‘Only Mac could have planned it,’ his old friend and former teammate Dermot Keely said, in a heartfelt and emotional tribute at Tommy McConville’s funeral Mass on Monday.
‘Only he could have arranged to be buried on a Monday, a bank Holiday Monday, when everyone could attend.’
But holiday or no holiday, the Church of The Holy Redeemer was always going to be packed for the final farewell to one of Dundalk’s greatest sons.
Dermot Keely spoke from the heart about the humour, the wit, the generosity of Tommy McConville. When Tommy was being examined by a doctor.
‘Can you still see as well,’ asks the doc.
‘Is your touch still the same?’
‘How is your hearing?’
‘I said how is your hearing?’
‘It’s fine. but yours isn’t.’
And Dermot finished with a description of Mac’s final journey in Mac’s own inimitable dialect.
A fitting farewell from an old friend that received a warm round of applause.
Earlier the Dundalk jersey, Pele’s jersey, and other reminders of the great man were brought to the altar by his grandchildren.
Fr Niall O’Donohoe, who celebrated the Mass, said it had been suggested that a pint of Harp would make an appropriate moment, but instead it was decided to settle for a photograph of Tommy raising his glass.
Fr O’Donoghoe said that the funeral liturgy was also a celebration of life, and in Tommy McConville’s case a beautiful and fulfilling life.Death is not the end of the story, he said. The Christian message is one of hope based on the belief that all of this does not come to dust. And indeed nobody present would believe that this was the end of story.
At the end of the Mass the Clan na Gael pallbearers carried the coffin from the church to the sweet strains of I Left My Heart in San Francisco.
But Mac’s heart was in Dundalk, and always will be.
Tommy, was predeceased by his wife Christina (nee) Grant, parents Brian and Joan, brothers Brian and Eamonn.
He is survived by his son Thomas, daughters Carol, Linda, Paula, Leanne, grandchildren Jade, Saffron, Jake, Kristina, Amber, Kaycee and Keeley, brother Walter, sons in-law, nephews, nieces, cousins, extended family relatives, neighbours and large circle of friends.
After Mass the funeral cortege made its way to Oriel Park and proceeded down the town stopping at The Square, and then continuing to Saint Brigid’s cemetery Kilcurry.
Tommy’s month’s Mind Mass will be celebrated on Sunday December 1 at The Church of The Holy Redeemer at 11.30am.