Fr. Sean Breen died in the early hours of Thursday 15th January 2009. A native of Cavan he was ordained in 1962 and served in many postings, Rathdrum, Ballymun, Sandyford, Navan Road, Templeogue , Eadestown before moving to Ballymore He was a colorful, larger than life character. My two images of him are of the old style priest ministering to his flock and of the caricature in the book about racing personalities which captured his character so well. He had been ill for a time before Christmas but still managed to fulfill a very onerous festive schedule. He was known throughout the length and breadth of Ireland as “ The Racing Priest” and it sat well with him. At his local tracks, the Curragh, Naas and of course Punchestown he held court with king and commoner alike. He was the (un) official chaplain to Galway Races and loved the whole festival and the management at the track. He had considerable success as an owner with “One Won One” and more recently “Show Blessed” who won on five occasions and as part of the Gaeltacht Gang syndicates “Raise your Heart” who last won in Punchestown last October, a win which gave him, and those of us who had a few quid on it, particular pleasure. He also had the dubious distinction of having a horse named after him in “The Breener”. He was a great supporter of Sunderland, though Niall Quinn, and celebrated whenever the Black Cats triumphed. When he moved to Ballymore from himself and his good pal Greg Lawler put up a lot of mileage around Ireland. He made good provision for the future of the parish, establishing a Parish Board of Management to help deal with whatever the future holds for the church in Ballymore.
I will miss his company, his humour and his general sense of fun.
Ballymore is a poorer place this morning.
Go n-eiri an bothar leat.