THE LATE SEAN FLANAGAN – AUGHAWILLAN – LEITRIM –SAN FRANCISCO
Sean Flanagan passed away on November 4, 2014 at his home in San Mateo, San Francisco. His untimely passing was deeply felt by his family and many friends and throughout the community in his native parish.
.Born in Drumreilly, Garadice in 1951 Sean was the eldest of a family of four boys and two girls. By the time he was leaving Aughawillan NS it had become apparent he was little bit special. One time a football match organised between Aughawillan NS and nearby Porturlan NS in Templeport which was played in Sean’s parent’s field overlooking Garadice Lake. No one from the Aughawillan School had ever participated in a competitive game until then, but Sean, even at that early stage stood out amongst his more vaunted opponents from across the county boundary.
In 1964 Sean went on to attend St Felim’s College Ballinamore. From the very outset he showed his prowess as a talented athlete and footballer winning a Connacht Colleges underage title and three senior Corn Breffni Championships. In his final year he captained his class to win the Annual Shield Game between the Leaving Certs the Rest. His football success continued as a member of the Ballinamore minor team that won the 1968 and 1969 Leitrim Minor championships.
On leaving secondary school Sean sought employment in Dublin. In the early years as was the case with several other players from the parish at the time, he played his football with neighbouring club Drumreilly. He was part of the group that was instrumental in reforming Aughawillan in late 1971 playing his first game with his new club in 1972. He won Junior League and Championship in 1974 and a senior Championship in 1976. His talents were immediately recognised at county level and while still playing junior football he became the first member of the new club to play on the Leitrim County senior team. His football exploits were now becoming legendary. At one time the Leitrim Peoples Association in Dublin organised a 7-a-side competition for Leitrim players working in the city. In the final Aughawillan defeated Cloone and from all accounts Sean-Jack (as he was commonly known among his friends) played the preverbal blinder, almost single handily taking his team across the line.
Like many before and after him, due to economic circumstances Sean decided in 1977 to move to America. As it happened his leaving coincided with the beginning of a hugely successful era for Aughawillan GAA Club and we will always be left to wonder had he been able to stay could we have gone that extra mile in terms of winning a Connacht or All Ireland Club. Sean’s football didn’t end when he went to America and he became involved in the club scene there, first with St Brendan’s in Chicago and later with Sean Mac Dermott’s San Francisco.
Apart from his football Sean was a memorable character and admired by many. His striking good looks, his curly blonde hair, his tremendous energy and unique sayings made him a favourite wherever he went. He loved to socialise and he loved to party – Sean did nothing in small measure. But he also worked hard and did well for himself in America. He was generous and helped many on their way when they came over from Ireland. A testimony to this, were the large number of friends and colleagues who returned from the US to attend his funeral.
Even though he was stuck down with a terminal illness Sean remained brave in the face of adversity to the very end. His interest and support for his native place never waned and he was ecstatic when Aughawillan won this year’s senior championship. On his final journey Sean’s cortege was accompanied to Aughawillan Church by a large contingent of past and present footballers and friends. On the last leg his casket was carried to the gates by his old teammates. Following requiem mass concelebrated by Fr Tom McManus PP and Fr. Liam Kelly PP Sean was laid to rest with his parents in his beloved Aughawillan on November 13, 2014.
Sincerest sympathy to his lovely wife Carol his bothers Michéal, Pat & Martin and his Sisters Mary (Conefrey) and Ellen (Martin). Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.