Tuesday 20 February 2018

Larry was great ambassador for journalism and the GAA

Larry Larkin
Larry Larkin

THE GREAT affection and respect so many had for the late Larry Larkin was borne out in the crowds who paid their final respects to him at his Funeral Mass in St. Mary's and Michael's Parish Church on Sunday afternoon.

Since his passing on Thursday, huge numbers of mourners have sympathised with his heartbroken family and paid tribute to a man who was a true gent.

Larry played an integral role in the life of the town and was a great ambassador for New Ross.

His passing is deeply mourned by his beloved wife Nellie, his son Jim, daughters Geraldine, Sheila and Laura, his brother Fr. Seamus Larkin, sisters, sons-in-law, daughter-in-law, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, relatives and many, many friends.

In life Larry was best known for his talent on the GAA fields and on the golfing greens, and for his long distinguished career with the New Ross Standard.

Originally from Gusserane, Larry was educated at Gusserane National School and St. Peter's College in Wexford. Following his Leaving Certificate it was his intention to become a priest, and he studied in Maynooth for a year before deciding it was not for him.

He came back to New Ross, where he met the love of his life, Nellie Dunphy. They were married in 1957 and enjoyed a wonderful marriage together. They were each other's best friends and their love for each other grew over their 56 years of happy marriage.

They were blessed with five children, who Larry was extremely proud of. However, one of the lowest points in his life was to come when he lost his daughter Elizabeth. Her passing broke his heart.

He was a grandfather to ten, and he loved them all dearly too. He loved spending time with them and took great interest in their lives.

One of his greatest passions in life was GAA. He was a gifted sportsman and a former dual player of great renown. Larry played with Wexford in the 1950 All-Ireland Minor football final and went on to represent the Senior footballers with distinction for many years. He won a senior football championship with his native Gusserane in 1954 and refereed the finals of 1957 and 1961. In 1997 he penned the Seana Ghael history.

Following his GAA career he took up golf and became quite accomplished in the sport. He was well respected at New Ross Golf Club, where he was a member for many years.

For forty years he was a dedicated journalist with the New Ross Standard and he is probably best known for his lengthy association with the local newspaper. Through his work with the paper, he became extremely well known throughout the town and its surrounding district, where he was very well-respected.

Larry began working with the Wexford People in 1954 when he was aged 22 years. His first assignment was to cover the replay of the Oireachtas senior hurling final between Wexford and Clare.

A vacancy then arose in the paper's New Ross office and Larry was appointed as the journalist of the New Ross Standard, a position he loved and dedicated great time and effort to for the rest of his career

The biggest story he ever covered was the visit of US President John F. Kennedy to New Ross in 1963 - an event which Larry cited as one of the highlights of his career.

He was very meticulous and paid great attention to detail in his reporting. He was known to be fair, reasonable, broad-thinking, sensitive and impartial in his work. He played a major part in ensuring that the New Ross Standard remained a dominant force in its circulation throughout his forty-year career.

The interest and pride he took in his work was borne out in the vast number of articles he wrote and he was ever willing to help organisations in town with newspaper coverage whenever they needed support.

Even after his retirement in September 1994, Larry continued to contribute to the paper, particularly the sports section.

His retirement was marked with functions by not alone his own work colleagues and the National Union of Journalists, of which he was an active member, but also by New Ross Town Council who described him as their 'tenth councillor' at a civic reception held in his honour in December 1994.

He was a life member of the NUJ and in 2010 he was honoured for his years of service to journalism and his longstanding association with the National Union of Journalists.

Larry was one of the longest serving members of the NUJ not alone in the South East but in the country and to honour his career his former colleague, RTE's Damien Tiernan - who worked with Larry in 1993 - presented him with a piece of specially cut glass

During the presentation, Damien paid tribute to Larry for teaching him more in the twelve months he worked with him than any other journalist before or since. Damien praised him as a remarkable man for his ability to put together a story and tell it accurately and with care.

At his Funeral Mass on Sunday all these aspects of his life were fittingly represented in the Offertory, with a Wexford jersey, a typewriter, a copy of the New Ross Standard, a golf club and a football all offered up.

In celebrating the Mass, his brother Fr. Seamus Larkin told mourners that 'nothing can remove the pain felt today' by Larry's sad passing. Everyone present was mourning a loss - a loss of a husband, father, grandfather, brother, father-in-law, relative, friend or colleague.

Larry touched so many people's lives during his 80 years and has left behind a lasting legacy in New Ross.

May he rest in peace.

Wexford People

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