Night Of Celebration As Joachim Kelly And Fr Nicholas Clavin Inducted Into Offaly GAA Hall Of Fame

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Night Of Celebration As Joachim Kelly And Fr Nicholas Clavin Inducted Into Offaly GAA Hall Of Fame thumbnailPatricia Flynn, Helen O’Regan, Joachim Kelly, Offaly GAA Hurling Hall of Fame Inductee, Ann Kelly, Aoife Kelly and Eugene Flynn pictured at the Offaly GAA Awards evening, Friday last.

LAST Friday night saw the annual Bridge House Hotel / Offaly GAA awards take place in the Bridge House Hotel, Tullamore with record numbers attending the event in its 16th year.

430 people witnessed 16 players honoured in their respective sports and grades while Lusmagh's Joachim Kelly and St Carthage's Fr Nicholas Clavin were induced into the hurling and football hall of fame respectively.

It was a massive occasion for all involved as the annual event continues to grow by the year with last Friday's installment providing the biggest crowd since their inception back in 2001.

MC for the night Michael Duignan summed it up perfectly by insisting it was a night of celebration and that while everyone will have opinions on how things are done and on the teams that play, this night was all about celebrating the achievement of the players that were honoured for their contributions throughout the course of 2016.

Offaly Chairman Tommy Byrne spoke of the pride and distinction that all the winners should feel and to enjoy the moment as it may not come around again. He welcomed all the sponsors as well as Offaly senior hurling manager Kevin Ryan and the senior football manager Pat Flanagan.

While thanking people, he reserved a special mention for the Bridge House Hotel for their continued sponsorship of the awards night before announcing that the Tullamore hotel had also, just recently, invested more money in Offaly GAA by becoming the sponsors of the U12, U14 and U16 championships in Offaly while also investing money into the Faithful fields project.

On the Faithful Fields, Mr Byrne confirmed that the facility in Kilcormac will be ready to have Offaly teams train there by April or May. He acknowledged the work done by the fundraising committee headed up by Michael Duignan and also the contributions of Kieran Keenaghan and Christy Todd in particular.

After an excellent four course meal was served up to the massive crowd, the 16 players of the year were honoured. MC Michael Duignan introduced each winner with no shortage of support for every winner on the night.

Capping of the formalities on the night was the induction of two legends into the Hall of fame.

A glowing recollection of their careers was read out by Michael Duignan before a standing ovation greeted both Joachim Kelly and Fr Nicholas Clavin to the stage. On the stage, both legends and indeed characters entertained the crowd with their wit and memories from their career.

Michael Duignan intertwined with the two men brilliantly as humour and distinction were the order of the night.

Fr Nicholas Clavin spoke about his father being such an influence on him and about finally making that breakthrough for Offaly in winning the All Ireland final back in 1971. He thanked his family and paid tribute to his team mates while sharing many anecdotes with the crowd.

The man from Lusmagh, Joachim Kelly was another hugely popular winner and he spoke about the school of hard knocks that was their yard at home in Lusmagh where, along with his five brothers, his love of hurling was born. He also mentioned the influence of the Presentation brothers school in Birr where he honed his skills.

He believed the 1980 Leinster final win over Kilkenny was even more important than the All Ireland triumph in 1981 while being player/manager when Lusmagh won the Offaly senior title in 1989 was his crowning moment in a glittering career.

Following the formalities, local band 'The Secrets' entertained the bumper crowd well into the night.


The full list of award winners were as follows:


Hall of fame: Joachim Kelly (Lusmagh)

Senior: Gary Kelly (St Rynagh's);

Intermediate: Liam Langton (Clodiagh Gaels);

Junior Hurling: Michael Monaghan (Clodiagh Gaels);

U21 Hurling: Conor Doughan (Shinrone);

Minor Hurling: Sean Duignan (Ballinamere/Durrow);

Camogie: Michaela Morkan (Shinrone);

Referee: Brian Gavin (Clara).



Hall of fame: Fr Nicholas Clavin (St Carthage's)

Senior: Niall McNamee (Rhode);

Senior B: Eoin Carroll (Cappincur);

Intermediate: Peter Cunningham (Bracknagh);

Junior: Colin Kenny (Ferbane);

U21 Football: Shane Tierney (St Vincent's);

Minor Football: Shane O'Brien (St Broughan's);

Ladies Football: Emer Nally (Naomh Ciarán);

Referee: Fergal Smyth (Kilclonfert).


Handball - Cathal McNamee (Fahy Handball Club).




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