Sunday 20 October 2019

Matty gave willingly to his parish and took great pride in his neighbourhood

THERE WAS great sadness in the Taghmon area recently following the death, after a long illness, of Matthew (Matty) Banville on March 2.

A native of Cleariestown, though a resident of Cloughultagh, Taghmon, for almost the last 40 years, Matty is the son of the late John and Ellen Banville.

He was born in Cleariestown in 1936 and was educated in Cleariestown NS and St Peters College Wexford.

The early years of Matty's life were spent learning his trade as a farmer, and more prominently as a cattle dealer. During this time, he travelled the country buying cattle and was a regular visitor to marts in Fermoy, Bandon, Kilkenny, New Ross, Ballymoat (Sligo), and later to Taghmon and Enniscorthy marts which he helped to set up and establish.

He also visited many farms in the south east of Ireland buying cattle and it was through his business that he made many life-long friends.

Matty also spent a number of years purchasing cattle for Purcell's of Waterford for export, and for Micky Toohey of Dublin for export to the UK market. In later years he sourced and bought butchers' heifers for Wicklow Meats for the late PJ Fenlon and his son Frank.

In the late 1960s he met his wife Marie Keane, a daughter of Johnny and the late Breda Keane of North Main Street Wexford. Johnny was then the owner of the well known Keane Family Butchers. They settled in Taghmon, where Matty and Marie built up their home, worked hard on their farm and raised their loving children.

Matty always took great pride in his neighbourhood and helped establish the first Tidy Towns Committee in Taghmon.

Sport was dear to his heart and, in particular, Gaelic football. As a member of the St Anne's team that won the county title in 1967, he was also a member of the party that travelled to New York to play in the famed Polo Gaelic Grounds.

This team was the first team from Wexford to play there and he took great pride in telling stories about the trip. Matty was also a long established and very proud member of Taghmon Camross GAA club. In the eighties he helped to coach under age teams.

Matty rarely missed an adult football match and, in recent years, he was so proud when the lads won the intermediate championships in 2001 and again in 2008.

It was Matty's love of horses that started his Cloughultagh Stud, which his son Richard now runs and has grown to become a prominent fixture at National Hunt Sales in Ireland. Initially he raced horses with some success and kept a number of broodmares, breeding numerous winners. In later years he concentrated on buying and selling, together with his sons John and Richard, and looked forward to Tattersalls and Goffs sales each year.

The South East Tops were an important part of Matty's life, and for many years he sang and performed on stage, helping to contribute to the success story of Taghmon in the competition, being a cast member on winning teams of 2006 and 2008. It was something he looked forward to every spring for many years.

Matty was also a long serving member of the Taghmon Church choir and a member of the passion play choir of 2006.

A gentle, fun-loving man, Matty had many friends young and old. He loved nothing more than a night out chatting with friends, having a pint, joining in a sing-song or enjoying a game of cards.

Matty is survived by his wife Marie, sons John and Richard, daughter Ann-Marie, sisters Bernie and Teasie, brother Michael, son-in-law David, daughters-in-law Eimear and Christina, and seven grandchildren. He is sadly missed and will never be forgotten.

His Month's Mind Mass will take place in Taghmon on Sunday March 28 at 10.30am.

May he rest in Peace.

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