Stokes, Sean

Domiciled in Galway since the early 1970s, older followers of the Westmeath GAA scene will remember Sean as being an outstanding dual player. The sixth of 10 children born to Jack and Mary-Anne Stokes, he represented his county in both codes, first coming to notice in 1952 when he was one of five students from Colaiste Mhuire in Mullingar to win Leinster minor football medals with Westmeath.

From 1955 until 1960, Sean was a regular on the county hurling team and made many appearances for the county footballers also. However, his GAA career was ended prematurely when he suffered a serious injury at the age of 27. He then turned his hand to the administration side of the GAA and served as secretary of the Westmeath minor board for a period of time.

Sean played his club football and hurling with Boher and Castletown-Geoghegan respectively. With his beloved Boher - who are sadly no longer - he won a junior championship in 1953 and an intermediate championship in 1957. They were competitive at senior level for a few years after that, but couldn't break the dominance enjoyed by the great Athlone team of that era.

He joined the ranks of Castletown-Geoghegan in 1954 and captained the black and ambers to six successive SHC final appearances between 1955 and '60, winning four of them, including a famous three-in-a-row between 1956 and '58. Denied a four-in-a-row by Rickardstown (the club of John 'Jobber' McGrath) in '59, Castletown bounced back to win their fourth title in 1960. Sean's versatility was reflected in the fact that he played in four different positions in those championship-winning years, including the half back, half forward and full forward lines.

A very skilful and influential player, it was entirely fitting that two of the three surviving members of the 1956 Castletown team helped to carry Sean's coffin as part of his final journey. Even after work took him to the City of Tribes, Sean still retained a passion for his native county and was a proud man when he watched Westmeath defeat Galway at his local Pearse Stadium in 2006 to qualify for an All-Ireland SFC quarter-final against Dublin.

A brother of well-known Scor enthusiast Dick, Sean is survived by his wife Josephine and his sons Eoin and Conor.

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