THERE was much sadness and mourning in the wider Cork GAA community when stalwart O’Donovan Rossa GAA Club member John Carmody sadly passed away in December.
The former two-time chairman of the Rossas received a huge farewell as people travelled from near and far to bid goodbye to the tireless GAA volunteer.
O’Donovan Rossa county board delegate Noel Kearney, a great friend and club colleague of John paid tribute to his great comrade.
“The GAA club and indeed the wider community in Skibbereen lost a great man and character. He was a great GAA man and community man. He had great drive. After he retired and moved back to Skibbereen, the GAA was a great outlet for him,” recalled the long serving club official.
John, who hailed from Causeway in North Kerry, moved to Skibbereen in 1965 after he took up a job as manager with the Erin Foods factory. He quickly became immersed with the GAA scene in West Cork. He played hurling for his adopted club O’Donovan Rossa before serving in a number of coaching and administrative roles.
“He was a fanatical GAA man. When he was chairman of the club, he wouldn’t ring you once a day, he could ring you three or four times before lunch time. He always had great foresight, energy and ambition.
“He had a great determination about him. No task was impossible to him. He was always thinking about ways to improve the club and drive them on. He was always thinking ahead and outside the box.
“He carried his love of the GAA, from Kerry to Skibbereen to Carrigaline and finally back to Skibbereen again. He was always promoting GAA.”
John was always a very willing sponsor of the various club teams and indeed after the family moved to Carrigaline where they ran a very successful restaurant, they sponsored a number of competitions in the South East Division. John immediately became involved with Carrigaline GAA and the Carrigdhoun Divisional Board.
The Kerry native was always very progressive when it came to raising much needed finance, so vital in ensuring GAA clubs continue to thrive.
The GAA enthusiast came up with a very novel fundraising idea in 1985 said Noel.
“When John became chairman, the club was in a very bad financial place. One of the very first things he initiated was a big draw which involved raffling six cars.
“Tickets were sold all over for big money such was the novelty factor involved with the raffle. It proved a massive success.
“That scheme quickly ensured the club’s finances were quickly improved. His sharp mind helped turn around the finances of the club. Even though John lived away from town for a good few years, he never really left town as such. He had such a great love and affection for the Rossas.
“His heart was always in Skibbereen.”
John is survived by his wife Margaret, children Brian, Treena, Orla, Taragh, Maeve, Aisling and Sean. John took great pride in watching both Brian and Sean play football with the Rossas.
Brian was a key figure in the senior football team who won the county title in 1992 and the All-Ireland football championship in 1993. Sean is still a vital member of the senior football team.
John loved watching Brian and Sean play in the famous red and white jersey revealed Noel.
“He was very proud of their GAA achievements. Brian was a skillful forward, while Sean moved back to play with Skibb having played underage football with Carrigaline.
“Sean is still playing a huge role within the club, both playing and coaching teams. He has carried on the great voluntary work of his father. The Carmody name will always be synonymous with the club.”
The O’Donovan Rossa GAA Club today possess great infrastructure which is great testament to their former chairman. John always wanted the club to play a huge role within the community.
He wanted the club to be progressive, ambitious and open to all. John along with many more committee members drove on the huge development work which have been superbly carried out in recent years.
The club possess a pristine playing surface in the Rossa Park. They have developed an astro-turf, hurling wall and boast a sublime pavilion. The Rossas are currently in the midst of developing more training pitches adjacent to the Rossa Park.
John ever the visionary always felt the club’s membership would continue to grow and the club’s infrastructure would need to be constantly developed to ensure the players kept progressing. Noel feels the development work is a great legacy to the tireless work undertaken by John.
“When John moved back to Skibbereen, he quickly became chairman again. He focused very much on improving the facilities.
“All the current work is a great credit to him and many more. He was a driving force.
“It is a modern sports facility. He was always aware of the huge numbers competing at underage and ladies football. He always wanted the club to keep upgrading. The club looks great. The club is in a good place.
“He has left a great legacy for generations to come. John always wanted to leave the club in a better place.
“The club, his family and the town have lost a tireless volunteer and visionary.”
He carried his love of the GAA, from Kerry to Skibbereen to Carrigaline and finally back to Skibbereen again.