Legendary Clonmel and Tipp footballer Sean Cleary has died

Clonmelman was last survivor of Tipp team that beat Cork 72 years ago

Legendary Clonmel and Tipp footballer Sean Cleary has died
By Eamonn Wynne ewynne@nationalist.ie @TheNationalist

One of Tipperary's greatest Gaelic footballers has passed away.

Clonmelman Sean Cleary died in his adopted home of Galway on Monday evening.

He was 91.

Sean was the last surviving member of the Tipperary senior football team that beat Cork in the Munster Championship semi-final in Clonmel in 1944.

Sean, who was only 19 at the time, captained the team that year and another 72 years would pass before Tipp again beat Cork in the championship, a milestone that they achieved this year in Semple Stadium.

Regarded as one of the greats of Tipperary club football, he was captain of the Clonmel Commercials teams that won the club's first three County Senior Championships in 1944, 1948 and 1956.

As well as representing his county he also lined out with Munster in the Railway Cup and he was recognised throughout the country as one of the most talented players of his generation.

At the time of his death he was the Commercials' vice- president.

He had lived in the Newcastle area of Galway city since 1960, where he moved to when he took up an appointment as chief fire officer.

In the 1940s he served as a part-time fireman and from 1943 to 1960 worked in the offices of South Tipperary County Council in Clonmel.

A great follower of all sports, Sean was one of nature's gentlemen.

Even though he left the town more than a half century ago he was still spoken about with great affection in his native Clonmel and always followed the fortunes of his beloved Commercials.

Sean Cleary was pre-deceased in recent years by his wife Molloy.

He is survived by daughters Mary, Patricia, Edel and Siobhán; sons Sean junior, Gerard and Aidan; his sister Chrissie (Acheson) and by his many relations and friends, to whom sincere sympathy is extended.

Sean will repose at his home in Clifton Park, Newcastle, Galway on this Thursday 1st September from 5pm to 7.30pm.

There will be a private removal on Friday 2nd September to the Sacred Heart Church, Seamus Quirke Road to arrive for Requiem Mass at 11am.

The burial will take place after Mass in Rahoon Cemetery.