Hurling fans in final farewell to Deise legend
DEISE hurling fans said farewell to legendary forward Frankie Walsh at his funeral Mass in his native Waterford city.
The 76-year-old, who lived in Roanmore Park, died in Waterford Regional Hospital after a short illness.
Mr Walsh is best known for lifting the Liam MacCarthy Cup after captaining the county side to victory in their 1959 replay against Kilkenny. The exciting match gave Waterford their only All-Ireland title.
Since his retirement from the game, the Mount Sion GAA Club man was a familiar face in the city as he "would walk everywhere".
"Frankie was one of our own," said parish priest Fr Tom Rogers as he addressed up to 1,000 mourners in the Holy Family Church yesterday.
"He was green ahead of his time, he would walk wherever he'd have to go," he said, describing the great hurler as a "gentleman".
GAA President Liam O'Neill, members of the Waterford County Board and other sports people, offered condolences to members of Frankie Walsh's family, including his hurler son, Pete.
Fr Rogers said many people had memories of Frankie "whether on the playing fields, working with him or as a member of the community".
"He brings us together," he said. "Even though our church was built for an occasion like this, not everybody has a seat."
Fr Rogers told the congregation Frankie was "first and foremost a Christian throughout his life.
"He lived his life as best he could, he answered his vocation as a father and as a husband. The greatest achievement for any man or woman is to pass their values to their children."
Fr Rogers pointed out that although Frankie Walsh may have been of "small stature" he "certainly demanded respect" and "people knew where he stood".
In a reference to how Waterford hurling fans have been "starved of All-Irelands" in recent years, mourners were told how "we certainly depend on the heroes of our past to keep us going".
Frankie Walsh's life on the field, at home and in work, "touched a huge amount of people and made a difference to their lives".
The famous hurler was laid to rest in Ballygunner cemetery yesterday afternoon following his funeral Mass.