AFTER a remarkable 24 years involved with the Cork AUL, Ted O’Mahony decided to retire from his duties.
The 76-year-old from Ballyvolane has dedicated most of his life to football, enjoying many roles throughout the years and it’s been said before that guys like O’Mahony are a rare breed.
O’Mahony did what he did, not for money or recognition but because of his love for football.
As chairman and fixtures secretary of the biggest soccer league in Munster, the Cork AUL, he gave hours of his spare time daily and weekly to ensure junior football for thousands of Cork soccer players ran smoothly every week.
Here he tells us about his roles in football and the joys he got from the footballing community.
“Football has played a massive role in my life in which I have thoroughly enjoyed and am grateful for,” said O’Mahony.
“One of my first roles was manager of Mayfield schoolboy and youth teams back in 1988 until 1997; that’s when my love for the game began.
“We were very successful during that period which added to my enjoyment and from there I held many other roles.”
Always looking for ways to stay involved in the game and develop players and clubs, O’Mahony held many positions such as secretary of Mayfield United, chairman of the MFA, and chairman of the FAI Junior Council; all roles in which he served with great distinction, and the father of four will be a huge loss to the footballing community.
His decision to retire this year is one that he felt came at the right time.
“I decided to retire because I felt at 76 years of age I had given a lot of dedication to both roles and at this time in my life, I have decided to spend more time outside of football.
“Tom Fitzgerald has taken over as chairman, and the new Fixture Secretary is Cathal Hughes.
In the AUL, I had two roles, chairman and fixtures secretary. I was chairman for 14 years looking over the running of the league, and fixtures secretary for 20 years, which was a 24/7 role, making out fixtures, appointing referees for matches.
“I will certainly miss the day-to-day dealings with clubs and fellow committee members, and all who I would have dealt with in my roles in the AUL. However, I will now have a lot of spare time to enjoy relaxing outside of football and also enjoy watching games without being involved and I am looking forward to that being honest.
“At times I wondered where I found all the time to fit so much into my week, however when you’re doing something you love, you will always find the time and for anyone dedicating their time to any sport I’m sure they will feel the same.”
O’Mahony spent hours and days of his own time ensuring that, each week, thousands of young men got to play soccer. He has done so for the past 24 years and without him, the administration of our games would have suffered greatly.
His weekly duties included setting the fixtures for all leagues and cup competitions for the weeks ahead as well as assigning referees to the games.
As chairman, he ensured that all issues that arose in the league on a weekly basis were dealt with by him and his committee members in order to keep one of the biggest junior soccer leagues in the country running efficiently throughout each season.
Roles in which we as players don’t think about; but roles in which football could not operate without. As coach to Dunbar Celtic for the past 12 months, I have seen the work O’Mahony has put in in my short space of time involved with the AUL, so on behalf of Dunbar and all the other clubs in Cork we thank O’Mahony for his wonderful work and dedication.
For many of us involved in sport, the past 14 months have been a huge eye-opener. Many of us saw the importance of sport in our lives and the absence of it for such a long time showed us the impact sport can have on us.
For others, the break was a welcome one and showed people how much of their lives were taken up by it.
However, whether that was a good or bad thing for some, for Ted it showed him how much of his life was taken up by football; however it was not a bearing on his decision to retire.
“Covid led to the longest period of time that I have been without football, and although the break certainly gave me time to see what was best for me going forward, having the time off showed how much time in my life was taken up in football, but Covid didn’t have a bearing on my decision, the time was right for me to retire
“During my time involved in the game, the main benefit for me personally was being able to use my football experience, both at local and national level. From running teams in the schoolboys league right up to being chairman of the FAI Junior Council, I have gained so much experience and enjoyed so many great times meeting some great people who will be friends for life.
“I’m glad to know that during my time in the AUL I feel the league has sustained its strong presence in junior football, both in Cork and nationally.
“Thankfully I feel the league is in a very strong position and it will continue to promote junior soccer for many years to come.
“I am now looking forward to staying involved in the beautiful game and continuing my role as a supporter of all the teams in the Cork AUL.”