Riobard O'Dwyer: A legend of the GAA in Beara and beyond

Riobard O'Dwyer: A legend of the GAA in Beara and beyond
Cork minor football manager Bobbie O'Dwyer with footballer Joseph O'Shea and his father Riobard. Riobard is the current president of Beara GAA.

RIOBARD O’Dwyer was a legend of the GAA in Beara.

Cork County Board PRO Joe Blake had paid tribute to the figurehead of Gaelic games in the region after his passing. 

O’Dwyer, father of Cork minor football boss Bobbie, died this week, leaving a very rich legacy behind him.

“Where do you start with Riobard? He was a man with so many talents, hugely respected in his beloved Beara and in the wider community.

“He was a wonderful GAA person, both as a player and an administrator here in Beara. He was the goalkeeper on the Beara team that won the Cork County SFC in 1967 after they defeated UCC in the final after a replay.

“He was three times secretary of the Beara board and he was president up to the time of his death earlier this week.

“And here’s another one, he was a Hop, Step and Jump champion, the equivalent of the triple jump."

He excelled too in many other fields, according to Blake.

“Yes indeed, he was a great historian and a genealogist. He traced the history of many families and, of course, he wrote many books, one of them being Fifty Years of Beara GAA from 1927 to 1977.

“That book is a collector's item in Beara, an excellent publication of the GAA in Beara when there was great success on the field of play."

He was very proud last season when his son Bobbie led Cork to the All-Ireland minor football title.

“He travelled around with the cup when it was brought down here.’’ 

The late Mr O’Dwyer had a very distinguished teaching career too.

“He certainly had, teaching for 39 years in Kilmacowen and Urhan schools and he played a big part in the life development of many people.

“He was hugely respected, not alone by the older generation but by the younger people as well.

“He played a major role down here in so different aspects of life, he was a very accomplished accordion player too and he played the national anthem at the end of the conventions in Beara.

“Riobard was a hugely influential figure in so many things that went on down in Beara. He will be sadly missed by the entire community, a man who gave so much to so many.

“He certainly leaves a very rich legacy for others to follow. You could say he left an indelible mark on the lives of so many people in the Beara peninsula." 

Those sentiments will be shared by many people throughout Cork and far beyond.

A great family man and a great GAA man too. May he rest in peace.

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