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Shot Sentry Forgotten, Remembered

Sean Mac Eoin raising the tricolour at Athlone Barracks some time before the shooting of the sentry McEvaddy
Sean Mac Eoin raising the tricolour at Athlone Barracks some time before the shooting of the sentry McEvaddy . Image Source: British Pathé

“I’ll wake him” said Mac Eoin to the British officer on finding the soldier asleep at the gate of Athlone Barracks, and promptly shot the boy through the temple. Thats how my father told me of the story of the death of young McEvaddy as was told to him by a relation of the boy soldier who was a supporter of the Free State so was not telling it to run down Mac Eoin for political or idiological reasons…

But a tale in a pub told now
Sentry remembered, without a name
Shot for sleeping, untrained, did not understand
Army rules, punishment and shame…

Was this the freedom for which Connolly died?
Youngster joined, a job was all he wanted, from backstreets born
A general, as he called himself, who won by losing and victory claimed
Sought to impress the withdrawing British in Athlone that morn…

What did the British think who themselves were faulted
For shooting Connolly – and rightly so faulted – in a chair
There was no warning, no chair for this boy, no final request…
As Mac Eoin blew out his brains while sleeping there.

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