When the death of Richie Boyle was announced on September 26 there was a huge sense of shock and sadness throughout the local parishes and the county.
Richie Boyle married Kay O’Brien, daughter of Chris and Patrick “Butcher” O’Brien, in 1965 in Ardfinnan church and their lives were greatly enriched with the arrival of sons Leslie and Diarmuid and daughters Tina and Joan.
Richie had come from Moyle Rovers but shortly after arriving in the parish began playing football with Ardfinnan and hurling with Ballybacon-Grange. Richie went on to have a long and distinguished career with both clubs. He won his first medal as corner back on Ballybacon-Grange’s history-making South Senior Hurling title-winning team of 1968 and a few weeks later was a member of the Ardfinnan Senior Football panel that won the South Senior Football championship.
In 1970 Richie took over as goalkeeper on the Ardfinnan senior team and played a key role in that position in the winning of the County Senior Football title in 1970 and the South and County Senior Football championships in 1974. Richie continued to play hurling and football with the club until 1984.
He also took a deep interest in club affairs and served as vice-chairman and treasurer, and was a selector on many of the club teams. He also served as County Junior Football selector for eight years during the 80s and 90s. It is fitting that his son Leslie, who is currently club chairman, continues the family’s service to the GAA.
In 1978 Richie took on the role of umpire for Willie Barrett. Richie took to the role with great pride and was dedicated to his job.
He officiated at all the local club grounds within the county and all the major grounds throughout the country. Richie worked with and had a great and trusted partnership with his fellow umpire, the late Mickie O’Mahoney, and they were umpires for five All-Irelands in Croke Park, including the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Finals of 1994 and 2000, and was hugely respected in the game for the decisive and firm manner in which he officiated.
This was acknowledged on All-Ireland final day when at the replayed Senior Hurling Final a deserved tribute was paid to Richie prior to throw-in, followed by a minute’s silence.
When Ardfinnan or Ballybacon-Grange played Richie would always be in attendance and took great pride when his sons Leslie and Diarmuid played for the club, and in recent years when his grandchildren Nigel, Cathal and Darragh lined out for Ardfinnan and Jason played for Newcastle.
Richie’s other great association was with Ardfinnan Credit Union and he was an active and dedicated member since its formation.
Richie’s final game as umpire was in Newcastle on Sunday, September 22 for the South Intermediate Football final with referee Martin Doyle. Richie was an outstanding family man and during his lifetime built up a reputation where his integrity was never once questioned and the standards he set in everything he did, both in his personal and sporting life, were an example to all. The guard of honour at his funeral provided by both clubs was a fitting tribute to his memory.
Sympathy was extended to his wife Kay, sons Leslie and Diarmuid, daughters Tina and Joan, sons-in-law Michael Carberry and Michael Hally, daughters-in-law Alice and Louise, sister Ina, brothers Billy, Michael, Paddy, Joe, Mattie and Gerry, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews and grandchildren and all his extended family and friends.
May he rest in peace.