Achievement Award winners – 2013

Catherine MurphyCopy of IMG_0001

To represent your country is a huge honour but not many people get the opportunity. Wearing the tricolour carries a huge responsibility and is a moment of great pride for any athlete.

Our  first  recipient of an achievement award tonight has represented Ireland on five occasions and is a European and World Champion.

Catherine Murphy has won numerous medals in the Transplant Games. She is a fighter, a tremendous athlete and a winner.

Catherine received a liver transplant in 2001 and while others would have used this traumatic time in their lives as an excuse to take things easy, Catherine used it as an opportunity to spread the word about Organ Donation and to let people know that Organ Transplantation works. Catherine is not only competing for herself but represents organ donors, and those who are on a waiting list for life saving operations. She excels in her sports, She prepares well and strives to be the best in the sports that she competes in.

Catherine has used her success at the World and European Transplant Games to show that there is no reason to give up and even when one of the biggest obstacles is put in your way you can turn it into an opportunity to do some good and to excel in sport.

Catherine Murphy is an inspiration to all of us and it is our privilege to honour her here tonight.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Catherine Murphy.

Gordon Mangan

Gordon Mangan

Gordon Mangan

Expertise and dedication is always welcome. Our community is lucky to have people with expertise in a range of diverse areas.

Many of these people have been among us for years while others have come to live here and brought their skills with them.

To have a Kerryman among us who can show our young people  the finer skills of the game of Gaelic Football is a great bonus. Gordon Mangan hails from the Kingdom of Kerry and in his brief time in this community has grown to be admired and respected.

He is not only a football coach to the under 8s and 10s but he has become their friend, their mentor and someone to look up to. He follows a strong tradition of Kerrymen who have set up home in our community down through the years and who have given of themselves to our community in some way.

Gordon gets stuck in. He is one of those who is not put off by obstacles. He drives on. He gets things done.

Tonight we honour you for your dedication and commitment to our young people.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Gordon Mangan.

Anthony Greene

Anthony Greene

Anthony Greene

Our next recipient hails from Valentia Island in Kerry, and has lived amongst us for many years. We are fortunate to live in an area of mid-Cork of outstanding beauty, with a rich culture, history and heritage. All too often, it is easy to forget this, or to take what we have for granted. Sometimes it takes someone from outside the Parish to make us realise how unique and special our locality actually is

Anthony Greene, arrived in our midst decades ago. Along with others, he pursued a goal to bring to life our hidden, and often forgotten, local history. When visitors arrive to research their roots, or are simply information seeking, they invariably beat a track to the door of our ‘local historian.’ Publications throughout Cork County and further afield, contain references to, and include articles by Anthony, not to mention the four volumes of the ‘Coachford Record’ produced by Coachford Historical Society during the 1990s.

Anthony has also been active with the Coachford Players for over 25 years , and has steered them through shows and to numerous successes. He has long been involved with CoachfordNationalSchool, from taking children on educational field trips; to acutely managing the serious business of school affairs in a Board of Management capacity.

All of these duties have been voluntarily undertaken by Anthony. He is a valued member of our Community, someone we are privileged to have amongst us, whom we consider as local as any of ourselves, and he has long had family roots here in the guise of his late brother Denis, Judy & Family. Ladies and Gentleman, I give you Anthony Greene ….

Jerry Hubbard

Jerry Hubbard

Jerry Hubbard

Sport is about a lot more than running faster, reaching higher and getting stronger. Sport is also about preparing, supporting, planning, developing and being there for the next generation. Our next award recipient is the backbone of his club. His passion for Aghabullogue GAA is second to none. Jerry Hubbard believes in Aghabullogue, he believes in the future of the club as much as he is proud of its past. This hurling, football and Camogie Club flows through his veins. He has been involved in every aspect of the club down through the years and continues to be. He is its greatest supporter, its most loyal servant and its hardest worker. Jerry is dedicated to Aghabullogue. He represents the club at County Board Level. He Co-ordinates the  Cork GAA Clubs draw for Aghabullogue. He trains, coaches and advises hurlers young and old.

