Remembering Darragh Frain By David Henry

August 2nd, 2019 | by St James GAA
Remembering Darragh Frain By David Henry
Club News
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Remembering Darragh Frain

By David Henry

Friday 30 September 2016 marked the sudden and untimely passing of Darragh Frain, a stalwart of the St. James’ G.A.A. Club, Club Rossie, GMIT, Fianna Fáil and Galway G.A.A. From a young age, Darragh immersed himself in sport and was very involved in many organisations. He had a large circle of friends and wherever he went, the mighty Frainers would always bump into someone he knew. He would stand there, his heart content, talking about everything from GAA to politics, work and whatever news that would spring to mind. Darragh was a very happy person, kind, obliging, caring and above all, an honest and decent young man. In his final weeks, he managed to attend two Connacht finals between Roscommon and Galway. The first final took place in Pearse Stadium and the replay in McHale Park. No matter how sick, he was determined to see these games with his family. For him, going to see Rossie V Galway was the highlight of his year and he would never miss a game. He drove all around the country with his family and friends to watch games,attended political meetings and visit relations. Darragh’s father Tom originated from Ballaghaderreen in County Roscommon. His mother Bernie Corcoran was from Renmore. They resided in Lurgan Park, Renmore and that was where they raised their family. Bernie and Tom had three children, Fiona, Tom and Darragh. Tom (Snr) worked in Renmore Barracks. The family was heavily involved in the local community. Fiona recalls them going to GAA games most Sunday’s and these were memories that they all cherished.

For Darragh St. James G.A.A. was everything. He was a real activist and a great club member. He would attend every game whether it be underage or at adult level. He loved being involved with teams. Darragh spent a lot of time with Terry O’Regan and was part of many underage teams that won county titles. He was a selector for Terry on the James’ U-21 winning side that comprehensively defeated Corofin in May 2012. Frainers would always attend committee meetings and loved when Mike O’Neill (RIP) would kick off on a rant at a member of the committee over a certain issue or topic. Mike O’Neill sadly passed away in January of 2015, only 1 year separated both stalwarts of the club. Before Darragh became ill, he was manager of the James’ U-16 team and his side captured an underage title while he was in hospital. In addition, Frainer was part of the St. James’ ladies management team that won the Junior B county title in 2016 against Salthill/Knocknacarra. Following the victory, Aishling Donnelly, David Henry, Anne Burke, Keith Murphy and his nephew Eoghan Frain, whom he truly loved, visited him in the hospital with the county cup. He was thrilled to say the least. Having his friends there with him and the county cup brought a big smile to his face. If the Jimmies senior men’s team lost a match, Darragh would not be in good form and would go underground for a day or two. That’s how much the club meant to him. He idolized senior players Johnny Duane, Paul Conroy and Eoin Concannon. He would often use their names in circle of friends and was very proud of their achievements on the field of play. After a senior championship game, Frainers would be in the Merlin Bar around the senior players talking about the match and who played well, who didn’t, and telling all sorts of stories. After the Merlin, either the Front Door pub or Halo nightclub would be hit up for a night of celebration.

One of the funniest moments that I recall was in Tuam Stadium when James’ met Caherlistrane in the Senior club championship in 2013. Frank Doherty was the manager of the team at that time. It was a wet and windy evening and Doherty instructed Frainers to go down to the Caherlistrane goalkeeper and take the spare ball from behind the goals. This was to slow down the kick outs of Eanna Bane who was a good friend of mine. Caherlistrane were behind and the game was nearly over. So Frainers proceeded to do as Doherty instructed. Bare in mind there were hundreds in Tuam Stadium that evening and as Frainer picked up the ball, Bane came at him and tried to pull the ball from him. Darragh struck Eanna with a shoulder and knocked him to the ground and the stand cheered with laughter and shortly after the game was over the emphasis was not on the win, but the shoulder Frainers landed Bane. Darragh would often ring older members of the club to pick their brains on certain topics and when Galway was defeated heavily by Laois on one occasion in the National league, he proceeded to ring Alfie Howley and put him on loudspeaker in a car full of Galway fans. Frainers loved the banter and craic and he got the best out of Howley that night. I won’t repeat Howley’s response. Another fond memory of Darragh was when St. James’ were training for the Junior C county championship final back in 2011. Darragh and his brother Tom were on the team and they won the West Board Final beating Leitir Mor after a third replay. Martin King was the manager of the team at that time and he reminiscent when Tom landed Darragh an un-mercyful shoulder in a possession game at training one sunny evening in Mervue. King said that Tom came out of nowhere and Darragh was left in no man’s land after the strike. Everyone was in tears laughing that evening, even Darragh found it funny as he got back on his feet after quite some time.

