The tragic tale of Rhode postman Bernard Smullen

April 20, 2019

Rhode's Brian Darby and Eoin Rigney lift the Offaly SFC trophy. ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the tragic death of Bernard Smullen after he accidentally collided with a goalpost during a football match in Offaly.

The postman – who top jockey Pat Smullen may well be an ancestor of – was playing for Rhode against Killeigh in a tournament game in aid of a local church in Edenderry when the tragedy happened. According to a report in the Westmeath Independent at the time, Smullen “was seen to go into the goal with tremendous speed. Striking the goalpost, he fell back and never recovered consciousness.”

The sad tale, complete with the newspaper extract, was recounted this week by Edenderry GAA on their website. A benefit match was held Smullen’s family a short time later, while a monument was erected in his memory in Edenderry in 1929.


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