich Harps.

He managed London for a decade from 1980 – guiding the team to All Ireland ‘B’ Championships in 1985, 1987 and 1988.

His contribution to the GAA in London was recognised in September by Ireland’s Ambassador to the UK Adrian O’Neill, who joined GAA President John Horan at McGovern Park, Ruislip, to present Sean with an acknowledgment of his service.

Leading the tributes, Mr O’Neill said: “I am very saddened to learn of the death of Seán Reid and extend my deepest sympathy to his wife Peggy, his family, friends and all his fellow Gaels in the GAA.

Decent honest and a true gentleman A tribute to Sean Reid
In September Seán’s service to London GAA was recognised by Ireland’s Ambassador to the UK Adrian O’Neill and GAA President John Horan

“Seán was a great servant of London GAA and of Dulwich Harps. I had the privilege of meeting him in McGovern Park in Ruislip last September and formally acknowledging his wonderful record of service to the GAA.

“Seán will be greatly missed. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.”

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Originally from Piltown in Co Kilkenny, Seán worked for many years as a senior executive for McNicholas Construction after arriving in London in 1965.

He initially joined Moindeargh, before in 1967 becoming part of the famed Brian Boru club, which was a heavyweight force in London hurling for decades.

For Seán, the club would become a home from home. He recalled running up and down hills on Hampstead Heath under the watchful eye of Timmie Sheehan, who was also London manager at the time.

In 1975, he was captain when Brian Boru were crowned senior champions for the 22nd time.

Decent honest and a true gentleman A tribute to Sean Reid
In 1975 Seán was captain when Brian Boru won the senior title – Seán is in the front row, second from the left, with the cup

A moment he later recalled must “rank very near the top” of some “outstanding memories” during his time with the club.

That year, he also led the club to provincial success and, for the first time, into the All Ireland Club Championship, where they lost out to Connacht and Galway champions Ardrahan by just two points.

In 1979 Seán was elected secretary of Brian Boru – a position he held for many years – as well as serving as chairman and selector, amongst numerous other roles.

A great servant of the London county board over the years, Seán was involved on various committees – management, fixtures, hearings and CCC.

For the past two decades, he was a member of Dulwich Harps in south London.

Without a vote one Convention, following the demise of Brian Boru, Charlie Tully registered Seán as a member of Dulwich, and he went on to serve the club as delegate to the county board.

Decent honest and a true gentleman A tribute to Sean Reid
Seán with Dulwich Harps chairperson Tom Denning following the club’s junior championship success at Ruislip last year

“Seán was a lovely man – he’ll be missed by Dulwich Harps and London GAA,” said Dulwich Harps chairperson Tom Denning. “I’ve lost a good friend.

“He was a great man to speak up for the club, even though he lived miles away from Dulwich, or for any club. He believed every club should get a fair crack of the whip.

“He had a great knowledge of Gaelic football and hurling….he had a love for the game.

“Seán was a real hurling man and a great family man. Wherever he went he was liked.

“He’d be up and down to Birmingham as part of his role with provincial council, and always brought back a written report.

He was also a “slick” referee Tom recalls, and “young referees would look up to him”.

Irish World publisher Paddy Cowan, who knew Seán for over 40 years, said: “Seán was a great servant of the association and a very intelligent man with forward thinking ideas.

Decent honest and a true gentleman A tribute to Sean Reid
Brian Boru’s 1969 senior championship winning team – Seán is in the front row, fourth from the right

“Even in the days before he died he was talking about putting the fixtures together for this year.

“On behalf of my family, like to offer our sincere condolences to Peggy, his children John, Paul and Geraldine and to all of Seán’s family.”

London county board chairperson John Lacey said, “It’s sad to discuss the passing of Seán after his long illness, borne throughout with great strength.

“A proud Kilkenny, Brian Boru and Dulwich Harps man, he was one of London GAA’s great servants – from hurler to referee and administrator.

“Seán served in many positions as officer of London GAA and was our current provincial council delegate. His life-time service to London GAA will be long remembered.

“Our deepest condolences to his wife Peggy, his sons, John and Paul, and his daughter Geraldine, and his extended family in Ireland and England.”

A good man

Johnny Barrett joined Brian Boru in 1961 and played alongside Seán for many years.

“He was a good man; we hurled together and socialised together. He was a top-class organiser and a very good secretary and chairman.

“We were great mates and had a lot banter – him being from Kilkenny and me from Tipperary. We’d have a lot of chats on Monday after matches.

“I said to him last Friday, ‘you know they’ll be no hurling this year, so we have the cup and we’ll be keeping it. We’ll be going for three in a row next year’. He said ‘you would come up with something like that’.

“He was a good clubman and a good hurler. A corner back, he was a big strong man. My deepest sympathies to Seán’s wife, Peggy, and his three children, John, Paul and Geraldine.”

Tommie Donohue was another teammate of Seán’s at the Brian Boru club.

