Dr Eamonn had a great gift

December 3rd, 2015
by Weeshie Fogarty

Dr Eamonn O'Sullivan will be remembered for his work in the whole area of the Gaelic Athletic Association and, of course, like Mick O'Dwyer, for the great number of successful Kerry All-Ireland winning teams he trained. He also trained club teams and his hospital team to win the All Ireland Connolly Cup.

As a young fella I spent many a night in the Fitzgerald Stadium watching the Kerry teams training for the big matches. He never seemed to get excited, never shouted at the players and concentrated s lot on skill. He also seemed to concentrate of having both sides of a player's body strong, left and right. And I remember well how players could punch as well with their left hand as their right, never mind kick with their left foot, or their weaker foot. Dr Eamonn concentrated a lot on improving each individual player.

Of course the marvellous contribution he made in the whole area of mental care, mental health and therapy and the development of Fitzgerald Stadium must be put on record. My late father and my uncle Paddy were at the meeting at which a decision to build the stadium was made. They set up a monument to Dick Fitzgerald who died in 1930 and the monument, six years later, became a marvellous stadium.


Only for Dr Eamonn's vision and his skill as a doctor and the work of his patients nothing would have been achieved. That must never be forgotten and what's generally not known is that his dream was that teams visiting would tog out in St Finan's Hospital with an underground passage down under the terrace. Those teams would come out to the centre of the field from this underground passage in a marvellous scene of pageantry and of glamour. That was his dream for the Fitzgerald Stadium that never happened. Nevertheless the stadium is there and one of the stands is called after him.
I remember too I was at athletic championships meetings in the stadium and I saw the great Olympian Dr Pat O'Callaghan who actually worked also as a doctor in St Finans. He won two gold medals for the hammer in the Olympics and would have won another one only there was a dispute and he couldn't travel. He had worked in Killarney as well with Dr Eamonn as a colleague. They were great friends.

Dr Eamonn set up, with others, the East Kerry Board in the mid 1920s. His work in medical therapy and care and occupational therapy was classic and very far-seeing. He was really a visionary. He born in Firies village, not far from Killarney and the GAA ground in Firies, a lovely set-up, is called after Dr Eamonn as well. So he's duly remembered and rightly so.

And the name of his late father JP O'Sullivan is beautifully commemorated in Killorglin where the superb ground is dedicated to him.


He had a great love for his culture and for the traditions of his people. He was very broad on Gaelic football and hurling. He was always so calm. I was always impressed by his words before a big game. He was quietly confident.

Tadghie Lyne was very anxious before the 1055 final and didn't feel like playing. Eamonn said to him, "Okay, Tadghie, we'll put you on. The first ball you get, you close your eyes and kick and we'll see what happens after that."

And sure, of course, he was man-of-the-match after that. The way he handled a very anxious star lacking in confidence, I think he had that great gift really.
Dr Eamonn was, without doubt, one of the all-time unsung great Kerrymen.

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