The late Jim Moore, centre, with his brothers Tom, second from left, and Martin, second from right. Also in the photo are Sean Cleary, left, and Mick Gilmartin. The photo was taken a number of years ago at Mullingar Golf Club.

‘A great man and a great football person’ passes

Tributes have been paid to Mullingar’s Jim Moore, who died at the weekend following a brave battle against illness.

Born in County Galway, at the age of seven Jim moved with his family to Mullingar in 1964, the year that his fellow Dunmore man John Donnellan captained the Tribesmen to the first of three consecutive Sam Maguire Cup wins.

As a young man Jim made his mark on the sporting field. In 1973 he was member of the St Mary’s CBS team that won the U17 Leinster Colleges title. The team was managed by future TD and government minister Willie Penrose and was coached by fellow Galway man Sean Cleary, who was a member of the famous three-in-a-row team that fuelled his interest in sport as a child.

The late Jim Moore, back row, far right, was a member of the St Mary’s CBS team that won the U17 Leinster Colleges title in 1973. The team was captained by future TD and minister, Willie Penrose, front, middle.

A year later he was a sub on The Downs team that won the 1974 Senior Football Championship, while in 1980 he played at corner back on the team which defeated Kilbeggan in a low-scoring Flanagan Cup decider.

Jim was also a teak-tough centre half for Mullingar Town for over a decade. A member of the fabled team that won the Counties Cup in 1978, four years later he won his second Counties Cup medal playing for Mill Rovers. On his return to Mullingar Town, he was a central figure on the teams that won the FAI Junior Cup Midlands Area in 1986 and 1987.

At a time before player burn-out was ever talked about, Jim thought nothing of playing a match for Mullingar Town on a Sunday morning before jumping in the car and playing for The Downs in the afternoon.

A chartered surveyor, Jim worked with Bennett Construction before making the move to London in 1988 with his wife Carole. He spent much of his early years in the English capital working for Taylor Woodrow, before starting his own building firm Scanmoor Construction with Mayo native Tom Scanlon in 1995.

Scanmoor worked on many high profile construction projects, including Wembley Stadium and the Olympic Stadium.

In the early noughties, Jim famously masterminded a plan to bring a group of young London-based players to Mullingar Town with the aim of bringing League of Ireland football to the town.

The ‘Dream Team’ were admitted to the Eircom U21 league and while they ultimately fell short in their objective, the ambitious project made local and national headlines and provided supporters with many memorable days, including reaching the semi-finals of the U21 FAI Cup on two occasions.

In an interview with the paper in 2010, Jim said that he had fond memories of when he brought the multi-cultural squad of players to a Mullingar that was a lot more homogeneous than it is today.

“We reached two FAI under-21 Cup semi-finals, losing narrowly to Waterford United and, under the brilliant managership of Joe O’Hehir, to Cork City who were managed by Pat Dolan and included current full international player Shane Long in their ranks.

“I still meets some of the guys in London. They were not a drain on the community and loved the Mullingar people. The whole venture proved to me beyond doubt that Irish people are not racist.”

Although based in England for decades, Gaelic games was an abiding passion in Jim’s life. In addition to his and family’s long association with Tara GFC in London, in 2014 Jim celebrated attending his 50th consecutive All Ireland football final.

In fact, from his first final in 1964 up to this year’s, Jim missed only two All Ireland deciders: the 2020 instalment, which was played behind closed doors due to Covid restrictions, and 2022 when he fell ill.

Speaking to the Westmeath Examiner in 2014, Jim says that his love of Gaelic games started with his first visit to GAA headquarters when his father Eamonn brought him and his brothers Ned and Martin to cheer on their native county half a century previously.

“We came from Dunmore and there were five or six from Dunmore on the team. Our father brought us onto Hill 16 and I never looked back.”

Jim was an avid supporter of the Irish football team and regularly attending home matches with his brother Martin. He was also a keen golfer and when he moved to England developed a strong interest in rugby. He had planned to attend this year’s Rugby World Cup in France but was unable to do so due to his illness.

Jim was a generous sponsor of many sporting teams both in Ireland and in the UK, including his beloved Mullingar Town and the Westmeath senior football team.

He and Carole moved back to Mullingar and their home in Tudenham in 2021, a few short months before he sadly fell ill. Throughout his illness he remained positive and continued to enjoy life attending this year’s All Ireland football final and Ireland’s European Championship qualifier against Greece in October.

When Mullingar Town offered their condolences on social media on Sunday evening, numerous people paid tribute to Jim and his contribution to the club, on and off the field.

One poster described him as “larger than life”, while another described him “as a great man and a great football person”.

Jim, who was predeceased by his father Eamonn, mother Patricia (Patty) and baby sister Bernadette, is survived by his wife Carole and sons Johnathon, James, Daniel and Joseph. He will be sorely missed by his brothers Martin, John, Ned and Tom, sister Breda, daughter in law Natalie, nieces and nephews, relatives and his wide circle of friends. The Moore family are synonymous with the GAA in Mullingar Shamrocks and Westmeath, not just being actively involved but always willing to support when it comes to fundraising initiatives.

At the time of writing, funeral details had not been confirmed.