But it’s his work on the grounds that he is being honoured for  tonight. Jerry  prepares the grounds here in Coachford with the same dedication that the groundsmen prepare them in Croke Park.

He is passionate about the quality of the playing surface and the condition of the facilities. He believes that Aghabullogue teams should enjoy the best facilities that the club can provide and that the grounds in Coachford should be held in high esteem by all those who come and play there. And they are. On match days he is always  first there and almost always last to leave.

We as a community are extremely fortunate to have Jerry Hubbard making sure that this sporting facility remains one of the finest in the county, one than our children can enjoy and one that we can be proud of.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Jerry Hubbard.

James Flanagan

James Flanagan

James Flanagan

Our next award winner is the youngest of all the people in all the categories. James Flanagan has a lot to live up to. His older sisters are tough. They are champions in martial arts. James ‘s Sister Emma has just returned from the World Kickboxing Championships with four gold medals. And whether it was the fear of being hammered by the girls in the family or whether it was to show them that he could do  just as good James decided to take up the sport.

James Flanagan is just 12 years of age and has already won a silver medal In the Taekwondo Worlds in London. He has won gold medals in the Cork open tournament, won a gold in the team event against Argentina and a gold and silver in the Connaught open tournament.

Did I mention that James is 12.

James is a serious sports person and works hard to improve his skill level and his competitiveness. He has made huge sacrifices to be at this level in his sport. He follows a strict diet to make certain weight categories but also has to work at building up muscles. That’s tough for any young person but he knows that’s the commitment required to make it at this level.

There is no doubt that if he continues to train and continues to meet head on the challenges that he will encounter then we will hear a lot more about James Flanagan in the future.

We wish James the best of luck and congratulate him for his achievements to date. Ladies and Gentlemen Master James Flanagan.

Dermot O’Leary

Dermot O'Leary

Dermot O’Leary

Dermot O’Leary  has not retired from being just a butcher or a postmaster, no Dermot is much more than that. To visit his shop down through the years was to immerse yourself in all the goings on of the world, the country, the county, the parish and the village. Dermot O’ Leary sold you meat but gave you advice for free.  His knowledge of the community, the surrounding countryside and the people that lived there was unmatched. He was years ahead of his time in his vision for the community.

Dermot O’ Leary was born and bred in Coachford. He loves his community and served it well in various positions for many years. Dermot  was one of those who regonised the huge potential of the grounds at the glebe and how an old rectory could be turned into one of the finest schools of the county. Dermot continues to sit on the board of the school that he helped to set up he can take some pride in how Coachford Community College has grown over the last 30 years.

Dermot is a story teller and boy what yarns he would tell as you waited for the pork chops or the rib roast. He made the visit to the butchers an enjoyable chore. But he was also charitable and helped those who needed it most in our community without fanfare or fuss. Many pieces of meat were given out without any money changing hands. Many families were fed who would otherwise have gone hungry but for the charity of Dermot O’Leary.

In later years Dermot became the village postmaster and the locals found themselves fortunate to see the post office grow from selling stamps to becoming a major sorting and postal distribution hub for the wider area. Six post vans operated out of Coachford Post Office and Dermot O’Leary was responsible for the growth of the service for three decades.

Dermot O’ Leary understood that commerce drove the economy and education built the country. For over 50 years Dermot had a huge input into both areas. He dedicated his life to serving the community as a volunteer and as a businessman and our community is the better place for his commitment.

We honour you here tonight for the huge part you have played in growing the commercial and educational strands of our community.

Ladies and Gentlemen please put your hands together for our first recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award

Dermot O’Leary

Tim, Angela & Patrick Dennehy 

Angela, Patrick and Tim Dennehy

Angela, Patrick and Tim Dennehy

The Dennehy family Aghabullogue  take part in the Equestrian sport of Eventing. This involves three phases, Dressage, Show Jumping and Cross Country.