“Seán was one of my closest friends. If someone asked me, what was the nicest thing about Seán Reid? I’d say decency.

Decent honest and a true gentleman A tribute to Sean Reid
London’s 1985 All Ireland Senior ‘B’ winning team. Seán Reid, who managed the team, is in the back row, far right

“He was one of the most honest, decent and straightforward men I ever had the privilege of knowing.

“He was an incredibly honest man; if he couldn’t do you a good turn, he definitely wouldn’t do you a bad one. He was a gentleman.”

Adrian Woulfe played for the Brian Boru from 1985 until its demise. One of the first people he met when he joined the club was Seán.

“He was a mighty clubman; I don’t think he missed a game for the Borus in my time. He was always willing to pick people up or drop them off.

“And even though he’d retired from playing, he used to always bring his gear with him in the boot of the car, on the off chance we might only have 14 and he’d be called on. And was called on!

“I’d like to offer my condolences to Seán’s family, from my family.”

Tom Connolly was appointed chairperson of Brian Boru in 1979, following the passing of Paddy Ryan.

“When I took over from Paddy, Seán was secretary, and the club went on to win three championships between 1979 and 1982,” recalled Tom.

“We had some great lads at the club and Seán stood out amongst most. I enjoyed his company; he was a very genuine man.”

Joe Campbell, who joined the Borus in 1983, described Seán as an “absolute gentleman” and as someone who “wasn’t shy about sharing what he had” with others.

“Without fear of contradiction there are hundreds of men across the globe over a period of 40 years who have a lot to thank Seán Reid for,” said Joe.

“I had some of my own county men from Antrim contact me when they heard the news about
Seán’s passing. They were upset, but they also wanted to recognise and give their appreciation for what Seán did for them.”

Along with Hugh O’Kane, Seán was also instrumental between 1982 and 1992 in the reincarnation of London Camanachd – Shinty players from Scotland who had settled in London.

Decent honest and a true gentleman A tribute to Sean Reid

On a couple of occasions, the Brian Borus even played in the Scottish Shinty championships (Dundee Shinty Festival).

“One year we were four lads short. Seán went into the university in Dundee and we picked up four students who’d never picked up a Shinty or hurling stick in their lives.

“It showed Seán’s commitment; he was one of the most committed GAA men I ever met.

“Through thick and thin I never fell out with Seán. It was always about the game being bigger than the club or the individual.

“My thoughts are with Seán’s family at this time.”

Eddie Crawley, who comes from Mooncoin in Kilkenny, was introduced to the Brian Boru in 1988 by Seán, and the pair became “friends for life”.

Passion for hurling

“He had a huge passion for the game, Brian Boru and for London hurling. He was an amazing man,” said Eddie.

“Those four or five years at Brian Boru were a big part of my life – they were the best years, and it was because of Seán.

“He treated everyone with respect and he had a presence about him. He was a hard worker and gave 100 per cent to anything he did.

“You see people in Ireland who are so attached to their clubs – Seán had that same passion for Brian Boru.”

Eugene Hickey, who was chairperson of London GAA from 1992 to 1995, said: “Seán was highly respected in GAA circles – he was a very good administrator – and was always activity involved in the London County Board.”

Former Brian Boru chairperson Michael Hughes served alongside Seán on the club’s board.

“It was easy work with Seán; he was a great secretary,” said Michael, who joined the club in 1974 after meeting Seán at New Eltham.

Decent honest and a true gentleman A tribute to Sean Reid

Michael was with Glen Rovers at the time. He also worked for McNicholas and he recognised Seán that day at New Eltham, and subsequently switched to Brian Boru.

“Seán was a very fair and honest man. He always did and said what he thought was right,” said Michael.

“He was a true GAA man. He put his life into the GAA and his family. He worked so hard for the Brian Boru and London.

“If he could do something to help someone, he would. He was very helpful to Irish people coming from Ireland. If they didn’t have work he’d find a place for them.

“If he did someone a good turn, he’s just get on and do it and that would be the end of it. No one would ever know.

“He’s a fierce loss – he was a great human being. Nobody had a bad word to say about Seán.”


Brian Boru enjoyed a fierce rivalry with St Gabriel’s, during the ‘70s especially “when hurling was at its very best in London”, and Gabriel’s chairperson Kerril Burke joined those paying tribute.

“They were tough matches, but they were good matches,” recalled Kerril.

“Seán and I were rivals on the field, but we were good friends off it. He was a very nice man and a good GAA man. He was good for the game in London and he was good for the county.

“On behalf of the Gabriel’s club I’d like to offer our sincere condolences to Seán’s wife and family.”

Provincial Council of Britain president Paul Foley, said: “Seán was a good man and a valued member of the Council. He served his county well.

“He will be sadly missed and our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time. Ar dheis De go raibh a h-anam dhilis.”

Seán will be sorely missed.

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