By Harry Walsh
THE sudden passing of Jimmy McGonagle in New York was learned of with great sadness in his native Donegal on Wednesday.
A staunch supporter and valued member of the New York Donegal GAA Football Club, Jimmy was also a member and current Director of the New York Donegal Association. He was the Association “Donegal Person of the Year 2012”.
Speaking to the Donegal News from his New York home yesterday morning, Thursday, Jimmy’s nephew Connie Molloy said that he was a proud Donegal man and a proud Irish man who had made America his home for the best part of fifty years.
“Jimmy’s been here since 1964. While he would tell nobody his age we all knew – the rule of thumb was that he was 24 when he left in ‘64,” he laughed.
A paper handler, Jimmy also owned two bars in New York – the biggest of which was the Sam Maguire in the Bronx – during his time in the States.
“His happiest moment was undoubtedly when Anthony (Molloy), his God-son, lifted the Sam Maguire cup back in 1992.
“He was at Croke Park that day while he was there too when Michael Murphy brought Sam back to the county this summer. We were with Jimmy when Michael and the boys brought Sam to New York a few short weeks ago and he was in great spirits,” Connie said.
“He ran a good show and gave a number of young lads from home the start in New York. At one stage there were eight of us (Molloys) in the States and he brought each and every one of us out.
“He was also heavily involved in the football out here and he’ll be irreplaceable within the New York Donegal Association. He was a big part of the set up and he kept the show going for many years,” he said.
“He was also prominent around Gaelic Park and would be around the place most evenings umpiring games or doing whatever was needed,” he added.
The Wake was held in Riverdale-on-Hudson Funeral Home in the Bronx yesterday, Thursday, while Requiem Mass will be held on in St. Margaret of Crotona, 452 West 260th Street (at Riverdale Avenue), Bronx, NY this morning, Friday.
The last remaining member of the McGonagle family, Jimmy will be taken home to his final resting place in his native Glencolmcille over the weekend.