Eventing is tough. It requires dedication, hard work and skill.  It’s not a sport that you just turn up to and hope for the best. It’s a sport where you have to rely on the relationship you have with your horse, it’s a sport where every single day offers new challenges and where so many unforeseen obstacles can come out of nowhere to try and defeat you.

To be involved in this sport involves a huge amount of sacrifices. You have to work hard at preparing yourself but you also have to work hard at preparing your horse. This in not just a weekend sport, It requires a daily imput and even when an event is over there are still hours of work to do to before you can finally switch off.

Each member of the Dennehy family has excelled at this sport and has represented Ireland at the European Championships in Belgium, Czech Republic, Scotland, England, Portugal and Italy. The family’s best achievement to date was Tim’s European Junior Silver medal won in Scotland. Angela was best of the Irish at the Junior Europeans in Portugal. Patrick was double clear at the Pony Europeans in Italy this summer.

Preparations have already begun for the 2014 season of which Angela will be aiming for the Young Rider Europeans in Portugal and Patrick will be aiming for the Pony Europeans in Millstreet.

These  people are young. Tim is 22, Angela 19 and Patrick only 15. There is little doubt that we will be hearing and reading a lot more about them for many years to come.

Ladies and Gentlemen  – For their dedication to their sport and their success we honour the achievements of Tim, Angela and Patrick Dennehy

Nicola Doherty

Nicola Doherty

Nicola Doherty

In May of 2012 a 19year old girl went for a cycle on a bright Saturday morning. But this was no ordinary bicycle trip. Nicola Doherty embarked on a challenge to complete a tour of Munster covering the counties of Waterford, Tipperary, Limerick and Cork cycling over 300km in one day.

Nicola didn’t do this for the good of her health. She did it to raise money for the Epilepsy charity, Brainwave. Her brother Aaron is a sufferer and Nicola wanted to do something for him and other people who are affected by epilepsy.

Nicola is a selfless individual, always willing to get involved in things, to help out, to be there for people. She is generous with her time and with her friendship.

Nicola saw nothing special about doing the cycle and was surprised so many people came to help her out on the day and that there was so much fuss made out of a bit of a bike run. But her friends, family and the community understood just what a huge challenge she was taking on. Nicola came home to a tremendous welcome and did what she had set out to do. To raise money for charity.

In the words of Winston Churchill ““We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”


Nicola  hoped to raise €3,000 which would have been a huge sum of money however when all the donations were counted up a massive €4000 was raised and donated to Brainwave.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Nicola Doherty

Local Shops

Kathleen Crowley, Joan Crowley and Maureen Cremin

Kathleen Crowley, Joan Crowley and Maureen Cremin

Our local shops are much more than just shops.  They are social hubs, mini community centres, drop in centres that are run by our neighbours and friends.

Tonight we honour three of them, Cremin’s Aghabullogue, Kathleen’s Coachford and Crowley’s Rylane. Each of these businesses offer all us a place to shop local, a place where we are known, where we are greeted by a friend and where we are guaranteed to be treated as a valued customer. We catch up on the news, we are treated with respect, our woes and worries are listened to. Our children are treated as customers rather than nuisances.

Running a shop in the Ireland of 2013 is a tough business. It requires dedication, risk taking and a belief that you are doing something right. The trend over the last number of years has been for many people to go to the nearest towns to seek out the special offers at great value which always turn out to be neither special or of any real value. Our local shops offer so much more than any of the big multiples could ever dream of. They know us. They understand our preferences, our strange requests. They hold items for us. They put up with us. They look out for us. Our local shops are truly convenient. They support other local businesses, they support local charities, organisations , schools and clubs.

To quote Nelson Mandela: “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived.

It is what DIFFERENCE we have made to the lives of others that will determine the SIGNIFICANCE of the life we lead”

In the UK they have now realised, after losing so many of their shop just how important they were to the local economy and how the removal of the shops ripped the heart out of the community.

