John Joseph McEnroe aka Sean McEnroe from Ballyjamesduff Co. Cavan was the paternal grandfather of tennis legend John Patrick McEnroe, Jr. (b. 1959).
In the early 20th century, when he was 12 years old John-Joe emigrated to New York. There he worked as a driver and messenger with Chase Manhattan Bank.
He later met and married Kathleen (from Co. Westmeath) who had emigrated to NYC in 1927.
He was also a musician who had his own band, billing himself as "Professor Sean McEnroe and his orchestra.” They played in dances and fairs around New York and also at the Cavan Association dances. ‘Come Back Paddy Reilly’ was one of his favourites to sing.
It was decades before John-Joe travelled back to Cavan for a visit. But his wife Kathleen was a frequent visitor back to County Westmeath, always bringing her young son with her.
Their son John Patrick McEnroe, Sr. aka JP McEnroe (1937-2017) attended the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. to study economics. After college, military service brought him to Wiesbaden, West Germany where he and wife Kay Tresham (a nurse) welcomed John Jr. into the world. Eight months later they returned to Queens NY. JP went on to become a lawyer at Paul Weiss NYC.
During his freshman year at Standford University in 1977-’78, John McEnroe Jr. won the NCAA singles title and then quit to turn pro. He travelled the world winning tennis tournaments, thrilling fans and causing more than his fair share of controversy.
In September 1983, John McEnroe Jr visited Ireland for the first time to play in a Davis Cup match for the USA against Ireland in Dublin's RDS. He was driven to Mullingar to meet his maternal grand-aunt Molly Proctor whom McEnroe recalls opened the door looked at the tennis star and said, ‘I always preferred (Bjorn) Borg to you.’”