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Sunday 24 February 2019

GAA world in mourning

Scott, Aidan and Tommy were proud sons of Wexford

The late Scott Doran in action for the Wexford Senior footballers against Carlow in the Leinster championship of 1996
The late Scott Doran in action for the Wexford Senior footballers against Carlow in the Leinster championship of 1996
Aidan Kerrigan R.I.P.
Tommy Harrell R.I.P.

Brendan Furlong

Wexford G.A.A. followers were stunned and deeply saddened by the loss of two of the county's favourite sons, Scott Doran and Aidan Kerrigan, over the festive period.

Aidan, a former St. Patrick's clubman who had lived in Knockbridge, Co. Louth, for some 40 years, died suddenly on Sunday, December 23. He had worked as a teacher in Dundalk C.B.S., before retiring last year.

And there was shock and disbelief throughout the county on Saturday morning when news started to spread of the passing of Scott - one of Wexford's best-ever footballers - in his London home.

Approaching his 45th birthday later this month (January 23), the sudden death of Scott led to disbelief and sadness throughout the G.A.A. community in the county and beyond.

One of the most gifted forwards ever seen in a purple and gold jersey, his Senior career spanned some 15 seasons.

He made his debut in a National League game in Wexford Park in October, 1992, against Sligo while still a Minor, and the last of his 105 Senior appearances came in the same competition versus Wicklow in Aughrim on February 25, 2007. He scored the grand total of 25 goals and 174 points in that period.

In the early stages of his G.A.A. career, Kilmore clubman Scott was also a gifted hurler, but Gaelic football was always his first love, although he did have trials with Q.P.R. in London for a three-month period at the age of 14.

A player with a deadly left foot, Scott began his sporting career with his beloved club, with whom he enjoyed multiple successes at under-age level and also a cherished Junior football county title in 2003.

Scott went on to light up the provincial scene by guiding Kilmore on a successful provincial campaign, which only ended in a final defeat to Wolfe Tones (Meath), but his goal in that particular game at his home venue is still talked about.

Scott showed his early promise in the purple and gold in 1992 in those famous Minor football clashes with eventual All-Ireland champions Meath in Croke Park.

He brought their initial semi-final meeting to a replay with a late pointed '45, and he continued to enthral the crowd in the second encounter before the Jim McGovern-managed side bowed out after two stirring contests.

As a result of those displays, he was brought into the Senior squad immediately by then manager Liam Fardy, going on to play more than a century of games for the county, before emigrating to London whom he assisted in the 2005 Connacht Senior football championship.

He returned briefly to the Wexford fold in 2007 under Paul Bealin, making a further two appearances off the bench in league games against Tipperary and Wicklow.

Scott became synonymous with the scoring of crucial goals off that famous left foot which led to his selection for the Leinster football team for the now defunct Railway Cup. It was a huge honour for a player coming from a Junior club, and he won two medals with his province in 1996 and 1997 as well as playing in the 1995 final defeat to Ulster.

The Kilmore club have paid a glowing tribute to Scott. 'In 2003 Scott got the medal he so craved when we captured the county junior football title and his reaction after the game showed how much it meant to him, as on his knees, he beat the ground with joy.

'What most people didn't know was Scott carried a broken jaw from the semi-final and then would go on to lead the team to a Leinster Final while still suffering from the same injury. For anyone lucky enough to see Scott play memories will be plentiful, cherish them as you saw a magician in action. Scott possessed a wand of a left foot, a brain too fast for many and the strength of a lion.'

Sympathy goes out to his wife Geri, children, parents Nick and Pauline, from Duncormick, and brother Martin. He was pre-deceased by his brother, Aidan.

When news of the sudden passing of Aidan Kerrigan, well-known former school teacher and All-Ireland under-age winner, spread through the county, Wexford G.A.A. followers - particularly those in the Gorey District - were shocked.

Aidan, who died suddenly at his home in Grange, Knockbridge, won an All-Ireland Minor hurling title with Wexford in 1968, having earlier that year helped St. Peter's College to All-Ireland Senior championship glory.

Having played his early hurling with his native St. Patrick's (Ballyoughter), Aidan went on to become best known as a teacher in Coláiste Rís in County Louth where he worked for 40 years prior to his retirement in June, 2017.

He was also heavily involved in the Louth hurling scene both with his club, Knockbridge, and the county side. Indeed, he was very proud to welcome both Faythe Harriers and Oulart-The Ballagh to his home venue for Leinster championship games in 2001 and 2005 respectively.

His former colleague Gerry Malone described him as 'one of the most kind hearted people I saw to his students and also to new teachers starting off in the school. He was a top class teacher who has been badly missed in school since his retirement. He was a powerhouse of both sport and education'.

During his hurling career in Wexford he was a talented wing-back on the road to colleges and All-Ireland Minor hurling glory, and I will always remember him as a no-nonsense defender who was able to mix the physical aspect of the game with an abundance of skill. His proudest moment was his tremendous defensive display in that All-Ireland final win over Cork.

Aidan is survived by his wife Mairéad, daughter Michelle, sons Conor, Shane and Gavin, grandchildren, and other relatives.

In a very sad time for Wexford G.A.A., the thoughts of followers are also with the family of the late Tommy Harrell, a native of Ballykelly and former Horeswood clubman, who passed away on December 14 after a long battle with illness.

Tommy (76) was a driving force behind the Fr. Murphy's club in London for nearly six decades, having arrived in the city in the summer of 1960. He also served with distinction as Chairman of London County Board from 2007 to 2012, following on from a 15-year tenure as its most efficient Secretary.

His funeral Mass will be held on Friday, January 4, at 10 a.m. in St. Joseph's Church, Harrow Weald, with burial afterwards at Mill Hill Cemetery, Milespit Hill, London.

Gorey Guardian

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