OFFALY GAA was plunged into mourning on Saturday following the sudden death of distinguished Kilcormac/Killoughey stalwart Mick Spain.
Mick (73), was Offaly’s GAA Central Council representative for quarter of a century (1981 to 2006) and he was also a widely respected inter-county referee, with the highlight of his career arriving in 1972 when he took charge of the All-Ireland SHC Final where Kilkenny defeated Cork by 3-24 to 5-11.
He was also the man in the middle for a string of other high profile assignments including a National League Final in New York, two Railway Cups, four club All-Ireland Finals, an All-Ireland Minor Hurling Final, an All-Ireland U-21 Football Final and an All-Ireland Junior Football Final.
A former ESB employee and a long time admirer and friend of An Taoiseach Brian Cowen, Mick lined out with Offaly minor hurlers for two years, represented the county at junior and intermediate level, and in 1957 and ’58 he was part of the senior panel.
He was a GAA Trustree for three years during the 1980’s and at the time of his death he was a member of the Irish Sports Council, the Offaly GAA Hearings Committee and Honorary President of Kilcormac/Killoughey club where he served in numerous capacities including Chairperson, Treasurer, PRO and County Board delegate.
A minute’s silence was observed as a mark of respect to Mr Spain before Sunday’s Allianz NFL Division 3 encounter between Offaly and Cavan while yesterday’s scheduled monthly meeting of the Offaly County Board has also been postponed until Thursday night. Offaly GAA Chairperson Pat Teehan described Mick Spain as an outstanding man who dedicated his whole life to the Association.
He commented: “Mick Spain’s contribution to the GAA at local and national level is immeasurable. He could best be described as an icon of the GAA at all levels, with a lifetime of involvement, as a player, referee, and administrator. A man who always saw the positive side of things, he was a proud Kilcormac/Killoughey clubman who took great pride in his club Mick also gave outstanding service at county and National level.
“On a personal note Mick was a good friend and I will certainly miss his friendly banter and the sensible advice that Mick often imparted to me. He was one of life’s gentlemen and his passing has left a void that will not be easily filled, he will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him. To his wife Maura, sons and daughters his extended family, and many friends goes our deepest sympathy.”
Last evening there was a huge crowd at Mr Spain’s removal from his home 2 Mountrath Street, Kilcormac to the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, reflecting the esteem in which he was held throughout the country. Requiem mass is this morning (Wednesday, February 9) at 11am with burial afterwards in St Joseph’s Cemtery.
Deepest sympathy is extended to his wife Maura, daughters Loretta (Doyle), Dolores (Slevin), sons Michael Og, Seamus, Aidan, Declan and Tony, brothers Tommy, Sean, Eamon, Kevin and Donal, sisters Carmel and Patricia, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.