Tom O'Brien Trophy presented to County Board na nOg

posted 12 Jul 2010, 13:25 by Unknown user   [ updated 12 Jul 2010, 14:03 ]
L/R Fr. Tony Ryan PP. Chairman Doon Board Na nOg, Pat O'Donovan, Chairman Doon GAA club, Colm O'Brien, Yvonne O'Brien, Tony Roche, Chairman Limerick Board Na nOg, Jack Mackey, Treasurer Limerick Board Na nOg and Michael Rea, Secretary Limerick Board Na nOg.

In a very pleasant function on Wednesday last Doon GAA presented a trophy for the U14 ‘A’ hurling championship to Limerick Bord Na nOg. The trophy was dedicated to the memory of the late Tom O’Brien, one of the most remarkable people to be associated with Doon or indeed any other GAA club nationwide.

Among those in attendance at the presentation were Chairman Tony Roche, Secretary Michael Rea and Treasurer Jack Mackey representing Limerick Bord Na nOg as well as officers and members of Doon GAA club. It was particularly appropriate that members of Toms family were present, and the presentation was made by his son and daughter Colm and Yvonne. Afterwards everybody enjoyed refreshments provided by the hardworking and much appreciated ladies committee.

Tom O’Brien was born in 1957 and died in June 2004 after a brave battle with illness for six months. His untimely death at such a young age caused great sadness throughout the county. This was especially true in East Limerick where Tom was known to one and all as the outstanding PRO for East Limerick GAA board. Tom was a unique person with a passion for Gaelic Games and all things Irish that few could match. He had an amazing knowledge of the history of every club in the county. It was his fervent wish that every club would be active, vibrant and in good hands. During his relative short life he visited every GAA ground in the county, referring to them as his ‘Fields of Dreams’.

As well as being a player, selector and able administrator of his beloved parish Doon, his outstanding written history of the club entitled ‘Heroic Deeds’ will live on for generations to come. Tom initially wrote a paperback version in 1980 but he then discovered much more material, and an updated version, this time in hardback, was published in 1990. This was a mammoth task involving hundreds of hours of research, but for Tom it was a labour of love.

Indeed at the time of his illness he was planning with like minded people to compile a history of East Limerick GAA. Alas, sadly, fate intervened and he was unable to fulfil his ambition. Perhaps some day it will be written, which would be a fitting legacy to his memory.

In spite of Toms’ love for all things Irish, he was big enough to embrace other traditions. He attended the Orange parade in Rosnowlagh in Donegal, the only one held in the Republic, and developed a friendship with a number of Unionist politicians.

He regularly attended Ulster finals in Clones and had contacts all over the province with whom he exchanged programmes and such. On the eve of Tyrones historic breakthrough he left home at 4am and travelled the length and breadth of that football mad county from Ardboe to the shores of Lough Neagh to the Donegal border in the west. He felt their day was at hand and he wanted to feel the atmosphere of it all.

When activities at home on the GAA front would be winding down, he would travel to county finals that would run late, particularly Galway. To travel with Tom on these occasions was most entertaining, hurling talk all the way and a big feed for the lads on the road home in a plush hotel.

Typical of the man, anybody going to west Clare around the Burren would be ordered to visit the field in Carron, the birthplace of Michael Cusack, one of the seven men who met in Hayes’ Hotel, Thurles in 1884, and a hero to Tom.

May the sod of Doon graveyard where he lies with his parents and brother rest gently on his noble soul.

Ar dheis de go raigh a h-anam dilis.

Donnacha O’Cinneide,

Dun Bleisce.