Honouring the stars of East Kerry Football

January 14th, 2014
by Weeshie Fogarty

As always sport star awards can be a very subjective topic and my experience of such events is that no matter who is chosen on any given year there will always be mutterings of discontentment.

Nevertheless this is what makes such events so popular among players, followers and supporters. And so as the Kerryman/East Kerry All Star awards are due to be announced next weekend you can be full sure there will be many disappointed faces around the Gleneagle Hotel where the event takes place. Having been involved for the past years as MC for this outstanding occasion one thing that has come shinning through is the fact that just to be nominated means an awful lot to the players whose names are included in the final list of nominees. And of course when one is chosen in the final All Star line up of the best fifteen this is then the icing on the cake following a long hard year on the fields of East Kerry.

It would be fair to say that events such as this would probably mean much more to the so called ordinary club player in difference to the men who have sampled the more dizzy highs of inter county life with Eamon Fitzmaurice. And the bottom line here is it will probably be the only opportunity the non inter county man will find himself having his hour in the sun.  Indeed having been involved in East Kerry football as a senior player with my club from 1958-1973 I can safely say it would have been a tremendous honor to have been just nominated if such awards were then in vogue. But of course they were still a long way down the proverbial line. And so the East Kerry Board must be highly complimented in taking the initiative five years ago and starting up what was then referred to as a "gala night" in honor of the players who participated in the renowned o Donoghue Cup.

The concept of the All Stars was not the initial idea five years ago when this big GAA night was first mooted, that came about a year later in 2008 and it has gone from strength to strength and to my knowledge is the only model of its kind in Munster at the present time.  East Kerry has always been blessed with exemplary officers and the present Chairman Tim Ryan is following a long line of men and women who have always striven for what was only the very best for its thirteen clubs of the district. The men who began this All Star event were willing to take a big step and take on the burden of organization something which in fact goes on all during the course of the o Donoghue Cup as a man of the match is announced following every single game in the competition.

The officers back in 2009 who got the show on the road were, Dermot Griffin ( Fossa, Chairman), Michael Piggott, ( Kilcummin Secretary), Andy o Sullivan (Spa, Treasurer), Pat o Donoghue (Fossa, Treasurer), Pat o Brien ( St Patricks Hurling Club, PRO).  Indeed the first night of which I have vivid memories was for the sponsors a very traumatic and indeed poignant occasion. The Kingdom newspaper were the sponsors and only that very week of the function it was announced that this very popular publication was closing down and ceasing publication. Now however since then The Kerryman has come on board as backers and really it is only right and fitting that this paper which is inherently   linked to the history of East Kerry and Kerry football are so involved. Indeed I have special memories of looking forward to my late mother coming home with the Kerryman in the fifties/sixties when I was involved in many o Donoghue Cup finals as a Legion player and scanning the sports pages to read all about the previous weeks games. And then years later when involved in researching my clubs history of the o Donoghue Cup it was to the old editions of this paper so readily available in Tralee library that I turned to with great success.

Finally while the names of the present recipients of these years' awards will be well recognized and celebrated what about some the dedicated forgotten club men who were chosen as man of the match in o Donoghue Cup finals of the past before the All Stars were initiated. Here then are a few of the men who I witnessed giving magnificent displays as their clubs captured the elusive little shinning silver trophy named in honour of a Killarney doctor and all of whom have retired gracefully from the playing fields of East Kerry.  Readers might enjoy choosing their best side from one to fifteen from this illustrious panel of o Donoghue Cup final stars. What more appropriate time to recall some legendary o Donoghue Cup names.

Tadgh Collins, Seanie o Leary, Ambrose o Donovan, Michael Moynihan,  (Gneeveguilla), Mike o Grady, Pa o Donoghue, john Galvin Ger o Shea, John Clifford, Connie Murphy, Roland Neher, Seanie o Shea, James Fleming,  Aidan o Shea (Dr Crokes), Tony Moynihan,  (Rathmore), Michael McAuliffe, Maurice Cronin Mossie Cronin, (Spa0, David o Donoghue, Tony Murphy, Paud o Donoghue, Seamus Moynihan, (Glenflesk).

Fogra; My well known name sake and friend Fr Tom Fogarty ( Trained Tiperary and Offally Hurlers) of St Patrick's College, Thurles was on to me in relation to this Conference which his college will host entitled "Exploring the link between Sport and Spirituality" on the 24th and 25th of January. The Conference will be of interest to a variety of sports practitioners, including coaches, managers, players, athletes and those with a genuine interest in sport, psychology and spirituality. Speakers include: Dr. Eamon O'Shea (Manager of the Tipperary Senior Hurling team); Rev. John Boyers (Chaplain to Manchester United F.C.); Dr. Mark Nesti (Former first team counselling sport psychologist at Bolton Wanderers, Newcastle United and Hull City); Dr. Kevin O' Gorman (Moral Theologian at St Patrick's College Maynooth); Dr. Nick Watson (Senior lecturer at York St John University). If you wish to attend then contact the college well beforehand.

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