THE death has taken place of one of the key men in the founding of Castlebar Celtic, Tom Ketterick, who died in Ballina last week in his 100th year.
Tom was Castlebar Celtic Club President up until his death and was the last surviving member of those involved in the formation of the club in the 1920s.
He was also Honorary Vice-President of Sligo Rovers and supported both clubs up until his peaceful death at home in Ballina last week.
Tom Ketterick also made angling history in 2009 when, at the age of 95, he qualified for the finals of the World Cup Trout Angling Championships in Ballinrobe.
He was still very active until taking sick four weeks ago, playing cards and driving and actively supporting Celtic, Rovers and his other soccer love, Manchester United.
There were five guards of honour at Tom’s funeral removal and funeral Mass on Tuesday and Wednesday last in Ballina. Castlebar Celtic, Sligo Rovers, Ballina Town, the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association and his whist and 25 card-playing friends were all represented.
Castlebar Celtic were formed in 1924 as Castlebar Corinthians (becoming Castlebar Celtic in 1932). Tom became actively involved in 1928 and played in every position for the club, including goalkeeper. He was the key figure behind the establishment of schoolboys soccer at Castlebar Celtic in 1950 and the fruits of that initiative are clear to see with Celtic’s continuous success over the years in county, provincial and national competitions.
He supported Sligo Rovers for an astonishing 80 years. Having first attended a Sligo game in 1933 in Dolphin’s Barn in Dublin, he saw the great English striker Dixie Dean play at the Showgrounds in 1939. Dean was one of the most prolific scorers in English football history, scoring a record 60 league goals in the top flight for Everton in the 1928/29 season. He played seven times for Sligo, scoring ten goals.
When speaking to The Mayo News in 2009 after his remarkable success at the World Cup Trout Angling Championships, Tom explained his formula for long-life.
“I never drank or smoked. I eat plenty of fruit and I go to bed early and get up early. I go to bed around 11 o’clock, unless I’m playing cards,” he said. The cards often took up four nights of his week as he played whist and 25 in Ballina and Crossmolina. At the World Cup in Ballinrobe he was one of 116 to qualify for the final out of 564 competitors. It was the first time he made the finals after competing there every decade since the 1950s.
He joked that time that he was probably the oldest active fisherman and football supporter in the country. It’s hard to doubt it. After his feat in Ballinrobe, he was the subject of a feature on RTÉ's Nationwide TV show. Tom would have been 100 on September 5 next.
Both Castlebar Celtic and Sligo Rovers extended their sympathies to the family of Tom Ketterick on his passing.
He lived with his only child, daughter Gaye Hendry and her husband Liam in Ballina after his wife Trisha died, almost 42 years ago. He’s also mourned by three grandchildren, Colm, Lorraine and Patricia and seven great grandchildren.