“When we think of Danny, we think of someone who truly celebrated life.”
No more fitting words to describe Danny McShane than these from Fr Rory Coyle, speaking at the funeral Mass for the 93-year-old this morning.
St Malachy’s Church in Armagh was filled to capacity as a city and a community came together to remember a much-loved and hugely respected gentleman and legend who passed away on Sunday.
Fr Rory led mourners in remembering a life which was full of love – of sport, of faith, and above all of family.
He came originally from the Milford area and his heart was in County Armagh.
He had been a full-forward with Madden Raperees, an it was an occasion of great joy was to see Armagh win the All-Ireand in 2002, especially with his grandson, Ronan Clarke, on the winning team.
Danny’s love of music and entertainment, of cooking, his love of the Eucharist and his faith were all recalled in a celebration of the life of a man who did so much for so many and whom they held in such high regard.
Fr Coyle said the words ‘I came so you may have life and live it to the full’, from the Gospel of St John, could provide a motto of Danny’s life, as he was someone who truly lived life to the full.
He told mourners: “On the way down from the parochial house to the wake house yesterday it took me an hour. So many people I met along the way had so many stories, memories and occasions that Danny had been part of their lives.
“Some of these stories dated back 10, 20, 30, 60, 70 even 80 years. Closer you got to the wake house, you heard phrases such as legend, pure legend, absolute legend. Today we are all aware why.”
Fr Coyle said Danny McShane was a man who had a “welcome for each and every one of us”.
“One of the nicest things that I heard about Danny, amidst the many happy stories that have been remembered and recalled, was that Danny had a welcome for everyone, there was no distinction, no barrier, all were welcome,” he said.
“The reading on Sunday’s Mass, the day that Danny sadly passed away, from the book of St James, ‘how you might notice the rich person but maybe neglect those in greatest need’. We are asked to treat everyone equally, wouldn’t you agree that in this Danny has excelled?
“Again in the book of Hebrews, when you welcome the stranger, you entertain an angel. He entertained so many people throughout his long and happy life, radiated joy into the lives of so many people.
“It can seem strange that we refer to our funeral Mass this morning, our Mass of resurrection and reward as a celebration, yet when we think of Danny, we think of someone who truly celebrated life. I came that you may have life and live it to the full.
“We think how length of days were granted to him; 1923, just after the foundation of the state, and the family home of his parents Patrick and Margaret, brothers and sisters, Dermot, Patsy, Jim, Mary, home was a very happy and healthy place.
“At 14 years of age, after finishing school in Lislea on a Friday, he started work on a Monday, as an apprentice to the trade and his weekly wage was 12.1/2p
“We are all aware that it was a labour of love.
“Somebody was in only on Saturday past and getting a job done. Once he’d finished I’d asked him how much it cost for blowing up four tyres, Danny said, ‘nothing, it’s only a bit of fresh air, now go on!’ – a pure gentleman to a fault.
“Always taking an interest in you and how you were getting on, and in this he is surely an inspiration.”
Danny is survived by his wife, Pat, whom he met at a dance in the City Hall and married in 1953, and his daughters Mary McClave and Ann Clarke, his son Donal, grandchildren, great grandchildren and an extended family circle.
It was apt words that Fr Coyle used to describe his dedication and devotion to the people of Armagh through his shop.
Said Fr Coyle: “A lovely quote that he used to offer about the shop was ‘as long as I’m fit, it’s here you’ll find me'”.
Indeed, we say, that was Danny McShane.
May he Rest in Peace.
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