May 18, 2001
The tragic death in a road accident in Cork city of Garda Seamus McIntyre of Kenmare, was received with shock and dismay by his many friends and sporting acquaintances in his native county and beyond.
The 29-year old Kenmare born officer died following a road accident that also cost the life of his colleague and fellow county man, Garda George Rice, a native of Kilgarvan.
Although still only in his late twenties, Seamus McIntyre had a long and distinguished hurling career with his club, Kenmare, and he had been an outstanding campaigner with the Kerry hurlers in the 1990s, playing against top teams such as Clare, Offaly, Tipperary, Kilkenny, Galway and Waterford.
But it was only natural that Seamus should excel as a sportsman. His parents, PJ and Mamie McIntyre have been immersed in sport for many years. PJ, who is also a garda, is a former Kerry hurler and footballer and a very well known GAA administrator, while Mamie McIntyre has been very closely involved in the Community Games movement for many years.
Seamus was first and foremost a hurler. He was one of the cornerstones of the Kerry defence for a number of years and played a key role in keeping Kerry hurling to the forefront in the 1990s.
He had a fine positional sense, combined with a keen eye and a raking clearance out of defence.
Seamus also played junior football with Kerry.
Describing him as 'a lovely young lad,' Kerry County Board Chairman, Sean Walsh, said he would have known Seamus McIntyre both as a Kerry hurler and a footballer with the county junior team.
"First and foremost, I would like to extend my sympathy to his parents, PJ and Mamie, his brother Padraig, his sister Geraldine and his girlfriend, Clare, on their very tragic loss," said Mr Walsh.
"Seamus was a very accomplished hurler and footballer. He gave tremendous service to his club, Kenmare, in both codes and of course, he also had the distinction of wearing the Kerry jersey in both hurling and football.
"He played a lot with the Kerry hurlers. Indeed, it was envisaged that he might make a return to the Kerry hurling team for the B championship this year. Soundings had been made in this regard in recent days.
"Obviously, everyone was stunned when the news came through on Sunday, particularly the Kerry hurlers who were gathering in Mullingar to play Westmeath. They paid their own tribute when Maurice Leahy led them in prayers in the dressingroom before the game.
Everyone of them felt despondent on hearing the news of Seamus's death. Some of them would have played with him and would have known him well.
"Anyone that came in contact with him would appreciate the genuineness and sincerity of the person that he was."
The chairman said the fact that his parents were heavily involved in sporting organisations in Kenmare and, indeed, countywide meant that a lot of sporting organisations in the county will be very saddened at the news of Seamus McIntyre's tragic death.
"The family has made an immense contribution to the broad spectrum of sport in this county and in particular his Dad, PJ, who has been a life-long servant to the GAA in the county," said Mr Walsh.
"Seamus McIntyre will be sadly missed by all GAA people in Kerry."
Former Kerry hurling manager, John Meyler, described Seamus McIntyre as a tremendous corner-back, a man with an eye for the ball and a match who could catch it and come out with it.
"My association with him would go back to when I started off first (with Kerry) in 1993," said Mr Meyler.
"I became involved in the winter of '92 in the National League. His father PJ was a selector with me at the time. And so Seamus became involved with me. Of course, there were two other Kenmare players involved - the Foleys, Mick and John. Mick is married to Seamus's sister, Geraldine.
"The three of them would come from Kenmare with PJ for training or else I would pick them up at Loo Bridge in Kenmare.
"Seamus was an excellent corner-back. He played against Waterford the year we beat them in the championship. He also played against Tipperary in the National League quarter-final in Killarney.
"He was playing against the great full-forward line of English, Fox and Bonnar and Kerry held the three of them to a point that day.
"After that he joined the Gardai and played Fitzgibbon Cup with them. When he was transferred to Galway I think he played with Gort. I know people up there who thought a lot about him. He played here in Ballincollig also. He would have fitted in anywhere.
"He was easy going but fiercely determined.
"I remember one year against Down we moved him up to the forty and he scored a couple of goals. But he was really more at home in the full-back line.
"What you particularly admired about him was his physical strength and determination. He had an eye for the ball. He was a great man to catch the ball and come out with it.
"He would have been at home in Cork hurling no problem.
"When I started off first, the South Kerry fellows gave me great support. Of course, the McIntyre family is steeped in hurling. They're a great family.
"It is extremely sad that he should have died in such tragic circumstances, with so much ahead of him."
The Chairman of the South Kerry Hurling Board, Pat Delaney, said they were all very saddened to hear of Seamus McIntyre's tragic death.
"It's a very sad occasion indeed," said Mr Delaney, who served as a Kerry hurling selector for the last six years.
"Seamus was very dependable, he was a great full back and corner-back," he said.
"He was a great sportsman and was very committed to hurling. One could not praise him enough.
"If he said to you that he would be there, he was going to be there.
"At inter-county level he could hold his own with the best of them. It didn't matter whether it was Cork, Tipp, Kilkenny or Clare that was providing the opposition.
"No matter what games he was playing in, he always gave it a hundred percent. In the last year he opted not to play with Kerry because he could not give it his full commitment. He was after moving from Galway to Ballincollig.
"If you had occasion to ring him up about training for league matches, he always turned up.
"He also played football with Kenmare and he played junior football with Kerry.
"In the last fortnight we got talking about the South Kerry hurlers playing in Division One of the County League and we were always hoping that he might come back to us.
"Whether it was Kenmare or Kerry he was hurling for, he always gave it a hundred per cent. I remember he was disappointed when the Garda team was beaten in the Fitzgibbon Cup competition three or four years ago.
"Knowing Seamus he would not fear anyone. He was always a fair player and never gave anyone a dirty belt. As a player both on and off the field you could not meet nicer. All South Kerry is shocked at the news.
"Everybody had the highest respect and regard for Seamus. He will be sadly missed by one and all.
"We all offer our sympathy to his parents, PJ and Mamie, to his brother Padraig and his sister Geraldine.
As a mark of respect to both Garda McIntyre and Garda Rice, all games in the North Kerry Senior Hurling League arranged for the Monday night after his death were called off.
At the Kerry versus Westmeath National Hurling League game in Mullingar, the flag was flown at half mast and a minute's silence was observed as a mark of respect.
Courtesy of The Kerryman
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