By Paddy McIlwaine
We at the Saffron Gael were deeply saddened when the news broke that Francis (Francie) Scullion had passed away following a long illness. I first met him many years ago at St. Olcan’s High school in Randalstown where he was a teacher and we struck up a friendship which lasted over the years.
Francis was a keen supporter of Erin’s Own, Cargin where his son Tony has been a star performer for many seasons and I would see him sometimes at Antrim county games where Tony was a regular for more than a decade.
I got to know his wife Margaret through her work at St. Oliver Plunkett’s Primary School where my daughter Tara taught and had the privilege of being the photographer at their daughter’s Belinda and Kyra and son Gavin’s wedding.
Francis Scullion came from Ballinderry and throughout his life he remained a staunch supporter of the Shamrocks and Derry.
His brother Colm (RIP) was the sponsor of the Shamrocks for a time and in fact such was in evidence when they captured the All Ireland club title bringing the Andy Merrigan cup to Ballinderry in 1991.
Francis moved across the river Bann when he married a Toome girl’ Margaret Brown in the 1980s and although he still retained a strong interest in the affairs of both the Shamrocks and Derry he became a Cargin man.
A member of the Erin’s own committee for years he held the position of chairman for a term with both his sons Tony, and Gavin collecting senior championship medals and a grandson, Benen Kelly prominent on the minor side which claimed the county minor title in 2000.
Poor health had forced Francis into taking early retirement from his teaching post in St Benedict’s where he was hugely popular and renowned for his keen brain and his empathy which endeared him to all who sought guidance over the years
To Margaret, Belinda, Gavin, Kyra, Tony, Maria and the wider family circle we at the Saffron Gael offer our sincere sympathy.
May he rest in peace!
Our Lady of the Gael pray for him