It’s hard to believe it’s 12 months since our dear friend Tim Fitzgerald passed away. On this his first anniversary we look back at what made Tim so special to all of us and how he became the kind, gentle man we knew and loved. Tim grew up in the Limerick-Cork border area of Colmanswell and came from a large loving family, son of Johanna (nee O’Gorman) and the late Tadgh and a dear brother to Margaret, John, Patrick, Martin, Siobhan, Colie, Vera and Jason. He was educated in Colmanswell N.S. and Charleville C.B.S, Tim later began his working career in the Golden Vale in 1976 where he would make lifelong friendships and he became an active member of the Mallow No. 1 Branch Committee of the Irish Transport & General Workers Union in 1984. As one of the most active trade union officials in the country he was elected to the National Executive of 2010, a very proud day for Tim indeed. His knowledge, commitment and determination were vital in improving conditions for union members not just locally but on a national level.
On the sporting side of his life Tim loved Soccer, as a boy Limerick was his club and the Markets field was his theatre of dreams. He travelled to many of the games with his dear dad Tadgh where the recurring event would be Tim going missing at the end of each game. But Tim would always return with his treasured autograph book having secured another one of his hero’s signature’s on the pitch.
Little did we know when Tim joined Charleville AFC the influence he would have on the future of the club. He held every position on the club committee over the years and capped it off as serving as Chairman of this fine club for 23 years from 1991-2014, an unbelievable achievement and an honour Tim was very proud of. After Tim stepped down as Chairman he continued his role as club PRO, a role he enjoyed immensely. He was serving secretary of the Limerick County & District Underage League and was appointed Chairman of the Schoolboys FAI in 2014. He had previously been vice-chairman of the SFAI since 2011.
Over the years Tim received many national accolades and tributes but it was the local ones from his community where he lived for over 30 years which always meant the most to him. At the Charleville AFC 2014 awards night in the Charleville Park hotel Tim was honoured for his contribution and all of his achievements during his many years in the club and in November 2014 he was awarded the accolade of Exceptional Individual Achievement for his work in the community and business at the Charleville Chamber community awards.
In May of last year the FAI paid a touching tribute at the European championship qualifier between Ireland and Poland at the Aviva stadium in Dublin and he was posthumously accorded a services to football award at the FAI annual general meeting in Sligo by his close friend John Delaney, CEO of the FAI. Indeed in August John Was again in contact to confirm he would honour his promise to Tim that both he and Republic of Ireland manager Martin O Neill would be in attendance to perform the official opening of the new all weather pitch at Charleville Community Sports Complex. Tim played a huge part in the planning process and to secure funding to help put this amazing facility at the disposal of his community.
Tim meant so much to everyone who knew him, a great great family man, and a loyal friend to the core. A clubman like no other, a visionary who knew which was the correct path to take for the future of the club. If you ever had a concern or a problem you could rely on Tim for advice and you knew he would be discreet, he was a trustworthy soul. There has been many many occasions we all wish we could have called on Tim for advice or just a friendly chat in the last 12 months. To meet him for a drink, his favourite cider no ice, to hear him sing the boxer or the rooster one more time. For him to walk up to you with 3 soccer Lotto tickets and say “Hello Cove”. As I’ve already said Tim meant so much to all of us we all have great stories and memories to share with each other and that’s what Tim would want, he wouldn’t like to see any of us feeling down or sad, he’d want us to support each other and stay positive.
Among the congregation at Tim’s funeral mass were Jack O’Connor, President of SIPTU, Ms Patricia King, Vice-President SIPTU and his friend of long standing, John Delaney CEO of the FAI, his current and former Charleville AFC committee colleagues. His many friends from the world of soccer. Former work colleagues at Golden Vale and those with whom he worked until recently in Kerry Ingredients Charleville, who accompanied his Tim to his final resting place in his native Colmanswell Cemetery.
The 1st anniversary mass of our dear friend and former chairman Tim Fitzgerald will be on Friday the 5th February in Colmanswell church at 7.30pm.
As a mark of respect Charleville AFC have taken the decision to cancel all training sessions for the 5th February for all teams.