Widespread sorrow at the death of much loved Garrison priest

"A real local legend"

Widespread sorrow at the death of much loved Garrison priest

The late Canon Pat Lonergan and ladies football captain, Ciara McGuinness

There has been widespread sorrow at the death of the much loved and very well- known Canon Patrick Lonergan in Garrison, Belleek and all- over west Fermanagh.

The Carrickmacross native was 88 and he passed away in the South West Acute Hospital early this morning after 62 years as a priest.

Canon Pat was a real local legend who made a huge mark in many areas of life in north west Fermanagh and was president of Devenish GAA club.

He holds a unique GAA record in becoming the only man to score a hat-trick of goals in a Fermanagh SFC county final for his beloved Devenish against Roslea in 1963.

“How could I miss, I had God my side and the Holy Ghost in my boots,” he later quipped.

But he is largely remembered for the great work he did in bringing a very successful secondary school to Brollagh in the 1960s against a lot of odds.

He came from a business family and showed all that acumen as he fund- raised for the school and it was paid for before the doors opened.

The Canon was also s major fundraiser for a new chapel in Garrison that opened in the early 1970s as well as Devenish GAA club.

Canon Pat also ran hugely successful carnivals for the parish and gave Big Tom McBride and the Mainliners their first beak and he also hosted the Dubliners who were staying in Phonise McGovern;s Hotel-the hotel ran out of drink for the first time ever in its history, according to the Canon, who was a staunch pioneer.

And he also ran a hugely successful Bingo in Garrison that flourishes to this day.

Canon Pat came to Garrison in 1960 and quickly became a selector for the Devenish Mulleek team who took a county championship that same year.

That began a long and proud association with the club until 1977 when he left the parish, but came back in 1985, a happy coincidence as Devenish won another county title that year.

He was club chairman from 1962-1972, was a well-known inter county hurling referee, his father being a native of Tipperary and he also served a term as vice chairman of Fermanagh County Board.

The Canon also took a great interest in ladies football, revived a camogie club and was at the beating heart of Devenish for decades.

But his heart was always in Devenish and he will be laid to rest among his beloved people.

Funeral arrangements later.

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