10 Aug 2022

Life of late Rhode and Offaly GAA stalwart celebrated as community walkway named “The Beasey Way”

Life of late Rhode and Offaly GAA stalwart celebrated as community walkway named “The Beasey Way”

Leinster Council chairman Pat Teehan and Mary Guing, a sister of the late John Glennon, cuting the ribon at the "Beasey Way".

RHODE GAA Club honoured one of their favourite and most cherished sons with a poignant ceremony on Saturday afternoon.

Chairman of Leinster Council, Pat Teehan and Offaly GAA chairman Michael Duignan were the special guests as a stunning commemorative brick structure was unveiled at Rhode GAA's Fr Dowling Park in memory of the late John Glennon.

Known far and wideas “Beasey”, John Glennon passed away last year after a lengthy battle with health problems. Only in his early 60s, John gave a life time's contribution to his beloved Rhode GAA Club as well as the Offaly GAA County Board.

As a player he won Senior and U-21 Football Championship medals with Rhode in 1975. He was the Rhode GAA secretary for twelve years, PRO for a whopping 35 years and he also served the club as a team selector, team secretary, County Board delegate and lotto administrator.

He was Offaly GAA's main point of contact in Rhode for decades, assisting the county in fundraising as well as helping solve any issues that might have arose from time to time. He served on several Offaly GAA committees over the years, including the Competitions Control Committee (or its predecessor, the Fixtures and Disciplinary Committee), the Hearings Committee and the PR committee as well as short term groups – he was on committees that made recommendations for the appointment of county football team managements, fundraising groups and ones to review championship and fixture structures.

Beasey was a fantastic character, who lived lfe to the full and was endeared by all who knew him. A genuine gentleman, he had a passionate love for the GAA, Rhode and Offaly – and it was fitting that his club should honour him by naming their splendid new community walkway as “The Beasey Way”.

The official opening ceremony of “The Beasey Way” took place in Rhode GAA Club on Saturday afternoon with a couple of hundred members, supporters, family and friends turning up.

Club chairman John Kilmurray described John Glennon as the “Jimmy Magee of Rhode”, remarking: “If you ever wanted to know anything the Beasey knew it, whether it was who scored what or who was sent off and he knew a lot about that because he was involved in the CCC for years”.

Mr Kilmurray noted that John Glennon made a huge impact on fundraising, driving events on and helping running their lotto, even making it up on Monday nights when he was unwell and wasn't expected to attend draws. He stated that John got great use out of the walkway when alive, going around it most nights and he paid a glowing tribute to Ciaran Curley, who designed and built the commemorative walk on a voluntary basis.

Vice chairman Richie Glennon, a nephew of John, said he would be very proud of this momument. “He spent 95% of his time up here in this field and if he wasn't in the field, he was checking lotto books in the room or doing posters. He was Rhode GAA through and through and also Offaly GAA. He was a very proud Offaly and Rhode man,” he said, thanking all who made this possible.

Offaly GAA chairman Michael Duignan paid tribute to John for all his work and support over the years. “Everyone knows the love he had for Offaly and it was very evident,” he reflected, stating that he got to know him well at Rhode GAA dinner dances, where he “invariably ended up with Beasey in a corner talking about where we were and where we might get to”.

Mr Duignan added: “He was just a gentleman, one of the nicest people any of us was ever likely to meet. He had a way of getting things done. He could disagree with you but he never fell out with you and that is a great gift as well. He was a wonderful man and this is a beautiful tribute. It is great that it is going to be here forever and all the young people will know who the Beasey was and his memory will live on. Beasey was one of your best and he will be sorely missed.”

Offaly GAA vice chairman and former Rhode GAA chairman James Murphy outlined the role John Glennon played in getting him involved in the GAA at club level, firstly and then county level. He stated that John always encouraged him to progress further and move up the ladder. “John was always pushing me in the GAA and was a driving force behind me to try and keep me moving along from one step to another,” he stated. “He was the sort of man who it was difficult to let down in the GAA. His expectations had to be fulfilled and there was great praise for him when it happened. I am very proud of what has happened me in the GAA and John was instrumental in that.”

Mr Murphy stated that John also had a great passion for horse racing and they attended many meetings in Ireland and England. He told a famous story about when him, his cousin, “Whitey” Quinn and John Glennon ended up in the winners' enclosure with the owners and connections of the Grand National winner at Aintree several years ago by accident. As Murphy and Whitey savoured their freak luck and accepted their undeserved congratulations from the elite of the racing world and supporters, he observed John Glennon in a corner with the Minister for Sport, John O'Donoghue. Afterwards, he asked him what they talked about. “Oh God Murph, I was explaining to him that we shouldn't be in here at all,” Mr Murphy recalled, smiling that him and his cousin were “the complete opposite to him”.

Mr Murphy said he was happy that John was around for the 2021 All-Ireland U-20 football success and he recalled him shedding tears for Offaly. “His words to me will never leave me and in the middle of that tear for Offaly, he said he never thought he would see another Offaly jersey going up the steps of the Hogan Stand. I will always remember that victory because it made him so happy. We were all delighted but this man took so much out of that win that it meant a lot to me. He was over the moon with that win and that is what GAA and football and Croke Park and Offaly and Rhode meant to John Glennon.”

Leinster Council chairman Pat Teehan described John as “one of the greatest community activists in Offaly.”

“He made a marvelous contribution to GAA life in Offaly and I had the pleasure of knowing him for over 25 years. He enriched the lives of everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him. He was loved by many but admired by all,” said Mr Teehan, stating that the turnout present was testament to him.

He added: “I am delighted to be able to call him a friend and the word that sums him up for me is commitment. His commitment to everything he did, for his parish, the GAA, his loyalty. He was one of the most loyal people you could have on your side. His enthusiasm was outstanding for everything he did. At the back of all that, he was a very humble individual, never out in front or seeking praise and of course he had a great sense of humour. It would be an understatement to say he was a legend. He gave respect and he gained respect. He got that respect by his deeds and actions.”

Mr Teehan recalled meeting him regularly at race meetings in Kilbeggan and he concluded: “He was a community man. He loved Rhode and he didn't hide it. He liked a pint and he liked to sing a song which meant he lived life and he loved life and that is a huge message for everyone. He has left a lasting legacy to the people of Rhode. This is a monument to John Beasey Glennon but it is also a monument to everyone who has worked here in the community to make Rhode what it is. John Glennon is the head of that community, a leader.”

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