By Frank Brady
Christy Creamer passed away on Jan. 17 at the age of 92. He was waked at Hodder’s Funeral Home on McLean Avenue, and was buried from St. Barnabas Church, Woodlawn on Jan. 22. Christy was born in Curraghnawall, Ballinamore, Co Leitrim and he went on to become a legend in Leitrim football. He began his football career with Kiltyhugh in 1936, and a few years later Kiltyhugh had become Aughawillan with Christy being their most prominent player. In 1941 he played for Leitrim in the Connacht championship and the National League and was noted as the first Aughawillan player to wear the Leitrim jersey.
Christy then went to work in Fermanagh where he became one of Art Mac Murrough’s top players in Belnaleck club. Paul Corrigan, in a history of the club, wrote as follows “Christy Creamer was one of the most illustrious of these new players to join the Belnaleck Club. He was a gifted forward who played for the Fermanagh team for years, including the Ulster final of 1945….Eventually to the great disappointment of Belnaleck fans and the entire area who had cheered him to so many peaks of football skills and endeavor, Christy sailed for America.”
In 1947 Christy arrived in New York and the reformed Leitrim team got a major boost. Christy was selected on the New York team to play a combination of the Cavan and Kerry teams who had played in the Polo Grounds. Though the New York team was well beaten by the combined finalists, Christy was the top scorer for the Big Apple players. In 1948 Christy was captain of the Leitrim team that toured Ireland, where they played games against Leitrim, Fermanagh, Armagh plus a number other selected teams.
Back in New York, Christy captained Leitrim team in the ’48 and ’49 finals but, they lost to a very powerful Kerry squad. In 1956 Christy retired from football, and over the next 40 years he fulfilled a variety of roles with distinction: president, manager, delegate and trainer. Christy was Leitrim’s first Guest of Honor in 1969 and he was also the first recipient of the Joe McInerney Memorial Award in 1999. He also had the distinction of being inducted into the Fermanagh Football Hall of Fame.
Christy was always regarded to be a very sound judge of footballers. So a few years back Frankie Dwyer brought him up to Paddy’s Field to inspect a supposedly prized acquisition to the training squad. He was not overly impressed and he quipped that the highly touted recruit was “just the remains of a good player.”
His judgment or interest in Leitrim football diminished little over the years, and though slowed through age, Christy was on hand to witness the beginning of Leitrim’s recent wave of success. To date, the late Christy had the longest association with the Leitrim Club in New York.
Christy is survived by his wife Patricia, a native of Fenagh, sons Thomas, Chris, James and daughter Maria, plus nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Ar dheis De go raibh a anam uasal.