Aidan Brady of Club Rossie recalls meeting Tom Frain (Snr) in 1999 when he first moved to Galway and their Roscommon connection formed a strong friendship throughout the years. Aidan knew the family very well and was proud to be friends with the Frains. He is the proud sponsor of the Annual Darragh Frain Memorial football tournament which takes place in Mervue every year since his passing. The tournament represents and symbolizes Darragh and what he lived for. Teams from Roscommon and Galway gather every year to play in this excellent football festival. Whenever Galway and Roscommon met Darragh would not say much leading up to the fixture and
when a very close friend of his, Dennis Carr, would ask him who was he going for, he would smile and nod and then change the question. Darragh and Dennis were great friends and Dennis got Darragh involved in the underage county football teams in Galway. Frainer was a mentor for the Galway City/West team and they trained every Saturday morning in Renmore. Patrick and Cathal Sweeney of Killannin GAA were part of the management team also. Frainer spoke very highly of the Sweeney twins and the fact that they went to college in GMIT too, made it even better.

Darragh had friends and loyalties in both camps and whether Galway or Roscommon would win or lose, he was always a winner. He would meet up with friends before and after a championship game and have a pint with them. Mingling with his large circle of friends, smiling, laughing and having the craic, is what he loved the most. Darragh had so many friends and it’s hard to name them all. Emyln Coyne, Orla Coyne, Damien Kenny, Emma Kenny and Jarleth Killilea, Kyle O’Malley were very close to Darragh and he would often talk about them.

John Connolly recalls a story that G.A.A. journalist Cian O Connell told about Darragh around the time of his funeral. “Roscommon had fallen to the low ranks of Division 3 of the National Football League and Cian was given the assignment of covering a nondescript contest on a dreary cold wet Sunday afternoon in the depths of winter between the Rossies and Tipperary in Tipperary town. The first two people Cian met as he entered the grounds was Darragh and his brother Tom among a VERY small band of Roscommon supporters. The story didn’t surprise me. For me, Darragh epitomised the best of what it is to be a Gael”.

Darragh was a hard worker and completed a degree programme at GMIT, Galway. Furthermore, he worked at Big O Taxi and Mapfre/Ireland Assist. Darragh loved working for both of these companies and had many fond memories. A close friend of Darragh in GMIT was Colin Canny. He remembers a time when Darragh helped him train the Fresher A team at GMIT. Canny said that Franiers’ “dedication and commitment to the cause was unreal. If we trained at 6pm or 7am Darragh was usually the first man their and the last to leave. The usual banter with the lads was also part of his nature. Slagging the young lads on what they were up to in town the night before was one fond memory of mine. I recall a funny story of a young Donegal man who got found out by Frainer ahead of an important fixture NUI Galway. The player in question was pulled by Frainers saying how drunk he was the night before and also where he was and indeed the colour of the girl’s hair he was with at the end of the night. The lad denied to the hilt that he was out and couldn’t understand how Darragh knew this – Darragh simply said – is this your number?(showing him the phone) The player said yes it is – right well you got a taxi into town at 10.38pm and you got home at 3.45am! (Big O taxi came in handy for these scandals or stories). Darragh’s passion for GAA was phenomenal and I was thankful for getting him involved back in 2010 and I
know Damo Curley would back up this statement that Darragh was a vital cog in every GMIT team. He was an outstanding organizer but he also had excellent expertise in terms of his football knowledge and selection. Frainer was also a great person for dealing with players on a one to one basis”

