Cork football in mourning after the passing of Barrs legend McTernan

Cork football in mourning after the passing of Barrs legend McTernan
Kevin McTernan saves from St Vincent's Cian Barry in 2008. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

ON the weekend that a new generation of Barrs footballers were involved in the replayed Cork County SHC final with Nemo Rangers, the club lost one of its great stalwarts, a former star player, Kevin McTernan.

He was one of the great servants of the club, a goalkeeper of the highest quality and a hugely popular person in their splendid complex in Togher.

When the announcement of his passing was made, a pall of gloom descended on the vast numbers of the lives that he had touched during a life that was far too short.

He had been ill for some time, but his strength and courage throughout it was quite remarkable.

Over the past few days, the tributes to him have been vast from inside and outside the club with people trying to come to terms with his loss.

Picture: Richard Mills
Picture: Richard Mills

Joe Kennedy, another Barrs stalwart, was one of his many, many friends and he recalls the vast contribution that he made during again, his all too short a life.

“Where do you start with Kevin? He was first and foremost a hugely dedicated husband to Donna and to his three children, Megan, Sophie and Harry.

“He was adored by his own family, mother Eileen, brother Martin and sisters Mary, Joan, and Carmel.

“He was a huge figure for everybody who knew him. Within the Barrs and outside he was massively popular.

“We had a group of our own and we called him Mr Chairman, that was because of his organisational skills.

“There was around eight of us, Barrs and Nemo guys and he used to organise trips that we went on.

“He was a sportsman and a leader and I don’t think I ever heard a bad word spoken against him.

“His family were his life and the strength that he showed during his illness was unbelievable really. He never complained, he got on with it, that was just the type of guy that Kevin was.’’

Kennedy remembers him as a football goalkeeper of immense ability and a very good hurler too.

“Yes, down the years in the Barrs we have been blessed with great goalkeepers in both codes.

“Kevin was one of them and he bided his time always before he became our number one after the late and great John Kerins and John O’Brien.

“He was a very good hurler too and he won two U21 county medals and he also played senior hurling in the club.

“When he retired from playing he put just as much back into the club as a selector and a coach.

St Finbarr's goalkeeper Kevin McTernan with his family after the 2008 county final. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
St Finbarr's goalkeeper Kevin McTernan with his family after the 2008 county final. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

“But, as I said, his family were always first and only very recently Megan won an U14 county camogie medal while Sophie won an U13 county medal.

“Last weekend young Harry played in a blitz on the astro pitch in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

“Donna, his wife, was his rock, she’s is Charlie McCarthy’s daughter and they were a second family to him, they treated him as one of their own.

“He played soccer too with Casement Celtic and Greenmount Rangers and he was a great West Ham United fan and, not long ago, he was over in their new ground.

“He was a lover of trad music too and two of his favourites were Red is the Rose and the Cliffs of Dooneen.

“He was a top, top guy, a great friend, and coming to terms with his loss is going to be next to impossible.’’

Pat Lougheed is one of the all-time Barrs greats, as a player, selector and All-Ireland winning club manager and he too is devastated at Kevin’s passing.

“He was with me a few weeks ago at the county semi-final against Carbery Rangers. He was a fabulous person with a great sense of humour.

“He was a great goalkeeper with us and, like John Kerins, he was far too young to die.

“He had two families really, his own which he adored, and the Barrs. He never gave less than 100% in everything that he did.

“He loved putting on a Barrs jersey and he was a fellow that never complained. He played at so many different levels in the club and his motto was, I got a lot out of my time as a player and now I’ll try to put something back in.

“Kevin was a lovely man, one of nature’s gentlemen and he’s a massive loss to all of us.

“The greatest loss, of course, is to Donna and the children, to his mother Eileen and the rest of the family.

“He has left us all with a very rich legacy and he will always be very fondly remembered.

One can easily empathise with those words, having spoken to him on just a few occasions, he was the type of person that made you feel a lot better at having met him.’’

Na Piarsaigh's John Gardiner slides in to kick the ball past Kevin McTernan. Picture: Damien Quirke
Na Piarsaigh's John Gardiner slides in to kick the ball past Kevin McTernan. Picture: Damien Quirke

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