Right - GAA President Aogan O Fearghail and the late Frank O'Brien
On May 14th, Clogheen lost a legend as President of Brian Ború’s Ladies Gaelic Football, Vice President of Fr Sheehy’s GAA, Frank O’Brien passed away suddenly in Waterford. Frank had a lifetime of involvement with GAA affairs in our locality across the full spectrum of games- football, hurling, handball and ladies football.
He made his name primarily as a dynamic midfielder / half forward for Fr Sheehys in both football and hurling which lead to representation on Tipp Football teams ; U21 in 1965, Senior in 1969 and Junior in 1971.
Frank was a highly committed club player and was hugely influential in contributing to Fr Sheehys South Intermediate Football title victories in 1979, 1981 and 1984 and a County IFC in 1984.
When his playing days were over he was heavily involved in coaching club underage teams including his children Niall, Frankie, Warren and Karen. Frank founded Brian Borus Ladies Gaelic Football Club in 1988 after finding and moulding a very talented bunch of girls who competed in the 1986 Community Games. Frank managed them to the top to win the All-Ireland Final that year and put the small village of Clogheen on the Tipperary Football map. Frank managed teams to win League and Championship County Finals at every level. His most memorable year was in 2009 when he managed the Intermediate Team to win a Munster and All Ireland Club final with his selector and best friend John O’Dwyer from Killenaule and Mary Fahey a long life time friend who was also a selector on the day. That same year Frank brought 12 players to participate in the 7’s in Portmarnock and against all the odds that day Frank made Brian Borus believe and won the competition. Frank loved handball, he was a great competitor and won an All-Ireland title with Joe English and Ballyporeen in 1994.
Frank was a giver all his life, he gave to his family and friends, his community, Fr Sheehy’s GAA club, Brian Borus Ladies Football club, Primary School Teams, Community Games Teams and Tipperary Teams and always made himself available as a referee. He lived for his love of sport and he offered so much guidance and knowledge to Brian Borus Ladies Football, something the club will never forget.
Frank gave long service as a referee to the South Board. He was honoured last November with a well deserved Laochra Gael award by GAA president Aogán Ó Fearghail in the Dome, Thurles.
On a Sunny Thursday, May 17th, the kind of day Frank would love to play a match at his beloved home pitch at Father Sheehy’s Park, St Marys Church, Clogheen was packed with his family and friends. His second family, his GAA circle of friends came in their hundreds to pay their respects. Frank would always say at least 5 times at training to the girls “How many have we”.
Well, Frank would have being absolutely overwhelmed to see the numbers that turned out last week to say their final goodbyes. Thank you to all the clubs, from near and far who sent heart warming tributes. The overwhelming theme from everywhere was a gentleman and a wonderful person.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.