We are indeed fortunate to still have wonderful, decent people operating our local shops in our villages and in our community.

We are fortunate that you continue to operate and develop your businesses here against all the odds.

Tonight we honour your commitment to your community and although you may be small in size your contribution is huge.

Ladies and Gentlemen  Cremin’s Aghabullogue, Kathleen’s Coachford and Crowley’s Rylane

Judy Greene

Judy Greene

Judy Greene

The motto of the Brownies is Lend a Hand and this lady has been living this motto for all of her life.  Judy Greene has done so much for our community not only with her leadership of the brownies but with her involvement in the Church and more recently in the local market.

Judy Greene is one of the most enthusiastic motivated and energetic persons in our community. When Judy takes on a role she does it with the utmost conviction and belief. Her Brownie Troop was a credit to her and were often seeing enjoying the outdoors and doing so many good deeds for the community.

Judy likes to be involved…she’s good at it. She’s good with people. She is a good neighbour, a good organiser and a person that you can rely on.

Judy recently retired from the brownies but in her time with them she had laid the foundation of a good community spirit with so many of them. There is a saying, ‘Educate a boy and you educate an individual, educate a girl and you educate a community’. You may be sure that Judy has educated this community.

The  community council would like to thank Judy for her dedication in the development of our community and for all her work with the brownies.

Ladies and gentlemen collecting a Lifetime Achievement Award, Judy Greene.

Coachford AFC

Joe Ronan

Joe Ronan

The 2012/2013 Season will long be remembered in the history of Coachford AFC. The local soccer club, founded in 1969 has had many great days in the past and has had many great seasons… but nothing quite like this one.

To run a soccer club in an area dominated by GAA is difficult. Soccer has in the past always been seen as something the GAA players played to keep fit over the winter. Soccer Clubs in rural areas often struggle for finances, supporters and players. Coachford Soccer Club were determined to change that. They wanted to grow, to develop and  to be independent.

The Club took a giant leap forward some years ago when they decided to purchase the grounds at the Glebe and finally find a home for themselves. They weren’t the first rural club to purchase their own facilities but they were the first to have their base in the centre of a village, close to their players and supporters. It was from this base that they could put in place a long term strategy to grow the game, develop their pitches and to provide facilities for the many children in the area who wish to play soccer.

The Club decided that a youth policy would have to be implemented in the 2000’s so they went about putting in place some astute team managers who were able to get the very best out of the players in all grades. At underage level the club joined with Killanardrish Celtic to form a youth team . In addition to this, the committee members ensured that the grounds in Coachford and Carrigadrohid would always be in the best shape possible so that the teams could prepare properly for the long season..

The Committee’s tough decisions started to pay off a few years ago and results were showing some promise. The Junior Soccer team was fighting for honours most years, the new grounds at the glebe were taking shape and the youth policy was reaping some dividends.

The 2011/2012 season saw the Junior team come very close to winning the AUL league title while the Under 12s won their league.

But it was last season that everything seemed to slot into place. The Under 12s and Under 13 teams won their leagues. The Under 15s were runners up in their league and secured promotion and the under 12s also won the Cork Schoolboys Cup. But the crowning glory of the past season was the winning of the highest honour in Cork soccer, the Premier AUL league title. The Junior team had secured the much coveted title after many years of planning and development. This winning team was made up of many players who had played at youth level for the club since an early age and who were wholly committed to playing soccer as their main game. The Schoolboys teams were growing and the club now fields three teams in the leagues.

Over 80 children attended the FAI Soccer Camp at the Glebe this summer so yes the future looks indeed bright for the Coachford Athletic Football Club. The 2012/2013 season showed how much can be achieved when a group of people have a vision and a plan

.For your commitment to the young people of the community, for the planning , development and belief in the future of your club and for the huge haul of trophies you amassed last season we honour you here tonight. Ladies and Gentlemen representing Coachford AFC, Joe Ronan.

