By Christina McHugh
The scoreboard at O’Hara Park in Charlestown on Sunday afternoon served as a stark reminder of the great loss suffered by the Horkan family, the communities of Charlestown, Castlerea & Ballaghaderreen. It read Colm – 1970 –Horkan 2020.
It was poignant also that Garda Alan McGinty and Frances McNicholas chose the anthem “You’ll Never Walk Alone’ to remember Garda Colm Horkan shot dead on the Main Street of Castlerea six weeks ago.
At a special Month’s Mind Mass for the late Detective Colm Horkan in O’Hara Park, Charlestown on Sunday afternoon symbols of his life were brought to the altar before Mass including Colm’s last football jersey, a symbol of his love for Charlestown and Mayo GAA; a golf ball symbolising how much he loved golf and his weekends away golfing; a Cheltenham race card, demonstrating how he enjoyed racing; a picture with nieces nephews; a medal symbolising his success in sport at every level and a concert ticket, symbolising the good days and nights he shared at different events.
Monsignor Tommy Johnston, Parish Priest of Charlestown spoke of the raw emotions people had experienced since Colm’s death six weeks ago. He added that in all the stories heard and written about Colm “the goodness of this special man” shone through. He noted the questions that had arisen as to why this had happened, but also there was an appreciation of how much he did for the community and how much he was loved
In his homily Fr. Vincent Sherlock, Parish Priest of Kilmovee told the congregation of Colm’s many interests and passions, including his love of cars. Thinking of the Audi and the four rings that make up the Audi logo, Fr. Vincent said that these four rings told Colm’s story of family, sport, faith and the Gardai. He noted that in this circle – family friends, neighbours and colleagues were hugely important to Colm and he valued family hugely.
Referring to sport, Fr. Vincent said that sport mattered to him and that circle of togetherness was central with the bond being very real and going deep. He said that he was involved in sport since he was 10; playing for more than 30 years and involved right up to the day he died. “He had many highlights, but a goal scored in an U-14 final is most remembered,” said Fr. Vincent to applause. “Imagine that a man almost 50 remembered for a goal he scored at U-14, it must have been some goal.”
Fr. Vincent went on to refer to the circle of Faith that was hugely important in his life and to the role of the Gardaí. He told of how he had spoken to colleagues were “devastated and broken” by his loss.
Fr. Vincent said that he thought of the Audi as a confident and stylish car. And that was the way they would remember Colm, a confident and stylish man whose circles of family, sport, faith and Gardai were intertwined.
At the end of the special Mass six players from the Charlestown Sarsfield’s U-12 team that Colm coached, including his nephew Mathew Horkan, read a number of messages of sympathy received by the Horkan family from GAA clubs around the country in the weeks since Colm’s death, including from Ballaghaderreen GAA.
A presentation was also made, on behalf of the Charlestown 2001 county final and Connacht club winning team by Liam Brehony, Club Chairman and captain of that team, David Tiernan, of a signed framed photograph to Colm’s father, Marty.
Charlestown Sarsfield’s PRO Stephen Healy summed up the feelings of the club, community and country with the reflection ‘If Tomorrow Starts Without Me’.
If Tomorrow Starts Without Me…
If tomorrow starts without me, and I’m not here to see,
If the sun should rise you find your eyes all filled with tears for me;
I wish so much you wouldn’t cry the way you did today,
While thinking of the many things we didn’t get to say.
I know how much you love me, as much as I love you
And each time that you think of me, I know you’ll miss me too.
But when tomorrow starts without me please try to understand,
That an angel came and called my name and took me by the hand.
He said my place was ready, in heaven far above
And that I’d have to leave behind all those I dearly love.
But as I turned and walked away a tear fell from my eye.
For all my life I’d always thought, I didn’t want to die.
I had so much to live for, so much left yet to do.
It seemed almost impossible that I was leaving you.
I thought of all the yesterdays the good ones and the bad.
I thought of all the love we shared, and all the fun we had.
If I could relive yesterday, just even for a while,
I’d say goodbye and kiss you and maybe see you smile.
But then I fully realized that this could never be,
For emptiness and memories would take the place of me.
When I thought of worldly things I might miss come tomorrow
I thought of you and when I did my heart was filled with sorrow.
When I walked through heavens gates I felt so much at home.
God looked down and smiled at me from his great golden throne
He said, “This is eternity and all I’ve promised you”
Today your life on earth has passed but here life starts anew.
I promise no tomorrow, but today will always last
And since each day is the same there’s no longing for the past.
You have been so faithful so trusting and so true.
Though there were times you did some things you knew you shouldn’t do.
You have been forgiven and now at last you’re free.
So won’t you come and take my hand and share my life with me?
So when tomorrow starts with out me don’t think we’re far apart,
For every time you think of me, I’m right here in your heart.