Cloyne turned out in force to say goodbye to Philip ‘Bunty’ Cahill on Tuesday — the Cloyne GAA clubman passed away suddenly last Saturday, just after his club played Killeagh in the Cork senior A hurling championship at Castlemartyr.
After a lifetime serving the red and black of Cloyne as a player and administrator, when he passed away last weekend he was president of the club. Cloyne club chairman David Cahill — a distant cousin — paid a warm tribute to Bunty.
“He’s a huge loss to us, absolutely. I suppose we haven’t had time yet to process what it means to us all. To be honest people are still in a bit of a daze since it happened, coming to terms with it because it happened so suddenly.
“He was our club president but he was more than that - he was our spiritual leader, really, in terms of everything that went on in GAA terms in Cloyne.
“He was involved in every aspect of the club, whether that was cutting the grass on the pitch, being involved with teams, right up to becoming president of the club — every development within the club for years, he was front and centre of it always.”
Cahill added that Bunty had been at the club’s most recent committee meeting as recently as last week: “We had a club meeting last Wednesday night and he was there, of course. At any meeting like that you’d be just waiting for him to walk in the door in order to get started.
“To be honest, you assume someone like Bunty is always going to be there — for every game, for every occasion, every meeting, because he was always there for them.
“As I say, we haven’t gotten around to processing it yet, but if you were to write a fairytale ending for how he was going to pass away, given everything he had given the club over the years, it was very sad last weekend but it was also special.”
The Cloyne players gave their president a guard of honour in Castlemartyr last Saturday night when they learned that Bunty had died at the game.
“He passed away right after the match,” said David Cahill.
“But the lads, the players and the club members, were around for a good hour afterwards.
“The players were still in their jerseys after the game and they gave him a guard of honour coming off the field.”
Cahill also acknowledged Bunty’s vivid contribution to the recent RTÉ documentary Christy Ring: Man and Ball, when he shared his memories of the maestro: “That was brilliant to have because it gave a real sense of Bunty’s personality, and how proud he and Jimmy Aherne, and everyone in Cloyne, were of Christy Ring.
“For the club itself, we’re lucky and unlucky.
“We’re unlucky to lose Bunty but we were so lucky to have him.”
Bunty Cahill is survived by his wife Kitty, children Annemarie, Philip, Kaye, and Maurice, as well as grandchildren and extended family.