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A life lived to the very full

Tribute to ‘Fitch’ Moules

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The late Eamonn ‘Fitch’ Moules.

The late Eamonn ‘Fitch’ Moules.

The late Eamonn ‘Fitch’ Moules.

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The passing of Annacurra’s Eamonn ‘Fitch’ Moules was greeted with great sadness among the GAA community in Wicklow and beyond.

The two-time All-Ireland football final referee was laid to rest on Friday, November 19, and Jimmy Dunne delivered an impressive graveside oration that summed the great man up very well.

“We are here today in this sacred place to pay our final respects to a man who was an institution in Wicklow and throughout Ireland,” began Jimmy. “But before we bid our last goodbyes let us reflect for a short while on the man we have known and respected for truly the fine person he was.

“Eamonn’s life was interwoven with the GAA from his youth to the very end. For over half a century he unselfishly gave every ounce of his being to the GAA. He was a player of exceptional quality, an administrator of great ability and an outstanding referee.

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“Eamonn ‘Fitch’ Moules was born 97 years ago in the townland of Tomanern. Growing up in the area he learnt about the central role played by Annacurra GAA Club in the establishment and development of the Association within the county.

“This instilled in Eamonn a great affinity with his local place and with the GAA. As a young player his first taste of success was when he played on the Hacketstown Minor team that won the championship of 1942. In 1946 he was a member of the Kilmacoo team that won the county Junior hurling championship.

“He was now wearing the Green and Gold of his native Annacurra when in 1950 they reached the county Intermediate final only to give best to Kilcoole on a three-point margin. Eamonn played in the half forwards on that occasion.

“Three years later he was corner-forward on the Annacurra side that defeated Baltinglass two points to one in the Intermediate final. It was the lowest score ever recorded in a county final within Wicklow.

“In 1955 Annacurra reached the Senior county final, losing to St Patricks of Wicklow. On this occasion he was to play corner-back where he had an outstanding game.

“When he finished his playing carreer he immersed himself into GAA administration. When Jimmy Kavanagh, another great Annacurra man, died he took up the position of South Board secretary, a position he was to stay Infor over a decade and where he earned the respect of so many. He also was the county groundsman in Aughrim for a number of years.

“However, it was as a match official he was to carve his name into Gaelic folklore. He was first introduced to refereeing by the late Jimmy Kavanagh. His first match was between Coolboy and Carnew in a South League final.

“In the years that followed he was to scale great heights as a referee and bring great joy and pride to the Gaels of Wicklow. His style was fearless and fair.

“Within the county he took charge of 12 Senior football finals along with one Senior hurling. For the final in 1973, he came out of retirement to take charge in the battle of the titans Carnew and Rathnew. He was to officiate in finals at every level and in both codes over the years.

“At intercounty level his first game was a Leinster Minor hurling final of 1955 between Kilkenny and Wexford. He was in charge of the Leinster football finals of 1957 and ’62. In 1962 he took charge of the All-Ireland Senior football final between Roscommon and Kerry. This was the first All-Ireland final to be televised by RTÉ.

“The following year he officiated at the Dublin V. Galway all-Ireland. On that occasion a former Annacurra player whom he would have played with on many occasions, John Timmins was playing at midfield for Dublin.

“In 1965 he took charge of the All-Ireland Junior final and the following year 1966 he was the man in the middle for the Minor final between Mayo and Down. He took charge of two National League finals one in the Gaelic Grounds in New York.

“Eamonn’s contribution to the GAA and his achievements are legendry. He has left a giant footprint in the sands of our time. He will however be remembered by his family, his sons, John and Billy, daughters, Patty and Eilish, and extended family members. He was dedicated to his family and indeed to his faith.

“Eamonn’s faith, handed down from his parents, played a central and core role in his life. He never missed mass in Annacurra on a Saturday night where his special seat was always reserved.

“As we bid a last farewell to Eamonn, his family can take some solace that they shared a life with a unique man, a man who left a legacy of achievements and a man who bestowed on them ideals of value that are the essence of decency and respect. To us, his extended family, we can take pride and satisfaction from being privileged to have known a great person who shared his time and vision with us.

“Eamonn ‘Fitch’ Moules was ever a man to walk tall both on and off the field of play and wherever Wicklow football is talked about his name is sure to be spoken of with pride and joy.

“And, of course, as far as his beloved Annacurra club is concerned, his name will ever be a monument to its special place in Wicklow’s football story.

“I wish on behalf of the Gaels of Wicklow to extend our deepest sympathy to his family.

“As Eamonn returns to the soil of the Garden County that he loved so well his spirit will live on in the many fields that he was so familiar with during his journey throughout life.

“May the sod of his native soil rest lightly on his breast.

“Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.”


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