Tribute to Dr. Michael Brosnan

January 18th, 2011
by Ger Walsh - Journalist and Radio Presenter

Kerry lost one of its great sporting sons with the death on Christmas eve, 2010 of Dr Michael Brosnan, late of Moyvane, Ballybunion and London.
Dr. Mick or "Bros" as he was affectionately known, had a life –long interest in all sport but he will be remembered best here in Kerry by the GAA and Golfing fraternities.

The son of legendary Kerry footballer Con Brosnan, Mick grew up in Moyvane amongst a strong footballing tradition and along with his brother Jim, his first forays on the Gaelic fields of Kerry were in the green and gold of Moyvane.

Secondary education took him to Rockwell College in Tipperary where he excelled at all sports including rugby and he went on to captain the Rockwell team to Munster Junior Cup victory in 1947. As Captain of the North Kerry team who won the County Minor Championship in 1949, Mick was then selected to Captain the Kerry Minor team of 1950, who went on to All-Ireland glory, beating Wexford in the final at Croke Park.
In fact, Mick is something of a unique sportsman of his generation, in that he captained both a Rugby team and a Gaelic football team to victories whilst avoiding the infamous "Ban" and it was something that he often spoke about and was very proud of indeed. Also on the Kerry Minor team that day was Sean Walsh from Ballybunion who was to become a life-long friend and the man who would persuade Mick to join Ballybunion Golf Club in 1956 for the princely sum of £5.

University was next on the agenda for Mick, having left Rockwell, and he headed for UCC to study medicine where he also found time to play rugby, Sigerson Cup football and the odd game of golf at nearby Muskerry. Around this time too, his sterling displays with both U.C.C and his native Moyvane, brought him to the attention of the Kerry senior selectors and he joined the Kerry panel winning an All-Ireland Senior title against Armagh in 1953 alongside his brother Jim and great friends that included Colm Kennelly(RIP), Tom Moriarty(RIP) and Bobby Buckley.

London beckoned upon qualification as a doctor and although attached to Millwall F.C. as club Doctor for a period, Mick began to concentrate his sporting efforts on the Royal & Ancient game of golf, joining Sundridge Park Golf Club in Kent where he would go on to attain a handicap of Scratch and represent the club at the highest level in the Perman Shield (the equivalent of our Barton Shield) as well as becoming club Captain in 1981.

>From the beginning of his time in London, he would holiday annually in Ballybunion and eventually build a home there, where he and his family would visit several times a year to play golf and meet up with their huge circle of local friends. In fact, the Brosnan home has always been a wonderful gathering place for people from all codes of sport and Mick and his wife Caroline were always most welcoming hosts who liked nothing better than to entertain and chat for endless hours about golf, horses, soccer, rugby and of course the GAA.

Having been a member since 1956, Ballybunion Golf club afforded him the opportunity of being Club President in 1996 and this was probably the highlight of his golfing career. Mick was very proud of his association with Ballybunion and was always first to promote the club abroad whenever he happened to meet with fellow golfers. He was immensely proud too of the achievements of his two sons Mike(RIP) and James who both attained low single digit handicaps and played amateur golf at the highest level in the UK whilst his only daughter Kate, upheld the family sporting tradition with her prowess in equestrian sports.

Upon retirement a number of years ago, Mick would spend more and more time in Ballybunion, but sadly, he did not enjoy the best of health to play his beloved course. A knee operation restricted his ability to play golf but he liked nothing better than to sit in his folding chair on the practice fairway and impart his golfing knowledge to his grandchildren and anyone else who was interested in improving their game.
He died following a short illness at his home in Blackheath, London in the early hours of Christmas Eve morning surrounded by his loving family.

Pre-deceased by his son Mike in 2006, Mick is survived by his wife Caroline, daughter Kate and son James as well as his son-in-law Kevin and his adoring grandchildren as well as his brothers Gerry (Moyvane) and Jim (Dingle) and nieces and nephews. A larger than life character who could belt out a song with the best of them, he always spoke his mind and he will be remembered fondly by his many friends from all walks of life both here and in the UK.

He will be buried in St John's Cemetery Ballybunion this coming weekend alongside his son Mike.

Rest in Peace Bros.

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