Tributes Pour in for Kevin Barry

The tributes continue to pour in for the late Kevin Barry….

    “I recently learned of Kevin Barry’s passing and as with everybody else Kevin had an impact on me also.  I have always respected him for his total commitment not just to Leevale but to running as a whole.  I distinctly remember Kevin working hard on behalf of the kids in the Mayfield community entering and training them for the Community Games and generally ensuring that they were being taken care of.  Fortunately, this was always to Leevale’s benefit as many of these fine athletes went on to become members of Leevale.  In some cases even leading to America where some (Niall Hegarty comes to mind) received scholarships to American universities, not forgetting to mention representing Ireland in international races.  Personally, I will miss him for his encouraging words and sincere interest in my welfare.  Having been away from “the club” and home for 11 years it has never been quite that easy returning to a place that was once intimately familiar to me – faces have changed and things have moved on  – but it has always been made easier when you have someone like Kevin there welcoming you home with an extended arm and a genuine interest in your life.  His passing has left a void that will be hard to fill not only in the running world but also in the community in general.  It has taken a friend of us all.  I pray for his family.  Kevin Barry will be missed”.                – Aidan O’Regan, 
                      New York 

    “Just a few words for Kevin Barry. When I started running for Leevale back in the early 1980’s Kevin took a bunch of us down to Leevale from the community hall in Tinkers Cross, Mayfield. When we first started going to the Mardyke he drove me home every night after practice, a factor which resulted in me keeping up the running and eventually coming here to the US on running scholarship. He along with such people as John Sheehan, Joe Flynn, Finbarr O’Brien, John Smyth, Ray Shanahan, and Der O’Donovan have contributed enormously to bring Leevale to the highest of standards in athletics. So many people in the club deserve recognition and it’s a huge loss to lose even one of them.”

                    – Niall Hegarty, 
                      St. John’s University, New York

          The following remarks from Patty Smyth seem to describe Kevin best:

          God Bless, Kevin 
          from Patty (Delaney) Smyth
  • Dear Friends and Family of the late Kevin Barry: It was with great shock and sadness I read of Kevin’s passing on Saturday’s Evening Echo dated 9th October 1998.  For a man with so much to live for it was a terrible tragedy his life was wiped out so quickly.

    I first met Kevin when I joined Leevale athletic club around 1981 when I was on the threshold of breaking into senior competition.  Kevin introduced me to training programmes, track interval training, and eventually senior competition.  Those couple of years between juvenile competition and the senior ranks are very important, but Kevin ensured things were done properly.  I enjoyed many years of success with Leevale and will never overlook the help that Kevin gave me.   Kevin was a wonderful motivater both in training and on race day.  His belief in his athlete’s ability rubbed off on the athlete.  You couldn’t help but feel confident with Kevin around.  He once gave me a poem all about believing in oneself.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it when I went to look for it recently, but I recall having read it many times before a race.  Kevin was a friend to all who knew him.

    When my mother (God rest her soul) was undergoing major heart surgery in Dublin Kevin gave up his day to come down to Fermoy and spend a few hours with me and my family to take our minds off our mother’s operation and lend support.  Another time I went running up the country with fellow athletes of Leevale, and on the way back we stopped at a hotel for a meal.  Kevin was not there, but Hughie Parnell told me that Kevin had given him money to pay for my meal.  That was the type Kevin was – generous to fault.

     I last met Kevin around six weeks ago.  I was with my father and my brother P.J. and we happened to meet Kevin in Paddy Power’s the bookies in Fermoy.  He told us he’d popped into see the odds on Mark Carroll’s race for the European 5,000m  final to take place that evening.  (Mark was third in the final – Kevin must have known something we didn’t).  The hand shakes that day were as warm as ever.  We had a brief chat before Kevin said his parting words which were “God Bless”, something he would have said to all his friends down through the years.

    Yet, that chat that day, the hand shake, his parting words, all seemed more meaningful.  It was as though he was saying goodbye….for good.  I’m glad I had the pleasure of knowing him in my life time.  People like Kevin are rare.  May he rest in peace…..