Saturday 10 December 2016

‘My dad’s ashes were a lucky charm’ - Dublin fan who brought late father's ashes to All-Ireland final moved by kindness of Jim Gavin

Alan O’Keeffe

Published 22/09/2015 | 12:53

John Garbutt with his father's ashes at Hill 16 Croke Park with Dublin manager Jim Gavin
John Garbutt with his father's ashes at Hill 16 Croke Park with Dublin manager Jim Gavin
John Garbutt with his father's ashes at Hill 16 Croke Park with Dublin manager Jim Gavin

A Dublin fan who brought his late father’s ashes to the All-Ireland final was moved by the kindness of team manager Jim Gavin.

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The victorious manager managed to spare a few moments during the wild celebrations in Croke Park to quietly offer some kind words to John Garbutt.

John’s father Michael, who died of motor neuron disease last year, was a life-long supporter of the Boys in Blue. When he knew he was dying, he asked his son to scatter a small amount of his ashes at Croke Park.

“My dad brought me to Croke Park and lots of other venues to support Dublin when I was young. I brought a small amount of his ashes with me to the final in a mini-urn,” he said.

During the celebrations immediately after Dublin’s victory, Jim Gavin was receiving the good wishes of supporters when John managed to congratulate him and mentioned he had brought along some of his father’s ashes.

“Jim then took his cap off and put his arm around my shoulder and said to me: ‘I’m very sorry for your loss. Your dad must have brought us good luck today’.

John Garbutt with his father's ashes at Hill 16 Croke Park with Cian O'Sullivan
John Garbutt with his father's ashes at Hill 16 Croke Park with Cian O'Sullivan

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“I know that my dad would be overjoyed by Jim telling me that. I was thrilled. Jim Gavin is a very kind man,” said John.

“The players were great too. I got a hug from Cian O’Sullivan.

“The day was an amazing experience. I said a little prayer. A part of him will always be at Croke Park,” he added.

Michael Garbutt died aged 61 last September. He had worked in the catering industry and also was a well-loved ‘lollipop man’.

“The last match that my father attended was the Dublin-Derry league final in 2014.

“Myself and my friends James Watt and Brendan Hughes brought him and he was glad to be there. He knew it was his last time,” he said.

“His ashes were a lucky charm on Sunday.”

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