Late Lorcan Mullally fondly remembered in both Clonmel and Reading

The death took place in December of Lorcan Mullally, Clonmel and Reading.

The death took place in December of Lorcan Mullally, Clonmel and Reading.

Mr Mullally is fondly remembered in both towns and played a key role in the twinning between Clonmel and the Berkshire town.

He was a great supporter of the rugby clubs in both Clonmel and Reading.

Reading’s sporting and Irish communities paid tribute to their friend and staunch supporter following his death.

The 78-year-old, who was vice-president of Reading Rugby Football Club and Berkshire Rugby Football Union, passed away peacefully.

All games played by Reading RFC that weekend were dedicated to the memory of the man club chairman Craig Hunter saluted as a “great man and long-time servant of Reading RFC”.

Off the sports field, others will remember Mr Mullally for the part he played in Reading’s 1994 twinning with Clonmel, the town of his childhood.

Dick O’Brien, of Mayfair in Tilehurst, has been alongside Mr Mullally in the Reading Clonmel Association since its formation, which led to the link.

He said: “He was a man of his word, and you can’t be better than that, and he was very helpful. He was very proud of his Irish roots. People like him will always be missed.”

Of course Lorcan’s loss is most felt by his family and the following is the eulogy delivered by son James at the funeral Mass in St james Church, Reading on December 19

“Before I talk about my Father, I would like on behalf of my family to thank everyone for their support and sympathy in the last week. We have been astonished at the response and have greatly appreciated the kind words that endorse how generous and caring he was, a man of his word, always interested in people, always ready to stop, have a chat, and share a joke.

As most of you will know, Dad had a stroke in July. He spent 10 weeks in hospital, looked after wonderfully by the nurses. He came home in early October, the day after his 78th birthday. Sadly his stroke proved too severe to promise much hope of any recovery and he passed away peacefully last weekend.

Just before being taken ill, Dad travelled to Clonmel to attend his cousin Margaret Brennan’s funeral. He was very glad to have the chance to catch up with so many old friends and family one last time in his beloved childhood hometown. He would have struggled to make that journey without the help of his cousin Robin, who is here today.

Many of my father’s family are here - his sister Bridget with her husband Nigel and son Alistair, his brother Dennis, who has travelled from New York, and Denis’s daughter Lucinda, Michelle, Dennis and Simon and, over from Ireland, Rick, Barry, Kevin and their wives.

It may come as a surprise to some of you that my Dad wasn’t born in Ireland, but in London at the Royal Free Hospital in St Pancras. He was taken to Clonmel, his mother’s birthplace, when just 6 months old. He went to school at the Christian Brothers High School and over the years I heard many a sporting and social tale that affirmed the great times he enjoyed.

It’s hard to know which sport Dad favoured at school. He loved rowing with Clonmel Rowing club and that took him across the country. He played Gaelic football and hurling, but didn’t get involved in Rugby until the age of 15.

Being a tall, strapping lad, one Sunday he was asked at the last minute to turn out for Clonmel RFC’s senior team. He’d never played the game before, and it landed him in terrible trouble with the Gaelic Athletic Association for playing the British game!

Dad moved back to England in 1955, and whilst working in the Midlands joined Sutton Coldfield RFC. Later on, back in London he joined Wasps, and after that used to enjoy playing Sunday afternoon rugby (and the subsequent pint or two) with the University Vandals at Sunbury-on-Thames. Many of those old team-mates are here today.

One evening in 1966, Lorcan and his flatmate Vincent Cleary gate-crashed a party in Hampstead Village and it was there he met his wife-to-be. Susan (as he always called her) played tennis and squash at the Cumberland club and soon afterwards Dad joined and he became a useful and canny squash player. They were married in July 1968 at St Edwards church on the Sutton Park estate near Guildford.

In 1970, soon after Dad started working for Fischer Technik, my parents moved to Reading. I was born the following year and my sister Joanne followed 2 years later. We lived in Benyon Court before moving to Western Elms Avenue in 1983. They were wonderful years and Joanne and I have fond memories - salt and vinegar crisps and lemonade in the small bar of the Rugby club, caravans in Cornwall, pony riding on the sand in the Gower and beach huts in Swanage.

There were exciting times too - going to watch 5 nations rugby at Twickenham, being on centre court at Wimbledon, and going to Liverpool’s away matches in London.

Dad’s association with the Rugby club started soon after moving to Reading and he has contributed ever since – from playing for the Old B’s, supporting the first team home and away, and more recently the ladies team as well. He acted as press officer and is one of only 3 people in the club’s history to have been awarded 2 honours caps.

His journalistic skills with put to good use when he began producing the weekly Rugby page in the Chronicle, covering Reading’s matches and others Berkshire clubs. He also covered London Irish at the Madejski for the Press Association.

He liked to get involved in community matters, and the twinning of Reading and Clonmel was the perfect opportunity. He was chairman of their association for almost 10 years, promoting links between the 2 towns. No surprise that this included a number of rugby trips with the Veterans and age group squads, and hosting the Clonmel colts and senior teams.

More recently Dad continued to champion causes in Reading and support local activities. These included the community garden on Western Elms Avenue, the local surgery patients group, the Christian Community Action charity shop where he worked, and the neighbourhood watch team. The latter provided an opportunity to cover subjects of particular annoyance to Dad, from parking and speed bumps in Western Elms to the ‘ladies of leisure’ who used to approach him from time to time.

He loved spending time at the Gateway pub, watching his beloved Gaelic games and the Heineken Cup, whilst catching up with local Irish friends and perhaps practise his blarney when the ladies football team were there. There were times in my youth when I wished I had inherited that gene!

As getting about became more difficult Dad spent a more time emailing and swapping jokes with his friends, and sharing sporting opinions with Henry Winter at the Telegraph.

And he enjoyed nothing more than spending time with his grandchildren - Skye, Jessica and Luke. What a pity he will not get the chance to see them grow and pass on his words of wisdom.

Unlike Dad I don’t have a have a favourite line from Shakespeare to end with. The words ‘Rugby Legend’ have been used in newspaper articles this week, and whilst I am not in position to judge from the rugby world, he was a legend of a Dad to me, and I will miss him terribly.

Rest in peace, pops”.