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Moss Keane Makes His Final Journey
Alan Betson
The Man of Few Airs But Many Graces Is Laid To Rest.
10 October 2010, 4:48 pm
By Pat Geraghty
He was born a Kerryman, adopted by Laois and today Moss Keane was laid to rest in St Michael's Cemetary just outside the town of Portarlington where he'd lived for the best part of the last 20 years.
It was Con Houlihan who coined the 'few airs and many graces' line about his near neighbour, the native of Currow in Co Kerry who lost his near two year battle with cancer in the early hours of Tuesday morning at his home surrounded by those he loved most, his wife Anne, daughters Sarah and Anne Marie and their extended family.

The Requiem Mass this afternoon drew an attendance that spilled out onto the sun-bathed churchyard and it included those from every walk of life. The world of politics was represented by Martin McAleese, husband of President Mary, and a flatmate of Keane's in their student days and by TD Charlie Flanagan.

IRFU President Caleb Powell, Chief Executive Philip Browne, Munster Branch President Cyril Fitzgerald, former Ireland captain and coach Ciaran Fitzgerald, the man who captained Ireland when Keane made his Ireland debut Willie John McBride, other former Ireland captains, Noel Murphy, Willie Duggan, Donal Lenihan, Phillip Matthews, Philip Danaher and Michael Bradley, headed up a host of rugby personalities including the Spring brothers Dick and Donal, and others from that famous Munster '78 side, Pat Whelan, Donal Caniffe and Gerry Hurley with Christy Cantillon who was making the journey from his Cork home for the second time in two days. No ALT tag specified

Edmund Van Esbeck and Tony Ward arrived in the company of John Redmond with the Fourth Estate further represented by Goal's John O'Shea, Kieran Rooney, Sean Diffley and RTE Rugby commentator Michael Corcoran.

Just as a big a crowd assembled last night to pay their respects,at Mahers Chapel of Rest whose attendance included Graham Mourie, Bill Beaumont, Connacht coach Eric Elwood, Anthony Foley and Paul O'Connell.

Among those who attended the removal ceremony afterwards in St Michael's Church were Keane's former Munster and Irish teammates, Duggan, Whelan, Canniffe, Tom Kiernan, Olan Kelleher, Brendan Foley, the Springs, Alan Duggan, Tony Ensor, Fergus Slattery, Keith Wood, Mike Gibson, Munster Rugby Chief Executive Garrett Fitzgerald and Ireland coach Declan Kidney with his team manager Paul McNaughton.

In attendance on both nights was Keane's fellow Currowman Mick Galwey who as he proudly states, inherited his Munster jersey from the man he worshiped.

"We were neighbours. We were friends," Galwey said. "He was my hero growing up. And dy'know they say you should never meet your heroes. And they may be right. Unless your hero was Moss Keane."

"There's been loads written in the papers There'll be lots more." Galwey continued. " And sometimes, on occasions like this, you'd be reading it, and in all honesty like, wondering, are they talking about the same fella y'knew.

"But I can honestly say every word that's been been written or spoken about Moss Keane over the past few days has been 100% correct.

"He was an enormous character in every sense. A person you could look up to. A leader on the field in whatever jersey he wore, be it Munster, Ireland, the Lions, Lansdowne.

"And off the field ? A solid gentleman.

Yes, we are the poorer for his passing. This is a sad day. But I firmly believe our lives have been enriched having known Moss Keane. If he hadn't being made, you couldn't invent him."

And Galwey concluded. "Our loss however is nothing compared to his family's and our thoughts this night are with his wife Anne, daughters Sarah and Anne-Marie, his brothers and extended family."

And perhaps the last words, Moss's own, as penned by Billy Keane in Rucks Mauls and Gaelic Football,

"I'd like to think that success never went to my head, and that if someone, somewhere, was asked they might say "

"Moss Keane ? Ah sure, he did his best."

You did that Moss and then some.

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