The news of Gabriel Howard's passing came as a total shock, with almost a numbing feeling that such a good man is with us no more. My first thought's go out to his wife Kay and his family, to them I send my sincere condolences. It is a devastating loss for them. Myself and others I have spoken to in the cycling community are deeply saddened by this terrible news.
I look on myself to be fortunate to have known 'Gaybo' as he was better known, I remember him as a rider in the 70's and 80's and then as a race organiser and an official on the Rás.
I think what I liked about him was that he was a 'riders man' and he would go out of his way to help any cyclists no matter what club or what part of the country they came from. He was totally selfless and he was always a pleasure to meet even when you had different opinions (which rarely happened).
Cycling has lost one of the pillars of the sport, I could call him a legend, but he was bigger than that. His loss will be felt throughout the whole cycling community.
I've put together a few pictures of Gaybo over the years, to let people look back at some of his contributions to the sport.
This is going back a good few years, the Meath Team for the Rás and Gay brought the Tayto sponsorship on board. Gaybo competed in 21 Rás Tailteann's and wone a stage into Birr in 1965.
Kay and Gay Howard were probably two of the most committed workers, who regularly officiated at events around the country.
Gaybo at the finish line in Stamullen with his wife Kay and their daughter and grand daughter.
Anytime Gaybo put on a race he was very organised, seen here getting set-up for an evening Money Nolan GP in Balscadden.
Gaybo looking a bit serious here, but he was an excellent race organiser. He had an incredible ability to assemble an army of friends to help promote fantastic events. This says a lot about the man he was.
He always willing to help and was never one to shy away from getting his hands dirty
Gaybo with members of the Stamullen Road Club
For many years Gaybo organised the neutral service in the Rás, he was also part of the Rás Organising Committee.
Gaybo talking with Philip Cassidy during the FBD Rás
Once Gaybo got hold of the microphone, he seldom held back and was quite entertaining.
The Stamullen GP has to be one of the highlights of Gaybo's cycling career. The race is second to none, a real tough circuit, great atmosphere and afterwards an excellent award ceremony with great prizes.
Mark Scanlon, one of the great winners of the Stamullen GP in 2002
While it's great looking back over the pictures, one thing I will remember Gaybo for the unique way he interviewed the winners after the finish, I've attached a clip from the 2011 Stamullen GP with winner Connor Murphy (see the video below) - he was outstanding!
Details of Gabriel Howard's funeral
Reposing at his home on Tuesday afternoon 13th February from 2.00pm - 8.00pm.
Removal on Wednesday morning to St. Patrick's Church, Stamullen, arriving for 12 noon Mass, followed by funeral to Stamullen Cemetery.
Family flowers only please. Donations if desired to Our Lady's Childrens Hospital, Crumlin.