A dark cloud hangs over Westmeath GAA today following the passing of 2000 Leinster MFC-winning goalkeeper Eoin (Eoinie) Farrell.
Eoinie, who had been battling illness in recent months, also represented the Lake County at U21 and senior level as well as Athlone IT in the Sigerson Cup. In more recent years, he served as a Westmeath minor football selector.
A native of Walderstown outside Athlone and married to Eimear Murphy, Eoinie hailed from a family steeped into the GAA. His father Tom is a former Westmeath GAA chairman, while his brothers Conor, Ronan and Trevor all lined out alongside him for their beloved Maryland. Eoinie played both in goals and outfield for the Drumraney-based club, and was centre back when they won the Westmeath IFC title in 2008. Maryland also won the first season of the RTÉ reality TV series, Celebrity Bainisteoir, that year.
"The untimely passing of Eoin Farrell has left Maryland GAA numb and deeply saddened. Eoinie, as many people referred to him, made a massive contribution to Maryland GAA, both as a player between 1998 and 2016, and as a volunteer," Maryland GAA said in a Facebook post.
"Eoinie had a distinguished underage career, winning three Cumann na mBunscol titles with Ardnagrath NS (including one alongside future wife Eimear) and obtaining numerous underage successes with Maryland/Tang and Shannon Gaels. He was also part of the Marist College team who lost the Leinster Senior ‘A’ football final in 1999 to Good Counsel, New Ross.
"He came to prominence at county level playing as a goalkeeper and was an integral part of the Westmeath minor football team who were crowned Leinster champions in 2000. A memorable 2-9 to 1-10 win over Dublin in the final saw Eoinie make a key save and also embark on a solo run out the field, long before the trends of today's netminders were in vogue."
The post added: "He assumed the role of joint treasurer in Maryland/Tang at the end of 2018, and contributed massive work. This included providing jerseys and club gear to underage players, and setting up a club website. His last contribution was to offer all players training tops, club hats and a football each.
"An all round GAA fanatic, Eoinie has left imprints in GAA clubs from his travels; Westmeath New York, John McBrides (Chicago) and Wellington (New Zealand) all benefitted from his playing prowess and voluntary efforts. He played football like he lived life, a massive sense of fun and enjoyment. We express our condolences to his wife Eimear, and to the Farrell and Murphy families. Codladh Sámh Eoinie."
Maryland GAA has postponed all club activities until further notice.
Eoinie's passing comes just a fortnight after the death of another former GAA star in the Athlone area, Garrycastle's Enda Mulvihill, who was just a few years older at 43.Tweet