PASSING OF A NOTED GAEL
On Sunday last under a leaden grey sky Liam McCorry of 73 North Street, Lurgan, and formerly of Edward Street was laid to rest in the family burial ground in St. Colman s Cemetery after Requiem Mass in St. Peter’s Church, Lurgan. It was a solemn and emotional occasion which demonstrated the great esteem and affection in which Liam was held by his local community and the wider national family of the Gaelic Athletic Association.
The entire community in both parishes – St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s – were shocked to learn of his sudden passing in the early hours of Friday morning. Accordingly a packed congregation came to St. Peter’s Church in North Street, Lurgan at l.30pm on Sunday last to mourn with his brother, Doctor Francis McCorry, his sister Margaret and their extended families. As a mark of the esteem in which he was held by his community and county, representatives of sporting, educational, cultural and Church organisations were well represented.
His former team mates on the great Clann Eireann club sides of the 1950’s and 60’s formed a Guard of Honour outside the Church and escorted his cortege to the graveside in St. Colman’s. They were led by Councillor Sean McKavanagh, SDLP and walking alongside were former Armagh captain and club colleague, Harry Hoy, midfielder Kevin Browne, fellow full back Seamus McConville, goalkeeper Willie McConville, attacker Brian Curran, Brendan Heaney, Jim McAlinden, Mickey McCorry, Noel (Johnny) Browne, Francis McNeice, Danny McKavanagh and younger members of the club who knew of Liam’s reputation and modest fame.
Current Armagh County officials of the Board attended to honour the great goalkeeper on the ‘49 Minors team who brought the second All Ireland title but the first Minor one to the County; defeating Kerry in a memorable game. Colleagues of that team were there notably John McKnight still associated with Headquarters in Croke Park. Also there was Maurice O’Reilly who was in the attack on that momentous occasion. Thus as Liam’s coffin was gently escorted down the aisle by Rev. Kieran McParland C.C., St. Peter’s, the entire congregation stood solemnly to receive their friend and fellow parishioner, true Gael and comrade in all weathers.
During the Eucharist celebration of Liam’s life of 65 years, father McParland reminded all of the true meaning of the day – the Feast of Christ the King and how this made us all consider where earthly life was leading – to the Kingdom of Heaven in the presence of Christ our King. He particularly noted how the Gospel message of the day concerning the good thief who won a place with Christ The Lord in Heaven, from the sufferings of Calvary.
He then referred to the many accomplishments of Liam in his sporting and business life. He referred to his exploits on the MacRory Cup winning teams of 1948/49 and 1949/5 for St. Colman’s College during his school days. He spoke of his honours as an All Ireland No.1 choice as goalkeeper on the Colleges selection in 1949 and 1960 and particularly of his All Ireland Minor medal won with Armagh Minors in September 1949 against the might of Kerry.
His contribution at club level for Clann Eireann – his scholarship and reading to produce a mind of encyclopaedic proportions which made him a conversationalist with few equals – were also recorded by Fr. McParland. Finally Fr. McParland spoke of the business tradition of the McCorry family as respected trades-people in Edward Street and how Liam toiled and enlivened the shop with his ready wit and affirmation for all who came to be superbly served in the shop.
He then offered to the McCorry family and extended family, deepest sympathy on behalf of the Parish Priest Very. Rev. Monsignor Arthur Byrne P.P., V.G., and his curate Fr. John Byrne C.C.; Fr. Terence Rafferty C.C. and the parishioners of a Church to which Liam was a devoted servant all the days of his life. Those who attended the sad occasion included Liam’s chief mourners – his devoted brother Doctor Francis McCorry; his beloved sister Margaret; his nephews, nieces, brother-in-law Doctor Francis Austin and all members of a large family circle from Dublin and Lurgan and district.
Representatives of the Church in the Diocese included Very Rev. Canon Liam Stevenson, President, St. Colman’s College, Newry; Very Rev. Canon Patrick McAnuff, other senior clergy and curates from the Diocese of Dromore. G.A.A. representatives included Mr. Gene Duffy, Chairman Armagh County Board G.A.A.; Mr. Joe Canning, Treasurer; Mr. John McKnight, Legal Officer G.A.A.; Mr. Jimmy Smyth, Captain All Ireland Final team 1997 and noted commentator on Gaelic games.
From the educational world as a mark of respect for his brother, Doctor Francis McCorry currently Vice Principal St. Paul’s Junior Hih School, Lurgan and Liams abiding interest in education the following attended:
Mr. Sean Flanagan, Principal St. Paul’s Junior High School; Mr. James Johnston; Mr. James Smyh; Mr. Brendan Magee, Senior Managers St. Paul’s Junior High School; Mr. Brendan McStravick, recently retired Principal St. Paul’s Junior High School and the school’s other retired Principals Mr. Thomas Keville and Mr. Gerard McCrory. Staff members from St. Michael’s Grammar School, St. Mary’s Junior High School and Lismore Comprehensive also attended. Mr. Brian Curran in his public role as Principal of Tannaghmore Primary School was also involved as a member of the Guard of Honour as he was a playing colleague of Liam in the 1960’s. Mr. Harry Hoy, recently retired Principal of St. Anthony’s Primary School, was in a similar role.
Many of the large attendance accompanied Liam on his last journey; his cortege pausing at Clann Eireanns hall and the handball alley which he graced with consummate skill to St. Colman’s Cemetery where he was laid gently beside his beloved parents and brother Patrick.
Go deanaidh Dia trocaire ar a anam dilis.