It is with great difficulty that I’m trying to even write this message about you, about what you meant to me and about what you meant to our club. The news of your passing has shook me to my very core and no amount of words will ever do you justice about how much of a genuine living legend you were. The legacy you have left behind is simply staggering.
There’s a cliché I hear all the time about how someone can help you ‘on and off the field’ but in this instance, and from reading countless other stories from everyone, the words couldn’t be any more true about you. I’ve known you for a good few years now and we became very, very close. You have been a constant source of support to me, like I said, ‘on and off the field’. My first real encounter with you was when you took me for my Foundation and Level 1 GAA certificates and done so with real vigour and showed me just how passionate you really were about coaching. That’s how you approached everything you done in life – with 100% effort, commitment and dedication.
From then, any time I have had to coach in schools or coach underage teams you have been unbelievable to me in providing encouragement, resources and advice. You always tried to challenge me and improve me in any way possible.
When I was in Liverpool last year doing my teaching, you were constantly checking in on me with messages and phone calls where you would offer advice, being a teacher yourself. You didn’t have to do those things James, but being the selfless man that you were, you gave up your own time to ensure I was getting on ok.
On the pitch, I can’t even begin to put into words what you have done for me. The past few years you have instilled a confidence and belief in myself to play at senior level that I never imagined having and I really mean that. Any time I went up to practice on my own you were the first person I would get in touch with and you would go out of your way to provide me with equipment – anything you could have done to contribute to me trying to improve myself – you done it, no questions asked. In all my years playing for Tír-na-nÓg, there is nobody that has had the influence on me, the way that you have. I’ll never forget our talks on match day during warms ups. I’ll not forget the time you came up to me, looked me dead in the eye with a straight face and said, “You were born from your mother’s womb to destroy them today” 😂
Our latest conversations mainly consisted of the upcoming plans for the 2021 season and indeed the following years to come after that – your ‘Masterplan’. Every time this masterplan was discussed you’d start it off by saying (in that thick Belfast accent) “Logie, I’m telling ya nai…” and I’d believe every word of it because you spoke about it with such passion. I will be giving everything I possibly can to contribute to the vision you had for us because we owe it to you to try build on from the foundations you’ve left behind.
Last but not least, I feel a sense of closure after achieving something this year, with you, that our club sought after for 101 years. Our first ever Intermediate hurling championship. I’m so proud to be apart of that team after all you done in helping us achieve that goal. Your contributions to us all on the panel can’t be understated. You are irreplaceable James. I’m going to miss you so much, more than you’ll ever know. What I will say is that I’m honoured to have known you. The most selfless man I have ever come across in my life. An incredible man, a role model, a mentor, a coach, a hero and an even better friend. Someone who I aspire to be like in every way possible.
Rest in peace James 💙