Tributes pour in for 'father figure' Larry
A rare character of Irish athletics, Larry McGuill from Dunleer in Louth, was laid to rest yesterday in his home patch.
Larry was the main driving force for most of his life behind Dunleer AC, whose annual Ras na hEireann Cross-Country International was his big delight.
He was a passionate about athletics -- especially his beloved NACAI.
Dunleer AC runner David Carrie, who is training a group of over 70 runners for the National Lottery Dublin Marathon in October, wrote a moving tribute to Larry.
Carrie wrote: "Larry started me running in a local sports when I was just five- years-old and I have been running ever since then -- 40 years without ever missing a season.
"Larry's love of athletics was beyond any words. He was a father figure and a mentor to everyone at Dunleer AC. He was the only voice that mattered in the crowd for any Dunleer runner who would be running in a local or national event.
"On the morning of my 40th birthday, I looked out the window to discover Larry planting an oak tree in my garden -- he was that type of generous spirit.
Another great friend, Charlie Breagy, delivered a moving tribute to his mentor during the funeral mass.
Members of Dunleer AC were there in big numbers -- all dressed in the distinctive black and yellow jackets of the club.
There too was Athletics Ireland President Liam Hennessy, as well as other great volunteers through the years -- former AAI president Michael Heery, Rita Brady, Georgina Drumm, Val Ledwith and Paddy Marley.
Former Ras na hEireann winner Seamus Power was also present, remembering great days of racing in the international event that attracted a crowd of 5,000 to Dunleer in 1998 when Catherina McKiernan beat a top field to win the women's race.
Larry McGuill was something akin to a light switch for the local community around Dunleer.
He brought energy and passion to everything he did. He will be greatly missed.