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Joe O’Shaughnessy was a GAA stalwart who made everyone around him feel special


The late Joe O'Shaughnessy.

The late Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Laim Mellows players and mentors observe a minute's silence before their game on Sunday as a mark of respect to the late Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Laim Mellows players and mentors observe a minute's silence before their game on Sunday as a mark of respect to the late Joe O'Shaughnessy.

The funeral procession of former GAA county chairman Joe O' Shaughnessy.

The funeral procession of former GAA county chairman Joe O' Shaughnessy.

The late Joe O'Shaughnessy.

The late Joe O'Shaughnessy.


The late Joe O'Shaughnessy.


THE community of Castletown and beyond were united in sadness following the death of Joe O’Shaughnessy (78) after a short illness.

A stalwart of the Castletown-Liam Mellows GAA club, he was one of several outstanding footballers to emerge in the north county stronghold during the sixties when they began their dominance of the local club scene.

Tributes poured from across Wexford and the Leinster in advance of Joe’s funeral mass that took place on Sunday afternoon.

During the mass, Parish priest Fr Pádraig Ó Cochláin said that if Castletown was ever to have its own Taoiseach, Joe would have been the man for the job.

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Speaking later at his funeral, Joe’s daughter Marcella described her father as a great man for solid and fair advice with a wide circle of friends that he had gathered from GAA, golf or at the local school.

She detailed how Joe grew up in Coolroe, being the youngest of eleven children and lived at the home place of his mother Marcella and that it was always a happy place and those values stayed with him throughout his life.

Marcella said that it was a privilege to have Joe as a father because as soon as Joe woke up in the morning, he had an infectious good humour and made everyone around him feel special making time for those he cared most about.

He loved having company around, whether family or pets, enjoying music and laughter and never worried about anything.

He was also competitive and enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren, but the big love of his life was Ann and together they enjoyed 43 years of marriage.

Joe, a farmer by trade, left a lasting impression as a GAA administrator, rising from the twin role of County Board Vice-Chairman and Fixtures Chairman to become Chairman at a special Convention held on March 20, 1989.

In his beloved sport he served with distinction in that position until the end of 1993, and went on to represent Wexford as both Central Council and Leinster Council representative.

Joe had the distinction of winning nine county Senior football titles from 1965 to 1981, while he represented Wexford in the top level on the inter-county scene from 1964 to 1974.

His family will never forget his dedication on match days, dressing his best and waiting for a lift from a friend to bring him along to a match he had waited for all week long.

Michael Martin, Chairman of Wexford GAA, described the late Joe as a big inspiration to everyone in GAA.

"He made a huge contribution to the GAA on every level and was hugely popular whether it was the grassroots of his own club or the corridors of Corke Park. He was hugely respected and as a former chairman at county level, there wasn’t a committee he didn’t sit on as he was interested in every aspect. Whether it was coaching, the centre of excellence or any area at all, he would have been a great sounding board to people like me in terms of advice. We all admired him, and even though for him it was about Castletown first and foremost, he sat on the managing committee of Croke Park being a key decision maker. Over the last few days I’ve received a lot of calls from outside of the county and whether it’s those in the highest office or the players themselves, there’s nobody who was not saddened by the news of his passing as they all held Joe in the highest of esteem.

"One of his burning ambitions would have been that Castletown were on top of the roll of honour in football which was achieved and beyond that, his passion would have been Wexford. There’d be very few Wexford matches you’d go to that you wouldn’t see Joe at and he’d have a smile and a good word for everyone.

"Even when he was sick, around the time of the Leinster minor final this year, he text me to say hard luck so he kept following the team”.

Micheal recalled Joe attending his wedding in Kerry, where he found himself sitting beside legendary player Donie O’Sullivan.

"Donie had marked Joe the first day he ever played for Wexford and he was delighted to be sitting beside him. Joe was known up and down the country for his work ethic and for being a family man, but everyone would have known him as a gentleman.

"Joe was also a key part of the GAA golfing society and throughout his life, GAA was something that was an essential part. He worked for the betterment of the GAA with the highest integrity”.

Cllr Joe Sullivan, who led the guard of honour at Joe’s funeral, said that the community will never forget him.

"The loss of Joe will be felt by the community of Castletown greatly and by the broader GAA community of Wexford and Leinster, where he gave years of service. He always conducted himself in a good-humoured affable manner, and he sought to assist and encourage all people that he encountered during his life. He spent 60 years of adult life intertwined with GAA on a daily basis and he had a keen interest in all sports with a serious knowledge.

"He was a Manchester United fan and he’d often go see their games, he played golf in all the local courses regularly. Joe would always try to do the right thing and he was someone who could be relied upon to steady the ship. On every committee or organisation he was in, he would have been a cool head who never jumped to compulsive decisions. Whatever advice he would give, it would always be sound as he would think things out well”.

Joe is survived by his wife Ann, children Michael, Marcella, Jody, Sarah, Julie, Ellen and Hannah, siblings Charlie, Ted, Larry, Betty, Peggy, Marcella and the late Eileen, Michael, Jack and Billy, grandchildren Aoife, Sophia, Joe, Essie, Freddie, Charlie, Billy, Joe and Aoibhin, sons-in-law Matt, Shane, Lubos, Tom, daughters-in-law Caroline and Ciara, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces, extended family, relatives, neighbours and friends.

May he Rest In Peace.