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Prominent clerical writer and GAA official passes away

By Sean Ryan - 31 December, 2016

Fr Leo Morahan was the founding editor of the Louisburgh periodical, An Coinneal, the oldest parish magazine in Ireland.



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 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 have died.

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.

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