O’Reilly Clan News:

Banquet speech by Vincent O'Reilly, Chairman of the O'Reilly Clan Committee
Ladies and Gentlemen and Honoured Guest, I express my appreciation to you all for coming tonight and especially to the many of you that attended our events earlier this week.
My special appreciation goes to many people especially our hard working Committee for their initiatives and guidance in bringing this Life of Reilly O’Reilly Reilly Clan Gathering Festival to what we have achieved this week.Tonight we are celebrating our Clan, our homeland –East Breiffne now Co. Cavan, all our friends in Co. Cavan and all our members and Diaspora spread throughout the world.
On a recent visit to the Mexican Embassy, I was speaking to the Government official responsible for looking after the Mexican Diaspora throughout the world and he informed me that Mexico has 36 million diaspora in the USA and is only surpassed by Ireland that has 40 million diaspora there. Our Clan is one of the most numerous clans in Ireland and many of these millions of diaspora in the USA are associated with the O’Reilly Clan and with Co. Cavan.  One of the aims of our O’Reilly Clan Committee is to provide a mechanism for reaching out to these, Our website www.oreillyreillyclan.com is there to assist in all these areas and to enable those interested in learning and sharing in the Genealogy, History and Evolution of the O’Reilly/Reilly Clan and Co. Cavan and to engage with the committee and with one another.
When our Committee decided to have a Clan Gathering as part of Gathering Ireland 2013, we made a short presentation on our clan and on plans for the gathering. The initial reaction was “You think a lot of yourselves, don’t you”. The reply was 'of course we do'. We are a very numerous clan spread throughout the world with our headquarters here in Cavan, we have a long and proud heritage dating back to the earliest times and as a Clan we have contributed to the development and prosperity of Co. Cavan down the ages.
Since then, we have been on an exciting journey to re-inact the Life of Reilly in a programme of events that would be inclusive, informative and laced with history, music, dance and with times past as our theme. We developed a website that has now over 2700 hits in a month.
We became a Gathering 'with opposition' and were surprised at the source of this opposition but since then, our work and summary talk on the development of the Ancient Kingdom of Breiffne and the impact on the life and times on the people of Breiffne has been very warmly received from many quarters. Also our summary talk on the ancestry and history of the O’Reilly clan and the history and development of many of the main clans has also received warm applause with many seeking to have both copied and published.
We have held a very successful and enjoyable Convention last night with 10 superb candidates and elected our Chief of Clann O’Raghallaigh and of East Breiffne. Tonight we have inaugurated him. We believe that a Clan not a living Clan unless it has a strong and vibrant Co-ordinating Committee with links in different parts of the world and an active Chief or Leader. Now we have that active Chief in JJ the O’Raghallaigh 2013 and we will work on the links.
The greatest honour that our Clan can confer on a living person is to elect him as our Chief or Taoiseach of Clann O’Raghallaigh. JJ The O’Raghallaigh Chief 2013 is the popular choice of the electorate at the Convention and he and our Committee will continue to promote the Clan and diaspora, our homeland now Co. Cavan and the talent of Cavan for the benefit of all. You will note that all our talent during this festival with the exception of a small number of artists included in the Cabaret, are all entertainers from Cavan and we are all very proud of them.
On this note our Committee thank all the entertainers and especially Kathy Durkin for their music, song, dance, story-telling and recitations and to Connie and the staff of Crover House for hosting our Life of Reilly Party and Times Past Gala which was a great success.
Our thanks to the Farnham Arms Hotel for their free accommodation for our Convention and the assistance and goodwill given to us for that event. They have also sponsored the cost of the excellent sound system that the Committee had installed for the night.
