After firing a five-under 65 to move into contention at the Honda Classic on Saturday, Shane Lowry paid a glowing tribute to his uncle Jimmy who passed away suddenly on Thursday morning.
Sporting green and white ribbons on his cap for Ferbane GAA Club where his uncle was a two-time club chairman, Lowry had wanted to withdraw from the competition to return home for the funeral but was convinced to stay and compete at an event where he’s had considerable success in recent years.
“Yeah, my uncle sadly passed away on Thursday morning,” Lowry told the press after his third round. “Yeah, my dad’s brother, unexpected. It’s very sad week for our family. To be honest, I wanted to go home on Thursday when I heard the news. A lot of people talked me out of it.
“I’m here now. I’m trying to play for him and play for his wife and his kids and my cousins and my uncles and my aunts and everyone at home because we’re a very close family and very proud of our name and very proud of where we come from. Green and white is just where he’s from, that’s Ferbane in Offaly, in Ireland, and said I’d wear it. Yeah, hopefully I can go out and make him proud tomorrow. Everyone keeps telling me how proud he was of me over the last number of years, and hopefully I can do him another day proud tomorrow.”
A family steeped in Offaly GAA lore, Shane’s father Brendan and uncles Mick and Seán were part of the victorious Offaly side who halted Kerry’s ‘drive for five’ in the 1982 All-Ireland Football final, and though Jimmy may not have hit the same playing heights as his brothers, his impact within the Ferbane club was second to none. He’d chair the club committee through most of the ‘90s, then serving a second spell in the mid-noughties, with stints as safety officer thrown in as well. He was a member of the hurling committee and he also served as a highly-respected referee.
A tradesman, Jimmy was instrumental in the planning, fundraising and construction of the Ferbane GAA Grounds and buildings, all of which were developed under his stewardship.
“He’s two years older than my dad, so he’s 66,” said Shane “He’s just a great man. He loved working. He loved hard work. He loved hardship. He was big into Gaelic games at home. He didn’t necessarily play at the highest level, but he was very involved and loved in the community, and he was just a great man. He was great craic, and I loved him.
“It’s a very sad day for our family. Yeah, it’s just quite sad, and it’s quite hard. It’s been a difficult week. It’s been very difficult not to be there at home for my dad because my dad is a big softy and he’ll take this quite hard. But I’ll see him in a couple of weeks when he comes out here, and yeah.”
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.