Tom Healy

Tom Healy

Tom Healy

Tom Healy has been involved with hounds, hunting and horses since he was born. In 1978 after the death of Gerry O’Shea and with the support of his late father Cal Healy, Tom took on hunting the Aghabullogue Harriers. For the last 35 years the hounds have been hunted and kept by him in Clonmoyle.

Keeping a pack of hounds demands exceptional dedication, commitment and an extraordinary amount of work, which Tom has demonstrated in spades. Over the years with a careful and knowledgeable breeding plan he has produced a beautiful pack of Old English Foxhounds which Tom and members of Aghabullogue Hunt Club are very proud of. For over 22 years Tom provided an invaluable service to the local farming community by collecting fallen stock. Tom continues to provide a great outlet for many people during the winter and with the support of club members the tradition of fox hunting in Aghabullogue continues.

In 2000 Tom commenced building a cross country course on his farm in Clonmoyle and on the 29th December 2001 held his first Hunter Trial. Since then there has been three to four hunters trials held in Aghabullogue every year attracting large entries. Tom continues to enhance and expand his cross- country course which is now a firm favourite with competitors. In 2008 he held an Eventing Ireland one day event which was a huge success. In additional a number of Cork clubs of the Irish Pony Club continue to use Tom’s facilities for their purposes.

Tom has been involved with the Duhallow Pony Club for the last 15 years and has been mentoring and supporting Children competing at national and international events. His experience and expertise has resulted in Pony Club members continuing to be very successful at national and international events with many prizes being won.

In 2009 the All-Ireland Puppy Drag hunt was held on Tom’s land in Clonmoyle.  This was a huge success and in 2012 an International Drag hunt was held with competitors representing Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. Again this was a huge success.

Tom has given many parents and children a start with ponies and horses by sourcing and providing them with suitable animals. His tireless work for the Aghabullogue Hunt Club, his contribution to the equestrian world and contribution to the local community is gratefully acknowledged tonight.

Ladies And Gentlemen,

Tom Healy

Mattie Martin

Matt Martin

Matt Martin

Matt Martin has served this community for years. His dedication to our area can hardly be summed up here in a few short paragraphs.

His love of the area and his sense of duty should be described as a vocation rather than as a volunteer. He  served as secretary for the community council for years – a thankless job.

He spent a long number of years on the committee of the Soccer Club – a thankless job

He was a member of the Fine Gael branch at local, district and Constituency level – definitely a thankless job

But Matt did none of these jobs for thanks. He did them because they needed to be done. The Community needed help. The Soccer club needed guidance and Fine Gael needed to be told that Aghabullogue Coachford and Rylane needed support.

Matt Martin was one of the team that saw the opportunity to convert a  derelict building in the middle of the village into a community House. He was one of that team that spent months fundraising for it and years redeveloping it and then stayed on to run it.

Matt’s deep dedication to the community council was given because he believes that people from the community should run their own affairs. He believes that communities must get a fair crack of the whip from local government. He is a believer in democracy. He is broad minded and open to new ways of working.

Matt Martin continues to be involved in the community. He continues as a trustee of the Community House , an avid supporter of the soccer club , an adviser to the community council and a supporter of everything that goes on in our community.

The writer Jean Vanier says, “ Many people are good at talking about what they are doing but in fact do little. Others do a lot but don’t talk about it, they are the ones who make a community live”

Thank you Matt Martin for making our Community Live.

For your many years of unselfish commitment to your community we honour you here tonight with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Ladies and Gentlemen

Mr Mattie Martin.

Aghabullogue Juvenile Camogie

Laura Dineen

Laura Dineen

The game of Camogie is almost a true art form. To master the game takes a huge amount of dedication and skill. When tourists see our national games being played well they marvel at the sheer bravery, touch and vision of the players. Camogie takes hours and hours of practice to get it right, to perfect the finer points of the game, the skillset required and to master the little things that makes the great Camogie players stand out from the good ones.

