By Damian Dolan
St Kiernan’s have paid tribute to club stalwart Brendan Moyles, who passed away suddenly last week. He was 66.
Originally from Carrowkeel, Lahardane, Ballina in Co Mayo, Brendan was a very familiar face to all in GAA circles in London.
“To say that he is irreplaceable is an understatement,” said St Kiernan’s in a post on social media. “Always there when you needed him, he was the ultimate volunteer.”
Brendan served the club diligently in a wide range of capacities, as PRO, registrar, gateman, car park attendant, umpire and linesman, but more importantly he was “a friendly face to all who knew him”.
“People like Brendan are never replaced or forgotten,” the club added. “Our hearts are broken.
“The club hopes that the high regard with which Brendan was held will in some small way help Frances, Adrian and Stephanie through this terrible time.”
Brendan also served the London county board as development officer and registrar, and was a current member of the CCC.
He was often seen videoing games and taking photographs at Ruislip or Greenford, and as recent as last month’s county finals and the Youth Festival Blitz’s as part of London’s 125 celebrations.
Brendan was also part of the London ladies management team which won an All-Ireland junior title in 2008 at Croke Park, and was involved at London youth level assisting with trips to the United States for the Continental Youth Championships.
Jerome O’Shea, St Kiernan’s founder and chairperson since the club was formed in 1985, said Brendan, who became involved with Kiernan’s in the early 1990s, will be a “huge loss” to both the club and the GAA in London at large.
“Anything you asked Brendan to do he’d always oblige you,” said Jerome. “Brendan was always the first to volunteer.
“And he was always at Ruislip – every GAA club in London will have known Brendan.”
St Kiernan’s moved into their new home in Barnet Lane this year and Jerome says Brendan was “always there to help out”, whether that be manning the gate or helping with car parking.
“Condolences to Brendan’s family – he’ll be sadly missed.”
St Kiernan’s assistant secretary, and London county board treasurer, Mort Reidy, who’s been involved with the club since 2001, said Kiernan’s wouldn’t be where it is today if it wasn’t for people like Brendan Moyles.
“He’s been with St Kiernan’s since his son Adrian was able to kick a ball,” said Mort.
“No role was too much for him, whether he was operating the car park or doing the official roles of PRO or registrar. It made no difference to Brendan; it was about being part of something.
“Since Barnet Lane opened, and we went back to football this year, Brendan was ever present there. You could call him Sunday morning to do a girls Blitz and he’d say, ‘no problem – anything you want’.
Mort added: “The club is in shock; we’re reeling from it. Everyone is devastated.
“He never let on just how far his illness had gone, because he didn’t want people treating him any differently, so it came as a complete shock. He dealt with it with dignity.
“The Saturday evening before he passed away, he sent me about 25 pictures, on email after email, of my little one James playing for the under 11s at the London GAA 125 Blitz at Ruislip.
“Tuesday night we went to an under 13 semi-final between St Kiernan’s and Parnell’s at Harrow Rugby club and he had CDs for me and the other coaches of our teams that had been playing over the weekend.
“You don’t replace people like Brendan – he’s irreplaceable. People like Brendan can never be forgotten.”
London County Board chairperson Donal Corbett joined those paying tribute. He said: “As a county and community, we are deeply saddened and devastated to hear of the tragic passing of Brendan Moyles of St Kiernan’s GFC and London GAA.
“As London GAA registrar for many years all clubs will remember Brendan with great fondness and respect as he welcomed those registering new players to his home to complete registrations in due time.
“His service to London GAA as a committee member and steward will be remembered with great respect.
“Our sincere sympathies with the Moyles family and with Brendan’s friends, community, and club. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.”
News of his passing prompted a flood of heartfelt tributes on social media, including acknowledgements from many of London’s GAA clubs and beyond, with Brendan described as an “absolute gentleman” who “always had a smile and a word for everyone”, and a “great Gael” whose service to both club and county was “immense”.
London Youth Chairperson Joel McInern simply said Brendan will be missed “by everyone who had the pleasure to know you”.
Other tributes described Brendan as “a great GAA man. A great family man and a great Mayo man”, and “always willing to help”. Another simply said, “thanks for everything”.
Brendan’s sudden passing has stunned the GAA community in London, so well-known is the Moyles family within such circles.
His son, Adrian, played senior football for London, making his championship debut against Galway in 2009, and captained St Kiernan’s to a first-ever senior London title in 2016.
He also represented the Republic of Ireland at Under 17 level at soccer, and had spells at Chelsea, Queens Park Rangers and Brentford.
In a 2015 interview, Adrian said: “I picked up an O’Neills before I ever kicked a soccer ball. That was down to my Dad.”
As a mark of respect, all of St Kiernan’s matches last weekend were postponed, while a minute’s silence was held before games at Greenford and McGovern Park, Ruislip.
Brendan was a huge friend to the Irish World newspaper for many years, and his photos often appeared in our pages.
Nothing was ever too much trouble for Brendan. Always ready to welcome you with a broad smile, he was always accommodating and willing to help whenever and wherever he could.
He will be very sadly missed in London GAA circles. St Kiernan’s and Ruislip will not be the same without him.