Hundreds of people gathered in the autumn sunshine in the south Roscommon village of Brideswell last Saturday afternoon to witness the unveiling of a statue and memorial to one of the area’s most celebrated personalities, the legendary Gerry O’Malley. The life and times of the famous Roscommon footballer and hurler was recalled at a special ceremony.
The respect and esteem in which the legendary GAA figure is held was very obvious.
The attendance included Gerry O’Malley’s wife Mary, his sons Niall and Conor, his grandchildren and further relatives. Also present were members of the organising committee, GAA officials, former club and county team-mates and opponents, friends and neighbours, politicians, community leaders and fans from far and wide.
Special guest at the unveiling was Brian Carthy, well-known RTE Radio commentator and a lifelong friend of Gerry O’Malley’s. Frankie Donnelly was master of ceremonies.
Charlie Finneran, chairperson of the organising committee, paid tribute to all the people who helped with the fund-raising efforts and to all who generously supported same. He also paid tribute to the O’Malley family for their total support of the project. Mr. Finneran paid tribute to the work of sculptor Seamus Connolly and to local county councillors for their support.
Niall O’Mallley, a son of the late Gerry O’Malley, spoke on behalf of the O’Malley family. He thanked the local committee and all involved in this great project.
Speaking of his father, he said: “He was a very modest man and he never wanted to talk about his own exploits in the field. He was far happier talking about current players and current matches.”
Michael Conroy, a former work colleague and friend of Gerry O’Malley’s, spoke in detail about his work as an agriculture advisor over many decades.
Eugene Cummins, Chief Executive of Roscommon County Council, praised the local community for their work. He acknowledged the input of Majella Hunt and Diarmuid Mac Donnacha on behalf of the Council.
Brian Carroll, Roscommon County GAA Board Secretary, spoke of his close friendship with the late Gerry O’Malley.
Mr. Carroll said that Gerry O’Malley had a huge passion for Roscommon and for the clubs he played for, and retained that passion to his dying day.
“He is certainly one of the greatest Roscommon people I ever met” Mr. Carroll concluded.