Thursday 22 March 2018

Hundreds say farewell to All-Ireland winning hurler and legend Tim

David Medcalf

AN exceptional individual was laid to rest in Cloughbawn cemetery at the weekend as hundreds of mourners turned out to say goodbye to All-Ireland winning hurler Tim Flood who has died at the age of 87.

A man known and respected far beyond the bounds of his parish, he was at the heart of much that was good in the Clonroche area for decades, always proud of his roots.

Guards of honour were provided, not only by the GAA, but also by his fellow sheepdog triallists, carrying their crooks, while the tunes played by friends during the Mass were a reminder of Tim's interest in the performing arts.

The deceased had a rare ability to excel at everything he turned to, as measured in terms of medals and honours, while always retaining his sense of humour and his willingness to bring out the talents of others.

Tim caught the eye as a sportsman as far back as the 1940s but it was as a member of the hurling team which brought Wexford to the fore in the 1950s that he will be best remembered.

He collected the first of his three All-Ireland medals in 1955 and the free scoring corner forward later continued to contribute to the Cloughbawn club as a player and then as a mentor.

He ran the family farm in Tominearly but found time to follow other pursuits with enthusiasm. At the age of 33, for instance, he decided to teach himself the banjo.

He did so to such effect that, along with fiddler Gerry Forde, he collected duet titles at Fleadhanna Cheoil, while also masterminding the fortunes of the Castleboro céilí band at local dances and in competitions throughout the 1960s and 70s.

The house in Tominearly was the venue for band practices, as well as for rehearsals of the TOPS variety, Readóirí and other groups which he produced and directed, always an encouraging figure to young performers.

When his hurling days were behind him, he turned to sheepdog trials as a sport that he was able to pursue deep into his eighties, often competing at the very highest level.

Tim Flood was the best in Ireland on six occasions in the singles competition – three of those with his canine superstar Pip, besides featuring on the BBC's 'One Man and His Dog' and taking the runner up position in the supreme championship at York in 1984.

He was a leading breeder of dogs, such that the genes passed down from Pip and other Flood champions may be found in the make-up of many of the leading border collies around Ireland to this day.

One of a family of four, he was predeceased by sisters Ita (Bailey) and Nellie (Forde) as well as by his brother Martin. Tim passed away while in the care of the Farnogue residential health care unit in Wexford.

He is mourned by his wife Kathleen (née McGrath), daughter Norma, sons Seamus, Sean and Garry. He will be greatly missed too by daughters-in-law Lucy, Kathleen and Dolores, son-in-law Andy (Doyle), grandchildren, Mel, Sarah, Connal, Emma, James, Liam, Eanna, Aisling, Tim, Kate and Donal, cousins, nephews, nieces, sister-in-law Eileen and his many friends.

His passing has prompted the recollection of many long past hurling matches. Among those who came to the wake at the home place to join the reminiscence was RTE commentator Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh, while 1955 Wexford veteran Ned Wheeler was among former team mates who attended the funeral.

Chief celebrant of Mass was Monsignor Joe McGrath, while Bishop Denis Brennan was also present. Music during the service was played by former céilí band members Jimmy Murphy and Paddy Joyce.

A life long Pioneer, Tim Flood made his mark without having to raise his voice, a smile never far from his lips, always ready to pass on his wisdom and skills to those ready to learn from the master. May he rest in peace.

Enniscorthy Guardian