For the second time in just a little over a year Leevale athletic club is again mourning the loss of one of it’s founder members. The death of Kevin Barry following a car crash last Friday follows swiftly on the loss of Fr. Nessan Shaw last year. For many years Kevin acted as an announcer at most of the fixtures in Cork, including schools, Cork City Sports, and championships. He also held positions at club, county Muster and National levels. Ill health in recent years prevented him from continuing. Ironically he had agreed to allow his name go forward for the position of vice chairman on the club’s committee for the coming year. Leevale chairman Joe O’Flynn said Kevin was a founder member of the club. In his younger days he was a great club athlete, and a great organiser of social events at that time. He said that Kevin had served as chairman of the Munster Council, had a term on the Management Committee of BLE, and was also chairman of Leevale, in addition to many other positions. He was the father of three outstanding athletes, with his son and namesake Kevin running very prominently in BLOE competition at present. Kevin was an enthusiastic follower of their running careers. Mark Carroll, bronze medal winner at the European championships, speaking from his base in America, said he had lost one of his greatest supporters. He recalled that just 40 minutes after his medal winning race he returned to his Budapest hotel to find a congratulatory fax from Kevin, something he really appreciated. It wasn’t only Leevale athletes who received a congratulatory fax; it extended to all the Irish athletes who did well in the past few years, and Kevin did it from a sense of joy at their achievements.
County Board chairman John Smyth said Kevin was a very dedicated worker all his life. He said his main aim was to help young athletes, always with a word of encouragement for the lesser known athletes, and for those who finished down the field. He always gave the same encouragement whether they finished first or last.
Club President Finbarr O’Brien said it was a huge blow, not only to his family, but to Leevale and all his friends that Kevin should be taken away from us at this time, and at so young an age. He said that Kevin was loved universally accross the board in athletics. “He had a tremendous passion for the sport, and from day one his influence on Leevale was massive, and he himself was influenced by Fr. Nessan, I’m sure. His influences were all in the right way, he always did things correctly, always by the book, honestly and straight. He inspired people around him”, said Finbarr. “and everyone had something good to say about him” According to Finbarr, Kevin was at his best when judging at track meets. When other judges made a mess of judging a close finish Kevin usually had things under control, and he was able to give correct finishing places for everyone; and no one would challenge his decision. His honesty and sense of fair play was without question. To his wife Maura, children, Tony, Cliona, Orla, and Kevin, his mother, sisters, and all his family we extend our sincere sympathy. May he rest in peace.