Aghabullogue Juvenile Camogie trainers have poured hours into preparing the young players in our community to being the very best  that they can be. The 20 or so people who train these girls do it for the love of the game and the commitment to keep these skills alive.

The Camogie club believe that every girl should get a chance to play Camogie and to play it at the highest level. From as young as 6 years of age girls are being taught how to hold the hurley, strike the ball and be part of a team. The trainers spend hours perfecting their skills and as they get older they train them to win.

This commitment to Camogie in the parish has seen huge dividends in the last few years.  In 2011 and 2012 Aghabullogue were crowned under 13 mid Cork Camogie champions. In 2012 the Under 14s won the countyFéile and represented Cork at the All Ireland competition. They also captured the league title last year as did the under 13s. This year  the juvenile Camogie section of Aghabullogue has won league titles at Under 12, Under 14, and Under 15 and the Under 13s  are in the final of their league.

This success shows the benefits of the huge commitment given to the young girls of this community by the trainers and selectors. This success shows what you are doing is working and that it is making a difference.

The writer Kahlil Gibran once said “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”

Thank you to the trainers of the Aghabullogue Juvenile Camogie players for giving so much. Ladies and Gentlemen representing Aghabullogue Camogie Club, Laura Dineen.

Olan SextonCopy of IMG_0023

The history of Road bowling in Rylane goes way back in time, it’s a sport that was truly a native game.

The Rylane Road Bowling Club was formally constituted in the 1960’s as part of the Bol Cumman leagues.

Anybody who had occasion to travel the roads near Rylane on a Sunday, during the 70’s 80’s and 90’s cannot fail to remember the amazing crowds supporting the scores.

Not merely hundreds but thousands attended – an extraordinary tribute to the team in the Road Bowling club.

Olan Sexton was a dedicated member of that team, he learned to love the sport at his fathers side, John P Sexton a sportsman and a gentleman, respected by all who knew him.

The bowling club team included Jerry Long and the late Denis O’Rourke, Mountrivers and of course the dozens of enthusiastic members, who eagerly looked forward to the next score.

Olan was one of the key men who ran the local club but always had an eye to the bigger game, the all Irelands, the trips to the North and overseas to Holland.

Olan ensured that the sport was kept going through the years and that young people were encouraged to participate in it.

The bowling club in Rylane was very successful for four decades, It was a place where many people met  and became friends. It  was a club that provided a sport that many enjoyed on a Sunday morning or afternoon on the roads around some of the most beautiful countryside in the county.

Bowling is unlike so many other sports. It doesn’t have a pitch or a court. It uses the roads and therefore needs intelligent men to make sure that safety standards are maintained, participants and supporters are educated and rules are updated. Olan Sexton is one of these intelligent men.

Tonight we honour Olan with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his years of dedication to his sport and to our sporting tradition.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Olan Sexton.

Michael O Riordan

Michael O'Riordan

Michael O’Riordan

While some of our achievers tonight have excelled at various sport and are known for their success, other prefer to work quietly to improve the quality of life of fellow parishioners.

Michael O Riordan is one of these. Michael is of Coachford. He loves his village, his community, his parish.  Michael helps. He always has done and most of his help goes unnoticed and unseen by anyone.

Michael has always volunteered  and answered the call when help was needed  He is a member of numerous groups including care of the aged, the Grotto and the Lourdes committees, in fact anyone that is feeling the stress and strains of life is known to Michael. He is also a talented carpenter and is the main builder of our Christmas crib in Coachford church, ably following in the footsteps of St Joseph.

Michael understands that there are always those who will need help. He doesn’t shout about all he does but quietly and efficiently gets things done.

Michael shows the rest of us how to care, how to be compassionate, how to serve, how to live and how to do it all with a smile and a bit of fun. The saying  “Not for ourselves alone are we born”  is very apt when it comes to Michael.

