Words of Praise for Dr. Jim Brosnan

December 12th, 2011
by Weeshie Fogarty

The recent death of Dr. Jim Brosnan has taken from our midst one of the all time great Kerry GAA stalwarts, both on and off the field. And I emphasis in the strongest possible way, "one of the all time greats". I was very fortunate to have been involved as a player with my club, division and county during Jim's tenure as county board chairman so I an in a position to fully appreciate exactly how wonderful an all round person he was. I also have vivid memories of his marvelous displays on the field of play.  In later years I had the privilege of meeting him periodically and a few years ago both he and I were honored by Paudie O Se back in Ventry during Paudie's long running football weekend. Jim receiving the Hall of Fame and I a media award. It was for me a very precious occasion for that one reason, Jim Brosnan was there.  Last February I was present at a memorable function in the Skellig Hotel Dingle as Jim was honored for his contribution to the GAA in this county and his organizational skill in sending Kerry around the world following their 1969 All Ireland victory. Family, friends, former team mates and opponents from other counties travelled for this special occasion and hereunder are the words of praise for Dr Jim Brosnan from just a few of those present that afternoon.  (Click here to listen to the actual interviews from the event).

Hugh O Flaherty - Former High Court Judge
Jim Brosnan blazed like a great meteorite across the sky in that 1955 All Ireland final against Dublin. Kerry were struggling up to half time and when the second half started Jim fired over two points in quick succession. He appeared to be going for goal on each occasion but probably under instruction from Dr Eamon o Sullivan the trainer he took his points and when they went over I think the game was in the bag then. Of course his father Con had been a great midfielder with Bob Stack and he was part of that legendary back ground. However Jim and his brother Mick were legends in their own way, full spirited footballers but scrupulously clean. Its hard to understand having been such a great administrator with the Kerry county board that he did not become the first Kerryman to become GAA President, that of course fell to Sean Kelly which he performed with great distinction. Jim Brosnan would have made a wonderful president of the GAA and that was the association's loss.
Mick Gleeson - All Ireland medal winner 1969-70
Jim was a tremendous organizer with a fierce commitment to players and I believe that is why so many people have gathered here to day. Now it's not easy to gather players from many decades and generations together in the one place. His organization of what was referred to as the world tour in 1970 summed up everything. There was so much involved and difficulties at many levels, personal clashes and much more which is a story for another day but Jim overcame all those because he had that fierce commitment and dedication. He must have been a wonderful doctor because if he was committed to his patient I am sure he would have climbed Mount Brandon six times or more to ensure that the end result was right. And then of course his organizational skills came to the fore and resulted in the wonderful county leagues we have in Kerry football and I am quite sure if Jim Brosnan was still having an on going input into Kerry football the "ordinary" club players would be allowed play far more games during the summer time when playing the game is far more appropriate rather than having to wait until the All ireland is over and Jim would not allow that to happen because his commitment to the "ordinary' player would ensure that they were full involved in playing the games. He was in many ways a remarkable Kerry man.
Donie O Sullivan - Kerry winning captain 1970
It's great that we are around to honour Jim in this way for all he has done as a player, an administrator and as a person. I believe there was no body more important in the over all picture of the GAA in this county for his vision, his commitment, his generosity, his work rate; he was such an upright, humble honorable man, direct to the point. We all experienced in that trip around the world in 1970 the type of leadership he showed and that generosity he expounded. Jim listened to people who played the game, he always had a vision and when he became chairman he put that vision into practice that of getting more and more players on the field. Getting the leagues going. He began it, followed it through and it went on from there. It's wonderful to see so many people here to day and Pat Griffin from Clonakilty with so many commitments said he just had to be here because it was Jim Brosnan.

Sean O Neill - the legendary Down footballer
Jim Brosnan represents for us in County Down all the is great about The Kingdom. He has always shown great honesty, great integrity in his play and he has been a leader on the field and off it. I would say that some of his greatest contributions to his county has been as chairmen of the county board and the organization of the leagues in this county which is probably a leading example for all other counties in Ireland. In spite of the fact that Jim played and excelled at the highest level of football he still had a great understanding for the need of club players to have regular football. It's so important to give young people regular football every week and Jim with his tremendous foresight recognized this. As a player I admired him greatly, he was a highly competitive, physical player and he played it fair and hard and was and still is greatly admired in my county. The Brosnan family contribution to Kerry football is legendary and it's a great honour and privilege to be here and when Donie o Sullivan contacted me I had no hesitation and I represent my county here to day and Queens University Belfast because he touched all our lives in university football. 
Dr Maurice Hayes - Down footballer, former Ombudsman and politician
It a privilege to be here.  Jim Brosnan was a great man and a giant on the field and I remember him giving the best one man display I ever saw in a Sigerson match in Belfast. He scored three goals and then went in centre back and stopped every attack. He epitomize all what is best in Kerry football. The Jim Brosnan's of to day world are few and far between. However the real beauty of this evening event is the spontaneity of the occasions, it was his own people who came together to honour him, a beautiful touch. When Sean o neill contacted me and explained that Donie o Sullivan had invited us down it was a case of simply having to be here because it was for Jim Brosnan.
Seamus Connathy Stradone from Cavan
I had the privilege of playing football with Jim when he came back fro America and played with UCD. I found him an inspiring figure, a man of granite in more way than one, both in his principles and his physique. He was a wonderful person and I got to know him and love him. He had brilliant ideas, he was passionate, you would never meet a more determined man and his principles were rock solid. He is being honored here to day and this is something that should happen a lot more and it's a bit sad to see that it took until now for a tribute like this to be paid to Jim Brosnan who must rank amongst greatest.

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