Dan O'Sullivan

KERRY MOURNS DEATH OF DAN O'SULLIVAN

 

"The life and death of each of us has its influences on others"-a line taken from the readings at the funeral mass of the late Dan O'Sullivan. This line would adequately reflect the life and passing of this gentle and much loved Currow man.

The brightness and radiance of the Christmas lights and decorations failed to mask the dark clouds of sadness and disbelief that hung over Currow on December 30th following the untimely death of Dan O'Sullivan, a man who was loved and deeply respected in his community.

Dan passed away suddenly at his home in Gortshanafa bringing to an end over four decades of community service in Currow, a distinguished GAA career that saw his skills as a player, coach, club official and referee showcased all over Ireland. Dan was a wonderful role model to his family, friends and everyone that touched his life in a social and professional context. He was a non smoker, never drank and was a lifelong member of the PTAAA. A master craftsman who took great pride in his work as a plumber his skills were constantly in demand all over Kerry. While sport dominated his life, Dan was a loving family man who delighted in the achievements of his brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews. While Dan will be sadly missed by his family and friends, his death has shocked the sports world and in particular followers of Gaelic games. He loved sport and was an integral part of the Currow senior football team for 37 years in his role as a dependable full back. His proudest moment with Currow was winning an Kerry Novice championship medal in 1982.

Following a distinguished playing career Dan turned his skills to refereeing. He refereed two County senior football championships finals in 1986 and 1993. He was also in charge of three O'Donoghue Cup finals and refereed numerous Junior, Minor and Under 21 finals for various divisional boards all over Kerry. His skills as a referee was recognized by Croke Park who assigned senior, minor and Under 21 Inter county games to him. His last game as a referee was in 2005 when he took charge of a challenge game involving Currow and Laune Rangers.

Dan devoted his life to the GAA and was involved training team at all ages with the Currow club. In 1980 he trained Currow to an East Kerry minor league and championship double. He trained Currow to an East Kerry O'Sullivan Cup in 1986, Kerry Junior championship in 1988 and promotion to Division 2 of the County League in 1988. He was also instrumental in the Currow minor side winning the County League, East Kerry league and championship in 1993. He had unprecedented success with the Under 16 side in 1992. He also trained Fires in 1995 and 1996 guiding them to two O'Sullivan Cup victories, a County Novice title and an East Kerry Senior league title. Dan also trained teams in Duhallow and West Cork and was a Kerry minor selector for 6 years winning an All Ireland title in 1988. He was a Kerry Under 21 selector for two years winning an All Ireland title in 1998. "Dan was a good friend, a very honest and fair man who gave his life to the GAA. He was a great example to all of us and to the young people in his care.

He was a perfectionist and had time for everyone," said former GAA President, Sean Kelly. Dan was a senior steward at the Fitzgerald Stadium and the Austin Stack Park in Tralee for over 20 years. Dan took great pride in his native parish and the achievements of its people. "Dan was instrumental in getting the Killeentierna Community Centre off the ground. He spent months fundraising and working in the centre where his attention to detail was amazing. He was a leader and got the best out of all the volunteers involved in the project. He was also involved in the construction of the dressing rooms at the Currow GAA field. He was deeply involved in Tops of the Clubs in the 70s. Dan will be sadly missed by all of us who were honoured to have known him," said his good friend Johnny Brosnan who delivered a moving tribute to Dan at the funeral mass in Currow.

The esteem Dan commanded in Currow and Kerry was evident with the huge numbers who attended his funeral at his home on December 30th and at his funeral mass on New Year's Day.

His coffin was draped with the black and amber flag of Currow GAA Club and in a moving tribute former players who were coached by Dan shouldered his remains from Currow Church to St Michaels Cemetery.

Tears were shed, stories retold and laughter were all interwoven as Dan was laid to rest. Kerry bid a final farewell to a man that touched the lives of people all over Kerry.

He is survived by his brothers Sean Denny, James and Paddy, sisters Mary and Kathleen and a wide circle of nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.

 

 

Courtesy of Con Dennehy. 20 February 2009

 


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