Thomas Mitchell

Mitchell, Thomas

30 September 2007

'You'll never walk Alone', the message embossed on the Celtic and Liverpool flags summed up the sentiments of an entire community as they bid a tearful farewell to Currow native Thomas Mitchell, who died tragically.

Thomas (29) was an accomplished football star and gifted tradesman who endeared himself to everyone he met. His life and death had a profound influence on his community.

The close-knit community of Currow are trying to come to terms with the untimely death of Thomas whose soul took flight on Friday last. He was an extremely popular young man who loved, cherished and popular in his community. He brought a ray of sunlight to all he came in contact with through his friendly smile, his wit and his bubbly personality. One of his most unique hallmarks was his love of people and especially the elderly. He had those rare qualities of kindness, compassion, respect for others and a love of his parish that one associates with a person many years his senior.

Thomas had time for everyone. He enjoyed the company of his peers and friends and was happiest in this company. He was a dedicated and loyal player with Currow GAA Club where he enjoyed success and honour wearing his favourite jearsey, the black and amber of the club. His talents as a footballer were evident at a young age. He played Under 14 football when he was just 12 years of age and quickly became one of the best corner backs in the game helping Currow to an historic East kerry O'Donohue Cup title in 1998 and an O'Sullivan Cup title in 1998 and an O'Sullivan Cup title in 2003.

His contribution on the Currow Senior team helped the club to gain numerous promotions in the Kerry County Football League. He was also a key player with the St.kieran's Divisional teams. Other accolades from the promising young star was an All-Ireland 7-a-side medal, a Munster medal with the Kerry vocational Schools team in 1996, Kerry Under 14 County League and District League Championship medals (1991) and other awards at under age level.

Central to Thomas' life was his deep rooted love for his family and in particular for his parents Eileen and Neily. He took pride in the achievements of his brother Mossie and sisters Elaine and Sheila. he adored his young nieces, Emma Buckley (3) and Laura Mitchell (12) who played a key part in his life.

The other person who influenced him greatly was his girlfriend, Aine Bradley from Ballymacelligott who was the focus of his life over the past two years.

Following his second level education at Castleisland Community College, he trained as a carpenter and later set up the highly successful Mitchell and McKenna Company with his close friend and fellow Currow native, Paudie McKenna. He took pride in the business and was widely regarded as a master craftsman who was acknowledged for his high standard of work.

As his remains were shouldered from The School Cross in Currow to Currow Church on Monday evening, hundreds of former team mates and friends stood in tearful silence as they formed a guard of honour in his memory. Locals, visitors and surrounding communities also lined the route as an eerie silence descended along the valley. The local church was filled to capacity as people bid an emotional farewell to a young man who had touched the hears of so many in his short and fun-filled life. Outside the Church, a guard of honour was formed by Currow GAA Club to mark his involvement in sport. Thomas was a shining example of all that is good in modern sport. His popularity and the high esteem he commanded in Currow and beyond was again evident at the concelebrated funeral Mass were hundreds of mourners bid Thomas farewell on his final journey to St Michael's Cemetery. As his remains were carried from the Church his favourite song, 'You'll Never Walk Alone' was sung as the autumn sunshine appeared from behind the dark clouds that cast a sorrowful shadow over Currow. Hundreds of former class mates, GAA players and basketball teams from Currow and Castleisland formed a guard of honour as his remains left the village he loved and cherished for many years with the sunshine masking the heartfelt and painful sadness that united the community in grief.

His coffin bearing the number 4 jersey was shouldered the half mile to the graveyard by members of Currow GAA Club.

Courtesy of Kerry's Eye. 27 September, 2007.


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