Tributes have been paid to leading Mayo GAA official and writer Fr Leo Morahan, who was laid to rest in his native Louisburgh, Co. Mayo this past week.
Fr Morahan was a passionate Irish speaker and was well known for his writings “as Gaeilge” and in English.
He was the founding editor of the Louisburgh periodical, An Coinneal. An Coinneal
is the oldest parish magazine in Ireland, having appeared regularly
since 1959. Today it continues to provide an insight into life in
Kilgeever Parish in Co. Mayo and is sold to the Mayo diaspora in such
far away destinations as Chicago and New York.
On the GAA front, Fr Leo Morahan held the position of chairman of the
Mayo County Board for ten years in the 1960s and ’70s. He trained a
number of teams in both Mayo and Galway.
He was a firm believer that
Mayo football was not cursed, even though it has not won an All-Ireland
football final since 1951.
The Mayo Curse goes back to 1951, when the victorious Mayo team were
said to have travelled through Foxford, Co. Mayo without paying their
respects while a funeral took place in the village.
The curse, allegedly
placed on the team by a priest, is supposed to prevent the Mayo team
from winning the All-Ireland final until all members of the 1951 team
In a recent TG4 documentary Fr Morahan said of the Mayo curse: “The
story is a myth, a delusion, a kind of old wives’ tale. It was peddled
often before, like in Clare with the Biddy Early one, and also the
Galway hurlers and the priest who cursed them and now this yarn about
Mayo; it’s all claptrap. No one who has any real knowledge of football
would pay any heed to it.”
Fr Morahan was the retired parish priest of Barna parish and served
in a number of parishes in the Archdiocese of Galway in over 50 years of
ministry. He passed away in his home in Louisburgh on Christmas Day. He
was laid to rest in Kilgeever cemetery on Wednesday afternoon last
following 1 pm Requiem Mass in St Patrick’s Church, Louisburgh.
He is survived by his sister Gaelie McManamin (Tralee), brother
Justin (Dublin), sisters-in-law Catherine, Mary, Beryl, Anne and
Margaret, nephews, nieces, grand nephews and nieces, great-grand nephews
and nieces, the Kenny Family, cousins, brother priests, and a large
circle of friends.