We honour you  tonight for your giving of yourself for so many others.

Ladies and Gentlemen Michael O’ Riordan.

Rylane Celtic

Colm Desmond

Colm Desmond

Rylane has always been steeped in Sport. When people speak of Rylane, sport is always to the fore. Boxing , bowling, Football and  Hurling are just some of those mentioned but lately there has been talk of soccer.

There has always been a love of the beautiful game in Rylane and when there were a few interested people willing to start a team a few years ago they found there was a lot more willing to help out and be part of the newest club in the parish.

From small beginnings Rylane Celtic has now been established as one of the more serious rural teams in the Cork AUL. Like Coachford AFC, Rylane Celtic can find it difficult at times running a rural club. But they have persevered. They have found their feet and they have begun to believe in themselves.

The 2012/2013 season saw them win the Division 3 league trophy and get promoted to Division 2.  They have created a team that draw the vast majority of their players from the local community. They have created a club that a lot of people want to get behind and be a part of. When the league title was secured the whole community celebrated with them. The schoolchildren were given home work off as a sign of how important this victory was for the community. And victories like these are.

Rylane Celtic have a spirit that many professional teams would be envious of. In the last game of the season they had to defeat Newmarket to win the league title. Very few gave Rylane any chance but they were mistaken for the boys emerged victorious by 5-0. It is this spirit and belief that we are honouring here tonight.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Representing Rylane Celtic  is Colm Desmond.

Pat O’Leary

Pat O'Leary

Pat O’Leary

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires”

And what an inspiration you have been Pat O’ Leary.

For the last 35 years you have taught, listened, cared for, been there for, worked with, worked for and been an inspiration to hundreds of children who have passed through AghabullogueNationalSchool.

Pat O’ Leary has been a teacher for over 43 years but we all know that he has been much much more than that. Pat taught all the pupils  so much more than what was in the school books. He prepared them for further education, he prepared them for life. He was and still is a friend to all his pupils.

For 35 years he greeting the scared, nervous excited children who turned up on the first day of school in Aghabullogue and he got to know them so well for the next eight years of their life.  And when they left as confident, educated and well balanced individuals they knew that for the most part Pat had been responsible for this transformation.

Speaking to past pupils of the school over the last few weeks the same things kept being repeated

“ He believed in us”  “He wanted the best for us” “He made us feel special”  “He was tough but fair”  “He gave you confidence”   “Even though we were from a small school he gave us the confidence and the education that made us walk into second level with out any fear or inferior feelings”  “I owe so much to him” “Jesus he could get fierce cross”  .

Our educators are a most wonderful breed of people. Of course we criticise them from time to time but all of us realise how important they are for our children and for our community. How fortunate we were to have an educator such as Pat looking after our children, instilling in them a love for language, sport , books, community and each other. Pat always gave more than what was required. He never settled for just being a teacher. He couldn’t. That’s not in his nature. He gave so much of himself to the school

Of course being a headmaster for many of your teaching years also brought with it many headaches. It meant you had to deal with almost everything. The Board of managements, the department and of course the biggest headache of them all, the parents!

But Pat, you dealt with them all professionally and with the utmost courtesy and that is one of the reasons your time in Aghabullogue National School will be remembered with fondness because of the type of man you are.

You believed in the children, your staff, your school and your community. You did not just teach, you educated, you helped children grow, you inspired them to believe that they could be anything they wanted to be, that they could go anywhere and do everything. You dedicated your working life to Aghabullogue National School and for that,  the community is forever grateful.

The American historian, James Truslow Adams once said “There are obviously two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live.”

Pat O’ Leary gave both educations to all of his pupils.

Ladies and Gentlemen reciving a Lifetime Achievement award for his lifetime of dedication.

Mr. Pat O’ Leary.

About coachfordnews

Community Website to promote Coachford and to let those who are away from home know what is happening in the beautiful village of Coachford.
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