IN EVERY GAA club throughout the length and breadth of this country, you have dedicated club members who keep the show firmly on the road.
In good times and bad they are the lifeblood of the association and without them many a club unit might be struggling and not have the wonderful facilities that they now have at their disposal.
A GAA club is very much a business these days and has to be run as such and long gone are the days when people were put into positions just for the sake of it.
One such club on Cork’s northside is Brian Dillons, very fortunate to have had people like Donie Lyons at the helm down the years.
For close on 50 years now he has been involved with the club in some capacity or other and this year he’s the club secretary again. Earlier this week he spoke to the Echo about his club and his involvement.
“I have been secretary of Dillons for the best part of 40 years or more at different times. I began in that role in 1973 and was also the club delegate to the city division that year.
“I suppose it’s a labour of love really, I was brought up that way and I would not be doing it if I didn’t enjoy it.
“This year we have Paul Twohig as Chairman, John O’Herlihy as vice-chair, John Noonan as treasurer and Eoin Keane as PRO.
“Eoin has written a lot of excellent articles for your paper and he’s a big asset to us."
Down through the years, Lyons has seen the club develop its base in the Tank Field and today it boasts some top-class facilities.
“Yes, that’s the case. The club has grown and developed over the years, on the field and off it and we’d now have around 300 members from all the teams in the club.
“We have two playing pitches, our clubhouse, club bar and over the years a lot of money has been generated and spent. And I would like to thank our members, local politicians, city council and others for their support in those ventures."
On the field, the club has become a very formidable force and have been at the forefront of the Seandún JHC for many years now.
I suppose the big thing for us was making the breakthrough in 2006, winning the City championship again for the first time in 38 years.
"We lost two county finals to Kildorrery and to St Catherine’s and that was disappointing but the cause will endure and, hopefully, we can get over the line sooner rather than later.
“We won the city again last season, defeating Passage in Ballinlough and winning trophies is important for our younger members."
Past and present, the club have had in their ranks some great clubmen, sadly some of them now gone to their eternal reward.
“Yes, there were so many, I’ll mention just three, men like Donie Keane, Willie Horgan and Timmy Lynch but there were so many more too who gave the club great service."
And great club players?
“Again, yes. People like Pat O’Connor, Eddie Dorney, John Horgan, one of our greatest, Dara Rogers, so many more who helped us win trophies down the years."
“We have a good under-age section too with Tony Looney and I must mention two other people in that regard, Damien Horgan in St Patricks NS and Declan Dorgan in Gaelscoil Gort Alainn who do great work in those schools. I have to mention too our club president, Jack Corcoran who has been one of our finest ambassadors for a long time."
And the future?
Look, it’s not easy for any club at the moment. But, hopefully, things will get back to where they were and we’ll be back in the Tank Field and Ballinlough again.
“Right now our club meetings are virtual and the players have zoom meetings with our junior hurling coach Darren Mannix. Down the years I have got great support from the other officers of the club and at the end of the day you do your best.
“Finally, I must mention one other person, Tim Horgan who has been producing a wonderful club calendar for the past 12 years and it has been a sell-out each time.
“Tim has written the club history twice and is one of the truly great people in our club."