11 Aug 2022

Joe Byrne was part and parcel of what we are on Deenside


Rest in Peace

A veil of sadness has been all so prevalent as the news filtered through of the tragic death of Joe Byrne, Church Avenue, Castlecomer.

To all of us who grew up together in the Villa played hurling and soccer in the Station field, got chased by Mikey Dooley, fought with the Marymounters on the Meadow Hill.

It surely drives home the brevity that is life and the enjoyment that was part and parcel of those care free days when communication to the outside world was solely via the phone box at Ned Kelly's. For the second time in a week huge crowds congregated to say farewell to a loved one. Joe Byrne has been part and parcel of what we are on Deenside for over 6 decades. Synonymous with sport which was reflected in probably one of the largest guards of honour in the area.

Represented were first of all his loyal comrades on the last Comer men's basketball team ; Castlecomer Community School where Joe coached with dedication and commitment in the formative years of 100's of boys and girls ; Castlecomer Basketball Club past, present, and future ; Erins Own GAA Club where Joe hurled at all grades culminating with winning a County Roinn A Title ; Deen Celtic A.F.C. Joe played soccer for all of the local clubs, Comer Rovers, Ardra Rovers and Deen Celtic with whom he won McCalmont Cup medal in 1986 ; Also numerous schools both Secondary and Primary where Joe coached.

This represented a fitting farewell to a man who will always be regarded as "Mr. Basketball" in this locality. Joe was gifted and talented in all sports but it was basketball where his heart always was. Like so many his career started in the court at the back of the Community Hall. He lived for his coaching and the visible emotion of so many young people spoke volumes at the removal.
Success locally earned him recognition and reward when he was selected to coach at County, Regional and International level. Gentle, kind and peace loving he was happiest walking his dogs Fred & Ted around the bull ring. He took a keen interest in music especially folk and was often the life and soul of a party on the bodhrán. He had not enjoyed the best of health of late and we all hope that he is now at peace.

He was laid to rest in the Parish Cemetery after Requiem Mass celebrated in the Church of the Immaculate Conception by Fr. Ian Doyle, Kiltown assisted by Fr. Liam Shore, Bowdens Court. He will be sadly missed by his loving family Madeleine, Gráinne, Gary, Nathan ; sisters Dora, Marie (England), Bridget, Margaret, Geraldine; brothers Ned (Kilkenny), Noel; brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, Gráinne's partner Darragh, Gary's partner Debbie, nieces and nephews, other relatives and a large circle of friends.

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