Amidst a cascade of sadness that descended on the community in the last week, the sudden and unexpected loss of John Fox, was felt most keenly in the hurling community. John was passionate about hurling and a local hero from the time, as a minor, he was central to rare and famous Championship title wins at both Minor and U21 grades in 1983. In 1986, he was part of a team of illustrious names that brought the All Ireland U21 Hurling to Galway in 1986. Like many of his generation, John, moved abroad, first to London where he played with fellow Moycullen hurlers, Aodh and Paraic Davoren in a strong St Gabriel’s contingent bolstered by many fellow emigrants. There, though, he also sustained a serious leg injury that curtailed his hurling for an extended period. He later joined his brother, Dermot, at Fr Tom’s in Boston, a club home to many in Moycullen at some point.
On returning to Moycullen he resumed with the hurling club, coaching an U21 side in the ‘90s. In 2005, he was attracted out of playing retirement by the prospect of re-joining many of his 1986 County colleagues for a successful All Ireland Masters campaign which culminated in a final win over Tipperary. The feat was repeated again in 2006 and it brought to an end, a two year odyssey of challenges against Intermediate club teams in preparation for intercounty games across the country against their Masters peers. John also resumed a club career at Junior level which culminated in his introduction at full forward and two late goals against Castlegar to secure a City league title – in Rahoon. What could be sweeter!
In 2007 & 2008, John was part of the management team of the Intermediate team, losing out narrowly both years at the quarter final stage to the teams eventually promoted, Tommy Larkins and Cappataggle. In 2013, John was always on hand to advise, as son, Ryan, won a County title with his U16 colleagues. He also served on the club executive for many years.
John was above all, good company and particularly so for anyone interested in hurling. He had a keen eye for the pivotal moments in a game and the ability to describe it in a single phrase, often wittily. He had a recall for countless games, key events, great moments of skill, that was unmatched, which made him a fascinating raconteur.
Whatever the loss to his club colleagues, generations of whom trailed in and out of Knockshanbally, it is incomparable to that of his wife Mags, his beloved children Ryan, Rachel, Ross and foster son Jayden, his mother Nono, his brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, extended family and his wide circle of friends. We extend our sympathy to them.
He will be sadly missed by all.