On his lunch breaks, Darragh he would pop into Crowe’s Bar for something to eat and also to talk politics with none-other than Michael John and Ollie Crowe. According to Michael John Crowe, “Darragh loved politics and Fianna Fáil”. He canvassed for Ollie and Mike on many occasions. He took a keen interest in the local elections and sourced information and then passed it onto Mike and Ollie. Darragh’s family were Fianna Fáil supporters and he was carrying on this great tradition by helping the Crowe’s. Mike said that “Darragh had an innate sense of who was Fianna Fáil and who wasn’t. During canvassing he knew the houses to call to and more importantly, which houses to avoid” Ollie Crowe recalls a time when Galway were in the All-Ireland Hurling final in 2016 against Kilkenny. Ollie called up to the hospital to visit Darragh. He said that Darragh had up to 40 All-Ireland tickets and was ringing around helping people with tickets. Bare in mind, All-Ireland final tickets were like gold dust and there was Franiers in his height of sickness helping people.

The Frain family have been struck with tragedy, losing their father Tom (Snr) in November 2011. The loss of Darragh in October 2016 and his mother Bernie in December of that same year was devastating for Tom, Fiona, Eoghan and their family. In Darragh’s final days and hours, UCHG and
St. James’s Hospital Dublin could not have done enough in their treatment and hospitality. Life can be so cruel at times, but one must look back on the positive aspects and impact that he had on people’s lives. He was a really great guy and his legacy will live on inspiring generations to come.

Go raibh míle maith agat

After Darragh’s passing many of his friends had the following to say:

Dennis Carr: “Darragh was a great friend and above all a great person, who always had a kind
word for everyone”.

Terry O’Regan: “I brought Darragh on board with me as a selector with the St. James’ U-15 and 16 teams and he remained involved through the successful county winning campaigns at minor and U-21 level. He loved being involved and his enthusiasm was infectious.

Frank Doherty: “I had the privilege of working with Darragh when I managed the St. James’ senior team. Darragh and his brother Tom were the kit man and no job was to small or big. He was very knowledgeable in his football and knew most players from all clubs and colleges. Just a genuine
good guy. Rest in peace kid and thank you for all your work”.

Michael John Crowe: “Darragh Frain was definitely one man with an old head on young shoulders. When it came to politics and in particular Fianna Fàil, he was years ahead of his contemporaries. It was in the genes. Handed down from his Dad Tom and he was an integral part of my team and his
loss was a big blow to all involved in Fianna Fàil. I and all involved in Fianna Fàil will be eternally grateful to have known Darragh and forever thankful he was on our team and not the oppositions!”.

Colin Canny: “I miss Darragh greatly, as a friend and certainly I hope that his legacy will live on in
all the clubs and groups he has been apart of”.

Ollie Crowe: “A man that was taken way to soon. Darragh lived life to the full and made the best out of every opportunity. He lived & died for the GAA especially the Jimmies. He was a great community person, loved politics and had so much more to offer. His memory will always live on because in his 29 years on this earth he made a significant contribution to life across this fantastic city & beyond”.

Aidan Brady: “A true gentleman with a huge passion for the GAA ,his family and his community”.

David Henry: “Darragh was at the helm of all aspects of the club. He was an incredible person who gave so much of his time and energy to the sport. He gave of his time freely and no task was too great for Darragh. He knew the challenges of life better than most and approached everyday with an open and humorous personality that had a lasting effect of all who crossed his path. We travelled to most Galway football games when very few people were supporting the tribesmen. I truly miss those days and often reflect on the glorious memories and banter that we use to have”.

John Connolly: “Darragh totally immersed himself in Gaelic Games. Wherever he was, he sought out participation in the association. St James, GMIT, Club Rossie, Galway GAA academy teams and off course supporting our inter county teams in both football and hurling. There wasn’t a player of either code in the county or province that Darragh wasn’t familiar with. He had, off course, developed a great niche within the association as a coach and he was extremely popular with the players he worked with at St James, GMIT and the underage County Academies. The dedication he showed to the GAA causes he supported was incredible”.

Friends of Darragh: “Always remembered fondly and missed by your good many friends Emlyn Coyne, Orla Coyne, Damien Kenny, Emma Kenny, Kyle O’Malley, Jarlath Killilea”.

Pictured from L-R are Darragh Frain RIP, Terry O’Regan and Pat Jordan after they managed the jimmies to a Minor ‘B’ West Board Championship title in 2012.

02/08/2019

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