Last Tuesday, 20th May 2014, I went to Molloy's Funeral Home in Callan, Co. Kilkenny, for the removal of the remains of Michael Hogan, Currasilla, Grangemockler, Co.Tipperary. Michael was a nephew of Mick Hogan who was shot by British Auxiliaries while playing for Tipperary Senior Footballers against Dublin at Croke Park on 20th November 1920. Michael is now laid to rest with his uncle and parents in Grangemockler Churchyard.
While I come from the neighbouring parish of Kilsheelan-Kilcash, I always had a great affection for, and great friends in, Grangemockler even though we were rivals on the Gaelic Football field in the past.
As I stood in the funeral parlour last Tuesday evening, Mick Egan entered and engaged in conversation with Eamon Hogan, only brother of the late Michael. Mick Egan and Eamon Hogan played on the Tipperary senior football team in the sixties; both were members of the Tipperary senior football team that beat Dublin in the Bloody Sunday commemorative game played at Croke Park in November 1965. Mick Egan was born at Blackbog, Windgap, Co. Kilkenny, and has lived in Clonmel for about 60 years, but the family roots are at Poulacapple, Mullinahone, Co. Tipperary. I thought then, and many times since, how on that day of infamy, when Mick Hogan was shot down, a fellow player on the Tipperary team was Jim Egan from Mullinahone, uncle of the aforementioned Mick Egan. Jim Egan with his brother, Ned, were later to die while fighting on the side of the Anti-Treaty forces during the tragic Civil War. Mick Hogan's brother, Dan, who had been Second-in-Command of the Northern Volunteers under Eoin O'Duffy, was then Commander of the Northern Division of the new Irish Army. Dan Hogan was later Chief-of-Staff of the Irish Army when O'Duffy was appointed Garda Commissioner.
The tragedy of the Civil War and the damaging effect that it had on the country should have removed the gun from Irish politics forever. Unfortunately a dark cloud is descending on the country once more when a subversive organisation, that carried out terrible atrocities for thirty years in this country and overseas, is apparently being rewarded with the prospect of electoral success.