For many the name of Gabriel Howard rings no bells but for anyone involved in cycling
the name will immediately paint a picture of Gabriel at the Finishing line of many
a big race calling out the names as they crossed the line and then interviewing them
when they received their prizes. He began cycling at the age of 14 and took part
in his first RÁS in 1964 winning a stage in the 1965 RÁS. That stage began in Monaghan
and finished in BIrr a total of 115 miles. During his cycling career he completed
21 RÁS, which is no mean feat. Last week he was involved in a farm accident near
Stamullen, where he lived, and died as a result of his injuries in Drogheda Hospital.
Immediately Social media broke out into streams of messages of sadness at his loss
and extending sympathy to his wife Kay, his daughters Siobhan and Sinead, and his
son Seamus and his extended family of in-laws and grandchildren, his brother Dessie
and sister Olive. He was predeceased by baby daughter Amy. Gabriel, or Gaybo as he
was known, was in Emyvale often for races and he said he loved Emyvale because it
was such a strong cycling community. When he finished cycling competitively he took
up the microphone and acted as commentator at races and finishing lines all over
the country. He was fun to listen to but dare cross him and he would have something
to say to you over the PA system. His knowledge of cycling and cyclists was immense,
which made him an excellent choice to have the microphone. He was also often called
on for advice which he readily gave and he was usually right He was a founding members
of the Stamullen Cycling Club. In June 2011 when Emyvale CC hosted the National
Championships, which were run on circuits around Scotstown Gabriel was a bundle of
knowledge for the Emyvale Club and gave fantastic assistance to them for running
such a major event. His wife Kay was usually with him and he is reported as saying
'behind every good man there is a better woman'. He loved the camaraderie and a bit
of slagging that is part and parcel on any sport and Cycling was not his only interest.
When Meath were one of the top teams in the country he loved getting at the Dubs.
He also enjoyed horse racing and attended meetings now and again when there was no
cycling to go to. He is one of THE GREATS of Irish cycling and a legend who can take
his place beside Roche and Kelly and all the other great names. His death will be
mourned in many quarters and not just in Ireland but most espceialloy by his loving
family to whom we send our sincere sympathies from Emyvale. May he rest in peace.
Some of the pictures below were given to me by Patsy Brady, and thanks Patsy for
your help. The others are from my own 2011 archives in Scotstown.