UAE residents mourn death of Sharjah Wanderers' Jimmy Walsh

The Irish national played pivotal roles as a key player, dedicated supporter and chairman of one of the oldest rugby institutions in the region

by

Mazhar Farooqui

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Photo: FB/Sharjah Wanderers RFC
Photo: FB/Sharjah Wanderers RFC

Published: Mon 27 Nov 2023, 4:37 PM

Last updated: Mon 27 Nov 2023, 9:59 PM

Sharjah Wanderers RFC, one of the oldest rugby institutions in the Middle East, is in mourning following the sudden and tragic passing of their co-chairman, Jimmy Walsh. This vibrant individual, originally from Ireland, met an untimely demise on November 19, casting a shadow over the tight-knit community. `

The news was shared by Sharjah Wanderers through their official social media channels. Jimmy, a charismatic figure in his early 40s, leaves behind a legacy that has deeply touched the hearts of many. Since joining the Wandies in 2010, Jimmy has played pivotal roles as a key player, dedicated supporter, chairman, and outright legend.

In a poignant tribute on their Facebook page, which does not detail the circumstances surrounding his death, the club described him as an infectiously energetic and generous character, radiating vitality and joy in every interaction.

“He was key in our title-winning team in 2016, a vital member of restarting the Wanderers after the club folded for a year in 2018/19, and again was the main man in restarting the Sharjah 10’s, an event that people loved, after a 4-year break. He was also a great link in the hosting of the first supervets competition at the Sharjah Wanderers Sports Club this year. That was the kind of man he was; he would help out anybody that asked, on or off the field. And he loved an epic voicenote,” the club said.

Sharjah Wanderers RFC has also announced plans to honour Jimmy in the coming weeks, with further details to be shared soon.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, teammate Ernest Welgemoed, from South Africa, fondly described Jimmy as a perfect gentleman both on and off the field. Reflecting on their three years playing alongside each other, Welgemoed remarked, “He had a great passion for the game of rugby.”

Irish expat Shane Fowley, another former teammate, echoed the sentiments of many, describing Jimmy as an incredibly energetic human being who left an indelible mark on lives with his disarming candour. “He will be missed sorely,” Fowley said Khaleej Times.

Tributes have flooded the club's Facebook page. John Braken, visibly shaken by the news, expressed his devastation at losing a dear friend. Recounting their shared experiences since 2013, Braken remarked, “He welcomed me into the club in 2013, and we made some great memories... A number of Wandies boys reaching out to me is testament to the tight-knit culture that Jimmy created. He will never be forgotten.”

Paul Anthony, though having known Jimmy for a relatively short period, couldn't help but acknowledge the profound impact the man had. "What a man. What an influence he was to all and what a player," shared Anthony.

Meanwhile, the grieving family has requested that they be tagged in any posts, stories, or messages commemorating Jimmy's memory, encouraging the community to share their cherished recollections and anecdotes using specified tags.

Sharjah Wanderers issued a broader message to the community, urging everyone to reach out and not hesitate to engage in conversations with others. “We emphasise to reach out and not be afraid to come forward and talk to someone. We need to stress to everyone young and old that in life, just like in rugby, if we work as a team there is nothing we can’t tackle together," the club said.

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