Our thanks also to our event manager Sorcha O’Reilly, our Director of Music Daire O’Reilly and our MC Damien O’Reilly, also to Paddy McDermott for his organisation and support with the Scor Champions of Cavan and all of whom gave their services to make this a success. Also tonight to the management and staff of the Kilmore and to the many many more not mentioned
Our Clan remembers that both Danes and Normans, the former especially, destroyed our manuscripts in the course of warlike operations and from Elizabeth's time downwards
—Ireland's darkest age—men came not only to govern us but to burn and destroy  our books and manuscripts, hang or hunt their owners, made it criminal to teach or learn the language and customs or indeed to teach or learn about our clan. Many risked liberty and life itself during that perilous age for the preservation of those precious monuments of the past. Few ancient nations have been more fruitful in original literary effort and few modern nations have shown more attachment to literary treasures than the Irish.
Tonight we have introduced the Book of Kings - Teagasc Riocht to be a repository of the history and ancestry of Clann O’Raghallaigh down the ages. This is in its infancy and is a project without sponsorship support that I have decided to take on myself. Our Chief and the Roll of Honour to Colonel John Reilly will be entered permanently for all time in this book and it should be substantially completed by early next Year.
I need not go on any further except to thank:
 our candidates once again, Pete and JJ for organising the Life OF Reilly Charity Golf Classic that has raised €5,200 for the Palliative care fund for this area, the County Manager for opening the Life of Reilly Festival and the use of the Council Chambers for the Welcome evening, Carmel our Clan artist and Genealogist for her genealogy workshop in the Town Hall, our special Guest Carlos Garcia de Alba and his party for attending and adding splendidly to the occasion. I hope you will all meet both him and our new Chief
and to our sponsors - Jimmy Scanlon and Elegant Gems for sponsoring the Chain of Office and many other O’Reilly Memorabilia items,
John A. Fitzsimons & Co. Bailieborough - our Clan Accountants for sponsoring our Banners
Paddy Swarbrigg of Mullingar and Cootehill and Kieran A. Rogers Joinery Ltd for sponsoring the Memorial to the Gallant John Joe O’Reilly.
Our committee pay special thanks to you all for coming and as the first step in now complete, we will see what course our Clan through the Committee and Chief, can play in future to promote Cavan and the Diaspora around the world where possible.
To all our visitors we wish you to return soon.
 Vincent O’Reilly Chairman of the O’Reilly Committee said that we have had a wonderful and very successful festival. People want to hear about their history, ancestry and heritage and are proud of their clan and homeland. If we could harness the Cavan Diaspora, then Cavan and the Diaspora would benefit greatly. The election of the new Chief was unique and very popular. The Cavan talent on show were superb and greatly enjoyed. The venues were packed on all nights and the quality of the entertainment was second to none. Damien O’Reilly smoothly put everybody at ease and interviewing his own father, Pat was a highlight among many at the Convention. He said that all the hard work was justly rewarded by the reaction of the crowds. A common reaction of many of our visitors was that it was the best holiday ever and many are looking to returning to Cavan in the future. What more can you ask for in a festival.
In 1990, the O’Reilly Clan Committee called a Clan rally in Cavan and as part of the gathering business, ‘Big’ Tom O’Reilly was chosen as Clan Taoiseach. ‘Big’ Tom was born Thomas P. O'Reilly on the 6th August 1915 at the Derries Upper, Killeshandra in the County of Cavan and was an Irish Gaelic footballer, politician and farmer from County Cavan. His father was ‘Big’ John O'Reilly who played as goalkeeper on the Cavan county team and his mother was Sarah Anne. From the early 1930s until the mid-‘40’s, ‘Big’ Tom was acclaimed as one of the country’s greatest midfielders and played for Cornafean and Cavan.  His brother John Joe O'Reilly was also a noted Cavan footballer.

Big Tom first played for Cornafean on the club's junior team at sixteen years old and he was at centrefield a year later on the senior team which defeated Bailieborough in the county final. He continued to star as a midfielder for Cornafean until he retired in 1948. He won a total of nine Cavan Senior Football Championship medals and captained Cornafean on seven of those occasions. However, he earned enduring national renown from his contribution to the Cavan county team. In 1932, he starred for the county minors and juniors and made his debut for the Cavan seniors a year later playing a key role at midfield when Cavan defeated Galway in the 1933 All-Ireland Football Final. He won a second All Ireland medal in 1935 and played on the losing Cavan teams in the 1937, 1943 and 1945 finals. He captained the county side from 1937 to 1945 and was still on the Cavan panel when they won the famous 1947 All-Ireland Football final in the Polo Grounds in New York. He was also a regular on the Ulster teams for the Railway Cup in the 1940s.

Big Tom was elected to Dáil Éireann as an independent TD (Teachta Dála) for the Cavan constituency at the 1944 general election. In the 1948 Gneral election, he stood as a Fine Gael candidate but was defeated by another independent candidate and he did not stand for the Dáil after that. In later life, he was a successful businessman. As O’Reilly Clan Taoiseach, ‘Big’ Tom O’Reilly was respected and held in high esteem for the goodness of his shape and family, his experience and wisdom, his prudence and magnanimity, for his eloquence and bravery in battle and the number of his friends.  
  Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dilis.

The Life of Reilly O'Reilly Clan Gathering Festival 2013
Friday August 23rd
Tribute to Cavan teams of the 40's & 50's and to the Gallant John Joe O'Reilly (1919 – 1952)
Personal information
Irish NameSeán Seosamh Ó Raghallaigh
Sport  Gaelic football
Position          Half Back
Born   1919   Killeshandra, Co. Cavan
Occupation    Commandant in the Irish army          
Club              Cornafean                                                      Cavan Titles        9
Inter-county   Count       Cavan      Inter-county titles    Ulster Titles     11
                                                                                              All Irelands          2
                                                                                              NFL                     1
                                                                                              Railway Cup      4
Born at the Derries Upper, Killashandra, Co Cavan. His father was Big John O'Reilly who played as goalkeeper on the Cavan county team and his mother was Sarah Anne.
After early successes with St Patrick's College and his club, Cornafean, he captained the Cavan team, which won the All Ireland Senior Football Championships in 1947 (at the New York Polo Grounds) and 1948, having also played on three losing sides in the final.
He won 11 Ulster senior football medals, as Cavan took the title each year from 1937 until 1949, except two. He won a National Football League medal and four Railway Cup medals, in 1942 and 1943 (when he was the first ever Cavan captain), 1947 and as captain again in 1950. John Joe O'Reilly was one of only eight men to have had the honour of being presented with the Sam Maguire twice as captain.
John Joe's brother, Tom O’Reilly, played on the 1947 All-Ireland winning team and also won Railway Cup medals for Ulster in 1943 and 1944.
A Commandant in the army, John Joe O'Reilly, picked up a serious injury during a football match in 1952 from which he never recovered. He died in the General Military Hospital in the Curragh on 22 November 1952 at only 34 years of age. In 1984, the GAA’s centenary year he was named at centre half-back on the Football Team of the Century. In 1999 he was again honoured by the GAA by being named on their Gaelic Football Team of the Millennium.
The O’Reilly Reilly Clan Gathering in association with the Co. Cavan GAA Board at Kingspan Breifni Park, honoured this John Joe O’Reilly at a reception and unveiling ceremony in Kingspan Breifni Park on Friday August 23rd at 8:00pm as part of the Life of Reilly Festival.
All were welcomed especially former Cavan footballers of the 50’s and 60’s. and the family and friends of the late John Joe O'Reilly

The ceremony commenced with Vincent O'Reilly, Chairman of the O'Reilly Clan Committee, welcoming all who attended especially former Cavan footballers, current Cavan footballers, John Joe's family and friends, and the supporters. He said that it was a great honour for all O'Reilly's to be associated with his initiative and that it was good for everyone -Cavan, Cavan football and Cavan supporters everywhere. He thanked all those involved in particular the sponsors of the memorial: Paddy Swarbrigg Shoes of Mullingar, previously from Cootehill and also Kieran Rogers Joinery Ltd, Knockbride, Bailieborough.
Tom O'Reilly, Chairman of Cavan GAA Co. Board then outlined briefly the importance that this icon of Cavan football was and is to the GAA not only in Cavan but to the GAA worldwide. He then unveiled the memorial that has received much acclaim from all who have seen it.
A reception followed in the clubrooms where former county team players renewed acquaintances