The late May Corbally (left) pictured at the wedding of her granddaughter, Helen McEntee TD, to Paul Hickey, with the late Mrs Madge McEntee, centre.

Funeral of May Corbally in Kingscourt on Thursday

Matriarch of a farming, footballing, and political family

The funeral of Mary (May) Corbally, matriarch of a Kilmainhamwood family active in farming, sport, and politics, is taking place tomorrow (Thursday) in Kingscourt.

The Corballys and their extended family of Keenaghan, Kilmainhamwood, were deeply saddened by the passing of their mother, grandmother, and great grandmother on Monday in Kilmainhamwood Nursing Home, aged 97.

May was the daughter of Francie and Maryann O'Dowd of Lackenclare near Ballyjamesduff in Co Cavan. Born in 1925, she grew up alongside her four brothers and four sisters on the family farm and attended Lacken School, and later the Girls Convent School in Ballyjamesduff. At school she was a stylish handwriter and won many competitions which was a feature of the education system at the time.

Her first employment was in Mrs Cole’s shop in Ballyjamesduff, but around 1947 she took up employment in Keogan's of Kilmainhamwood as a shop assistant. She was considered a great beauty in the area and enjoyed attending local dances with her friends at the local halls in North Meath and Cavan. She met and fell in love with Peter (Pee) Corbally who farmed near by at Keenaghan and in October 1950 they married in Crosskeys Church, with the reception in the Park Hotel in Virginia.

They lived a long and happy life together and had nine children - Marie, Breda, Henry, Eileen, Kathleen, Peter, Frank, John, and Josephine, who died in infancy.

May was skilled in many areas of arts and crafts, sewing, knitting, embroidery, and dressmaking. She was an enthusiastic gardener who grew flowers, vegetables, and plants of all description all her life. She was a member of Kingscourt ICA where she made many friends.

May was born into a strongly Pro-Treaty family and remained on that side of Irish political life till the end. She was also a keen supporter of her local football club Kilmainhamwood. Her husband her sons and now her grandsons have all been closely involved as players and club officials with the club since its establishment . May also had a great love of the land and farming. She was always very proud of her farming roots, with her husband, sons and sons-in-law all deeply involved in farming, farm organisations and the co-operative movement both locally and nationally.

In later years, her 24 grandchildren and 30 great grandchildren surrounded her with love and affection.

May had a deep sense of faith and belief in God which gave her a wonderful perspective on life. She was enthusiastic and happy with her life but also stoic and resilient when needed.

May passed away in Kilmainhamwood Nursing Home surrounded by her entire family. The Corbally family thank Kilmainhamwood Nursing Home for their kind and loving care for the last three months of her life. The family would also like to thank John who has been her main carer for many years and has shown much love and devotion to her. She has made a positive and lasting influence on her family and everyone whose lives she has touched in her 97 years.

Predeceased by her husband Peter (Pee) and infant daughter Josephine, brothers, sisters, and sons-in-law, she is survived by family, Marie Condra, Breda McGuinness, Henry, Eileen Clarke, Kathleen McEntee, Peter, Frank and John, sister Nancy Gilsenan, Munterconnaught, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, sons-in-law, Mick, Eddie and Kenneth, and daughters-in-law Edel, Mairead and Anne; nieces and nephews, relatives and friends.

May continues to repose at her residence today (Wednesday) from 2pm until 5.30pm, with removal to the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Kingscourt arriving at 7pm. Funeral Mass on Thursday 19th January at 10am with burial afterwards in adjoining graveyard. Family flowers only, donations to Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland.