CHRISTY BARRETT: He was one of the founding members of the Club and the Club’s first Treasurer. In that capacity he was responsible for purchasing the first set of Black & Amber jerseys for the Senior teams. But on this day (15th November 1918), one hundred years ago, at the young age of 30, Christy (John C.) died – succumbing to the deadly ‘Spanish Flu’ virus which was raging throughout Europe at that time, as World War 1 was coming to an end.
The following three Reports appeared in the following week’s edition of ‘The Kerryman’ newspaper (issue of Sat 23/11/1918) :
(1) Death of Mr. John C. Barrett, Rock Street, Tralee – Profound regret and extreme sorrow was manifested by his many friends in Tralee when it became known on Friday evening (15/11/1918) that the above young gentleman had passed away after a short illness. Few men of his age were as popular as Christie Barrett. He was instrumental in starting the football team in the Rock and was a most enthusiastic Gael , being a hurler of undoubted prowess.
(2) The Late John C. Barrett – At a specially convened meeting of the Austin Stack Football Club, Rock Street, held on Friday evening , the following resolution was passed in silence – RESOLVED: ‘’That we, the members of the Austin Stack Football Club have learned with deep regret of the untimely demise of our respected Treasurer and esteemed fellow-member, John C. Barrett. We take this opportunity of tendering to his mother and the other members of his family our heartfelt sympathy in their sad bereavement.’’
(3) GAA Notes: His many friends , and they were numerous throughout Tralee, heard with dismay and sincere sorrow of the death of Mr. John C. Barrett, Treasurer of the Rock Street Club, which sad event took place on Friday as the result of the ‘’flu.’’ A thorough Gael in the widest sense of the word, Mr. Barrett was admired and respected by all classes for his manly and sterling qualities. He was keen on the success of the League matches and his highest hopes was the winning of the medals by his own team. The footballers of the town turned out in a body at his funeral as a mark of respect to the memory of a brother Gael , and the matches which were listed for the Sportsfield on Sunday next have been postponed by the Committee as a slight testimony of the regard entertained for the deceased by the Gaels of his native town. May the sod lay lightly on his manly and generous heart is my earnest wish.
Many of Christy’s family members have been involved in the Club to this very day. His brother Joe was regarded by many as the greatest full-back that ever played football, winning six All Ireland SF Medals with Kerry (1924-1932). His other brothers – Jimmy, Thomas and Eddie – also played with the Club. The next generation of Barretts (Christy’s nephews) also played and managed teams and were also involved in Club Administration. Joe Joe, for example, was an outstanding footballer with Kerry and the Club and was also Club Chairman for a two year period (1977-78). To this day another nephew, Eddie, still represents the Club as a Co. Board delegate having previously managed many teams as well as being Treasurer, Assistant Secretary, Vice Chairman and Chairman over many years.
A tribute to Christy can be found on pg 29 of our Club Centenary book – on sale in Commane’s Book shop Rock St or online see home page on club website